The raging diplomatic crisis between the two countries is fertile ground for mutual mudslinging, but it's highly unlikely Ankara would make such accusations without the ability to substantiate it. The death of Khashoggi - a vocal critic of crown prince Mohammad bin Salman - comes at a time when the Saudi ruler is in the midst of cracking down on political dissent, shrouded behind a veil of cultural nourishment. Nourishment provided by such shows as WWE's Crown Jewel.
Even if, as Saudi officials insist, the allegations are without foundation, the residual innuendo is toxic enough that surely it must have forced WWE to reconsider. Not so: they demonstrated typical indelicacy, announcing Crown Jewel's marquee championship match on the day the story emerged, whilst inviting the world to "celebrate this signature event."
Though long-time wrestling fans have a tendency to paint everything a particularly indignant shade of black even at the best of times, it's literally impossible to locate any potential upside to the Riyadh show. From a purely creative perspective, it seems entirely without merit. Though a once-over dream match pitting Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles has potential, cynics know full well its time will be judiciously slashed to make way for the retirement home rumble inevitably set to headline. It's a great pity: noted homophobe Styles would be a perfect ambassador to promote a repressive regime.
Triple H's clash opposite The Undertaker at Super Show-Down resembled a superannuated Last of the Summer Wine re-run - throwing a hobbling Kane and Shawn Michaels, a man who retired shortly after George W. Bush left office, into the mix, won't help matters. In some regards, it's an ideally depressing way to close a distinctly depressing show. Talk of Hulk Hogan making his disappointingly inevitable comeback in Riyadh would complete the troublesome trifecta of sexism, homophobia, and racism.
CONT'D (3 of 4)