It appears that WWE has lost yet another superstar for Friday’s “Crown Jewel” card in Saudi Arabia.
Daniel Bryan, who reportedly did not want to perform in the controversial event, was officially written out of the event on Tuesday night.
Samoa Joe attacked A.J. Styles and Bryan after Tuesday’s match. Styles later approached Smackdown Live’s General Manager Paige and demanded to face Joe at “Crown Jewel” for the WWE championship, effectively writing Bryan out of Friday’s show.
The event is facing backlash following the murder of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, in early October, and has already lost WWE superstar John Cena.
Turkish officials determined that Saudi Arabian agents killed Khashoggi inside the consulate, and removed his head and fingers in the process. Khashoggi, who worked for the Washington Post and was a frequent critic of Saudi leader Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, reportedly went to the consulate to pick up papers for his upcoming wedding.
WWE still moving forward with event
The WWE isn’t backing down or changing its plans for the event following Khashoggi’s death, and explained the decision in its third quarter earnings report last week.
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. Full year 2018 guidance is predicated on the staging of the Riyadh event as scheduled.
“Crown Jewel” will be a pay-per-view event ran by both the WWE and the Saudi Arabian government. Friday’s show is also backed by Saudi government money, raising even more concern about the partnership between the WWE and the Saudis following the suspected murder of a major journalist.
John Cena reportedly will not participate
Cena made it clear earlier this week that he would not participate in the “Crown Jewel” in response to Khashoggi’s death, as he was concerned about how it would impact his career.
After failing to convince him to participate, WWE officially wrote him out of the show and replaced him with Bobby Lashley. Cena has not spoken publicly about the issue or the event.
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