In Depth

WWE signs first Indian and Arab female wrestlers

Kavita Devi and Shadia Bseiso will fly to Orlando to join wrestling franchise’s academy

The WWE has signed its first ever Indian and Arab female wrestlers, as the brand seeks to expand its global reach.

Indian Kavita Devi, 31, and Shadia Bseiso, 30, from Jordan, have both been given developmental contracts with the franchise, the first step towards becoming a WWE Superstar, the top echelon of competitive wrestling.

Both women won their place at a tryout in Dubai earlier this year, in which 40 men and women from India and the Middle East identified as potential stars of the future were put through their paces by WWE scouts.

The signings are the latest in the US company’s run of hires from India and China, as it sets its sights on “piledriv[ing] its way into lucrative foreign markets”, says Reuters.

The talent pool was drawn not only from amateur wrestlers, but athletes, weightlifters, fitness experts and martial artists.

Devi began her sporting career as a powerlifter, winning a gold medal for India in the 2016 South Asian Games, before training as a wrestler under the tutelage of Indian WWE star The Great Khali.

Devi entered the independent circuit under the name Kavita in June 2016, and in July 2017 she was chosen to participate in the Mae Young Classic, an all-female WWE tournament. “It was a privilege to be the first Indian woman to compete in WWE,” she told India Times.

“Now I am looking forward to pursuing my dream of becoming the first WWE Women's Champion from India.”

Bseiso’s background is in jiu jitsu and crossfit, but her athletic prowess and polished charisma – she has also worked as a TV host in Dubai – convinced WWE bosses she has what it makes to make the grade.

Becoming the first Middle Eastern woman to sign a WWE contract is an “honour,” she told Gulf News. “I have personally witnessed the power of WWE and the passion of WWE fans. I look forward to starting on my path to becoming a WWE Superstar.”

Both women will now begin training at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, in the new year.

WWE trainees not only learn to master wrestling techniques, but also develop their in-ring personas – a crucial aspect for any wannabe superstar.

Successful recruits are placed in the WWE’s NXT developmental division before ascending to the top tier Smackdown or Raw franchises.

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