Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 28 March 2020

WWE's Bayley and Naomi on why they like wearing abayas and making history in Saudi

The wrestlers will compete in the first Super ShowDown women's title match in Riyadh

WWE Superstars Bayley and Naomi sport abayas while in Riyadh. 
WWE Superstars Bayley and Naomi sport abayas while in Riyadh. 

History awaits.

WWE superstar Bayley will defend her Women’s Smackdown Championship against Naomi in the first Super ShowDown women’s title match in Riyadh on Thursday.

Both women feel a little bit of pressure, as the special moment isn’t lost on them. They say they are grateful for the chance to showcase their talent.

“Since I’ve joined the WWE, we’ve always had the idea of changing the perception of women’s wrestling," Bayley says. "In Saudi, I think we want to change the perception of women in all sports and what women are capable of. It means a lot.”

'It's win-win... I’m super proud'

“It’s a win-win for me to even be here and have this opportunity," Naomi says. "Whether I win or lose, I will not walk away feeling like I lost out on anything because I’m super proud and happy to be here and see the progress that’s happening and be a part of that.”

The pair hope to inspire change not only in the region but globally as well. With more female fans in attendance and younger women having more female wrestlers to look up to, they hope to inspire a new generation.

"When I first wanted to be a wrestler or join the WWE, I was only 10 years old," Bayley says. "I just wanted to wrestle. I saw what I saw on TV and I just wanted to do that and get in the ring and learn.

"Now we’re able to reach an audience out here and be able to be an example to little girls or teenagers. I saw how emotional it was last time. It’s so cool that what I love to do has an impact on someone’s life and I think it’s going to be really special to see that out there.”

Naomi says: “I just want everyone to feel inspired and feel that all the possibilities – honestly, whatever you feel in your heart, if there’s something you can’t ignore, there’s something there worth fighting for and not giving up on. That’s kind of the message I’d love to give.”

'Get an abaya'

Before the match, they received some advice from fellow wrestlers Natalya and Lacey Evans. The pair competed in the first women’s match in Saudi Arabia at Crown Jewel last October and shared their experiences and tips for the coming match. Perhaps one of the more interesting pieces of advice? Get an abaya.

While the kingdom no longer requires women to wear them, both wrestlers say they don’t mind. Naomi sported a black and blue traditional abaya while Bayley showed off a sleek and modern beige and pink abaya with a bird pattern.

“Actually Nattie gave me a couple to bring on the way here and I’ve really been enjoying them. I love them. It’s awesome,” says Naomi.

“Nattie let me borrow one of her abayas," says Bayley. "She was messaging us beforehand like 'hey this what you get to wear over there', and just helping us with how to prepare.

"She was saying how much of a beautiful experience it will be."

Updated: February 26, 2020 10:08 PM

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