Shadia Bseiso, 30, from Jordan, and Indian, Kavita Devi, aged 31, have both been given developmental contracts with the entertainment franchise, the first step towards becoming WWE superstars, the top echelon of competitive wrestling.
The women won their places at a try-out in Dubai earlier this year, in which 40 men and women from India and the Middle East, previously 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,” according to a report from Reuters.
The talent pool was drawn not only from amateur wrestlers, but included athletes, weightlifters, fitness experts and martial artists.
Bseiso’s background is in jiu jitsu and crossfit, but her athletic prowess and polished charisma, she has also worked as a TV host, convinced WWE bosses that 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 Dubai-based 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.”
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.”
Both women will now begin training at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida, in the new year, where trainees learn not only how to master wrestling techniques, but also develop their in-ring personae, a crucial aspect in the entertainment provided by WWE.
Successful recruits are placed in the WWE’s NXT developmental division before ascending to the top tier ‘Smackdown’ or ‘Raw’ franchises.