Shadia Bseiso: It is a 'dream' to be the first Arab female signed by the WWE
It was announced on Sunday that Shadia Bseiso had become the first Arab woman from the Middle East to be signed by the WWE.
Bseiso impressed in an invitation only try-out in April in Dubai and will begin training at the WWE's Performance Centre in Orlando in the United States in January.
Following the news, she spoke to The National about her expectations, her past interest in the WWE, who she would like to work with from the current roster, and the pressure of being a role model for Arab women in the region.
The tryout process
"I was invited to the tryouts in April and myself along with 40 athletes from around the world, Middle East and India. We did four days of back-to-back conditioning drills, indoors and outdoors, in Dubai. We got to learn in-ring drills, wrestling drills, and it was an incredible experience. So that was my tryout experience and after the tryouts, about a month after, I got the call saying 'we want to hire you'."
On finding out the WWE wanted to sign her
"I found out in May. It was the most memorable phone call. I don't think I will ever forget this phone call."
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What she has been up to since May
"I got the opportunity to visit Orlando in July, and I went to the WWE Performance Centre. It is incredible. Seven rings, world class coaches, coaching and acting for the promo parts so it is like going back to university to perfect the arts so hopefully one day be a WWE Superstar. I cannot wait to start training."
Getting in the best physical shape
"The timeline is January 2018. You have to be in the best physical shape possible for an opportunity like this. I am training very hard. I am a I am a three stripe jiu-jitsu blue belt and I also train cross-fit to stay in shape. I have modified my training to be in the best shape possible moving into January. I have been based in Dubai for six years so I feel like it is just enough time from now until January to wrap things up."
WWE is her dream job
"Who doesn't know WWE? I never thought that I would have the opportunity to work for them. As a TV presenter and someone who works in entertainments and has a passion for sport, so this is the dream job as I get to combine sports with entertainment."
Perfect timing for a first Arab female in the WWE
"I feel like it is the perfect timing to have the first Arab female from the Middle East. The foundation has been laid with the amazing talent in the WWE that is already there. Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks and Bayley starting the women's revolution. But in the wider picture, you also credit the London Olympics where every participating country had to send to a (female) athlete. So as an Arab woman I got to see world class female athletes on the TV for the first time, competing at the highest level. I feel like if I had the opportunity to see that growing up, or if we had that growing up, maybe I would have been an athlete from the start."
On the responsibility of becoming a pioneer for Arab women
"I am absolutely honoured to be the first Arab female from the Middle East to be signed to the WWE. It is a honour but also a big responsibility because you want the region to be proud. I need to work very hard as an athlete and learn and perfect the art to do the region proud."
Who does she want to work with in the WWE
"On the roster right now? There are so many incredible talent there. I wish I had the opportunity to work with Stone Cold Steve Austin. This would have been amazing. Or the Rock, the most electrifying performer, right.
"From the current roster it would be the Bella twins, John Cena, Roman Reigns. From the NXT roster I am looking forward to working with people like Bianca Belair, the Iconic Duo (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce). You can see that I mostly mention the females and it is so cool to have so much female talent and great athletes."