Today, WWE hosted its third show in Saudi Arabi, Super ShowDown, as part of a 10-year partnership with the Saudi General Sports Authority to bring annual events to the country.
The company hoped to bring the first women’s match to the country, but it seems that won’t happen.
Earlier this week, we reported Renee Young, Natalya, and Alexa Bliss traveled to Jeddah. WWE never officially announced plans for a match, but it appears they aimed to confirim it before the show.
However, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer revealed the match won’t appear on the card.
“Those in Saudi Arabia noted to us that Natalya vs. Alexa Bliss, a match they hoped to be a late addition on today’s WWE Super ShowDown event, was not approved by the Saudi Arabian government. The two women flew to Saudi Arabia this week with the crew.
At one point, the government had indicated to WWE they could have their first women’s match on this show, but then wavered on it.”
Meltzer went on to suggest Bliss and Natalya could appear at the event to promote a potential match at the next show in November. It’s also likely the women won’t appear at all.
The 10-year deal with WWE is part of Saudi Vision 2030, an initiative that seeks to diversify the country’s economy, create social reform, and develop their public sector. Their partnership has been highly controversial, eliciting mainstream coverage and online protests.
Due to the current political and religious climate, female superstars are prohibited from performing in the country. If the company manages to introduce women’s wrestling to a Saudi Arabian crowd, it would be progressive. With that said, there are still several issues surrounding their involvement with the Saudi government.
This is still a very touchy subject and a messy situation for WWE. We here at Bell to Belles will keep you up to date on relevant and alternative women’s wrestling events.