Unsavoury though the whole charade was, had WWE responded to the opprobrium by washing their hands of the grubby oil money and backing out of the deal - savvily donating a proportion of the slush fund to the women's rights lobby - they may have been forgiven. That didn't happen. Instead, Vince and co. have bouled right on ahead into a fresh farce scheduled for Riyadh on 2 November.
The aptly euphemistic Crown Jewel retains everything wrong with The Greatest Royal Rumble, aggravated ten-fold by a complete disregard for hindsight. Less than a week after WWE air Evolution, their first-ever all-female pay-per-view, not a single woman on the roster will be welcome to perform in the Saudi capital. It almost seems like the whole purpose of the former is less about advocating women's wrestling, and more about silencing dissenting voices over the latter. Recent Network commercials advertise the two in sequence. The company are either oblivious - or worse, indifferent - to its complete tonal dissonance. It appears that by their logic, an all-women's show cancels out an all-male show, as ever, failing to grasp the point of the problem.
By this stage, most people realise WWE's 'Women's Evolution' was designed to be televised, a totally transparent attempt to cash-in on the feminist dollar. This fact doesn't excuse the hypocrisy of the company effectively endorsing high-grade misogyny as they wash away years of low-grade sexism, but it's such a well-turned merry-go-round that it now only inspires resigned sighs.
Suppose we were able to enter a chrysalis of wilful ignorance and pretend the lack of women on the show had absolutely nothing to do with state-sponsored prejudice. It wouldn't matter. Fresh developments ensure that with each passing day, WWE's culturally contradictory decision to get into bed with their Saudi partners looks worse and worse.
Whilst visiting the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on 2 October, Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi went missing, with Turkish officials later claiming that he had been murdered within the premises. Riyadh jumped to vehemently deny what it described as "baseless" accusations, whilst Turkey's ruling AK Party maintained they held concrete evidence of the crime.
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