The rumors are true: Cena has officially pulled out of WWE’s maligned show emanating from Saudi Arabia.
WWE’s upcoming Crown Jewel pay-per-view event has been mired in controversy since the murder of US resident Jamal Khashoggi, leading to multiple questions, including whether or not the show would go on as planned at all. WWE tucked away in a recent press release that the show will go on as planned, but would it feature all the advertised talent?
John Cena has been heavily rumored to be refusing to go to the show, likely because of bad optics possibly affecting his budding Hollywood career. Daniel Bryan has been rumored to be refusing to attend the show as well, but as of this writing, is still advertised to take on WWE Champion AJ Styles at the event.
— WWE (@WWE) October 30, 2018
Tonight on Raw, Cena was officially replaced in the World Cup tournament by Bobby Lashley. The in-storyline reason for Cena’s replacement is that he was the one man who didn’t actually have to qualify for the tournament, which upset nefarious acting General Manager Baron Corbin (why it just started to bother him today, when Cena’s been in the tourney for weeks now, is unknown).
WWE has received loads of media pressure for going through with the show in spite of the heinous act carried out by the Saudi government, but has nevertheless not backed down, calling it a “business decision.” Since the crime was committed, WWE has not once uttered the phrase “Saudi Arabia” as a form of damage control, but it doesn’t appear to be working, as even mere mentions of the show receives choruses of boos from the audience.