STAMFORD, CT (CelebrityAccess) — Wrestling promotion WWE still appears to be intent on holding its WWE Crown Jewel event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia this Friday, but it will be doing so without some of the talent that had originally been billed for the event.
While rumors have been swirling around the Crown Jewel event for weeks, wrestlers John Cena and Daniel Bryan were both officially dropped from the bill for the event.
The WWE has been facing increasing criticism over their plans to proceed with the high profile wrestling event, despite the apparent brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month.
Turkish authorities now allege that Khashoggi was strangled and dismembered by Saudi agents shortly after entering the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul last month.
Pro Wrestling Sheet’s Ryan Satin wrote that the two performers felt compelled to remove themselves from the event’s lineup in light of the evolving political situation following Kashogi’s death.
In a statement to Satin, the WWE said: “As always, we maintain an open line of communication with our performers and will address each situation accordingly.”
John Cena, who has been focusing on his acting career of late, was written off from the Crown Jewel in a brief aside, with the WWE’s Baron Corbin simply removing him from the show and replacing him with Bobby Lashley.
Bryan had his high-profile match with A.J. Styles shifted to a different WWE event.
The WWE also announced that they were reviving wrestling legend Hulk Hogan to host the Crown Jewel event. This will be Hogan’s first WWE event in three years. Hogan will be joined by Canadian sports broadcaster Renee Young.
“We’re moving forward at a rapid pace,” Hogan told the Orlando Sentinel, “It’s exciting to have this opportunity again after all these years where I was there and gone.”