Aria: WWE Arabian superstars struggle to make history Professional wrestler Aaliyah became the first Arab woman to compete in WWE SmackDown and inspire other women. Credit WWE – Aaliyah aims to be the first Arab woman to appear in WWE in the Middle East Aliyah aims to be the first Arab woman to appear in WWE in the Middle East. 

Aaliyah, a Canadian wrestler, knows this very well. The 27-year-old descendants of Iraq and Syria stand out as one of the few Middle Eastern talents in world wrestling entertainment, becoming the first Arab woman to attend the main event of the company’sflagship show, SmackDown, earlier this year. became. It has been running for over 20 years.

It feels surreal. It’s been my biggest dream since I was little. “ “Growing up, I saw wrestling, and I didn’tsee anyone who looked like me or was an Arab. To set an example and participate in the sport that other Arab women want. I think I was able to inspire. “Aliyah (her real name is Nhooph al-Areebi) has been competing with some of WWE’s best women since her November SmackDown debut.

Her journey up to this point has never been easier.After she trained as a wrestler at the age of 16, she went through an independent professional wrestling organization before being acquired by WWE in 2015.

However, she worked at the development show NXT for over 6 years and saw many colleagues before being promoted to the main program. Nevertheless,as a positive attitude, she never gives up and advises others who are facing challenges to do the same. “If you have a dream in your heart, pursue it. Break the glass ceiling first. Everything is possible.” The Toronto-born fighter also faced opposition from her parents about her decision to become a wrestler. “The first time I told them, they said’No!’. At first,they didn’t support me at all, so I had to hide it from them. Part-time job I’m going to do it, but I’ll take the subway across the town and take the train at this warehouse. “ Her family finally arrested her six months later. “Her parents found her knee pads and training shoes in my backpack and said,’What’s that?’ It was a red flag for them because they also appeared in my “work” and I wasn’t there. “

Aria’s parents, who emigrated to Canada in the early 90’s, eventually accepted their choice. She says they are now her “biggest supporters” and is grateful that she made her feel proud of her Arab roots. Even before our interview, Aliyah was willing to speak toour technical staff in her native language. “We grew up in an Arabic and English-speaking house,” she later said. “When my dad emigrated to Canada, he remained loyal to himself and his upbringing and tried to keep it with us.” However, she admits that a plan is needed to balance her street life with important family events such as the Holy Ramadan Moon of Islam. The big dinner party is part of the celebration of many Arab families, and she jokingly admits that food can be a favorite part of her culture.One of her worries for Aliyah is that she hasn’t hadthe opportunity to visit her country of origin since she was a child. Both Iraq and Syria have been devastatedby war for many of their adulthood. As she talked about her lost time, her faint expression of regret crossed her face. “I was in Syria for a few months in 2002. We took a vacation there, and we still have afamily living there. Since then I haven’t been there,”she said. Said. She hasn’t visited the area for years, but hopes her next trip will be a memorable one. “Oneof my biggest dreams is to be the first Arab woman to play [for WWE] in the Middle East. It’s an absolute honor.”

According to 21-year-old Saudi wrestling fan Lenado, Aria certainly has great ambitions and her efforts are a source of hope. “Aria makes me feel connected. If she becomes a champion, it makes a lot of sense for many young girls training to become athletes,” Lenado told Al Jazeera. Lebanese wrestling journalist Samira dreams of becoming a major wrestling promotion broadcaster. She said, “It makesa lot of sense to me to see Aliyah, an Arab woman in the professional wrestling industry, given a huge platform to show off her skills. It’s very exciting to see her chase her dreams and kill her dreams. “

Such sentiments will please WWE executives, record has seen the company receive a huge amount of criticism over the deal which earns them a reported $50m per show. And Thurston believes that by backing Aliyah’s rise fully, they stand to benefit even more.

“A star from the Middle East would have the greatest positive effect on business regionally if they were a genuine top star all year round, as opposed to someone who is in a minor role or who is built up briefly ahead of an international tour,” he s

Pro-wrestling is, of course, scripted entertainment, so WWE can choose how or when it wants to push talents. One positive sign for Aliyah is that she already has a record to her name, having claimed the promotion’s fastest win of all time at 3.17 seconds in January.

She knows there is still plenty of hard work to do, but has little doubt that one day she will hold a gold-plated belt above her head as a champion in wrestling’s top promotion.

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