We’ve heard from the company and a former men’s champion on why WWE is sticking to their guns, and their contract, to bring Crown Jewel to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia next Friday (Nov. 2). Thanks to TMZ, we’re now hearing from Raw Women’s champ Ronda Rousey.
It’s interesting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that Ronda can’t appear at the event. She tries to address that, and the Evolution show she will headline this weekend that some have called a ‘make good’ or cover for the all-men’s Crown Jewel.
It’s also something we’re going to see Rousey called on to do more often. With Roman Reigns sidelined by his leukemia fight and John Cena more a Hollywood figure than a WWE these days, she’s primed to become not just the face of the women’s roster, but the entire company.
How did she do? You be the judge…
“I’m a 2-time Olympian, so I’m an idealist when it comes to sport. One of my favorite memories from the 2004 Olympics – I was in 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, and nowhere else in the world would some man from Iraq and a little girl from Venice Beach be respecting each other and sharing space. And, 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 be able to share our cultures, and to define 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 be able to understand each other more.
And it seems almost frivilous, you know, like a WWE event and 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 an ‘us’ all around. It’s not like they’re aliens and we’re aliens over there. I think that having these events and sharing our culture in Saudi Arabia is the first step for us to understand each other and find that common ground. Where else would you… 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 part of American culture that they are inviting in and embracing, and to have these kids from Saudi Arabia idolizing these people that are from America and all these different countries. Then you’ll see people from Saudi Arabia going into the WWE, and kids from American idolizing those people. And it’s just a great way for us to be able to share something and understand each other and I think that that should be the goal. I think an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind and we need to be able to send out…
I don’t know, I just believe that sports and sports entertainment is something that we all have in common – we love to compete, we love to have fun, we love to laugh, we love to watch shows and I wouldn’t want to pull our culture away from theirs at a time when it’s very difficult for people to understand each other. I think if anything the more we can share the better. I think if we have WWE become big in Saudi Arabia, and WWE is the company that is having all-women’s pay-per-views – I mean, if you have the WWE Network, you’ll be able to see Evolution and you can see Crown Jewel, you know. So if you’re going to buy the all-men’s pay-per-view, you’re going to have access to the all-women’s pay-per-view and so it’s just exposing people to all the different things that our culture has to offer. And I think those are just baby steps of how you get people to start demanding those kinds of things. They’ll be like the women can’t compete in Saudi Arabia right now, but if the Crown Jewel is a huge success and WWE really takes off in Saudi Arabia then they are going to be demanding to see the women too.”