She’s pint-sized and yet she’s taking on men twice her size in the ring.
Dubai-based, Lebanese-born and raised in Saudi Arabia, 17-year-old Gheeda Chamasaddine believes she is the first female pro wrestler in the Arab world.
She has her sights set on nothing less than becoming a full-blown superstar for the U.S. based World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
Gheeda, who fights under the pseudonym Joelle Hunter, sports fishnet stockings, black boots and a leather jacket as part of her persona for the semi-scripted fights.
She’s a member of Dubai’s Pro Wrestling Academy, a 20-strong group of wrestling enthusiasts, made up of Emiratis, Indians, Europeans and others from the Arab world.
At just 5’4” tall, seeing Joelle throw men about in the ring is an unusual sight.
Caleb Hall, 31, is the mastermind behind Dubai’s Pro Wrestling Academy – he originally trained as a professional wrestler in Kentucky in the US before moving to Dubai to work in real estate.
He spoke to the Wall Street Journal, saying, “In WWE, female wrestlers are very common, but out here in the Gulf, Joelle’s the only one. We’ve been trying for a while to get another girl.”
Joelle’s mother, Nihaya Haimour told the WSJ she had hoped for a ‘girly girl’. However today they regularly sit in and watch WWE together, having heated debates over which wrestlers are the best.
The WWE was in Abu Dhabi this February so fans got to see some of the greats wrestle it out for championship titles.
But the organisation stated their awareness of the cultural sensitivities that come with female wrestlers in the Gulf, and have not yet included any women in their shows. The WWE did also host a show in Saudi Arabia in 2014, but only men were allowed to be in the audience.
Joelle’s fans see her as an inspiration who proves that women can take part in male-dominated sports.
We say go Joelle, keep doing what you’re doing.
Joelle is set to fight against The Vigilante this September 11. He’s beaten her twice so far, but she did nearly force him to tap out in their most recent match. These two have had beef ever since Joelle entered the scene, so you can be sure it’ll be a fight to remember in what’s set to be Dubai Pro Wrestling Academy’s biggest event yet. Dhs50, 6.30pm, Friday September 11, HM Fitness Centre, Meydan Road, Dubai.
The party never stops in dubai pro wrestling academy this was from our show just two days ago! Please go to our page on facebook and support our truly talanted wrestlers and you’ee first female pro wrestler in the arab region Joelle Hunter n come down to our shows youre support is truly appreciated #wrestling #me #joelle #mydubai #dubai #supporttheart #dubaiprowrestlers #WWE #DWE