As noted earlier, the wrestlers who performed in Saudi Arabia will not make it back to the United States in time for tonight’s Friday Night SmackDown.
According to WWE, more than 175 people (talent and crew) boarded a charter flight that was meant to fly into Buffalo, NY for tonight’s SmackDown. However, WWE says aircraft problems prevented the flight from leaving. WWE said that several wrestlers felt strongly enough that they chartered their own plane to get back to the United States but an unforeseen issue will not allow that plane to make it back in time.
Most of the female roster and a few of the male talent that did not fly to Saudi Arabia are in Buffalo for tonight’s show. The names listed on WWE’s website include Daniel Bryan, The Miz, Carmella, Nikki Cross, Dana Brooke and there are some “additional surprises” planned. The speculation is that some NXT talent will be called to appear tonight.
Dave Meltzer reported that there are other issues involved but Vince McMahon and his staff left Saudi Arabia before the issues surfaced and they were able to leave on a private jet. Other names that were able to leave early include Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. My guess is that Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and Jimmy Hart were also able to leave the country since they flew in on Lesnar’s jet.
Most of the talent is still in Saudi Arabia and the expectation is that they will finally able to fly out of the country sometime in about 12 hours.
Clearly, there are a lot of unhappy people right now in WWE and some will swear that they will never go to Saudi Arabia again.