Although WWE has come under increased fire for choosing not to feature any women in its Saudi Arabia show this Saturday, the wrestling organization is breaking down cultural barriers in its own way, according to world wrestling champion John Layfield.
“[If] you want to promote change in Saudi Arabia,” Layfield told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney during an interview on Thursday, “you send something like WWE there.”
The Greatest Royal Rumble match, one of the largest of its kind, will feature 50 men in its headline match in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. WWE and the Saudi General Sports Authority partnered together for the event, as part of the long-term, strategic plan, known as Vision 2030, which details how Saudi Arabia can undergo a modernization process by becoming a foreign investment powerhouse.
WWE – which has previously been commended for its role in promoting equality between the sexes – has faced mounting criticism for its decision to placate local laws that restrict women’s rights.
But Layfield said there will be roughly 60,000 people in the stadium watching, some of whom may look at the WWE’s website afterward and see that female champions, like Nia Jax, and male champions, like Brock Lesnar, are treated equally.
“We’re breaking down cultural barriers,” Layfield said. “We’ve always gone to other countries where there’s been different standards and different practices you have to adhere to. WWE is like any other company, a global company.”