WWE, Saudi Arabia, and the Dystopian Dance with ‘Blood Money’

Professional wrestling, most notably WWE, boasts a colossal fan base drawn to its high-octane performances and outsized personas. However, an unsettling underbelly to this spectacle is gradually coming to light: systemic racism, sexism, and abuse, tacitly condoned, and even swept under the proverbial mat. Even more disconcerting is WWE’s financial dealings with Saudi Arabia, which have drawn wide-scale criticism. With mounting evidence, the WWE’s priorities seem alarmingly skewed towards profits over principles.

The first point of contention lies with racism in WWE’s annals. Despite having charismatic talents like Booker T and Kofi Kingston, the company has often struggled to present non-stereotyped ethnic characters. Remember Cryme Tyme, a tag team that perpetuated harmful African American stereotypes? It’s instances like these that mar WWE’s track record. Moreover, WWE’s Saudi partnerships deepen this racial problem. The nation is not free from racial controversy, making WWE’s association problematic. Their high-profile events are steeped in controversy and, as expressed by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, it’s a disheartening display of WWE choosing ‘blood money’ over basic human rights.

Sexism is another systemic issue within WWE. For years, female performers were marginalised, used as eye candy more often than credible competitors. While the ‘Women’s Evolution’ of recent years has made strides, the specter of sexism persists. This issue is amplified when one considers WWE’s dealings with Saudi Arabia. Women’s rights in Saudi Arabia remain a contentious issue. WWE’s early Saudi events completely excluded female performers, with only recent shows featuring women’s matches. As highlighted by Kimberley Pullman in Pro Wrestling Illustrated, it’s a sobering indication of WWE’s willingness to compromise its values for financial gain.

The company’s culture of abuse has also been widely reported. Documentaries like Dark Side of the Ring have shed light on the physical and psychological abuse wrestlers face, including allegations of harassment, hazing, and exploitation. However, WWE’s responses have often been dismissive, further enabling this abusive culture.

The alliance with Saudi Arabia encapsulates WWE’s readiness to overlook glaring internal issues and blatant human rights concerns for significant financial returns. The ‘Greatest Royal Rumble’ and ‘Crown Jewel’ events, conducted amidst international outcry over political assassinations and human rights abuses, serve as stark reminders of WWE’s willingness to dance with ‘blood money.’

WWE’s lack of regard for these systemic issues undermines its credibility and threatens the future of professional wrestling. Its relationship with Saudi Arabia demonstrates how WWE’s actions contradict its supposed commitment to diversity, respect, and fairness.

The need for change is undeniable. WWE must confront these issues head-on, promoting diversity and equality, rooting out abuse, and fostering a culture of respect and inclusivity. Furthermore, WWE needs to reconsider questionable alliances, ensuring its partnerships align with the values it publicly espouses.

WWE, it’s time to step beyond the ring and champion the values you claim to hold. For the love of wrestling, for the welfare of performers, and for the future of the industry, it’s high time to translate principles into action. The world is watching, and the bell for change has rung.

Robbie Vice