To the surprise of many Sami Zayn was absent from the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia. Now, that the RR is behind us, it would be good to get some answers, but WWE remains silent.
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter claims that the reason for Zayn’s absence is a secret kept by both the wrestler and the company. The apparent reason shared with the public is that Sami has an ankle injury. But, this hasn’t been confirmed by WWE officials.
The WWE commentator crew that was leading the event in Saudi Arabia were instructed that they should not mention Sami Zayn under any circumstances.
Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet gives a different explanation. He claims that the reasons Sami Zayn missed Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia are because he is of Syrian descent. The relationship between SA and Syria are not good since the civil war in Syria escalated in 2012. Due to ’local customs,’ Zayn was not part of the show.
After Zayn missed the GRR, WWE released the following statement: “WWE is committed to embracing individuals from all backgrounds while respecting local customs and cultural differences around the world.”
It seems that WWE accepts Sami, but Saudi Arabia wasn’t as happy to do so.
This is not the first controversy surrounding this event. In the weeks before the show, it was already clear that there won’t be any female participants. WWE Divas didn’t even travel to the Middle East. Triple H addressed this issue in an interview with The Independent: “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.”
The reasons for Sami Zayn’s absence are legit if we take into account that he is active in Syrian community. He recently launched a partnership with Syrian American Medical Society in order to provide funds for mobile medical clinics for those that can’t receive proper care through other channels.