Shadia Bseiso is making history as the first Arab woman from the Middle East to sign a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
After a tough set of trials in Dubai in April this year, where she beat 40 other hopefuls, she will now head to Florida and WWE’s Performance Centre for training and a chance to become a WWE Superstar.
What made you decide to try out for a chance to become a WWE Superstar?
I was auditioning as a TV presenter for WWE’s first-ever Arabic show, Wal3ooha, and during the casting, I mentioned I train Jiu Jutsu and train CrossFit. The senior vice president of international talent then sent me an email asking if I’d like to be a part of the Dubai tryout.
How did you prepare?
I have a Jiu Jutsu blue belt, three stripes, one away from purple. I’ve been training for the last four years, taking part in competitions here in the UAE, I competed at the World Championships in Los Angeles two years in a row, and also competed in New York.
So I have a background in martial arts. To stay in shape for Jiu Jutsu I also train CrossFit on a regular basis, and you know CrossFit is a tough sport. I thought it’s the best preparation going into the tryouts. But also I felt like I had to be mentally prepared for it. It’s very physical, four days in a row. We were40 athletes from around the world, the Middle East and India. It was an incredible experience.
How long have you been a WWE fan?
Growing up in Jordan we didn’t get WWE on TV, but when I moved to Lebanon when I was studying at university I started watching WWE here and there, and of course, it has a strong presence here in the UAE.
After becoming a fan, did you have a favorite superstar?
I love watching the ‘90s era, Stone Cold Steve Austin, TheRock, Shawn Michaels.
Do you see yourself as a role model for girls in the region?
I hope to be a role model. And I hope to one day really leave a true mark, not just in sports entertainment, but to inspire girls in the Middle East to explore all opportunities.I mean, a few years ago you wouldn’t even see female athletes from the Middle East compete in the Olympics, so the London Olympics set the new future where every participating country had to send a female athlete, and for the first time ever as an Arab woman I got to see them compete on the highest level.
I mean, a few years ago you wouldn’t even see female athletes from the Middle East compete in the Olympics, so the London Olympics set the new future where every participating country had to send a female athlete, and for the first time ever as an Arab woman I got to see them compete on the highest level.
Rhonda Rousey in the UFC changed things, and of course the woman’s revolution in the WWE, all just showed females that the sky is the limit. It doesn’t matter where you’re from now if you put in the work the rest will follow.
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Do you have an all-time favorite match?
I like the Royal Rumble, the last Royal Rumble was incredible to watch, every athlete walking into the ring was a moment, some of the hall of famers and some of the current roster, that was a cool thing to watch.
Everyone who’s dreamed of being a WWE Superstar has given some thought to what song would be playing when they walk down to the ring…
I can’t wait. The moment this started becoming official, immediately you start watching WWE in a different light, sort of thinking of the entrance music, the costume, how you’re going to walk, who you’re going to be, I can’t wait. And it’s all very creative, which is my favorite kind of work, and it’s entertainment, it’s sport, it’s my dream job — it’s not even a job, it’s a dream.
Do you have any advice for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
Now, the door is officially open for athletes in the region. As the first female from the Middle East, and you also now have the first female from India — a lot of firsts this week — this really opens the door for everybody. If you just put in the work, are athletic, get in front of the camera, work really, really hard, you might have the same opportunity as well.
Are there any Performance Centre staff you’re particularly looking forward to working with? You said you’re a big Shawn Michaels fan, and he recently joined the Performance Centre.
When I was in Orlando, I wasn’t aware that Shawn Michaels already started coaching at the Performance Centre. I was looking for apartments, and this person I see looks exactly like Shawn Michaels, and the next day I see him at the Performance Centre. I’m also looking forward to working with coach Matt Bloom, William Regal, coach Sara Amato. Most of them were here for the Dubai tryouts and I got to see them again in Orlando. I’m looking forward to working with all of them and being coached by them, the best of the best in the business.
Of the current superstars, who are you most looking forward to meeting in the ring one day?
I have so many favorites. From the current WWE roster, John Cena. I would also love to work with Roman Reigns, would love to work with the female superstars — Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Bailey. And not to forget the NXT roster, which is filled with talent. I also now met upcoming talent who are on their way to NXT, and there were super athletes, and I cannot wait to work with them and get on this journey.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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