10 Things we know about WWE Superstars being stranded in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is the flavour of the month in the WWE, and it surely doesn't taste good. The Crown Jewel experience has left a sour taste in the mouths of the WWE Superstars as a majority of the roster that made the trip to the Middle Eastern country were left stranded after the PPV.
The entire Saudi Arabia fiasco has been the most talked-about story in the world of pro wrestling and startling revelations are being unearthed with each passing day.
Now that the dust has seemingly settled and WWE has moved on to focus on their product, we felt it was necessary to peel all the different layers off this dense story.
Many fans don't even know the full scope of what happened in Saudi Arabia, as well as the trouble that the entire roster had to go through. What was the reason behind the unwanted delay? How is the backstage mood in the aftermath of the incident? Which Superstars got out of the country in their private jets?
We have answered all the burning questions in this feature.
#1. The real reason behind the delay
Money is the root cause of all the problems in life and that's a time-tested fact.
Spanish announcer and AAA employee Hugo Savinovich was told by his trusted sources close to the situation that there were some financial disputes between the Saudi Arabian government and WWE.
The Saudis reportedly hadn't paid the company to the tune of millions for the previous shows that were organized. Vince McMahon was adamant that they get the money before Crown Jewel aired all across Saudi Arabia.
A furious Vince McMahon reacted by cutting Crown Jewel's live feed, which meant that the show aired with a 40-minute delay in the country.
Dave Meltzer elaborated on the Wrestling Observer Radio that the Saudi Government didn't pay the WWE for Super ShowDown until September 30th. However, it was revealed that $60 million was wired to the WWE hours before Crown Jewel on October 31st, which was believed to be the money that was owed to the company.
Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was clearly not happy with McMahon delaying the live telecast of Crown Jewel on Saudi TV and he responded by reportedly holding back the plane that was set to fly the Superstars out of the country.
In a nutshell, the showdown between WWE and the Saudi officials over pending dues was what led to the talents getting delayed.
However, the official statement painted a different picture.
#2. The truth about the reported 'mechanical failure'
Atlas Air issued an official statement in which the delay was attributed to mechanical issues.
The statement reads as follows:
“More than 175 Superstars, production crew and employees boarded a 747 charter flight back to the United States on Thursday. After the door closed, due to several aircraft problems including mechanical issues, all passengers sat on the tarmac for more than six hours.”
Atlas Air reiterated their previous statement by stating that the passenger flight couldn't leave Riyadh due to a mechanical failure.
How authentic is the statement though?
Well, the WWE Superstars don't believe the statement that was issued to the public.
Dave Meltzer was told by various talents that the mechanical error angle wasn't true. However, Meltzer did state that one talent believed the story of a mechanical glitch to be true.
Military police were also at the tarmac while the Superstars waited to board the plane. Mechanical failures don't take 24 hours to fix, which is a point raised by many critics observing the ongoing situation.
An explanation behind the illogical delay was provided by a popular current Champion that has been described in detail later on in this article.