WWE has reportedly canceled Backlash, which was scheduled for June 16, due to it taking place just nine days after its next Saudi Arabia show.
Although some fans might think that WWE's product is currently pretty poor, Vince McMahon probably doesn't care. That's because the chairman's bank account is healthier than it has ever been. WWE continues to rake in money for a number of reasons. The two big ones are the recent TV deals, and its agreement with the Saudi Arabian sports authority.
The latter has been a pretty controversial topic for the past year. Most notably five months ago when WWE decided to go ahead with a Saudi Arabian show despite the alleged murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. WWE has a decade-long deal with Saudi Arabia which involves them putting on shows in the country twice a year. Clearly, that deal is too valuable to be broken in the eyes of Mr. McMahon, even if female wrestlers aren't allowed to compete on the show.
Despite the backlash from fans and even mainstream media, WWE is preparing to return to Saudi Arabia for a third time. The latest rumor, courtesy of Wrestling Observer Radio, is that it will be taking place on June 7. In fact, the realization by WWE that they could well be in Saudi Arabia on that day has apparently forced them to cancel Backlash. The PPV was scheduled for June 16 in San Diego, California.
Although Backlash had not yet been officially announced by WWE, some fans planning on attending the event might be a little peeved. However, in the grand scheme of things, this is probably a good idea. Last October, it felt as if WWE was trying to build to four or five big shows all at once. That muddied the waters a great deal and left the build to Survivor Series feeling incredibly rushed.
The downside is that once again, WWE's Saudi Arabian deal has trumped things that many consider to be more important. If the previous Saudi shows had been entertaining, built towards angles, or featured women, then fans would probably be more forgiving. If the one penciled in for June 7 is in the same vein as the two we have already seen, WWE should expect a lot more backlash from fans before, during, and after the show.