Star shines in first ever women’s wrestling match in Abu Dhabi

Star shines in first ever women’s wrestling match in Abu Dhabi
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Star shines in first ever women’s wrestling match in Abu Dhabi
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Sasha Banks has a habit of making WWE history. (WWE)
Updated 09 December 2017

Star shines in first ever women’s wrestling match in Abu Dhabi

Star shines in first ever women’s wrestling match in Abu Dhabi

ABU DHABI: Sasha Banks is a WWE superstar accustomed to firsts. There was the first women’s Iron Man match in NXT. Then the first women’s Hell in a Cell, which also served as the first time female wrestlers headlined a WWE pay-per-view. Later, she shared the stage once more with Charlotte Flair as the first women to main event Monday Night RAW.
Charming, passionate and able to switch from humility and humor to swaggering bluster in a flick of her striking purple hair, it is little wonder Banks has been front and center of the women’s revolution since it came to pass two years ago.
In that time, the 25-year-old has become one of the leading lights of the WWE — male or female — and on Thursday night in Abu Dhabi she etched her name alongside yet another first for female wrestling.
This time around, alongside Alexa Bliss, she took part in the first women’s wrestling match in the Middle East.
Not only that, Bliss’ RAW Women’s Championship was on the line — a belt she ultimately defended in typically fashion — giving the occasion even greater significance.
Overcome with emotion, Banks went on to cut a post-match promo — devoid largely of her swaggering Legit Boss persona — in which she spoke of the enormity of the latest scrawl in her ever-expanding list of groundbreaking feats with the company.
That the pair wore full bodysuits in place of their customary attire, while the men paraded in spandex shorts and bare chests, does still highlight the challenges for women in the region, even for those as globally acclaimed as Banks and Bliss.
However, the mere presence of the two going toe-to-toe for one of the most competitive titles in the WWE should not be sneered at and instead applauded.
The significance of the moment was not lost on Banks.
“Having the first ever women’s match is a huge honor and it’s so crazy to think that we’re again making more history and there’s more to come and we’re breaking down more barriers. I hope women see this and are inspired that they can do whatever they want to,” Banks told Arab News prior to facing Bliss.
“We want to keep on knocking down the doors and the barriers and show that women can do it. We want to be the face of the company and headlining the shows, main eventing pay-per-views and making it a normal thing that it wasn’t just a great women’s match, it was just a great match.”
And it was not only Banks vs. Bliss highlighting the turning tide of perception toward women’s wrestling at Zayed Sports City.
In October, Shadia Bseiso became the first Arab female from the Middle East to be signed by the WWE and the Jordanian was greeted warmly as she addressed the crowd in Abu Dhabi before Banks and Bliss went at it.
If Bseiso is not already acutely aware of the possibilities, responsibilities and enormous potential for her to instigate change that awaits, Banks most certainly is.
“I don’t know much about her but it’s definitely cool to see WWE sign people from all over the world and from all different backgrounds,” said Banks of Bseiso.
“She’s going to be the first ever, people are going to be watching her and looking up to her and she’s going to be creating history as it is just getting started.
“My best advice for her is just don’t give up. This is such an amazing opportunity and such a great place and platform to use your voice and help young women to be inspired that they can do something more, follow their dreams and make it happen.”
Elsewhere on the card, The Shield were the biggest draw outside of the women with their victory over The Bar and Samoa Joe only topped by the late appearance of Triple H, who threw down the challenge to Roman Reigns to put his Intercontinental title on the line on day two.
Finn Balor, Braun Strowman, Enzo Amore, Jason Jordan and the pairing of Titus O’Neill & Apollo Crews also secured wins but the biggest of all was evidently Banks’ latest foray into new ground, alongside Bliss, that saw the pair Legit Boss the show.