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.
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.
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