Why Logan Paul Is Wrestling Roman Reigns For WWE Title In Saudi Arabia

WWE reportedly receives around $50 million to run shows in Saudi Arabia


September 20

Many fans wondered why Logan Paul, who has only ever wrestled two matches, is already receiving a shot at WWE’s Undisputed Universal Championship, and the answer may lie in the interests of the crown prince of Saudi Arabia.

The social media influencer, who signed a multi-year deal with WWE, will be taking on Roman Reigns at “Crown Jewel” on Nov. 5. It’s part of the company’s tradition to run events in Saudi Arabia, with the exception of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s of strong financial interest for WWE to run these shows because the company receives around $50 million from the Saudi government each time they do so, according to Wrestlenomics. For perspective, the five Saudi events from 2018-2020 brought WWE $40 million more than ticket sales from the first WrestleMania (1985) to WrestleMania in 2019.

It’s why the company has chosen to ignore the country’s human rights record, including the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and its direct involvement in the war in Yemen.

WWE is not the only company taking money from the Saudi government. Most notably, LIV Golf and its players have taken flak for the source of their funding.

However, with WWE, Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) is reportedly having an effect on how the company presents its product. Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter noted how the Paul match at “Crown Jewel” had an effect on the results of “Clash at the Castle.”

“It’s a completely different situation when it comes to matchmaking in Saudi Arabia,” Meltzer said on Wrestling Observer Radio on Monday. “It’s all about something that will get publicity for an event in Saudi Arabia. It’s not about selling tickets. It does explain why Roman Reigns had to beat Drew McIntyre, because they had this match (Paul versus Reigns) going on, and that is why they had to have Drew lose.”

When co-host Bryan Alvarez asked why McIntyre didn’t beat Reigns for the world title, Meltzer added: “It probably matters to the Saudis that it’s a world championship match, and they don’t want to have a non-title match in the main event of their show. They want celebrities, that is why they had Cain Velasquez and Tyson Fury. That is what the show is about. They are essentially booking for him (MBS).”

Meltzer also said MBS is a fan of Paul’s, which is why he has a high-profile match. This was not the first, nor will it be the last time, WWE have tried to cater to MBS, as the crown prince reportedly wanted The Ultimate Warrior and Yokozuna for the “Greatest Royal Rumble” in 2018. Both are dead, so WWE hired sumo wrestler Hiroki Sumi to fill in for the role of Yokozuna.

Fans have rejected Paul, especially during the SmackDown segment where he called out Reigns on Friday. But WWE are, seemingly, choosing to ignore that since all that matters is if the Saudi audience, specifically MBS, enjoys the match.

Despite the retirement of Vince McMahon, WWE showed it’s still business as usual, despite crumbs of change, like with WarGames at “Survivor Series” or other minuscule things Paul Lesvesque (aka Triple H) has done as chief creative officer.

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