Source: The Jerusalem Post
By EVA COHEN
Wrestling fans in Israel who were waiting to see some bodyslams to help cure the tension for the ongoing conflict in the north will have to wait a little longer.
The much anticipated World Wrestling Entertainment Smackdown series, scheduled to take place at the end of the month in Tel Aviv, has been postponed.
Affaf Vaknan of Roberto Model Agency, which organized the WWE visit, told The Jerusalem Post Tuesday: “We’re moving it to September only because we didn’t feel comfortable with doing the show at exactly the same time that we’re at war… It is not fair that kids in the north sitting in shelters wouldn’t be able to come while kids in Tel Aviv could.”
Vaknan said that new dates would be released soon for the shows.
“It will most likely be the first weekend in September,” said Vaknan. “It is going to be a great time with WWE; it is just very difficult to hold a show with what is going on right now.”
Gary Davis, vice president of corporate communications for WWE said that Vaknan’s comments are a fair assessment of the situation.
“The performers are excited to come to Israel for fans, but with the current conflict and how things will develop over the next two weeks out of fairness to the fans we are postponing it,” said Davis. “We are very interested in coming to Israel and will announce the new dates in the near future.”
The event is involved with the Ministry of Tourism so it was “more appropriate to move it over toward end of summer,” said Vaknan, especially because of insurance policies that make it harder to run events during times of war.
Vaknan said that the decision to move the show was on both Roberto and WWE’s part.
“The WWE was not willing to cancel the show in Israel whatsoever,” said Vaknan. “Most wrestlers signed waivers and asked to come to Israel.”
In fact, Vaknan said that the wrestlers are extremely excited and some are even bringing their families. Others, said Vaknan, have asked to come for appearances before the show to give a boost to the Israeli public.
Davis said he is not aware of any wrestlers who didn’t want to come because of the security situation.
“It’s fair to say [the wrestlers] keep up with current events and are aware of what is going on in the region,” said Davis. “But they have confidence that if they were to travel here they would be secure and their safety would be a focus on everyone’s part.”
Over 22,000 tickets have been sold for the event, originally planned for July 27-29, so to cancel the event was out of the question, according to Vaknan.
“The wrestlers love their fans and the WWE has been great,” said Vaknan.
All parties involved have worked together and Vaknan said he is extremely impressed at how well everything has worked out.
“Most of the fans are children and the WWE would never disappoint them by not coming, they just want to come at a time when everyone will be able to come and enjoy it,” said Vaknan.
“The show will now just be bigger and better,” said Vaknan. “Everyone came together as Jews and Israelis, but let’s do it at the time when everyone can enjoy it. We don’t want one kid to not be able to come when his father is reserve force in the north or south.”