WWE only had the best intentions when they trotted out Iranian brothers Shawn and Ariya Daivari to confront some new Saudi Arabian Performance Center recruits in the middle of the ring at the Greatest Royal Rumble in Jeddah. But the segment couldn’t have been more tone-deaf given the current state of affairs between Saudi Arabia and Iran.
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The DAIVARI BROTHERS are live in Saudi Arabia, but it seems they're waving a different flag… #WWEGRR @AriyaDaivariWWE pic.twitter.com/gM3yCsJUqL
— WWE Universe (@WWEUniverse) April 27, 2018
In case you’re unaware – like WWE’s writers are, apparently – diplomatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia are currently nonexistent. Seriously – that’s precisely how the Wikipedia page on the topic describes it:
Iran and Saudi Arabia have no diplomatic relations following an attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran in 2016. Bilateral relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have been strained over several geo-political issues such as the interpretations of Islam, aspirations for leadership of the Islamic world, oil export policy and relations with the United States and other Western countries.
The crux of the issue, as you might have guessed, is religion. While both majority Muslim nations, Saudi Arabian prescribes to the Sunni branch of Islam while Iran follows the Shia branch; and as anyone who paid attention in social studies class knows, the Sunnis and Shiites have been warring for centuries.
WWE was playing with serious geopolitical fire using the Daivaris to attack Saudi Arabian athletes. So severe, in fact, that the Saudi official sports channel didn’t broadcast the segment.
I’m all for WWE wanting to push the envelope and be a global force for change, but this segment was irresponsible. It’s one thing to discretely hope to make a positive social difference in a nation; it’s quite another to wade into an extremely explosive geopolitical conflict, even for entertainment purposes.
Ariya later took to his twitter account to apologize
One of the Saudi competitors defended Daivari
What did you think of the segment between the Daivaris and the Saudi Arabian recruits? Was it irresponsible on WWE’s part? Share your thoughts and comments below!
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