There has been widespread pressure on the company to pull out of doing the show following the murder of Washington Post columnist and Virginia resident Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Turkey four weeks ago.
However, on this week's edition of Monday Night RAW, it was announced that Bobby Lashley would be taking his place.
Yahoo Sports also noted that WWE wasn't backing away from the event in Saudi Arabia, despite the controversy stemming from its show in Riyadh in the wake of Khashoggi's mysterious death. The Cena was set to take part in the 8-man WWE World Cup tournament in the event, along with Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, and Rey Mysterio, to determine the "Best in the World". I will be covering the event live as it airs on Friday.
The WWE is hosting a major event in Saudi Arabia on Friday absent two of its biggest pro-wrestling stars.
'Similar to other USA -based companies who plan to continue operations in Saudi Arabia, the Company has chose to uphold its contractual obligations to the General Sports Authority and stage the event.
WWE initially responded by stating they were "monitoring the situation" but the Connecticut-based company ultimately made a decision to go ahead with the show that will take place in the capital city of Riyadh. "Full year 2018 guidance is predicated on the staging of the Riyadh event as scheduled". So the Universal Championship match is now a one on one bout between Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar.