Saudi Arabian GSA Issues Apology for WWE's 'Indecent' Inclusion of Women

At Friday's Greatest Royal Rumble, WWE aired their "Best of Both Worlds" ad to promote their co-branded pay-per-view schedule. To most fans, the commercial was only associated with bad lip-synching, but to Saudi Arabia, it was illegal.

There's a long list of no-no's for women in Saudi Arabia, and competing in sports and dressing in a provocative manner is specifically outlawed by the Saudi's archaic system. So when the cat-suited Carmella popped onto titanic LED board in Jeddah, WWE committed a relative, yet egregious, violation.

The circumstances were so urgent that the Saudi Arabia General Sports Authority issued a mass apology.

A user from r/squaredcircle provided a translation:

"The General Sports Authority would like to apologize to the viewers and attendees of last night's WWE event that took place in Jeddah, over the indecent scene involving women that appeared as an ad before a segment. It would like to confirm it's total disapproval of this, in the shadow of its commitment to eliminate anything that goes against the communities values.

The authority has made sure to ban showing of any segment that involves women wrestling or any scenes related to it, and stipulated that to the company (WWE). The authority also disapproved any promotional stuff with pictures or videos showing women in an indecent way, and emphasized on commitment of this rule. And it's a commitment that the authority would still commit to forever in all of it's events and programs."

The antiquated culture of Saudi Arabia has supplied bountiful environment for contentious discussions in a recent week due to WWE abiding by their customs and refraining from using their female Superstars at the Greatest Royal Rumble.

WWE drew heat for going into business with a country that is so openly oppressive, especially considering their outward commitment to women's equality within the sport.

Triple H addressed this controversy earlier this week:

"I understand that people are questioning it, but you have to understand that every culture is different and just because you don't agree with a certain aspect of it, it doesn't mean it's not a relevant culture," he said.

In his nicest of terms, Triple H seems to agree that Saudi Arabia has some backward laws, but it's not WWE's place to judge.

"You can't dictate to a country or a religion about how they handle things but, having said that, WWE is at the forefront of a women's evolution in the world and what you can't do is affect change anywhere by staying away from it," reasoned Triple H.

Even though WWE is a worldwide entity, there are no expectations for them to be a leader in geopolitics. However, Triple H does envision WWE having women wrestle in Saudi Arabia.

"While, right now, women are not competing in the event, we have had discussions about that and we believe and hope that in the next few years they will be. That is a significant cultural shift in Saudi Arabia," he said.


If anything, women's rights have taken a stage thanks to the Greatest Royal Rumble. Now, more people are aware of the difficulties women face in other countries. While plain awareness won't lead to an overhaul of thousands of years of culture, it has at least opened a discussion.

By Saudi Arabia literally apologizing Carmella appearing on screen, not even in person, a visceral picture of oppression has been painted. While WWE was railed for their participation, it sounds like they're hoping to transcend Saudi laws and bring women's wrestling to the country in the near future.