x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

WWE wrestling fans turn out in force for final night of action in Abu Dhabi

Fans of all ages and nationalities packed the Zayed Sport City tennis complex to cheer on their favourite WWE heros as they slugged it out in the ring.

Ryback wrestles Dolph Ziggler during the WWE Live event at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi. Christopher Pike / The National
Ryback wrestles Dolph Ziggler during the WWE Live event at Zayed Sports City in Abu Dhabi. Christopher Pike / The National

ABU DHABI // Wrestling fans turned out in force for the final bout of WWE Live last night at Zayed Sport City’s tennis complex.

People of all ages and nationalities packed the venue to cheer on their favourite WWE heroes as they slugged it out in the ring.

“It’s been great. It has been a wonderful experience,” said Patrick Talty, senior vice president of live events at WWE.

“We always love coming to Abu Dhabi, the city is always very hospitable and the guys have a great time. They love experiencing Abu Dhabi with the malls, go-karting, Ferrari World and Emirates Palace and the great weather.

“The crowds have been really into it and very up to date with everything that is going on television.

“It’s been a great event and one that we are always happy to do.”

The final night of action certainly struck a chord with fans.

“It is the first time we’ve been to see WWE and it has been amazing,” said Omar Musallam, 37, a father of two from Dubai.

“I brought my two kids to this, and they have loved it, they know all the names and it has been great for them to see them in the ring. It is really excellent.”

His sons, Ahmed, 8, and Abdulla, 9, are both keen wrestling fans and got to see their idol, the Big Show, do battle in the ring.

“I’d definitely recommend WWE for families, it is a great show and very entertaining, we’ll be back, definitely,” Mr Musallam said.

As well as shouting themselves horse spurring on their heroes in the ring, fans also took to social media to voice their support for their favourite fighters.

“Enjoying the WWE AbuDhabi experience! Especially the Miz,” said user Shruthi Rajendran.

The weekend’s shows were something Mr Talty felt personally drawn to, as he was general manager of Zayed Sports City before joining the team at WWE.

“This is an awesome venue for us, the fans are close and it is really intimate. There great back of house space for us too, and of course the weather in Abu Dhabi is perfect for the event.”

The team at WWE perform 320 live events a year, so the three-day schedule in the UAE was a walk in the park for the athletes and event staff.

“The Middle East is a priority market for us as a company and we look to grow in this region and Abu Dhabi is a great foothold for us to launch more events. Abu Dhabi will be one of those shows that we keep doing, the demand is here and we want to keep providing our fans with that entertainment.

“It has been a very young audience and that’s what we like to see, they’ve been great. We will be back, I don’t know exactly when yet, but I can guarantee we’ll be back.”

Barry Bremner, general manager of Zayed Sports City, was thrilled at how well the weekend had gone.

“The show has been absolutely phenomenal, three nights of action-packed fun, we’ve loved it,” he said. “We’ve had an excellent reaction from the fans, we’ve had a number get in touch on Facebook and Twitter asking when the next show will be.

“We’d love to see WWE back here and there is a huge following for WWE in the UAE. Everything went according to plan and ran on time so we are very happy.”

ksinclair@thenational.ae