WWE’s decision to keep next Friday’s Crown Jewel pay-per-view in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia despite all the controversy due to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is certainly not a topic that’s going away anytime soon.
While it remains to be seen whether or not top Superstars John Cena and Daniel Bryan will still be working the show after reportedly refusing to attend, other Superstars (at least publicly) have spoken out on heading to Saudi Arabia as a positive step. Echoing the recent sentiments of SmackDown Live’s Randy Orton (see his comments here), RAW Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey spoke to TMZ Sports and offered up her opinion on the situation:
“Well, I’m a two-time Olympian so I’m an idealist when it comes to sport and one of my favorite memories in the 2004 Olympics was…I was at the gym and I was on the treadmill and I was cutting weight and I was running…and right next to me was a boxer from Iraq and he was running next to me and it was the beginning of the Iraq War. Nowhere else in the world would some man from Iraq and little girl from Venice Beach be, you know, respecting each other and sharing space and um, I think that sports is where we really find that common ground with each other and I think that pulling out of the Crown Jewel would be the wrong move because I think that this is an opportunity to share our cultures and to find what we have in common…and in times, especially when…you know, times of adversity between two countries, that’s the absolute wrong time to be able to pull away.
I think that’s the time for us to be able to find what we have in common and for us to be able to understand each other more you know and it seems almost frivolous, you know? Like a WWE event and like, these huge world issues, but in a world where we’re always trying to look at it as “us and them” I think those big events like the Crown Jewel that bring everyone together just makes us realize it’s “us” all around, you know? It’s not like they’re aliens and we’re aliens over there and I think that having these events and sharing our culture in Saudi Arabia is the first step for us to really be able to understand each other and find that common ground.
Like where would – I mean this is a great opportunity to have a bunch of kids in Saudi Arabia loving a part of American culture. I mean, WWE is a part of American culture that they are inviting in and embracing and you have these kids from Saudi Arabia idolizing these people that are from America and all these different countries and then you’ll see people from Saudi Arabia going into the WWE and kids from America idolizing those people. It’s just I think a great way for us to be able to share something and understand each other and I think that…that should be the goal, you know? I think an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind and we need to be able to like, send out like…I dunno, I just believe that sports and sports entertainment is something that we all have in common.”
Quotes c/o TMZ Sports
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