As Saudis were waiting for John Cena to play in Saudi Arabia in the WWE World Cup tournament at Friday's Crown Jewel event, they were surprised with news of his withdrawal and that he was to be replaced by Bobby Lashley.
One of the very famous wrestlers with a huge fan-base in the Middle East, Cena at first did not reveal the reasons behind his decision. A few days later, media reports confirmed it is related with the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
According to the WWE website, Cena told media reporters his decision came in the wake of the recent diplomatic crisis in Saudi Arabia as a result of mysterious murder of Khashoggi in consulate in Istanbul. Cena did not provide any further details whether he is planning to return back to Saudi Arabia later or not.
The Crown Jewel event comes as part of a 10-year partnership signed between the WWE and Saudi Arabia in February 2018, as part of Saudi Arabia’s vision 2030.
Some reports mentioned Cena’s fear his participation in a tournament being held currently in Saudi Arabia amid all the diplomatic turmoil in the country might affect his professional career.
Saudis meanwhile expressed their disappointment with Cena’s decision. Some had also bashed him in defence of their own country.
Translation: “John Cena was my favorite wrestler and thank God the chance came to see who truly he is! We will never forget your stupid decision and Saudi Arabia does not need people like you to enter its holy land.”
On the other hand, others supported Cena for holding his ground that will save him attacks and criticism, if he actually went to Saudi Arabia amid the current events.
Translation: “Because John Cena knows well how Saudi Arabia is a country that does not really care about sports and all they care about is money without using their mind.”
Others had another opinion.
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