By Jasmine Hayward:
On Friday April 27, WWE hosted the Greatest Royal Rumble event at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, but as the BBC reported the company’s female wrestlers were not allowed to attend.
This all started when Vince McMahon tried to put a list of female wrestlers on the roster. However, Saudi Arabia’s laws are very strict and they follow the rule of Sunni Islam, which is what stopped all the females from wrestling at all at this event.
This started a huge uproar and a lot of people had opinions on it like Triple H, social media, and from people who love wrestling.
After not allowing the females to attend the event, they decided to shout out the women wrestlers. Even that was too much for Saudi Arabia’s government they sent out an apology for presenting any of the female wrestlers during the advertisements and Sasha Banks being one of them .
A tweet was released from the Saudi Arabia WWE twitter account. It stated “The General Sport Authority would like to apologize to the viewers and attendees of the WWE event that took place in Jeddah, over the indecent scene involving women that appeared as an ad before a segment.”
Triple H spoke on the issue with The Independent and 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,”. He continued with saying “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 effect change anywhere by staying away from it.” And the same was said by Paul Levesque, WWE’s executive vice president of Talent.
This revolution that Triple H talks about all started in the 1980s with women like Fabulous Moolah, Velvet McIntyre, and Wendi Ritcher. From there the revolution continued in the 1990s the term “diva” was loosely given to any form of female wrestler, manager, or any female that was associated with the WWE. The term was officially given in 2016 at Wrestlemania 32. So after all these years of hard work to get women a name, they go through a set back with not being able to go to this event not because of talent or violations with their contract but because they are just simply women.
A lot of wrestling fans boycotted the event for that reason. And people felt it was wrong altogether to even set up an event in a country where the women wrestlers can’t even fight. After a question on whether or not WWE was contradicting for not bringing their female wrestlers was asked people on social media just started reacting.
Lowden Francis from Brockton, MA had strong opinions for this issue. He stated “it’s not fully wrestling with out the Divas, and the fact that WWE hosted an event in a country where our women aren’t allowed it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.”
Francis has been watching wrestling for 20 plus years and he said “this is the first time i actually considered to not watch the event and I never missed one “. He talked about his views on how they showed the women for two seconds in advertisements and how the government had to apologize. “I’m extremely grateful for living in a country like the United States…people don’t take it for granted at all until we see other places in the world that have it way worse than us”.
An Assumption College student, Edil Yassin, discussed the issue stating the choice the WWE made was “unethical”. Yassin is a proud follower of wrestling and also the spin-off show Total Divas. “I’ve grown a connection to these divas and know their life outside of the ring. Everyone of those divas has a bigger goal than to just fight in a ring and go on with their day. Each one of those divas are fighting for those little girls that are sitting on the couch on tv watching them. They fight for women’s rights especially rights to take women serious in all parts of life and treat them on an equal basis”.
Even on social media the outrage was addressed in multiple tweets from different users. Elizabeth Castro (@dxgurl69) tweeted,
“@WWE GIVE WOMEN A VOICE AND RESPECT FOR YOUR WOMEN WRESTLERS AND WOMEN IN SAUDI ARABIA” and fans continued to ask questions like why the WWE decided to go there in the first place where women are not allowed.
Another twitter use that goes by the name @justbleedMMA tweeted “women can’t even try on clothes, go swimming, or interact with most men in Saudi Arabia, why does the WWE continue to go there”
This has been the first time this event has been held and it’s supposed to be held annually for the next ten years.