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Staff reportedly ‘scared’ and threatening to quit following rumors WWE sold to Saudi Arabia PIF

“WWE sold” was a trending topic early this morning after reports of a deal with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund hit the wrestling industry grapevine, and it seems the news has sent a wave of fear and uncertainty through the organization.

The WWE was the source for two major entertainment business headlines on Tuesday night. First came the shocking news that the company’s Co-CEO Stephanie McMahon had resigned from her position. The move came just days after the revelation that her father, WWE founder, and former CEO Vince McMahon, had installed himself into the top spot on the organization’s board of directors.

McMahon’s reasoning for ending his self-imposed retirement, following a sexual misconduct scandal, was to shepherd a new media rights deal and look into a possible sale of the company. Most expected that process to take months, however, late last night rumors came down that WWE was sold to the Saudi Arabia PIF, which is an actual arm of their government and the owners of LIV Golf.

Also Read: Vince McMahon apparently ends retirement, returns to WWE in key role

The news was a stunning development and a curious move for a publicly traded company to make, considering the Saudi government’s long history of human rights violations. Well, it seems that the news of a WWE sale has sent shock waves of worry and anger throughout the company.

Some talent considering quitting after WWE sold to Saudi Arabia PIF

wwe sold
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

While the WWE sale news is believed to be legitimate it has yet to be confirmed by the organization, and it could take some time before a deal, rumored to be for as much as $7 billion, is finalized.

On Wednesday morning, BodySlam.net pro wrestling insider Cassidy Haynes reported that “The deal isn’t completely finalized because WWE must provide notice to shareholders & other parties. There are legalities to go through, as the company is publicly traded. I’m told a deal has been agreed to in principle.”

On Wednesday morning, MMA and wrestling insider Ariel Helwani added that “there is no deal in place at this precise moment for WWE to be sold to Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund or any entity,” and the company is still exploring options.

Following the rumors on Tuesday night, top industry insider Dave Meltzer explained on a new edition of Wrestling Observer Radio that the shocking sale has staff inside the organization “scared.”

“Before the story first broke tonight, everyone was talking about it inside wrestling. Nobody knew for sure. Talked to people in the company [and] they didn’t know for sure. Everyone at the NXT tapings heard the rumors — could not confirm them — but everybody was scared. Whether it’s their job, whether it’s whatever, there’s a lot of uncertainty there. Uncertainty throughout the company. The Stephanie resignation worried a lot of people as well.”

– Dave Meltzer (h/t WrestleTalk.com)

Fightful.com also reported that “at least one” performer on the roster claims they would walk out on the company and their contract if a WWE sold to the Saudi PIF deal is finalized. Sami Zayn is one of the company’s performers that has had personal reasons for not appearing at WWE’s yearly Crown Jewel events in Saudi Arabia.

There is also a great deal of concern for many on the roster, and with fans, since this particular deal could mean Vince McMahon returning to his role heading up the content WWE produces. Meaning a return to a product some fans have soured on and performers that were recently rehired, like former WWE champion Bray Wyatt, could be in danger of being cut again by McMahon.