WWE News: Ariya Daivari receives death threats following Greatest Royal Rumble
What's the story?
WWE Superstar Ariya Daivari has taken to social media today to apologize for his role at the Greatest Royal Rumble event, saying he's received death threats due to the way his character was portrayed at the event in Saudi Arabia.
In case you didn’t know…
This past week, WWE held the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. While the show was star-studded with the first ever 50-man Royal Rumble taking place, John Cena facing off against Triple H, Brock Lesnar battling Roman Reigns in a Cage Match, and The Undertaker facing Rusev in a Casket Match.
One of the most controversial segments, though, was actually the showcase segment for the four Saudi Arabian tryout finalists. The Four local men were introduced in the ring before being interrupted by the typical foreign heel team of Ariya Daivari and Shawn Daivari - who came out waving the flag of their home nation Iran.
Now, to the politically oblivious, this may seem fairly innocuous - but to keep it short as to why the Iran flag would garner such an angry reaction from the Saudi Arabian portion of the WWE Universe, the simplest thing you can say is that the two countries have very different values when it comes to a lot of important issues.
Both countries have previously clashed over the interpretation of Islam, aspirations for leadership of the Islamic world, energy policy, oil export policy and relations with the United States of America. One other major point of contention is the Syrian Civil War - which saw Iran support the Syrian Government financially while Saudi Arabia supplied aid to rebel groups. Both countries' respective governments have also accused each other of terrorism.
While both Daivaris actually hail from Minnesota, both Ariya and Shawn have Persian heritage and portray Iranian characters - something WWE utilised in order to rile up the crowd and get some heat on the pair before the four local competitors disposed of them. For Ariya and Shawn, it was obviously a special moment to share a WWE ring together, but apparently, not everyone welcomed the sentiment.
You can watch the entire segment below.
The heart of the matter
After speaking proudly of sharing the ring with his brother on Friday, Ariya Daivari released a statement on social media today, clarifying his character as "fictional" and apologizing for any offense caused. The cruiserweight also tagged BBC Persian in the image.
The 205 Live Superstar went on to reveal that he'd received death threats following his appearance.
Ariya Daivari is currently an active member of the WWE 205 Live roster. While talents don't appear as regularly on the purple brand as Raw or SmackDown due to the length of the show, you can expect to see Daivari on Tuesday nights on WWE Network after SmackDown Live.
As for any other developments in this story, we'll keep you updated.
Well, obviously any wrestler or anyone for that matter, receiving death threats is not a good thing. The only silver lining here is that Ariya and Shawn Daivari were sent out there to make the crowd angry with the aim of achieving a big payoff when the local competitors laid waste to them - which they obviously did with aplomb.
The controversy lies within whether it's moral or ethical to potentially incite widespread hate, villainise characters based on their nationality, or play on some pretty serious political differences that circulate around such strong foundations purely for entertainment purposes.
While I'm an easygoing guy and don't get offended too easily, I can appreciate not everyone shares my sentiments and I can understand why this segment may have caused such an uproar. While that was definitely the intention of the segment, it's never good to hear about someone's life being threatened for doing their job.
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