Yesterday afternoon the remaining WWE Superstars and crew that were delayed in Saudi Arabia landed successfully at JFK Airport in New York City.
WWE confirmed flight issues coming out of Saudi Arabia, which led to a number of blue brand Superstars missing Friday’s SmackDown. NXT stars were flown in from Florida, making it to Buffalo at 7:55 pm ET and required a police escort to get to the arena in time.
Former WWE Spanish commentator Hugo Savinovich, who currently works for AAA, posted a video on Facebook discussing the situation. Savinovich noted that he had connections with people in countries like Saudi Arabia. This is very much a rumor, but according to Savinovich, WWE was owed millions of dollars for two of the shows that the company held in Saudi Arabia, between $300 to $500 million, which is incredibly high as WWE is estimated to bring in $40 to $50 million per event in Saudi Arabia.
On the latest Wrestling Observer Radio Dave Meltzer added some more details to the situation that WWE talent and crew had to deal with. It was reported WWE wasn’t paid for the WWE Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia on June 7, as of September 30. It was noted in the WWE third quarter earnings call, WWE avoided answering questions regarding Saudi Arabia, although they did mention getting $60 million after September 30 (when the report closes) and before October 31, hours before Crown Jewel. Meltzer noted there was “clearly money owed” by the Saudis.
Because of this, Vince McMahon didn’t televise Crown Jewel live in Saudi Arabia, and it ended up being on a delay after the two sides made an agreement during the show. Talent was apparently aware that money was owed.
In regards to the plane having mechanical failures, a majority of the talent that reached out to Meltzer didn’t believe the story. Military police were there while they waited, not to mention it took 24 hours for them to finally go, and the second flight that was supposed to go was also delayed.
Some talent have reportedly said they will not go back to Saudi Arabia and “can’t wait to get out of the company.” A lot of people were upset that Vince left the country on his private jet and they were still stuck there. Superstars were said to have felt “deserted”—although it’s unknown if Vince left before or after problems began to arise with the flight leaving—and that they were “pawns” in this whole situation.
Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman left on their own private jet. Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, and Jimmy Hart left the country on their private jet. It was believed Tyson Fury also left on one of those private plans while Cain Velasquez was among the group that stayed longer.