The road to WWE’s Crown Jewel event, taking place on November 2nd in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, continues to be paved with serious bumps as fallout from the death of Washington Post journalist and United States resident Jamal Khashoggi has placed enormous pressure on WWE to re-evaluate its relationship with Saudi Arabia.
It became more evident on WWE Raw this week that the company plans to move forward with Crown Jewel, announcing that the main event of the show will now be Braun Strowman vs Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship after Roman Reigns vacated the title when he announced he is battling leukemia.
Other top matches scheduled for the show include Daniel Bryan vs AJ Styles for the WWE Title, and John Cena is scheduled to make his return to the ring in the World Cup tournament.
However, according to Robbie Fox of Barstool Sports, along with Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio, the status of Bryan and Cena’s matches are now in serious jeopardy of not taking place as both Bryan and Cena are reportedly refusing to travel to Saudi Arabia for Crown Jewel.
“WWE Crown Jewel could be in trouble,” Tweeted Fox. “I was just told Reigns is currently injured and that Cena and Bryan are “refusing” to work the show. Many on the current WWE roster have expressed concerned with going, as well, but obviously not all of them have the power like Cena/Bryan.”
It’s worth noting that Fox’s Tweet was issued before Raw this week, and before Roman Reigns announced his leukemia battle.
Additionally, Dave Meltzer noted that WWE officials are currently scrambling to find a replacement for John Cena, as he is resolved not to travel to Saudi Arabia despite WWE attempting to convince Cena to make the trip.
“[WWE] creative was told John Cena was not going to be on [Crown Jewel] and that he needed to be replaced in the [World Cup] tournament”, explained Meltzer. “Obviously, if you watched [Raw], during the Kurt Angle segment, there was John Cena, being advertised. So, did something change? Or did they just go with that idea that ‘well, if we do it somewhere else, then we can have him go,'” Meltzer added.
We will continue to monitor this situation as more information becomes available, but as of now it appears as if Vince McMahon has no plans in place to scrap the trip to Saudi Arabia, with Dave Meltzer adding it would likely take a direct order from President Donald Trump or high-ranking government officials to derail WWE’s plans to proceed with Crown Jewel.