Nattie Beats Lacey Evans in 1st Women's Match in Saudi Arabia at WWE Crown Jewel

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 31, 2019

Photo credit: WWE.com.

Natalya defeated Lacey Evans via submission with the Sharpshooter at WWE Crown Jewel on Thursday in the first women's match to ever take place in Saudi Arabia.  

Nattie and Evans—who were largely covered up and wore oversized shirts rather than their usual wrestling attire—did battle in a back-and-forth match and even received, "This is awesome" chants from some of those in attendance.

Following the bout, Natalya and Evans embraced each other as well as some of the women in the crowd:

After plenty of speculation over the past year about whether the Saudi Arabian government would eventually allow women to compete on a WWE card in the country, WWE made the groundbreaking announcement Wednesday that the Nattie vs. Lacey match was on.

It was a significant breakthrough for WWE after Natalya and Alexa Bliss made the trip to Saudi Arabia for Super ShowDown earlier this year only to have their planned match nixed by the Saudi government, according to Dave Meltzer of F4WOnline.

Both Natalya and Evans expressed great pride in being tabbed for the first WWE women's match in Saudi Arabia:

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Nattie and Evans were strong choices to compete in Thursday's match for myriad reasons, not least of which is the fact that they are familiar with each other and have strong in-ring chemistry.

Over the past couple of months, Natalya and Evans have had multiple matches on Raw, including a Last Woman Standing match. After that, they came to respect each other to the point that they even tagged together.

Natalya is part of the legendary Hart wrestling family, which includes her late grandfather Stu Hart, late father Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart and uncle Bret "Hitman" Hart, among others. Perhaps no woman has ever been born into the wrestling business in the same way as Nattie, which made her an ideal candidate for Thursday's match.

Lacey has far less experience than Nattie and doesn't come from a wrestling background, but she is one of WWE's hottest prospects since she has the look, athleticism, speaking ability and character needed to be a major star.

Evans is also a veteran of the U.S. Marines, which made her the perfect representative for the American men and women watching the match on WWE Network.

Natalya technically had her hand raised in victory Thursday, but as WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon suggested to Bleacher Report's Jonathan Snowden, the historic match was about much more than wins and losses:

"You can either sit on the sidelines and there are plenty of companies and brands that decide to do that or you can be a part of hopefully enacting change. You can be a part of progress. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. It takes time. It takes perseverance. Now here we are with the first ever women's match in Saudi Arabia. It's pretty mind blowing."

Thursday marked the first step for WWE in causing change in Saudi Arabia, and it appears the company is hoping this progress is lasting.

           

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