Smackdown in Saudi Arabia: WWE returns to Riyadh

Smackdown in Saudi Arabia: WWE returns to Riyadh, featuring women wrestlers
2 min read
The WWE's Crown Jewel tournament will take place in Saudi Arabia in October, and will feature women wrestlers.
WWE has been promoting events in Saudi Arabia since 2014 [Getty]

One of the world's biggest wrestling tournaments will return to Saudi Arabia this October, its organisers announced on Sunday.

The Crown Jewel tournament will take place in October, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), said in a promotional video.

No set date or venues for the tournament were given, but previous WWE events in Saudi Arabia have taken place in Jeddah and Riyadh.

WWE has been promoting events in Saudi Arabia since 2014. The first Crown Jewel tournament in Saudi Arabia was held in 2018.

Although Saudi fans on social media expressed excitement for the upcoming event, fans from elsewhere criticised the WWE for holding the tournament due to reports by human rights groups of abuses in the kingdom.

WWE has touted itself as making history in Saudi Arabia before, with its first-ever women's match held in 2019, as part of that year's Crown Jewel tournament. Saudi authorities had banned female wrestlers from appearing at the events until that year.

High-profile wrestlers including John Cena, have boycotted WWE events in Saudi Arabia before, protesting the country's human rights record. Former WWE wrestlers have accused the company of intimidating wrestlers boycotting events in the country.

There have not been any WWE events in Saudi Arabia since February 202o due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sunday's promotional video featured women fighters.