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WWE and the hypocrisy of the ‘Greatest Royal Rumble’



The Greatest Royal Rumble is definitely a historic event, as WWE has reiterated many times already. However, this opportunity also begs the question of hypocrisy in the part of the WWE.

Saudi Arabia is widely known as one of the most misogynistic and oppressive regimes around, from women being treated as second class citizens to public beheadings. Wait, women can legally drive from June this year, I guess that changes everything.

WWE on the other hand are in the middle of pushing the women’s revolution as well as other progressive policies like LGBT rights. How can WWE and the Saudi government, whose ideas are at polar opposites come together for this show? Well, WWE had to make compromises.

There will be NO women on the card this Friday, not even WWE’s biggest signing in recent memory – Ronda Rousey. With this we go from the women main-eventing a Royal Rumble to not even making it to the card of the ‘Greatest’ one ever. I agree that WWE can’t change Saudi Arabia’s social policy but they do know that this event is basically propaganda from the government.

Most countries in the Middle East have no problems with letting women compete in sport but in Saudi Arabia, sport is only allowed in private schools. A women’s sports federation has been set up with a female member of the Royal Family spearheading it and change is coming, but much too slow for activists of social change.

Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks competed in Abu Dhabi to much fanfare, with WWE even promoting the ‘This is hope’ chant from the show later in promo packages. Where is the hope for Saudi women?

We’re also heard a lot of complaints about the seating arrangement at the venue. The King Abdullah Sports City stadium seats 60,000 which should come down after accounting for the entrance ramp etc. Fans on the ground have complained about limited seating for the hardcore fans who will be on the periphery. Sales of tickets allotted to single males sold out in under an hour but they can only book the cheap seats.

The government wants the floor to be occupied by families with at least one woman, to give the image of the progress that women have made under the new regime – something regimes have to do when there isn’t enough actual progress.

The stadium is definitely going to be full this Friday but mainly because of guests of the Royal family and free tickets given out. The Saudi Sports Authority have taken the responsibility of a filling the stadium. However, since it’s an open air stadium with the hardcore fans relegated to the stands, don’t expect a blistering atmosphere like most big WWE shows.

Moving on, will Balor Club be for everyone in Saudi Arabia? Of course not, even though it was a message WWE pushed at their biggest show of the year, WrestleMania. Homosexuality is still forbidden in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

I love the WWE but with love, comes criticism. WWE have done so much good in the last few years, from Be A Star, social causes to pushing women to the main-event. This is definitely what’s best for business for WWE right now because the deal has to be lucrative – just take a look at the card – and WWE have to answer to their shareholders. But, will this really be worth turning their backs on the ideas they’ve pushed, even if it’s for one night? On the bright side, we get two shows with pyro this year.

Pro wrestling writer. Puroresu and Strong Style fan.

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