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What really happened after “WWE Crown Jewel” and why were many talents and employees stuck in Saudi Arabia?

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NXT WWE wants to prevent Kairi Sane from signing another promotion

– In November 2019, an incident in Saudi Arabia made a lot of headlines, until today the background is still largely unclear. We remember: After the “WWE Crown Jewel” PPV in Riyadh, a large proportion of the WWE superstars were stuck in Saudi Arabia after an airplane had not started for home as planned. Even then, reports were circulating, according to which a dispute between WWE and the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman had preceded the outstanding payments and the aircraft was therefore prevented from leaving the country. It was also said that a “Top 20” around Vince McMahon had been taken out of the country on an extra machine, while the rest of the talents and employees were stuck in the dark for over 24 hours. In the weeks after the incident, WWE denied the reports and it was said that there were only technical problems that prevented the machine from departing. Now the incident becomes an issue again, because a WWE wrestler released in April 2020 described the events from his perspective in a lawsuit filed against the WWE by the pension fund for fire fighters in Kansas City (further information can be found HERE) . All that is known about the former WWE superstar is that he worked at WWE from 2012 to 2020 and was in Saudi Arabia in November 2019, in the application he is referred to as CW-2.

CW-2 stated that at the time of departure, some people were suddenly in a hurry to leave the country. These included Vince McMahon, Hulk Hogan and Ric Flair, who hurriedly made their way to a second plane, while the majority of the talents and employees waited for the original plane to depart. A stewardess revealed to CW-2 shortly thereafter that “someone” was preventing the plane from leaving the country. The pilot also looked desperate when he informed the passengers about the delays. Officially, there were technical problems, but armed security officers blocked the exit at that time. CW-2 then contacted Senior Director of Talent Relations Mark Carrano to find out what the problem was. Carrano then said that Vince McMahon had argued with Mohammad Bin Salman about outstanding payments. Due to the disputes, Vince McMahon is even said to have postponed the live broadcast of Saudi state television for some time the day before, so the screens remained black over the first 30 minutes of the PPV, which is said to have angered the Saudi crown prince.

CW-2 was ultimately put on another plane to Buffalo with 10-12 wrestlers, as well as cameramen and producers, hoping they could arrive in time for “smackdown”. Here, at the latest, CW-2 wondered why you hadn’t just put everyone else on a plane to take them home. Following the trip, CW-2 informed WWE officials that he would never travel to Saudi Arabia again. This is said to have been requested by some of his former colleagues, but according to CW-2, WWE played out its own position of power and allegedly threatened that careers would then be at stake.

Below are the corresponding extracts from the application.

A Former WWE Wrestler Confirms He and Other Wrestlers Were Detained in Saudi Arabia Following the October 31, 2019 Crown Jewel Event as Part of a Dispute Between the Crown Prince and Defendant McMahon

  1. A former wrestler for the WWE, who performed for the Company as a wrestler from 2012 to April 2020 and who participated in the October 31, 2019 Crown Jewel event in Saudi Arabia, confirms the substance (of media reports about the flight issues) . CW-2 (the witness) explained that following the Crown Jewel October 31, 2019 event, he along with other WWE personnel were scheduled to leave the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (where the event was held) and head to a private airport to take a charter plane to Buffalo, New York for the SmackDown event which was scheduled for the next night. CW-2 stated that while his group was waiting to depart, Defendant McMahon, other WWE executives, and big-name talent such as Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan boarded different flights than the rest of the group and took off, appearing to be “in a hurry. “
  2. CW-2 recalled that he was initially told the charter flight he was scheduled to leave on was delayed because the plane needed to be pulled around, and once they boarded, they were removed from the airplane after 20-30 minutes. CW-2 explained that he spoke with a stewardess on the flight about the delay, who told him that “it seems someone doesn’t want us to leave the country.” CW-2 further explained that the pilot sounded “distressed” when he informed the passengers that the flight was unable to take off. CW-2 recalled that then they were told that it was because of mechanical issues, but he recalled seeing a “ton” of guards wearing black “militia” attire and wearing guns that were blocking their exit and “staring at the wrestlers.”
  3. CW-2 became aware that something was wrong and explained that a number of the other personnel were referring to the event as a “hostage” situation. “CW-2 explained that he asked the Senior Director of Talent Relations, Mark Carrano, about what was going on and that Carrano told him that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and McMahon had gotten into an argument over late payments in connection with the June 7, 2019 Super ShowDown event. Carrano also informed CW-2 that McMahon had cut the live feed for the Crown Jewel event and that this had made the Crown Prince “very mad.”
  4. CW-2 advised the he and other WWE personnel looked into the prospect of booking flights on their own at a different airport for early the next morning. After a few hours, CW-2 explained, he and about 10-12 other wrestlers, cameramen, and agents were put on another flight to Buffalo. CW-2 further noted that at this point he wondered why, if other planes were available, that they did not get everyone out of Saudi Arabia.
  5. CW-2 also heard that while on the plane, other wrestlers communicated back home that the military police were holding the wrestlers, and that McMahon didn’t air the first 30 minutes of the pay-per-view, and that as retaliation the Prince was holding them.
  6. CW-2 recalled a number of wives being very concerned on social media and then when wrestlers returned home there were a lot of messages expressing how grateful they were to be home. CW-2 stated that after he returned, the WWE put out a letter that attempted to remove all blame from the company and that, in his opinion, many wrestlers were scared of speaking out due to the limited job opportunities in the industry and the WWE’s comparatively high salaries. CW-2 explained that many spoke on the condition of anonymity to journalists and the WWE denounced these stories as “conspiracies” and “laughable.” Nevertheless, after the event, CW-2 said that he and a co-worker partner went straight to Talent Relations and said they would not go back to Saudi Arabia. CW-2 noted that other wrestlers tried to do the same, but the WWE “abused” their “power” and threatened the future trajectory of their careers if they did not go.
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WWE

Jeff Hardy has renewed his WWE contract!

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Jeff Hardy has renewed his WWE contract!

Jeff Hardy has renewed his WWE contract!

– There won’t be a reunion of the Hardys in the next few years, because Jeff Hardy has extended his WWE contract! What the reigning WWE Intercontinental Champion Jeff Hardy already hinted at in an interview with BT Sport recently has now been confirmed by Dave Meltzer. Jeff and his brother Matt had both signed 3-year contracts in 2017, but Jeff’s contract was unilaterally extended by WWE because the 43-year-old had been sidelined for a long time due to injuries and personal problems. While Matt left the market leader after the contract ended and signed with All Elite Wrestling, Jeff was bound even longer. But now he has signed a new contract that ties him to WWE for either 3 years or even 5 years.

– Meanwhile, WrestleVotes reports that another WWE Superstar recently decided not to renew his contract but to leave the company after his current contract ends. No information was given about who it was.

– For the past two weeks, Friday Night SmackDown has been broadcasting videos announcing the arrival of a blonde female wrestler. Meanwhile it is becoming apparent that this is Carmella, who will return to the shows with a new gimmick. The 32-year-old has not been part of the WWE shows since May, although it is unknown why she was absent. She played her last match on May 10 at the “Money in the Bank” PPV.

– Ivar is undergoing neck surgery this Monday in Birmingham, Alabama. It is still unclear which injury the Viking Raider sustained, but he is threatened with a break of at least a year. Todd Smith, his real name, had previously struggled with neck problems, which were exacerbated by the unsuccessful dive last week. The injury could also be very bad news for his tag team partner Erik. Injury to a tag team wrestler at WWE very often means that his partner also wastes the shows. Erik’s defeat to Lashley yesterday in just 2 minutes should not be a good sign for the 36-year-old.

– Dominik Mysterio made it to the top of WWE within a few weeks. As the PWInsider reports, the WWE officials already count the 23-year-old among the top 3 or top 4 baby faces in the RAW roster. Rey Mysterio’s son has more than just convinced the WWE officials since his first match at the “WWE SummerSlam” and there is currently no end in sight to his push.

Jeff Hardy has renewed his WWE contract!

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