On October 31st, 2019, WWE held its Crown Jewel show in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. At the event, a number of big matches took place but perhaps the biggest moment of the show came when The Fiend Bray Wyatt defeated Seth Rollins under red lighting to win the Universal Championship.
Unfortunately, the event was marred by major travel issues after the show when technical and refueling issues led to the WWE’s chartered plane being grounded and unable to take the majority of the working talent back to the United States in time for a SmackDown show the very next day.
With this in mind, SportsKeeda can report that a number of contingency plans have been put into place to ensure that NXT talent are not needed to fill out a SmackDown card should there be any flight delays this time around.
Additionally, there has been a major reduction in the total number of both RAW and SmackDown talent traveling to Saudi Arabia. Several big names are notable in their absence, including current feuding Braun Strowman, Shinsuke Nakamura, Elias, Cesaro and Sami Zayn as well as all but two of the current women’s division. A higher number than before have opted out of the show.
A backup charter flight has apparently been procured in case of an issue in addition to Brock Lesnar having his usual personal plane as an option. Finally, a segment from The Fiend has been pre-taped should Wyatt himself be unable to attend the show.
The travel issues late last year led to a number of intense rumors and the infamous clash between Seth Rollins and Dave Meltzer which inspired the “rah-rah speech” on the RAW that immediately followed Survivor Series.
However, the SmackDown episode that we received involved a big women’s tag match, Adam Cole vs Daniel Bryan and a wonderful amount of natural, unscripted promos. It’s a good thing that there are plans in place but another show like the last would also be a lot of fun.