Jordanian athlete Shadia Bseiso makes history as she becomes the first Middle Eastern female to get signed to WWE
Of late, the women’s division of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) seems to have become one of the company’s top priorities, with a lot of focus on signing talent from all over the world. In this drive, last month, the WWE signed Jordanian Shadia Bseiso, its first female performer from the Arab world as the US-based entertainment company seeks to drive its way into lucrative foreign markets. Arab women are continuing to shatter stereotypes and break new ground.
“Shadia joining the WWE’s developmental system underscores its ongoing commitment to building a talent roster as diverse as its fan base,” WWE Executive Vice President, Paul Levesque, who is more popularly known as “Triple H” was quoted as saying. Wrestling has traditionally been a male-dominated sport, especially in the Middle East. And Bseiso’s entry into professional wrestling has been path-breaking because while there have been a few wrestlers from the Middle East in the WWE in the past, there has never been a female Arab representative. “I’m thrilled to be the first Arab woman from the Middle East to sign with WWE. The feeling is incredible,” said Shadia.
Shadia was selected after she emerged at the top in an invitation-only tryout event in Dubai earlier this year. More than 40 men and women from the Middle East and India with diverse backgrounds in sports and athletics had taken part in the event. Among the sports enthusiasts were powerlifters, rugby and football players, amateur wrestlers, martial artists and fitness experts.
Born in Jordan, Shadia attended university in Lebanon before moving to Dubai for her career in radio & television. She worked as a TV, Radio and live-events presenter at a Dubai-based media organisation. “I have even presented a radio show for Gulf Air about four years ago. It was a fun experience,” says Shadia. However, life had something else in store for her. In 2013, Shadia joined Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes and that became her passion. Today she is a blue belt in the sport and has added crossfit to her training routine. Shadia believes that jiu-jitsu has helped her a lot to stay fit to compete at an international level.
“I have been training and competing in Brazilian jiu-jitsu for four years. The WWE Dubai tryouts were very physically demanding, I felt like my jiu-jitsu and crossfit training helped me get through the tryout ” said Shadia.
A supportive family by her side has been an added advantage for Shadia and she is not the only athlete in her family. She is the younger sister of Arifa Bseiso, a national-boxing champion. “I am blessed to have such a supportive family. I was so excited to get the call from WWE and I flew to Jordan to share the news with my family” shares Shadia.
Shadia is also proud that women from the Middle East have started representing their country at various levels. The women are overcoming social, political and religious barriers to assert their right to sporting life and by doing so breaking taboos and defying traditional gender stereotypes. “The sky’s is the limit. You just have to take the first step,” adds Shadia.
WWE Live in Abu Dhabi
Following overwhelming demand from the large, passionate fan base in the region, WWE will be live in Abu Dhabi on December 7th at Zayed Sport City, Tennis Stadium. “This will be my very first WWE live event since I signed my developmental contract, and it means I’ll be watching the show from an entirely different perspective as a future WWE performer myself,” said Shadia. Fans can look forward to a spectacular show of non-stop, family friendly entertainment for WWE’s only Abu Dhabi show this year.
Tickets to WWE Live in Abu Dhabi, at the Zayed Sports City Tennis Stadium on Thursday, December 7, will be available via platinumlist.net