The last thing I ever thought I would be doing with my time at the age of 25 was pro wrestling.
I do remember when I was a kid, noticing my older brother watching men beat one another up on television on WWE – World Wrestling Entertainment – and being completely enamored by it. I became hooked too, and when I saw a woman performing, more specifically, Amy “Lita” Dumas, I decided I wanted to be just like her. She was athletic, beautiful, edgy, raw, and a total trailblazer. Before Lita, there were not that many female pro wrestlers, and it was definitely not taken seriously.
Two years ago, when I was searching for some direction in my life, a close friend starting talking about the good old days of wrestling, when the matches were grueling and raw. A light went off in my head.
YouTube was next, and I found a video of a match between Lita and another trailblazing female, Trish Stratus back in 2004. Their match was also the main event — something new at the time. I watched all 10 minutes and then decided I was going to become a wrestler, too.
But I couldn’t find any pro wrestling schools in the UAE. In the meantime, I continued my regular regime doing powerlifting, barre, adding in a boxing and mixed martial arts. It wasn’t until Covid hit that I learned Dubai was getting its own pro wrestling school. A friend connected me to Caleb Hall, a professional MMA fighter from New York who used to train people here before he moved back to the US. He introduced me to Samir Nassif, founder and head coach of WrestlingME, which is located in Al Quoz. Samir also my wrestling coach.
At the end of the day, pro wrestling is a performance art. There are multiple exciting aspects involved, such as getting into character and creating a storyline. As the only woman, developing a character is quite a challenge. And, that’s what makes it special. I get that people call wrestling “fake”, but the physical demands — and the injuries — are real.
I often wonder if another female or several females will ever join, because I believe that would be a game-changer for WrestlingME. I definitely expect a higher demand for female pro wrestling to rise in the UAE, because it’s never been done here before.
For what it’s worth, joining WrestlingME as the only female has been one of the best things I’ve ever done throughout my life. The greatest lesson I have been taught is who you are outside of the ring is who you are inside.
What I really need is an opponent. I’d love to show other women throughout this region that they can also do this and be not only confident, but fearless, too.
And I’d like to encourage other women to join me in training, and prove to everyone else that women have an important part to play in the Middle East’s growing pro wrestling scene.