This Friday on WWE Network, the “Greatest Royal Rumble” event is taking place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. It is going to be broadcast live on WWE Network with a start time of 7pm locally and 12pm ET/9am PT for those of us in North America. The card is stacked with seven championship matches, a 50-man Royal Rumble match, Triple H vs. John Cena and The Undertaker vs. Rusev in a Casket Match. For more info, visit WWE.com.
What’s missing from #WWEGRR is there are no women’s matches, which is surprising considering how hard WWE has pushed their “women’s evolution” (or revolution) in the last couple of years.
The reason for no women’s matches is because of laws that exist in Saudi Arabia preventing that from happening. While WWE is a powerful entity, they can’t find a way to get around that. There hasn’t been much said from WWE’s side about it in promoting the show, but Triple H did comment on it in an interview released today.
Triple H talked to The Independent, a UK publication, about WWE not being able to send their women’s wrestlers to the show. Here’s what he said:
“I understand that people are questioning it, but you have to understand that every culture is different and just because you don’t agree with a certain aspect of it, it doesn’t mean it’s not a relevant culture. You can’t dictate to a country or a religion about how they handle things but, having said that, WWE is at the forefront of a women’s evolution in the world and what you can’t do is affect change anywhere by staying away from it. While, right now, women are not competing in the event, we have had discussions about that and we believe and hope that, in the next few years they will be. That is a significant cultural shift in Saudi Arabia. The country is in the middle of a shift in how it is dealing with that – the position is changing, and rights are changing, as are the way women are handled and treated in society. We think that’s a great thing and we’re excited to be at the forefront of that change.”
Triple H also spoke about a WWE event in Abu Dhabi last year.
“You talk about the cultural shift in the world, and just a few months ago we were in Abu Dhabi and had the first ever match with women competing, with a crowd of women, men and little boys in the audience with tears in their eyes. The audience were chanting ‘This is Hope’ – that is cultural change.”
TJR Thoughts: I think Triple H handled that about as well as he could. Some people are going to complain about this and hate that the women aren’t wrestling, but WWE is doing what they can to make a difference in entertainment in Saudi Arabia. Let’s not forget that WWE is also a business that’s trying to make money. This Greatest Royal Rumble event will be a huge money maker for WWE. Here’s hoping that Saudi Arabia and other nations in that part of the world continue to embrace positive change in their society.
I’ll have a Greatest Royal Rumble preview here on TJRWrestling most likely on Wednesday at some point and then I’ll be home to write about the event live on Friday.