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Figure Four Weekly: WWE's bet on Saudi Arabia


If WWE was concerned about criticism of their partnership with Saudi Arabia, they certainly didn't show it at the Greatest Royal Rumble.

The first event in WWE's 10-year agreement with the Saudi General Sports Authority was a weird mix of special event, house show, and propaganda. It wasn't just a stadium show with Saudi Arabia as its backdrop. The location wasn't just spotlighted in the set design or advertising like with WrestleMania host cities. The Greatest Royal Rumble was unique to Saudi Arabia and served to promote the message that the country is evolving.

WWE is, usually justifiably, heavy handed in promoting themselves as a company and brand. And regardless of who stipulated it to be this way, that extended to how they pushed Saudi Arabia and their economic and social reform campaign. A video package highlighted Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the "societal renaissance" that is happening, and women being able to drive in the country soon. 

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