SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
On last night’s episode of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight,” John Oliver talked about WWE’s Crown Jewel again, spending considerably more time on WWE’s decision to run an event in Saudi Arabia than two weeks ago when it first incorporated it into a feature. This focus on WWE lasted five minutes. It covered these points:
- Oliver said: “This story is horrendous, and businesses with ties to Saudi Arabia have now come in for greater scrutiny, including the WWE who you may remember signed a ten year deal to stage events there and who in April staged The Greatest Royal Rumble in Jeddah which was wall-t0-wall propaganda for the Saudi government. There was actually a clip for that event we did not have time to show you last time.”
- Then they aired a clip of Titus O’Neal slipping and falling as he ran to the ring. Oliver said, “I don’t think there is any better incapsulation of WWE’s relationship with Saudi Arabia than a wrestler meeting Saudi Arabian princes before falling flat on his face.”
- Oliver said WWE is facing “understandable pressure” to cancel Friday’s event “Crown Jewel.” He noted there are unconfirmed reports John Cena wants to pull out of the event. “Truth is, wrestling fans have long been uncomfortable with this Saudi deal.” He then aired a clip from Smackdown 1000 of fans chanting “Un-der-taker” and then booing him as soon as he mentioned Crown Jewel. Oliver said: “Holy sh–! I think the WWE itself just turned heel. Do you know how clearly deeply bad something has to be to get wrestling fans to boo a wrestling event at a wrestling event? That is the type of crowd reaction you’d expect to hear if the WWE Championship was suddenly won by Beck.”
- Oliver said despite the criticism, WWE is going full steam ahead with Crown Jewel in partnership with a country that, remember, just murdered and dismembered a journalist for the Washington Post.”
- Oliver then criticized WWE for their “tone deaf” Instagram post of an urn with “DX” spray painted on it with the caption: “Respect is out the window at WWE Crown Jewel.”
- Oliver said: “Look, it is not going to be easy for the WWE to thread the needs on this. They are pushing ahead on this event despite the serious concerns of some of their own wrestlers and own fanbase, but since they have picked a lane here, they might as well say ‘f— it’ and go ahead with the marketing like this.” Then they aired a spoof ad with a hyped up voice (right out of a monster truck event advertisement) that hyped Brock Lesnar, A.J. Styles, and Undertaker, but “no female wrestlers because they aren’t allowed to perform there and maybe John Cena, if he’s willing to take a major p.r. hit. Try to forget everything you see on the news that might make this hard to enjoy and instead watch the Brothers of Destruction leave their opponents dead and buried. Sorry poor choice of words. Someone is going to rest in pieces. Someone is going to be ambushed and mutiliated with a bone saw. You know what, never mind. At Crown Jewel, respect is out the window. And if you care about human rights, WWE has two words for you: Suck it!”
CHECK OUT THE WADE KELLER PRO WRESTLING PODCAST interview I conducted with author of “TrumpMania” documenting the long history of business ties between Vince McMahon and Donald Trump and how their personalities and path to fame and riches are similar and different.