The major issue stemming from the whole WWE/Saudi saga revolved around money and the fact that the Saudi Arabian government had not paid WWE for their Super ShowDown event from this past June in Jeddah yet.
During the conference call with reporters on Thursday morning – held just an hour before Crown Jewel – WWE Co-President George Barrios noted that they had just received a $60 million payment “for an outstanding receivable” that was supposed to have been included in the Q3 report but since it came after the quarter ended, the large sum was not included in the report and that effected the year-over-year cash flow growth and positive free cash flow.
When the WWE crew landed in Riyadh earlier this week, the payment had still not been made and that was the disagreement that the two parties had which led to Vince McMahon deciding not to air Crown Jewel live in the country on free television. Crown Jewel was set to air live on the MBC Action television station but it ended up being on around an hour tape delay.
The decision by McMahon apparently angered the powers that be who retaliated by making their life more difficult by blocking their plane’s departure. At one point, WWE Superstar Rusev noted on Twitter that they need all the prayers they could get in hopes to get out of the country.
At no point the lives of the WWE Superstars were in danger and everyone got checked back in a luxury hotel where they had a free reign of ordering anything they wanted but were told to stay in the hotel and not venture out. No one was held “hostage” as in fact others were allowed to leave the country after arranging different flights, including Seth Rollins who flew to Dubai, some who took private jets, and other Superstars who took a different flight in hopes to make it to Smackdown in time when it was obvious the Atlas Air chartered plane was not getting off the ground.
When George Barrios was asked if the two events per year will continue during the conference call, Barrios said he couldn’t talk about right now, especially for 2020. “We said for the reasons I mentioned we want to talk about 2020 once we’ve lock down several elements that are still open. So I really can’t answer the question,” he said.
WWE still has not concluded the television deal in the Middle East which also effected their quarter and the outlook for the rest of 2019.