UPDATED: WWE Staff & Superstars Stranded in Riyadh

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UPDATE: WWE just released the following statement:

“The WWE roster is delayed in its return from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, following a historic performance at yesterday’s record-breaking WWE Crown Jewel event.

“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.

“The remainder of WWE’s Superstars, staff and crew will depart on a charter set to depart Saudi Arabia later tonight.

“As always with WWE, the show must go on. Live at 8/7 CT on FOX, SmackDown will feature Superstars, such as Daniel Bryan, The Miz, Carmella, Nikki Cross, Dana Brooke — plus, additional surprises.”

ORIGINAL: It is coming to our attention that a majority of the staff and talent that traveled to Saudi Arabia for Crown Jewel are now stranded there. Beginning last night following the event, their plane supposedly had mechanical issues, which forced their flight to be delayed while boarded. It is unknown exactly which staff and talent are affected by this delay, but WWE is now in full blown panic mode to try and salvage Smackdown for tonight as a majority of that show’s talent are among those stranded.

Early this morning, those affected were deplaned and put up in local hotels for the time being. WWE was attempting to at least try and make alternate arrangements for the talent and staff scheduled to be on Smackdown tonight to be able to fly back, but those plans have fallen through.

It is also being reported that those within WWE and FOX are extremely upset with the circumstances and it has gone all the way up the chain of command now to Vince McMahon and higher ranking FOX Executives. Dave Meltzer reported earlier that only 12 of the on-air talent were able to leave, among 20 total, which can be confirmed that among those were Hulk Hogan, Brock Lesnar, and Vince McMahon, as they traveled with their own planes.

Originally, it was reported that the plane had a fuel line issue, but that has since changed to the plane, talent, and staff not being permitted to leave the Kingdom at all. There is a rumor going around (unconfirmed) that Vince McMahon got into some sort of disagreement with Saudi Arabia, which if found to be true, could be the cause of all this. Talent and staff are being prohibited as well from sharing specific details as of right now regarding the situation.

Based on the following tweet, we can assume Buddy Murphy is among those stranded:

Andrade can be confirmed to be stuck there as well based on his tweets:

We will be sure to bring you more information as it becomes available.