Last night’s SmackDown that took place from the KeyBank Center in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia had some massive changes on the card. As reported on numerous outlets, WWE superstars could not return to the USA after performing at Crown Jewel on this past Thursday night.
As a result, the blue brand’s show from FOX emanated with NXT stars filling up the show, mostly. Details reports are now available on the actual horrible situation that WWE superstars faced in the middle-eastern country.
WWE acknowledged the fact that flight issues coming out of Saudi Arabia is the reason why the match card of SmackDown, changed. This is why several WWE NXT Superstars flew to Buffalo from Florida to perform on the show.
Bryan Alvarez noted on Wrestling Observer Live that a situation occurred where there were concerns that the show may not actually take place, at all. Several production members got stuck in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and WWE may not have enough personnel to run the show.
But the presence of NXT stars saved the day for WWE. Bryan Alvarez and Dave Meltzer noted on Wrestling Observer that the talents were stuck in the Kingdom and had a schedule of flying back to the United States at around 3 am local time, or around 8 pm ET. They are likely to arrive back in the United States at around 4 pm ET on Saturday.
Here are some details on the situation courtesy of wrestlingINC.com,
“As WWE noted in their announcement, one group of people, said to be 12 top stars and 8 key production workers, arranged for a different flight to make it to SmackDown but due to “other issues” they were not able to arrive in time, and are landing in Newark instead.
It was noted by F4Wonline.com that Vince McMahon, Kevin Dunn and Vince’s personal staff left out of Saudi Arabia before these issues came up as they left earlier on Vince’s private jet. WWE Champion Brock Lesnar, Paul Heyman and WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan also reportedly left the Kingdom immediately on Lesnar’s private jet that he is given for these special events.”
As noted earlier, SmackDown had to air with some re-arranged lineup due to the marquee superstars’ absence. Triple H was in charge of the show that took place in Buffalo who made the cross-brand matchups on the show.
The nixed lineups include new WWE Universal Champion “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt appearing on MizTV as well as a title match between The New Day vs. SmackDown Tag Team Champions, The Revival. Also, a six-woman tag team action and Roman Reigns vs. King Corbin was scrapped from the show.