As a fan of anything you pay much attention to, you accept a certain amount of, let's call it, imperfection. That's too polite, of course, for professional wrestling, given the amount of sexism, homophobia and racial caricature in wrestling's past. But you wait and sometimes you agitate to make things better. The arc of progress usually moves upwards, after all.
It has improved in WWE, the world's largest professional wrestling company. This strange and athletic telenovela that I have enjoyed since I was a child has reached almost all the time.
Women who fight in WWE no longer compete in pudding matches, for example. Now they fight in the Hell in a Cell, Royal Rumbles matches and in contests without tricks that are sometimes good enough to steal the show. Hell, Ronda Rousey is fighting for WWE now.
Stereotypes, used for a long time to prime the most basic instincts of fans, are less abundant. The blackness of some fighting characters and the homosexuality of others no longer occurs so that the crowds fear or hate. These things are presented as, you would not know, something that fans want to encourage.
There's a lot of good in the fight these days. There are many improvements and many wonderful wrestlers, games and shows that make WWE something that I enjoyed paying money to cheer. Every summer, I happily take the guys that my wife used to mentor the great WWE shows in Brooklyn. Every summer I also pay nonsense money to watch the big Summerslam events and sit as close to the floor as I can for the Smackdown episodes. I do not buy any of the replica t-shirts or belts, but I started paying $ 10 a month for the WWE broadcast network from the time it was launched in early 2014. I do not regret it. I regularly watched the WWE minor league division on NXT, enjoyed their female and UK tournaments and had just entered the 205 cruiserweight show live.
This morning, I canceled my subscription to the WWE network.
WWE plans to run a program called Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia next month, and I'm not comfortable paying them money if they continue, given the latest accusations against the Saudi government that funds the program.
I have nothing against the basic concept of WWE shows in Saudi Arabia. If you want to promote there and spend your own money on programs that are true to your product, that's great. But that is not what has been happening this year. In April, two weeks after the most important WWE event of the year, Wrestlemania, the WWE organized a show in Saudi Arabia called The Greatest Royal Rumble. It was not representative of what WWE is today, with a notable section of his list forced to stay at home. While Wrestlemania featured several women's matches, including Charlotte Flair against Asuka and Rousey's wrestling debut, The Greatest Royal Rumble had none.
In contrast, with the women who were forbidden to act, the April show had time to broadcast the men's matches and some propaganda about how big Saudi Arabia is under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. That is the same supposedly reformist leader whose government is accused of cracking down on activists and dissidents, as detailed in a recent report in The intercept. That is the same leader whose agents are now accused of murdering Jamal Khashoggi, a US resident. UU Y Washington Post Journalist who was critical of the government.
The WWE shows in Saudi Arabia 2018 are part of a lucrative 10-year agreement that the company has signed with the Middle East kingdom. The Saudis have paid large sums of money, possibly up to $ 50 million per program, according to a medium that analyzed WWE's public finances. Whatever the dollar amount, the crown prince is paying for programs that go beyond the scale of what WWE usually does. That's why you have scheduled games and appearances for these programs that have not happened in the United States. When is Brock Lesnar fighting again? Not in any US show since August. He has returned for Saudi Arabia. When will the legendary Shawn Michaels retire from retirement, which has been limited since 2010? Not in recent years to fight against the best fighters in the WWE, as A.J. Styles or his own protégé Daniel Bryan; instead, he is scheduled to return to Crown Jewel in a glorified party of veterans with faded stars like Triple H, The Undertaker and Kane. No women's matches are announced for the card. That is a pity, because then it would show that some advantages came out of this, in addition to the corporate profits, to compensate the state propaganda.
It could be said that it is irrational to draw moral lines about how to spend your dollars in a capitalist society. The phone I use, the food I eat and the games I love, and I earn my living, everything is produced in a way that could disconcert me if I knew more about the process. But there are limits. Maybe it should have been something else? Maybe there are enough terrible things that my own country does so that any stance against an agreement between Saudi Arabia and the WWE is too hypocritical. But when I see reports of a Saudi squad attacking a journalist in a trap at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, it kills him and shatters his body, my zeal to watch the WWE programming full of exaggerations for the event of the Jewel of the Crown disappears.
There is some room for skepticism, given that the Saudis have denied the claims and have only confirmed the claims of Turkish officials, but have not yet been confirmed by the US. UU There is supposedly audio and video evidence, but Washington Post he reports that it is not clear if he has been examined by the United States. However, the possible killing is just the last straw. The Saudi-WWE agreement has stank for a while. It was always shrill and repulsive. If Turkish accusations are true, it is beyond what I can personally tolerate.
In recent days, the media and business organizations have suspended or severed ties with the Saudi government. US senators on both sides are now urging WWE to reconsider their agreement and perhaps "stop" the program's plans, according to a report published today in the Independent Journal Review. Notably, the wife of WWE CEO Linda McMahon is a member of President Trump's cabinet.
WWE has simply said that they are "monitoring" the situation. That is not enough for me. If the facts of what has been rumored are true, they will have to catch up. If they do not, count on me. I would love to renew my subscription to WWE some day. For now, it's canceled.