HEYDORN’S TAKE: It’s time for tough love – don’t watch WWE Crown Jewel

BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR


Within the last 48 hours, the news out of Saudi Arabia has been news of murder, death, deception, fear, and confusion. In that same 48-hour period, the WWE has promoted, sold, and utilized valuable broadcast time on U.S. television to develop storylines for matches that are set to take place in that same blood-soaked country.

Yep, while the United States, Turkey, and intelligence agencies from various countries around the world are feverishly working to determine the whereabouts and well-being of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, WWE is working just as feverishly to deliver a show that’s worthy of the millions of red-stained dollars they received to put it on.

With the horrific news of this week and the countless other moral issues that come into play concerning the WWE and Saudi relationship, it’s time to decide what kind of fans we want to be. Passive and complacent? Or powerful, social-minded, and compassionate? It’s up to us. The show is called Crown Jewel and it will air live on the WWE Network on Saturday Nov. 3. Make the right decision.

Don’t watch.

Why? Because as a fan base, we aren’t stupid and we aren’t puppets. Our reactions in the audience on a week-to-week basis drive company choices that yield big returns and big dollars for investors. Aside from a small group of miscast misfits on the show, we as fans determine who and what goes where. If we buy Seth Rollins t-shirts, more Seth Rollins t-shirts will be made. In this unique business, yes, we’re the customer, but we’re also involved in shaping the product.

If we acquiesce and watch this show, we’re complacent in allowing WWE to curate a product purchased by a violently old-fashioned country for politically motivated reasons in an attempt to alter their deserved perception in the world. When we don’t watch, we tell WWE that we see them and aren’t naïve as to what the purpose of this show really is. By not watching, we own the narrative and show that we recognize the important social and political nuances that WWE shamefully overlooked in an effort to make money. When we don’t watch, we wield our power and hold them accountable.

We’ve done it before. It wasn’t long ago that women on the WWE roster were getting two to three minutes to shine on a weekly basis during Monday Night Raw and Smackdown. Not much longer before that, the state of women’s wrestling in the WWE was rooted in bras, panties, underwear matches, and HLA. We’ve come a long way, folks. Just this week, Becky Lynch and Charlotte wrestled nearly 30 minutes for the Smackdown Women’s Championship on Smackdown Live. That shift in how women in WWE are treated rests on our shoulders as fans. We made it happen.

By watching Crown Jewel, we tell WWE that we really don’t care about women’s wrestling when it’s obvious that we do. We tell them that it’s okay to take money from a country that buries the notion of women’s rights and prevents female performers from working while WWE stands up at corporate conferences around the world touting their efforts in leading a women’s revolution within sports and entertainment. When we don’t watch, we tell them something else and hold them accountable as the hypocrites they really are.

And it’s not just WWE that’s selling out for big dough. Our favorite stars are dismantling their legacies for a red paycheck as well. Did Shawn Michaels really want to come out of retirement? Or was the offer just too big to ignore? First of all, Shawn Michaels being the American Christian that he is should know better than to get his hands filthy with Saudi Arabia’s blood currency. The man has turned down matches with the likes of Daniel Bryan and A.J. Styles, but the reuniting of DX makes him get out of bed to fly halfway around the world? The only thing that adds up about that are the zeros in his bank account.

Michaels was the one star that seemingly retired the right way. He said he was going to leave, and he left. Period. His biggest fans want to see him keep that promise more than they want to see him in this match. If we watch Crown Jewel, we tell WWE and stars like Michaels that we’re okay with them sacrificing our memories for their own ugly paydays. When we don’t watch, we snip the puppet strings with which the Saudi’s control the WWE – and we take that revenue stream off the table.

The argument in favor of this show happening is that WWE is making hundreds of millions of dollars and that they have a fiduciary responsibility to their stockholders. Okay, that’s WWE’s rationale. Our motivation is different; it is to the product and the art that we love. That’s it. If the WWE as a corporation won’t stand up, do what’s right, and end this Saudi relationship, we can and we should show that tough love. Nothing will change overnight, but as the months and years go on and WWE sees lower and lower numbers of viewers for these shows on their Network, they’ll pay attention. They always have. Our eyes are the key.

Don’t watch.


NOW CHECK OUT HEYDORN’S PREVIOUS TAKE: All In and Starrcast weekend unite fans and the money necessary to realize a vision for pro wrestling’s alternative revolution

12 Comments on HEYDORN’S TAKE: It’s time for tough love – don’t watch WWE Crown Jewel

  1. Well written, well researched, well done. Glad that someone understands that this is not just about a wrestling show. I have been critical of WWE’s unholy alliance with Saudi Arabia for a long time, and I have taken some criticism for it. But, public sentiment appears to finally be turning. Thanks for taking this stance, Mr. Heydorn!

  2. It’s far past time to hold Vince McMahon and WWE accountable for what they do.

    Going to KSA in order to run propaganda for the KSA is not acceptable. Not just to me but to others. But as Meltzer points out, it’s WWE (meaning many in the media don’t take the company seriously because it’s wrestling) so there has not been a public outcry (yet.)

    The KSA executes people just for not submitting to their religious laws. E.g., atheists are executed for criticizing Mohammed.

    And stories that have come out since WWE first went to KSA indicate that the struggle of women in KSA has not really progressed.

    All the videos that WWE will run about the KSA are nothing more than propaganda paid for with blood money.

  3. I agree with every point written here save for one: the bulk of WWE’s fanbase are puppets and sheep. For every reader this impassioned cry touches, there’s a family getting ready to watch the event on the Network. Most WWE fans don’t have the capacity for critical thought necessary to view the KSA as wrong. After all, they have oil and money. Surely, they can’t be that bad. And those same fans are not paying attention to missing journalists. They want to see Taker. They want to see HBK. I don’t have a Network sub so I had zero desire to see this. I hope these words reach who they need to, but I doubt it.

  4. I agree with what was written but as long as wwe gets paid big money, ratings won’t matter to them. It’s all about $$$ not what there customers feel

  5. Couldn’t agree more. I admit I’ve never been in a position where I had to turn down a paycheck with 7 or 8 figures in it but I would like to think I would do the right thing….who knows.
    I love the idea of an all women ppv but thinking that having one in some way makes up for the fact that they can’t even bring the female talent to KSA is just insane. And the fact that WWE is so self righteous and can’t seem to shut up about all their “charity” work while at the same time accepting blood money from KSA is just hypocrisy at it’s finest. As hard as it will be to pass on the DX reunion (yawn) I won’t be watching Crown Jewel.

  6. I don’t think we “snip the puppet strings” at all. So long as they put on the show, WWE gets its money, even if not a single WWE Network subscriber watches…a fact that WWE would be under no obligation to report.

  7. I agree with these sentiments as well. Just wanted to point out that the date of the event is actually Friday, Nov 2, in case there was any confusion.

    Excellent article.

  8. Regardless of the perspective on women and the Saudi politics, this show will be “passable” because the show is just a money grab like the past 2 shows (Greatest Rumble and super Show Down). Not interested in these shows at all and wasn’t when they announced it. The entire booking should be overhauled. Listen to the fans: Braun as face and Reigns as a heel, for example. I’ve been a fan for over 30 years, and it pains me to say WWE is barely watchable. I would rather watch NXT or Billy Corgan’’s NWA Ten Pounds of Gold series any day over the WWE.

  9. How about you cancel your wwe network subscription. Oh wow you decided to watch an episode of smackdown from 2002 instead of crown jewel…they still are getting 9.99. Even if every American cancelled their subscription in protest the Saudis still pay $40 million and wwe still makes money. As soon as they return to the states you will go out and buy a ticket to the next house show in your city and resubscribe to the wwe network. If you were really passionate you would boycott anything wwe again but you won’t. People being murdered because they are gay or speak out against the government on the other side of the world only disturbs you until you get that incontrolable urge to watch more wrasslin.

  10. I agree with everything in this article except one thing. “We aren’t stupid and we aren’t puppets.” The does things like this because that is what their audience is and they know that. They like to have their intelligence insulted because despite all the complaining about Roman Reigns among many things they keep coming back.

    I watched their product off and on for 28 years so I have seen a lot of stuff over the years. It has gotten less over the years because their product of the last 10 years makes WCW from 2000 more entertaining to watch.

    It got to the point where I would only watch Wrestlemania and the Hall of Fame but when I found out about this Saudi deal I didn’t bother to watch and cancelled my network subscription for good.

    I will probably never watch this company again because this goes beyond the cesspool that this company has been the last 10 years. They constantly want people to think that Vince making Trish bark like a dog didn’t happen, Trips fucking Katie Vick didn’t happen and Vince fighting his own daughter in an I quit match didn’t happen and people will believe it. Maybe they should also pretend that 15 of the 19 hijackers didn’t come from Saudi Arabia either because their sheep will probably believe that too.

    However the constant blabbing about a “women’s wrestling revolution” is beyond the realms of hypocrisy and bullshit. First off, Impact whether you like them or not has been doing women’s matches a lot longer and even had an all women’s PPV which Stamford wants you to believe that they came up with the idea.

    Second, doing business with a country who up until a few months ago would not let women drive, makes them cover head to toe, allows them to be beaten by their husbands and being stoned to death are more reasons why the McMahons especially Trips are disgusting human beings.

    Jean-Paul even had the audacity to say that, “Pretend the first trip didn’t happen and whatever they do in their culture is up to them.” By that logic, it must be ok for the KKK to burn crosses and lynching black folks because it is apart of their culture right?

    The difference between the company today and the past is they like to present themselves as family friendly and holy but they are merely just using that as a cover for deals like this.

    At least in the TV-14 era they presented a product what you see here is what you get without apologizing for it and beating around the bush.

    When they were doing bra and panty matches at least they were honest about it. Now it is like to pretend they didn’t happen. They might be fooling 99% of their audience but they are not fooling me.

    Jean Paul and Stephanie have 3 girls. I can’t wait to see when they get older how their mother and father will be able to justify doing business with a country where women practically don’t exist.

    Stand up for WWE? More like take a knee.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*