There are now four male WWE superstars (along with the entire women’s division) that are not going to be wrestling at WWE Super Showdown on June 7th in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Yesterday, we reported on Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens refusing to go while Sami Zayn isn’t going because he’s Syrian. We can also add Aleister Black to the list.
The reason for Black not going to Jeddah is because of his tattoos. It was reported by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Black not appearing at Super Showdown was a WWE decision because some of the tattoos on his body are religious. The report from Meltzer notes that it wasn’t made clear if the Saudi General Sports Authority told WWE he wasn’t allowed or if WWE decided that he should stay home because his tattoos might offend the hosts.
In a 2017 interview with the Daily Star, Black talked about one of his many tattoos:
“I don’t really talk about the meaning of my tattoos, but I will give you that one. The being on my back is Lilith, in some folklore she is the first woman to ever rebel against paradise. The reason she is there for equality, equality for every man and woman – which is the most important thing there is.”
Equality for every man and woman is not something that exists in Saudi Arabia (a country that recently allowed women to drive, but has many restrictions against women), so it’s probably a good thing that Black is staying home.
Since the Superstar Shakeup took place last month, Black has been kept out of the ring on Smackdown. He has been doing one-minute promos in darkened rooms on Smackdown although he was not on Smackdown this week. Perhaps WWE will keep him off TV until after Super Showdown and then he can return to TV after that.
In April 2018, WWE issued this statement when they were asked about why Sami Zayn wasn’t allowed to compete at the Greatest Royal Rumble event: “WWE is committed to embracing individuals from all backgrounds while respecting local customs and cultural differences around the world.”
In other words, they aren’t going to mess around with other people’s cultures and beliefs when they are making $80 million per year to run two shows in Saudi Arabia. It’s a cash grab for WWE as we all know.
When WWE promotes the show, they say that it will be “as good or better than WrestleMania.” I’m not saying that WrestleMania was an all-time great show, but to promote this event that way is ridiculous. The reason WWE does it? Money, of course.
The foursome of Bryan, Owens, Zayn and Black are the only wrestlers not expected to go since WWE has likely finalized the card by this point. John Cena is not an active wrestler in WWE, but he refused to wrestle at Crown Jewel last year after he did beat Triple H at Greatest Royal Rumble last year.
WWE Super Showdown, featuring The Undertaker vs. Goldberg for the first time ever, will stream live on June 7 — only on WWE Network.
* In other WWE news, the company announced today that Monday’s Smackdown house show that was scheduled for Salina, Kansas on May 27 has been rescheduled. The new date will be Saturday, October 26th. Tickets purchased for May 27 will be honored for October 26 and if you can’t go, you can get a refund.
This is the third Monday live event featuring Smackdown where WWE has canceled a show due to the “Wild Card Rule” being in effect. They also didn’t run the scheduled live events on May 6 in Corbin, Kentucky and this past Monday, May 20 in Lowell, Massachusetts.
The reason for the cancellations is because WWE brings in at least four Smackdown wrestlers to Raw due to the Wild Card Rule, so apparently they feel like they need to cancel the live events. It sucks for the other Smackdown wrestlers that are wrestling on Saturday, Sunday, then off on Monday and remaining on the road for Tuesday when Smackdown is on TV. Not only do they lose out on money for working one less house show on the loop, but they also get a day off where they are on the road waiting for Smackdown to take place on Tuesday.
If you are planning on going to a WWE Smackdown live event on a Monday, I wouldn’t expect it to actually happen now since WWE is canceling them.