The touring Superstars of RAW were caught amid an escalating political crisis Friday, as the president of the Philippines locked down the country after what was declared a failed attempt to overthrow the leader from power.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo called for a state of emergency and the military went to high alert, fortifying the presidential palace and arresting demonstrators celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
WWE Champion John Cena, Triple H, Women’s Champion Trish Stratus and many other WWE Superstars were asked to stay in groups and when possible remain in their hotel rooms because of the chaos and potential for violence. Citizens were told that all rallies and protests were banned and would lead to more arrests. By late afternoon, thousands were in the streets in defiance of the government’s orders, according to multiple media reports.
Despite the danger, 15,000 determined WWE fans braved the streets and filled the Araneta Coliseum for a successful RAW live event in Manila. There were no reports of violence at the venue, and all WWE Superstars and personnel are safe and accounted for, WWE.com confirmed by phone.
RAW’s Superstars are in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, for two live events as part of WWE’s continuing expansion into foreign markets. The Superstars of SmackDown recently set attendance records in Mexico and last year were equally well-received in Europe. The U.S. Embassy in Manila has issued a Warden Message to American citizens in the Philippines, advising them to take prudent steps to ensure their personal safety during this uncertain time.