Sam Roberts — a regular panelist on WWE pre-shows — says the company should relocate Crown Jewel due to the Saudi government’s alleged involvement in the murder of a journalist.
On the latest episode of his podcast, Roberts discussed the controversy surrounding the reported assassination of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the order of the Royal court.
While Sam says he believes WWE genuinely hopes to be part of a change in Saudi Arabia’s culture, and doesn’t believe there are WWE Superstars uneasy about going to the event, he ultimately takes a public stance that people under the WWE umbrella haven’t taken.
“I’m ok with the deal. Saudi Arabia has done a lot of questionable things, but I’m ok with the deal in general,” Roberts said while explaining his position on things. “But, my own personal opinion is that because of this story– and because honestly the U.S. is still figuring out whether they’re gonna have to retaliate against Saudi Arabia — I don’t think that Crown Jewel should take place in Saudi Arabia.”
“I think that the show should go on. The show must go on. A big investment has been made into this show. And it’s gonna cost WWE, it’s gonna cost them money,” he continued. “But I think WWE has gotta eat this one. They were featured on Vice, they were featured on John Oliver this week, and it’s not good press.”
Sam then ponders which will make investors happier — going to Saudi Arabia or cancelling the deal.
So far, WWE has said they are monitoring the situation.
“I would expect that they [WWE] have a backup plan already and at this moment, if you ask me today, I think they should use the backup plan,” Roberts added. “I think that WWE needs to figure out how to do this show outside of Saudi Arabia. If they want to go back, go back. We can have that discussion separately at another time. But I think for this one, for the sake of everybody involved … I think it would be a better thing if they did it outside of Saudi Arabia.”
This portion of the podcast begins around the 52-minute mark.