WWE in Saudi Arabia
Promotion(s)WWE
Brand(s)Raw
SmackDown
205 Live
First eventApril 2014 tour

WWE, an American professional wrestling promotion based in Stamford, Connecticut, United States, has been promoting events in Saudi Arabia since 2014. In contrast to regular WWE events, female wrestlers were banned from appearing in events held in Saudi Arabia until 2019.[1]

Many events in the country promoted by WWE have been subjected to criticism due to curtailing LGBT equality, a state guilty of severe human rights abuses, leading a war of attrition in Yemen, and suppressing women's rights.[2][3] These were condemned by activist groups such as Code Pink and several politicians.[4][5][6][7] The Wrestling Observer Newsletter gave the relationship between WWE and Saudi Arabia their annual Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic award in both 2018 and 2019, the first time in history it has been given twice to the same maneuver; the recipient of their Worst Major Wrestling Show award has also been a WWE Saudi Arabian event every year since 2018 (2018's Crown Jewel, 2019's Super Showdown, and 2020's Super ShowDown, respectively).[8][9] AEW wrestler Max Caster has described the Saudi events as a "Blood money show".[10]

History

In December 2013, it was announced that WWE would begin holding shows in Saudi Arabia.[11] In April 2014, WWE held their first house shows in Riyadh.[12] These shows were three separate shows at the Green Halls Stadium.[13] In October 2015, WWE did three house shows from Jeddah, at the King Abdullah Sports City Sports Hall.[14][15] In November 2016, the WWE again returned to Green Halls Stadium in Riyadh, for two additional live events.[16] The 2016 events were exclusive to the SmackDown brand.[17]

In 2017, WWE Wal3ooha began broadcasting throughout the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, on OSN Sports.[18][19] The show ended when OSN discontinued the channel it broadcast on in March 2019, along with the majority of its sports programming.[20]

On March 5, 2018, WWE and the Saudi General Sports Authority advertised the Greatest Royal Rumble, a live event to be held on April 27, 2018, at King Abdullah International Stadium, part of the King Abdullah Sports City, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.[21][22] The event was the first in a 10-year strategic multi-platform partnership between WWE and the Saudi General Sports Authority in support of Saudi Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia's social and economic reform program.[23][24]

Controversies

Women's rights

See also: Women in WWE

WWE had been criticized for holding the events without female wrestlers, who were unable to perform at the event due to the limited rights women have in Saudi Arabia.[25] Triple H, WWE's Executive Vice President of Talent, Live Events and Creative, responded to the criticism: "I understand that people are questioning it, but you have to understand that every culture is different and just because you don’t agree with a certain aspect of it, it doesn’t mean it’s not a relevant culture...You can’t dictate to a country or a religion about how they handle things but, having said that, WWE is at the forefront of a women’s evolution in the world and what you can’t do is effect change anywhere by staying away from it....While women are not competing in the event, we have had discussions about that and hope that, in the next few years they will be".[25]

Consistent with the change in law for sporting events in 2017,[26] women are in attendance for the events, though only if accompanied by a male guardian.[25] This was a major change from previous events, which were only open to men. Associated Press noted that this is due to "a series of social changes" by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.[27]

During the Greatest Royal Rumble, WWE aired a promotional video, which included female wrestlers in their ring gear. The Saudi General Sports Authority issued an apology for "indecent material" that aired at the event.[28]

During the second show, Crown Jewel (2018), Renee Young provided commentary at the show. She did the same at 2019's Super ShowDown.[29]

Just hours before Super ShowDown on June 7, 2019, reports emerged that WWE were attempting to add a women's match to the card, which would have seen Alexa Bliss face Natalya. The two women joined WWE personnel for the trip, but the match was ultimately rejected by the Saudi Arabian government.[30][31]

On October 30, 2019, WWE announced that a match between Natalya and Lacey Evans had been approved for the 2019 Crown Jewel event, making it the first-ever women's match in Saudi Arabia. At the event, both women wore full body suits and T-shirts instead of normal ring attire, due to the country's conservative dress policy.[32] WWE largely celebrated the match as groundbreaking, which they later nominated for a WWE Year-End Award for Moment of the Year, with WWE CBO Stephanie McMahon stating in an interview: "You can either sit on the sidelines and there are plenty of companies and brands that decide to do that or you can be a part of hopefully enacting change. You can be a part of progress. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. It takes time. It takes perseverance. Now here we are with the first ever women's match in Saudi Arabia. It's pretty mind blowing."[33][34]

However, reactions from other media outlets were mixed. While some were positive, such as Heavy.com, who stated that the match was "put in place to break barriers and further WWE's 'Women’s Evolution' for the proud ladies in attendance and watching all over the world. And for that, I have to give it the utmost props", or Canoe.com who stated that "The historic match was about and meant so much more [than its result]."[35][36] Newsweek called the match part of "Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's [intent on] luring major sports event [...] to position the ultra-conservative Islamic country as more liberal and diversify its economy away from depending on the oil industry as part of its Saudi Vision 2030 plan", with Saudi Arabian Amnesty International researcher Dana Ahmed calling the match "a prime example how the Saudi Arabian authorities are using elite sports to try to 'sportswash' their dire human rights record and image internationally".[37] CBS Sports criticized Michael Cole's commentary, pointing out that he was "trying to put over the progressiveness of Saudi Arabia" during the match.[38]

On WWE's next PPV in Saudi Arabia, Super ShowDown, Bayley defended her SmackDown Women's Championship against Naomi, making it the first time a women's championship was defended in Saudi Arabia.

Killing of Jamal Khashoggi

Main article: Assassination of Jamal Khashoggi

One month prior to the 2018 edition of Crown Jewel, Saudi Arabia received substantial negative press due to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi at the hands of Saudi agents. This led to the WWE facing calls to cancel the event, with prominent U.S. Democratic and Republican politicians criticizing the company's endeavors in Saudi Arabia.[39] Questions were raised whether because of the position of Former Administrator of the Small Business Administration Linda McMahon, who is the wife of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and a former WWE executive herself, WWE's endeavors in Saudi Arabia could still be viewed as a strictly private business enterprise. Due to this, Democratic Senator Bob Menendez urged the US government to pressure WWE into canceling the event, while Republican Lindsey Graham, among others, called for WWE to reconsider their business deal with the Saudi kingdom.[40] WWE continued to promote the show, but erased all references to Saudi Arabia as the event's location.[41]

On October 19, the day tickets were to go on sale, the Saudi government confirmed the death of Khashoggi within the consulate and WWE.com removed ticket information from the event page.[42] On October 25, WWE confirmed the event would go on as planned, citing contractual obligations to the General Sports Authority.[43] Speaking with Sky Sports on pushing forward with the event despite the murder, Stephanie McMahon spoke of "an incredibly tough decision, given that heinous act", but said that in the end it was strictly a business decision.[44]

Wrestlers refusing to work

Sami Zayn did not participate in the Greatest Royal Rumble as Zayn is of Syrian descent, and Saudi Arabia has strained relations with Syria.[45] Noam Dar, an Israeli wrestler, of 205 Live has never participated in any of the Saudi events due to the Arab League boycott of Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict.[46]

During Crown Jewel (2018), Daniel Bryan was scheduled to face AJ Styles for the WWE Championship, but he refused to work the show due to the Khashoggi murder.[47][48] As a result, his title match was bumped up to the October 30 episode of SmackDown, and he was replaced by Samoa Joe. John Cena, who was scheduled to participate in the WWE World Cup at the event had called it "an honor and a privilege" to compete in Saudi Arabia during the Greatest Royal Rumble, was replaced by Bobby Lashley, as he reportedly refused to work the show in wake of the Khashoggi murder.[49][50][51] In February 2019, Fightful reported that prior to his leukemia diagnosis, Roman Reigns had informed Vince McMahon that he also would not be taking part in the Crown Jewel PPV due to the controversy surrounding the event.[52]

In 2019 for Super ShowDown, Kevin Owens and Aleister Black told WWE that they would not travel to Saudi Arabia, in addition to Zayn and Bryan once again not competing on the show.[53][54] Kevin Owens' refusal to work the show allegedly comes from his friendship with Sami Zayn.[55] As a result of his absence, he was replaced in the WWE Championship match by Dolph Ziggler.

Travel issues

On October 31, 2019, after the Crown Jewel event, more than 175 wrestlers, production staff, and other employees boarded the 747 charter flight at the King Fahd International Airport, but remained stuck inside the plane for more than six hours. This led to 20 wrestlers arranging their own separate charter in order to make it back to the US.[56] On November 1, 2019, both WWE and Atlas Air falsely issued statements that the WWE staff and wrestlers were stuck in Saudi Arabia due to mechanical failures in the charter plane. These claims were easily disproved by the fact all flight records are publicly available, the plane the WWE wrestlers were on took off after they had disembarked[citation needed].

In January 2020, it was reported that more WWE wrestlers declined to visit Saudi Arabia for future events in the country. While in 2018, players refused to visit the Kingdom for its human rights records, in 2020 it was the growing tension in the gulf because of the US-Iran conflict.[57] The issue became a moot point (at least temporarily) due to the COVID-19 pandemic that saw all WWE shows moved to Florida without a live crowd as a result of social distancing practices as well as multiple travel bans outside the U.S. to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Lawsuit

On March 6, 2020, a retirement fund for firefighters filed a lawsuit against WWE in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, stemming from concerns related to the fund's holding of WWE stock. According to Forbes, it is "an attempt at class action alleging that WWE defrauded investors via its handling of their deals with the Saudi royal family, who also control OSN, the network that airs WWE programming in Saudi Arabia." The lawsuit claims that the Saudi Arabian government failed to pay WWE millions of dollars owed from their deal with the company, that WWE's failed to disclose said payment issues and that OSN unlawfully terminated a broadcast deal with WWE.[58]

In April 2020, several shareholders and investment firm filed a class action lawsuit against WWE for their alleged ties with Saudi Arabia. As per the portion of the filing, wrestlers were rumored held hostage after the 2019 Crown Jewel event. A statement from the filing read: "[The] Saudi Government was effectively holding a number of WWE wrestlers 'hostage.'"[59] WWE's lawyer, Jerry McDevitt, denied the claim as a rumor, which was initially spread by former WWE Spanish commentator, Hugo Savinovich.[60] Savinovich became critical of WWE after being fired in 2011.

Live events

House shows

SmackDown-branded event
No. Date City Venue
1 April 17–19, 2014[17] Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Green Halls Stadium
2 October 8–10, 2015[61] Jeddah, Saudi Arabia King Abdullah Sports City Sports Hall
3 November 3–4, 2016[17] Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Green Halls Stadium

Pay-per-view events

No. Event Date City Venue Main event Ref.
1 Greatest Royal Rumble April 27, 2018 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia King Abdullah International Stadium 50-man Royal Rumble match for the Greatest Royal Rumble Trophy and Championship [62][63]
2 Crown Jewel (2018) November 2, 2018 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia King Saud University Stadium D-Generation X (Shawn Michaels and Triple H) vs. The Brothers of Destruction (Kane and The Undertaker) [64]
3 Super ShowDown (2019) June 7, 2019 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia King Abdullah International Stadium The Undertaker vs. Goldberg [65]
4 Crown Jewel (2019) October 31, 2019 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia King Fahd International Stadium Seth Rollins (c) vs. "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt in a Falls Count Anywhere match for the WWE Universal Championship which could not be stopped for any reason [66]
5 Super ShowDown (2020) February 27, 2020 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Mohammed Abdu Arena on the Boulevard "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Goldberg for the WWE Universal Championship [67][68]
6 Crown Jewel (2021) October 21, 2021 Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Mohammed Abdu Arena on the Boulevard Roman Reigns (c) vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship [69][70]

See also

References

  1. ^ "WWE Divas ruled out of Saudi Arabia tour due to nation's laws". GiveMeSport. October 7, 2015. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  2. ^ Barrasso, Justin (September 26, 2018). "An expert's take on WWE's Saudi Arabia partnership". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on September 26, 2018. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  3. ^ Andersson, Jasmine (April 26, 2018). "WWE is hosting Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia and LGBT+ fans are not happy about it". PinkNews. Archived from the original on February 11, 2021. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  4. ^ "WWE: End Your Partnership With Saudi Arabia!". Code Pink. Archived from the original on April 19, 2019. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  5. ^ Bixenspan, David (November 1, 2018). "Why Is WWE Creating Propaganda for Saudi Arabia?". The Nation. Archived from the original on November 1, 2018. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  6. ^ Martínez, Sebastián (February 27, 2020). "Super ShowDown: los fans amenazan con darse de baja de WWE Network - Reacción de Bill Goldberg". Solowrestling.com (in Spanish). Archived from the original on February 28, 2020. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
  7. ^ Meltzer, Dave (March 5, 2020). "March 13, 2020 Observer Newsletter: 40th Annual Awards Issue". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved March 8, 2020.
  8. ^ Harrington, Chris. "Wrestling Observer Awards (WON) 1980 - 2018 (and runner-ups)". indeedwrestling.com. Retrieved March 28, 2019.
  9. ^ Meltzer, Dave. "March 1, 2021, Wrestling Observer Newsletter 2020 awards issue, Elimination Chamber". Figure4Weekly. Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  10. ^ https://www.mediareferee.com/2021/10/22/wwe-news-max-caster-wwe-for-blood-money-crown-jewel-show/
  11. ^ "WWE Live Comes To Saudi Arabia". WWE. Saudi Arabia. December 15, 2013. Archived from the original on August 29, 2017. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  12. ^ "WWE wrestlers in Saudi Arabia for live matches". Al Arabiya. April 17, 2014. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  13. ^ "Photos: WWE's past visits to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia". WWE. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  14. ^ "WWE LIVE returns to Saudi Arabia". WWE. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  15. ^ "John Cena and WWE stars return to Saudi Arabia". english.alarabiya.net. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  16. ^ "WWE Live action returns to Riyadh this November". WWE. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  17. ^ a b c "Green Halls Stadium, Riyadh, Riyadh Province, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - The Internet Wrestling Database". www.profightdb.com. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  18. ^ "WWE® and OSN announce exclusively new weekly Arabic show WWE Wal3ooha". WWE.com. April 29, 2017. Archived from the original on May 13, 2017. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  19. ^ Newbould, Chris (May 2, 2017). "WWE Wal300ha: the long wait is over for wrestling fans in the Middle East". The National. Retrieved January 15, 2021.
  20. ^ Shakeel, Shayan (February 13, 2019). "OSN to drop all sports channels except for cricket". Arabian Business.
  21. ^ Adam Silverstein (March 5, 2018). "WWE news, rumors: 'Greatest Royal Rumble,' NXT injury, Jericho-NJPW done?". CBS Sports. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  22. ^ Jefferson Lake (March 5, 2018). "WWE: Saudi Arabia to host 50-man Royal Rumble". Sky Sports. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  23. ^ "Saudi Arabia to host the Greatest Royal Rumble". WWE. March 5, 2018. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  24. ^ "National Transformation Program 2020" (PDF).
  25. ^ a b c Paddock, Matty (April 24, 2018). "WWE Greatest Royal Rumble: Triple H defends hosting event in Saudi Arabia without any women wrestlers". The Independent. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  26. ^ Schmidt, Samantha. "Saudi Arabia will allow women to attend sporting events in stadiums". Washington Post.
  27. ^ "Women, children attend wrestling event in Saudi Arabia". APNews.com. Retrieved April 28, 2018.
  28. ^ "APOLOGY ISSUED FOR 'INDECENT' MATERIAL AIRED DURING GREATEST ROYAL RUMBLE - PWInsider.com". www.pwinsider.com.
  29. ^ "Renee Young to be part of WWE Crown Jewel announce team". October 30, 2018. Retrieved November 1, 2018.
  30. ^ Meltzer, Dave (June 7, 2019). "Alexa Bliss-Natalya WWE match not approved by Saudi Arabian government". F4WOnline. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  31. ^ Satin, Ryan (June 7, 2019). "Alexa Bliss And Natalya Reportedly Not Approved To Wrestle At WWE Super ShowDown". Pro Wrestling Sheet. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
  32. ^ "Women's wrestling match is first in Saudi Arabia". October 31, 2019 – via www.bbc.com.
  33. ^ Perez, Chris (December 28, 2019). "WWE Reveals 2019 Year End Award Winners". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
  34. ^ "Exclusive: Stephanie McMahon on WWE's First-Ever Women's Match in Saudi Arabia". October 30, 2019. Retrieved March 9, 2020 – via www.bbc.com.
  35. ^ Jones, Elton (October 31, 2019). "WWE Crown Jewel 2019: Reactions & Review". Heavy.com. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  36. ^ Powell, John (October 31, 2019). "The Fiend, WWE women make history at Crown Jewel". Canoe.com. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  37. ^ Powell, John (October 31, 2019). "WWE, SAUDI ARABIA 'SPORTSWASHING' COUNTRY'S 'DIRE HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD' WITH FIRST-EVER WOMEN'S MATCH". Newsweek. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  38. ^ Silverstein, Adam; Crosby, Jack (October 31, 2019). "2019 WWE Crown Jewel results, recap, grades: Major world title change among surprising outcomes". CBS Sports. Retrieved November 1, 2019.
  39. ^ Reed, Adam (October 12, 2018). "Multimillion-dollar WWE pay-per-view deal in jeopardy due to Saudi Arabia tensions". CNBC. Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  40. ^ "Multiple Senators question WWE's Saudi Arabia dealings". Retrieved October 12, 2018.
  41. ^ Bixenspan, David (October 17, 2018). "WWE Is Not Handling The Backlash To Its Saudi Deal Very Well". Deadspin. Retrieved October 18, 2018.
  42. ^ Martinez, Philipp (October 20, 2018). "WWE CROWN JEWEL: TICKET SALES POSTPONED, MENTIONS OF SAUDI ARABIA REMOVED FROM SITE". Newsweek. Retrieved October 22, 2018.
  43. ^ McKenna, James (October 25, 2018). "WWE Announces Crown Jewel Will Continue As Planned". Pro Wrestling Sheet. Retrieved October 25, 2018.
  44. ^ "Stephanie McMahon defends WWE Saudi Arabia event Crown Jewel". Sky Sports. Retrieved November 2, 2018.
  45. ^ "VINCE THANKS SAUDI ARABIA, BACKSTAGE NOTES AND MORE FROM GREATEST ROYAL RUMBLE". PWInsider. April 28, 2018. Retrieved April 29, 2018.
  46. ^ Cailler, Adam (October 5, 2019). "No One Wants WWE To Return To Saudi Arabia".
  47. ^ Gartland, Dan (October 30, 2018). "Daniel Bryan out of to Saudi show, replaced by Samoa Joe". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on October 30, 2018. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  48. ^ Johnson, Mike (October 30, 2018). "Spoiler: Daniel Bryan's status for Crown Jewel and more". PWInsider. Archived from the original on December 3, 2018. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  49. ^ Bonesteel, Matt (October 30, 2018). "John Cena won't appear at WWE Crown Jewel show in Saudi Arabia". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on October 30, 2018. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  50. ^ Fiorvanti, Tim (October 30, 2018). "John Cena won't take part in WWE's Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia". ESPN. Archived from the original on October 30, 2018. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  51. ^ Rose, Byran (October 29, 2018). "John Cena off WWE Crown Jewel, replaced by Lashley". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Archived from the original on October 30, 2020. Retrieved April 16, 2021.
  52. ^ Ross Sapp, Sean. "Exclusive: Roman Reigns Told WWE He Didn't Want To Go To Saudi Arabia Before Leukemia Diagnosis". Fightful. Retrieved March 21, 2021.
  53. ^ "Exclusive: Kevin Owens Told WWE He Didn't Want To Go Back To Saudi Arabia | Fightful Wrestling". www.fightful.com. Retrieved May 22, 2019.
  54. ^ Pollock, John (May 22, 2019). "Several WWE performers are not expected to go to Saudi Arabia". POST Wrestling | WWE NXT NJPW UFC Podcasts, News & Reviews. Retrieved May 23, 2019.
  55. ^ Martinez, Phillip (May 22, 2019). "Kevin Owens told WWE he won't be a part of Super Showdown, according to a new report". Newsweek. Retrieved June 8, 2019.
  56. ^ "Talent stuck in Saudi Arabia led to NXT invasion on Smackdown". That Eric Alper. Retrieved November 7, 2019.
  57. ^ "Two Years of WWE in Saudi Arabia and Growing Resistance of Superstars". Mirror Herald. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  58. ^ Bixenspan, David (March 7, 2020). "Another Retirement Fund Sues WWE, This Time Alleging Cover-Up Of Saudi Issues". Forbes. Retrieved March 9, 2020.
  59. ^ "WWE Accused Of 'Fraudulent Scheme' In Class Action Lawsuits Questioning Ties To Saudi Arabia". Forbes. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  60. ^ Beltran, William (July 2, 2020). "EXCLUSIVE: WWE denies Hugo Savinovich again: The company's lawyer speaks". Súper Luchas. Archived from the original on July 29, 2020. Retrieved August 3, 2021.
  61. ^ "King Abdullah Sports City Sports Hall, Jeddah, Makkah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - The Internet Wrestling Database". www.profightdb.com. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  62. ^ "Saudi Arabia to Host the Greatest Royal Rumble®". WWE. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Stamford, Connecticut. Business Wire. March 5, 2018. Archived from the original on March 8, 2018. Retrieved April 14, 2021. The Saudi General Sports Authority in partnership with WWE will present the Greatest Royal Rumble event at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Friday, April 27. For the first time ever, the Royal Rumble match will feature 50 WWE Superstars.
  63. ^ India Today Web Desk (March 6, 2018). "WWE: Saudi Arabia to host The Greatest Royal Rumble, 25 superstars to participate". WWE. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Archived from the original on March 7, 2018. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  64. ^ Lake, Jefferson (October 9, 2018). "WWE Raw: D-Generation X reunite to battle The Undertaker and Kane". Sky Sports. Retrieved April 15, 2021. Michaels has not competed since losing a career-versus-streak match to The Undertaker at WrestleMania 26 but makes his return to face the Dead Man in a tag match at the Crown Jewel pay-per-view in Saudi Arabia next month.
  65. ^ Staff, WWE.com (May 13, 2019). "Undertaker, Goldberg to clash for first time ever at WWE Super ShowDown". WWE. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Archived from the original on May 14, 2019. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  66. ^ Burdick, Michael (October 15, 2019). "Universal Champion Seth Rollins vs. "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt (Falls Count Anywhere Match)". WWE. Archived from the original on October 15, 2019. Retrieved April 14, 2021.
  67. ^ Barrasso, Justin (February 27, 2020). "53-Year-Old Goldberg Out to Prove He Still Has It in Match vs. Bray Wyatt". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on February 29, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2021. On Thursday at Mohammed Abdu Arena on the Boulevard in Riyadh—more than 6,500 miles away from WWE’s Connecticut headquarters—Goldberg will wrestle “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt for the Universal Championship.
  68. ^ Staff, WWE.com (February 7, 2020). "Might meets fright when Goldberg challenges "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt". WWE. Archived from the original on February 8, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2021. Who's next for Goldberg? Universal Champion 'The Fiend' Bray Wyatt. Might meets fright for the Universal Championship at WWE Super ShowDown.
  69. ^ Nason, Josh (July 26, 2021). "WWE returning to Saudi Arabia on October 21". Wrestling Observer Figure Four Online. Archived from the original on July 27, 2021. Retrieved September 3, 2021.
  70. ^ Johnson, Mike (August 16, 2021). "WWE Returning to Saudi Arabia". PWInsider. Retrieved September 3, 2021.