Kevin Owens: The Prizefighter has informed WWE of his decision not to go to Saudi Arabia according to rumors. Dolph Ziggler was probably inserted into the title picture to take Owen’s place at the Kingdom.
The WWE had announced earlier this month that they would be hosting another show in the desert kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They travelled to Saudi two other times last year. The Greatest Royal Rumble and Crown Jewel were the two events. The third installment is the ‘WWE Super Showdown’. It will also feature a 50 men Battle Royale; the biggest Battle Royale in WWE history.
The shows have however received negative publicity following Saudi Arabia’s stringent inhumane laws in relation to women and homosexuals. Due to the strict laws of the desert kingdom, the female wrestlers are not allowed to travel to the country . There was also heavy backlash last year following the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, a staunch Saudi dissident.
For travelling and continuing their relations with the country, the WWE has been heavily criticised. The company released a statement last year defending their decision:
“WWE has operated in the Middle East for nearly 20 years and has developed a sizable and dedicated fan base. Considering the heinous crime committed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the Company faced a very difficult decision as it relates to its event scheduled for November 2 in Riyadh. Similar to other U.S.-based companies who plan to continue operations in Saudi Arabia, the Company has decided to uphold its contractual obligations to the General Sports Authority and stage the event.”
The Crux of the matter
Last year, John Cena and Daniel Bryan refused to travel with the company to Saudi Arabia over personal issues. Daniel Bryan, a staunch LGBT supporter refused to travel to the country. Sami Zayn also refused to travel due to his Syrian heritage and the political dispute between Syria and Saudi Arabia.
According to Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com, Kevin Owens has reportedly notified the WWE of his decision not to go to Saudi Arabia for the Super Showdown this year.
Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful said:
“We weren’t told a specific reason as to why Owens came to the decision, but his friend and longtime tag team partner Sami Zayn has been off of those shows because of strained relationships between Syria and Saudi Arabia.”
The reason behind the move or even the legitimacy surrounding the news is in question. However, it does look like Owens will not travel with the company. Ziggler has replaced Owens in the feud for the WWE Championship following his loss at Money in the bank.
The Saudi General Sports Authority, in partnership with WWE, will host the WWE Super Showdown. The event will emanate from the King Abdullah Sports City Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Friday, June 7th.