The WWE hosted the first-ever women’s wrestling match in Saudi Arabia — the latest Western event held in the Middle East nation as it tries to shed its image as a repressive authoritarian state.
Wrestling superstars Natalya and Lacey Evans covered their skin with black leggings and baggy t-shirts — a stark contrast from their typical skimpy outfits when they faced off at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh Thursday.
“Women’s wrestling in Saudi Arabia, yes, but only if they dress like that, otherwise it would not be possible, even if it’s a fact that the clothing is an integral part of the show,” one fan who was in the crowd at the event said.
The woman-on-woman match was the latest western event allowed by Mohammed bin Salman, who has green lighted other social reforms such as concerts, movie theaters and lifted a ban on women driving.
But the nation may not ready for the full-fledged wrestling experience promised to WWE fans in the states.
Last year, a promotional video of a women’s wrestling match played during a men’s event, which featured the women superstars slamming and beating each other while wearing skimpy outfits.
Authorities in the country had to apologize for showing the “indecent” images.