WWE pushed the envelope of what it means to be a woman in sports entertainment. So it’s understandable that many fans are confused by this Friday’s “Greatest Royal Rumble” event in Saudi Arabia, which will not feature any female talent. This due to the host country’s laws. But Triple H recently defended the event, arguing that “every culture is different.”
Triple H explained his position to the Independent:
“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.”
At first blush, it certainly sounds like Triple H is defending Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women as second-class citizens as simply part of its “culture.” But he went on to say that he hopes WWE will be an agent of change.
“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.
“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.
“This Is Hope”
Those are lofty ambitions on Triple H’s part, and many people likely don’t see how a company like WWE could affect serious socio-political change. But the fact of the matter is they’re already doing it.
In December, Alexa Bliss and Sasha Banks made history by competing in the first-ever women’s wrestling match held in the Middle East at a show in Abu Dhabi. It was a profound moment for the performers and fans alike, and Triple H cited it as proof that WWE can make a difference:
“You talk about the cultural shift in the world, and just a few months ago we were in Abu Dhabi and had the first ever match with women competing, with a crowd of women, men and little boys in the audience with tears in their eyes.
“The audience were chanting ‘This is Hope’ – that is cultural change.”
To many fans, it might seem like a big step backward that WWE is hosting an event in a place like Saudi Arabia. But Triple is H is right – you can’t affect change by sitting idly by and avoiding controversy. This year, there are no women participating in the “Greatest Royal Rumble” event. But maybe, just maybe, next year there will be.
How do you feel about WWE hosting an event in Saudi Arabia? Do you think it’s a step backward for women in WWE, or do you think it could lead to another big step forward for women everywhere? Share your thoughts and comments below!