After a Crown Jewel event that ended with “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt becoming the Universal Champion, major issues occurred with the flights coming back to the United States. With SmackDown now being live on Friday Nights, WWE had a very narrow timeframe to effectively finish the event in Saudi Arabia and board all of the wrestlers and production crew to make it to Buffalo, New York. The flight is roughly 18 hours, which causes no room for delay.

However, this is exactly what happened, and the whole program now has to be rewritten.

WWE revealed through its website, “More than 175 Superstars, production crew and employees boarded a 747 charter flight back to the United States on Thursday. After the door closed, due to several aircraft problems including mechanical issues, all passengers sat on the tarmac for more than six hours.

“With SmackDown set to emanate live from Buffalo, N.Y., several Superstars felt so strongly that they arranged for their own separate charter in order to make it back to the U.S. for the show. Due to unforeseen issues, that charter will not land until after the live broadcast on FOX.”

Dana Brooke provided a recent update on the change of plans of tonight’s show.

“Not a lot of the WWE talent is gonna be able to make it.”

She added that they are going to “ride that wave” of Natalya vs. Lacey Evans making history as being the first even women’s wrestling match in Saudi Arabia, “and whatever happens, happens.”

Atlas Air also released a statement apologizing for the travel issues.

With Wyatt winning the Universal Championship and being on the same brand as the WWE Champion, Brock Lesnar, it did create a very interesting plot to the SmackDown episode. However, fans may need to wait until next week, unless the production team can use their delay to film some material in Saudi Arabia that would be pertinent to developing the current storylines and be aired on the show.

WWE did promise that names who did not make it to Crown Jewel, including Daniel Bryan, The Miz, Carmella, and Nikki Cross, along with Dana Brooke, will be appearing on the show, as well as “additional surprises.”

Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman took a private plane, so they were not impacted by the traveling woes and will be appearing on the show. SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley is now scheduled to defend the title against Nikki Cross, which was originally going to occur on a later date.

Follow Chris Featherstone @chrisprolific, and the Pancakes and Powerslams Show @cravewrestling.



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