There is no question that many fans are not in favor of WWE making the decision to promote its second major event from Saudi Arabia of the year. In April, WWE presented the first-ever Greatest Royal Rumble event, which featured a 50-man battle royal, Undertaker coming back to compete in a non-WrestleMania match against Rusev, and John Cena rekindling his rivalry against Triple H.
While the experience was very positive for the WWE competitors who attended, there was much controversy surrounding the fact that, due to religious restrictions, no women from the roster were allowed to attend the event, and female fans who attended had to be with their families.
Despite this controversy, WWE is going back to Saudi Arabia, and this time is drawing controversy just like the first. However, from a business standpoint, WWE is experiencing great financial gain from a partnership with the Saudi General Sports Authority, and this was further explained to Sports Illustrated by Middle East specialist David Ottaway.
“This is part of a larger movement underway to allow all kind of foreign sponsored entertainment inside the Kingdom. Opening the country and society to various forms of foreign entertainment, including movie theaters, is essential to get the support of the young people.
“Wrestling has turned out to be quite popular in Saudi Arabia. I was there this past spring for its [Greatest Royal Rumble] show, and there was a huge turnout for it. Wresting is quite an attraction for a lot of Saudis, so it is a good internal market [for WWE]”
Ottaway added that, in addition to Saudi Arabia having a greater emphasis on the youth, the development of Saudi Arabia being willing to have movie theaters and concerts is astounding, especially since these concepts were completely off limits just a short time ago.
Crown Jewel will be headlined by a triple threat match for the WWE Universal Championship featuring Roman Reigns, Brock Lesnar, and Braun Strowman, as well as a rumored in-ring return of Shawn Michaels after an over eight-year retirement.