Wrestling fans witness first women’s WWE match in Saudi Arabia

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WWE wrestler Natalya is participating in the WWE wrestling show in the Kingdom for the second time. ( AN Ziyad Alarfaj )
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WWE wrestlers Natalya and Lacey Evans were the first ever female wrestlers to match in Saudi Arabia. ( AN Ziyad Alarfaj )
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Fans cheer as wrestler Lacey Evans appears on stage. ( AN Ziyad Alarfaj )
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Fans cheer for Natalya as she enters the ring. ( AN Ziyad Alarfaj )
Updated 01 November 2019

Wrestling fans witness first women’s WWE match in Saudi Arabia

  • For WWE wrestler Natalya, Saudi Arabia is very clean, "the people are friendly and the food is amazing. I’ve had some of the best hummus of my life in Saudi Arabia.”

RIYADH: World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Crown Jewel fans were ignited for a monumental evening.

The loaded card for Riyadh Season was not the only treat in store for attendees. It also marked the first women’s WWE match in Saudi Arabia, setting a precedent for fans in King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh as they cheered raucously for Natalya and Lacey Evans.

“This is my second time in Saudi Arabia and I’m so excited,” Natalya told Arab News before the match, which she won. Her first trip was to Jeddah a few months ago. “We’ve been really busy since we landed. We went to a children’s hospital, lots of media interviews and working out.”

She said she had a great time during her first trip, and it was a nice introduction to the Kingdom.

Photo Gallery of the show 

“I was just as excited then as I am now. I’d never been to Saudi Arabia before so I didn’t know what to expect … but now I feel so excited and ready to be here,” she added.

“One thing that stood out to me on both trips is the people. They’ve been so polite and respectful and nice to all of us. You feel so welcome,” Natalya said.

“Saudi Arabia is very clean, the people are friendly and the food is amazing. I’ve had some of the best hummus of my life in Saudi Arabia,” she added.

“To be here in Riyadh, this trip is more special because I’ll be part of the first ever women’s match in Saudi Arabia. I think that’s why it feels so different, so much more special than before,” she said.

“I feel like we’re opening new doors. We’re creating an even closer bond with Saudi Arabia. When you look back on WWE’s relationship with Saudi Arabia, we’ve been coming here for years. We’ve been coming to the Middle East since the 1990s,” she added. “I’m excited and grateful that the WWE universe and our fans in Saudi Arabia get to be part of this journey with us, and that our fans around the world get to experience this life-changing event. It’s very special,” Natalya said.

“This first ever women’s match … is bigger than me, bigger than Lacey, bigger than WWE … Sharing this journey with everybody makes it more special, knowing that WWE is in over 180 countries around the world, knowing that so many people will be with us,” she added.

“I couldn’t be more grateful, and I know it’s something I’ll never forget … I want to thank you all for welcoming us with open arms.”


Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

Updated 32 min 8 sec ago

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

ALULA: British band Jamiroquai thrilled a delighted audience at Maraya Concert Hall in Saudi Arabia on Friday night during a show packed with hits.

In a first for a venue more used to hosting opera and classical concerts, the British funk/acid jazz outfit had fans dancing along to the music.

The show, at the distinctive, mirror-covered concert hall in historic AlUla, was part of the second Winter at Tantora festival. It opened with “Shake It On,” followed by the hit singles “Little L,” “Alright,” and “Space Cowboy.” By this time the crowd was well and truly warmed up, and “Use the Force” got them on their feet.

“The song seemed to resonate with everyone” Jay Kay told Arab News in an exclusive interview after the show.

During the gig, Kay dedicated the 2002 song “Corner of the Earth” to AlUla, which he described as a “magical and wonderful place, which is absolutely stunning.” The opportunity to perform there was “an honor and privilege” he added. He also thanked “Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman for his vision, and Prince Badr for making this happen and the great hospitality.”

After a further selection of singles and album tracks, the show ended on a high with a quartet of hits — “Cosmic Girl,” “Virtual Insanity,” “Canned Heat” and “Lovefoolosophy.”

Kay praised the Maraya Concert Hall as “a brilliant place to play.” He admitted that initially he was a little worried when he saw it because he was under the impression it would be an outdoor venue. However, any concerns he had were gone by the time the first sound check was done.

“I was transported into a completely different world; the acoustics were unbelievable, like being in a German concert hall,” he said. “It is obviously very well thought out and that’s what makes it so good. The sound was fabulous — I never looked at my sound guy once.”

Jamiroquai’s music videos often feature Kay in super cars, of which he owns many, and he revealed that he would love to shoot such a promo in AlUla.

“In reality, I’m desperate to get in one of the dune buggies, and would kill to have a (Ariel) Nomad and have a go in one in AlUla, where it’s supposed to be driven, for a day or five and dune bash, which is such a rare thing for us in England,” he said.

The singer also said he wants to bring his family to AlUla, which has become a hub for culture and creativity in Saudi Arabia.

“I would like to come out with my family and my youngest, who is called Talula, so hopefully we can have Talula come to AlUla, which would be wonderful,” said Kay.

He added that he was looking forward to exploring the area on Saturday, before leaving the country, but added: “I’m sure you can never have enough time to see everything there is to see.”