Following WWE Crown Jewel 2019, wrestlers were ready to return home after another event in Saudi Arabia. Unfortunately, their return was delayed due to what was reported by WWE as "mechanical issues" with the plane.
Some have backed the "mechanical issues" report while others have described things as a "hostage situation" that was rumored to stem from a disagreement in payment between Vince McMahon and the Saudi Crown Prince.
Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows provided their account of what went down on Talk'N Shop Live.
"We were in the FBO (private charter area). Say the flight is 1 am, we get there at 11 pm. Around midnight, Vince, probably Paul and Brock come through with a big wave and a thank you. We're just waiting. I don't blame him. If I was him, I would have been gone and probably gone around. He gets on a plane and leaves. We're just sitting there. We're supposed to take off and you hear rumblings of what's going on. 'Oh, we're waiting for everyone.' Okay. Then, it's 2 am. Then you see a guy translating and it's a heated talk with a Saudia Arabia airport guy. At this point, it's 3 am and we start to ask questions. 'Well, the only guy who can pull the plane out, he's been here all day and he's already reached his eight hours and he has to go home.' What? It's 4:15 am. You start to see Mark Carano and Johnny Ace [John Laurinaitis] starting to scoot around to this guy who has been arguing with this guy. Then you start to hear people say that they could hear arguments on the headsets from the cameramen during the show, something Vince had done," Anderson said regarding the rumors of Vince cutting the Saudi feed of the show.
He continued, "I never heard anything, but you hear that Vince pulled the plug on the pay-per-view. I'm hearing it from the crew, that will probably never admit it. We're going, 'why did he pull the plug? Why are we still standing here?' Then you see more arguing and then they say, 'we're all going to get on the plane now.' We all get on the plane, sit on the plane for another hour, and you start seeing your bosses getting up and they're leaving the plane. Now, all the boys are texting each other like, 'what the fuck is going on?' At this point, it's probably 9 am. I look at Michael Hayes and I go, 'Are we in a hostage situation? Because this is really weird.' He goes, 'Huh? I don't know.' Then he walked away. It makes me feel like he did know. Ultimately, they ended up saying there was a mechanical problem. Around 10:30 am or 11 am, they got us off the plane, got us to the hotel, waited around the hotel, let us sleep there, we left probably around 4 am the next day."
Gallows added, "We did hear there were no hotel books, so this was not part of the plan, and we're just driving on buses through Saudi Arabia and they're actively called, 'Where can we put 128 people.' Finally, they found a spot, we took a nap, what the fuck can you do?"
Gallows went on to say that he was never scared and thought they would get out, but did have thoughts of not returning and being able to propose to his girlfriend. Anderson had similar thoughts, thinking he may never see his wife or kid again.
When asked about Vince McMahon leaving them, Gallows said his dad was pissed, but that they didn't have a second thought about it when they saw Vince walk past them. "Of course Vince is going to leave, he's not going to ride with us dickheads," joked Gallows.
They both said that tension was high among the boys because they were searching for answers and couldn't get any, which led to increased nerves and different theories.
Anderson closed by saying, "It never got to the depths people thought it did. Do I think something happened and they did something to the plane to let it not take off at the right time? Fuck yes."
Both men ended up returning to Saudi -- Anderson really needed a new pool -- for Super ShowDown in February where they defeated The Viking Raiders in tag team action.
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