WWE Held Its First Event in Saudi Arabia Years Before the 2018 Deal

Published 10/30/2023, 8:30 AM EDT

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The annual Saudi Arabia spectacle Crown Jewel is just days away, and the hype is real. Fans are eagerly waiting to see if Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins can retain their titles and if John Cena can break his losing streak. There is a lot on the card for Crown Jewel, but is this annual program by the WWE the first in Saudi Arabia?

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Did you know that the first time WWE promoted an event in the region was almost a decade ago?

The WWE started promoting shows in Saudi Arabia since 2014

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Despite the first Crown Jewel being held in 2018 in Saudi Arabia, this was not the first event by the WWE. You might think we’re talking about The Greatest Royal Rumble on April 27, 2018, at King Abdullah International Stadium in Jeddah. No, it was much earlier by around 4 years.

In December 2013, the WWE announced it would be hosting live events in Saudi Arabia. This decision proved unpopular as it was not going to be a PLE, just house matches. In April 2014, the first house show by the WWE was held in Riyadh. This consisted of three separate shows at the Green Halls Stadium.

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Following the success of this, the WWE held three more house shows in Jeddah at the King Abdullah Sports City Sports Hall in October 2015. In November 2016, the WWE returned to the Green Halls Stadium for two non-televised events. This featured multiple SmackDown superstars.

Ahead of announcing the Crown Jewel PLE, the WWE launched WWE Wal3ooha. This was a program that did Arabic-language recap shows of their program. This airs only in Saudi Arabia to promote the show. Despite everything the WWE has done to make Crown Jewel a success, critics and extras still had negative things to say about it.

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Critics were not a fan of the WWE partnering with Saudi Arabia

Despite everything, the WWE pushed forward with Crown Jewel and reports suggest the reception it garnered was better than the WWE expected. With over $500 million in revenue since 2018, this is one of the WWE’s most successful partnerships. This resulted in a massive backlash from fans, which the WWE never listened to.

However, critics have most been kind towards this move. Dave Meltzer from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter awarded this partnership their annual “Most Disgusting Promotional Tactic” award for 2018 and 2019.The WWE became the first winner of “Worst Major Wrestling Show” for three consecutive years,

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What do you think about the first WWE promotion in Saudi Arabia? Tell us in the comments down below.

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Written by:

Christopher Paul

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Christopher Paul is a WWE writer who has a strong passion for the sport. Paul is currently pursuing a B.A.
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Edited by:

Amal Joyce

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