**Tonight’s episode of Raw will take place from the Wells Fargo Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and will be one of the more closely monitored episodes in recent memory. The company is moving forward with the Crown Jewel event on November 2nd in Riyadh with two World Cup Qualifying matches announced for tonight with Seth Rollins vs. Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler vs. Dean Ambrose. How the announcers handle the show, specific mentions of Saudi Arabia and the level of promotion will be notable regardless.
The latest development comes courtesy of CNN who reports that the Saudi Arabians are preparing a report to acknowledge the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and that it was a result of “an interrogation that went wrong” and was intended to lead to his abduction from Turkey. CNN added that one source indicated that the report will likely conclude that the operation was carried out without clearance and those involved will be held responsible. Another source stated that the report has not been completed and could change.
This is a major turn in the story from the adamant denial by the Saudi Arabian government over responsibility for Khashoggi’s death and the initial story that he left the consulate shortly after arriving on October 2nd.
The WWE has received increasing criticism from a variety of mainstream outlets, the most prominent being John Oliver’s “Late Week Tonight” on HBO Sunday. The program dedicated a sizeable portion of the show to the Jamal Khashoggi story and brought up the WWE’s involvement with the General Sports Authority and the presentation of the Greatest Royal Rumble with footage from the show. There have been several pieces written by the following outlets:
*The Daily Beast
**The Hollywood Reporter was the first to report that Endeavor is severing their relationship with the Saudi Arabian government that would have provided the government with a 5-10% ownership stake in the entertainment conglomerate. Endeavor, which is the owner of the UFC, has begun paperwork to cancel their deal that was worth $400 million to the company for the minority ownership stake. The WWE was mentioned in passing in the Hollywood Reporter as another company that is in business with the government. On the surface, this does paint Endeavor as placing their ethical responsibility ahead of their financial obligations as a company and cutting off a giant revenue influx.
**Despite the criticism the WWE has been receiving for the show, the stock didn’t see significant movement on Monday. It opened at $85.09 and closed at $84.97.
**The SmackDown crew has a house show in Richmond, Virginia tonight with AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe advertised in a No DQ match for the WWE title, Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Jeff Hardy for the U.S. title, and Becky Lynch vs. Naomi for the women’s title. The 1,000th episode of SmackDown takes place Tuesday night in Washington, D.C. with the following advertised:
*Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Rey Mysterio in a World Cup Qualifying match
*Triple H, Ric Flair, Dave Bautista & Randy Orton reuniting as Evolution
*An appearance by The Undertaker
**Impact Wrestling will be taping television tonight and Tuesday at the Melrose Ballroom in New York, the same venue where they ran Bound for Glory Sunday. They have announced the following matches for this week’s episode:
*Ethan Page vs. Trevor Lee
*Alisha Edwards vs. Allie
*Brian Cage vs. Rich Swann for the X division title
**Impact will return to pay-per-view with “Home Coming” on Sunday, January 6th from the Nashville Fairgrounds in Tennessee. The Fairgrounds a.k.a. “The Asylum” was TNA’s home base for their Wednesday night pay-per-view events from 2002 – 2004. Their first show in June 2002 was Huntsville, Alabama at the Von Braun Center, but was too large a venue and they quickly relocated to the Fairgrounds. This is the same venue that the NWA is running their 70th-Anniversary show this Sunday from.
**New Japan Pro Wrestling kicks off the Super Junior Tag League tournament Tuesday morning from Korakuen Hall at 5:30 am Eastern with the following card:
*Toa Henare, Shota Umino & Ren Narita vs. Ayato Yoshida, Yuya Uemura & Yota Tsuji
*Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma vs. Kota Ibushi, Chase Owens & Yujiro
*Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano & Best Friends vs. Jay White, Guerrillas of Destiny & Bad Luck Fale
*Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask vs. Taiji Ishimori & Robbie Eagles in the Super Junior Tag League
*Volador Jr. & Soberano Jr. vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & ACH in the Super Junior Tag League
*KUSHIDA & Chris Sabin vs. El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru in the Super Junior Tag League
*Shingo Takagi & Bushi vs. Roppongi 3K in the Super Junior Tag League
**A new episode of Table for 3 will air on the WWE Network tonight following Raw with Kevin Nash, Diamond Dallas Page, and Big Show.
**CMLL star Rush will be taking on Sammy Guevara at MLW’s Fightland event on November 8th in Chicago at Cicero Stadium. The show is being taped for Fusion on beIN Sports and will also feature Pentagon Jr. & Fenix vs. LA Park & El Hijo de LA Park for the MLW tag titles and Low Ki Vs. Shane Strickland for the MLW title.
**Mauro Ranallo posted the following note on Twitter on Sunday regarding his MMA future and being open to calling shows for other promotions in 2019:
Dear MMA promoters, I have called some of the most memorable moments in the sport and would love to continue doing so full time in 2019. Please contact my manager @frankshamrock if interested in my services! #MMAuro
**DEFY Wrestling returns on Saturday, October 27th with Dia de Los Muertos from Washington Hall in Seattle. The card will feature the following matches: Shane Strickland vs. SCHAFF for the DEFY championship, Mike Santiago & Ethan HD vs. Bandido & Flamita for the DEFY tag titles, Jeff Cobb vs. Brody King, Rey Fenix vs. Artemis Spencer, and Ravenous Randy Myers vs. MJF.
**The new season of Arrow premieres tonight at 8 pm Eastern on the CW Network featuring Cody Rhodes.
**John Cena was recently a guest on the SI Media Podcast with Jimmy Traina promoting his new children’s book “Elbow Grease”.
**MMA Junkie has received a list of the 17 proposed fights from Golden Boy Promotions for their first mixed martial arts event on Saturday, November 24th. The pay-per-view card will take place from The Forum in Inglewood, California and headlined by the third fight between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. Below are the fights being proposed to the California State Athletic Commission:
*Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz
*Jorge Gonzalez vs. Kenneth Berg
*Gleison Tibau vs. Efrain Escudero
*Walel Watson vs. Ricardo Palacios
*Tom Lawlor vs. Deron Winn – Lawlor has told the Wrestling Observer site that the deal is not finalized yet
*Oscar Cota vs. Jay Silva
*Albert Morales vs. Cleber Luciano
*Jose Huerta vs. Fernie Garcia
*Kendall Grove vs. Andre Walker
*Dave Terrel vs. Johnny Cisneros
*Craig Wilkerson vs. Joshua Jones
*Weston Wilson vs. Mike Segura
*Isiah Culpepper vs. Djavan Coleman
*Geoffrey Thomas vs. Joshua Kim
*Jonathan Kim vs. Mauro Gutierrez
*Maria Favela vs. Tyler Schafer
*Julianna Miller vs. Diana Mendoza
**The WWE has produced another edition of “Untold” where they document a performer, this month’s subject is Eddie Guerrero. They interviewed Vickie Guerrero, Kurt Angle, John Cena, Dave Bautista, Aiden English (Eddie’s son-in-law), Sasha Banks, and Paul Heyman for the piece. I’ll be chatting more about the piece on the Double Shot Tuesday night.
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