WrestleFest DXB is preparing for its first women's main event.
British wrestlers Charlie Morgan and Alex Windsor will battle it out at at Warehouse Four on October 15.
The fight, called Equal Measures, is the first official women's match in the emirate as recognised by the Dubai Sports Council, says WrestleFest founder Mohammad Al Shehhi.
Wrestling fans will recognise Morgan (real name Yasmine Lander, 30) from her time in Progress Wrestling, Bellatrix Female Warriors, World Association of Wrestling, Southside Wrestling Entertainment, Pro-Wrestling: EVE — where she is a former champion — and WWE's NXT UK division.
Windsor's (real name Alice Smile, 28) career highlights have seen her winning the REV Pro Women’s Championship belt in London, the International Princess Championship in Japan and the Pro Wrestling EVE She-1 belt, again in London.
When they’re not competing in the ring, the competitors are best friends, with Morgan naming Windsor as her maid of honour for her wedding next year. And, coming together for this first-time event makes it an even more enjoyable moment for the pair.
“The fight in Dubai is massive for us,” says Morgan. “We hope we can show girls in the UAE and around the world that they can do anything.
“It’s so important for us to set a good example and champion progress in women’s sport, and to be able to do that with my best friend feels so special.”
Despite shopping together, going on holidays and enjoying countless nights out, Windsor insists that in the ring, it’s strictly business.
“We met at a wrestling training camp more than 10 years ago and we’re both deadly serious about the sport,” says Windsor. “There’ll be no holds barred during the match but we’ll still go to Aquaventure together afterwards, regardless of the outcome.”
Despite competing as a tag team in the past, the event in Dubai will be the first time the friends have met as opponents in the ring, although their rise through the wrestling ranks has been remarkably similar.
Morgan, from Cambridge, began training when she was 18 after a bank clerk gave her some tickets to a show when she was opening her first bank account. “It was a bit of a strange start, but I went along to the match and the female wrestlers blew me away,” says Morgan, who works as a nursery manager when not wrestling. “I spoke to the wrestlers after the match finished and decided that I wanted to give it a go.”
Mental health support worker Windsor, meanwhile, took up wrestling when she was 15, joining a friend at training sessions near her home in Norwich.
For the next eight years, both women continued working their way through various wrestling promotions around the world. But a series of injuries three years ago almost saw both their careers end.
“I broke my ankle and Alice seriously injured her knee three times,” says Morgan. “There was a point where neither of us knew whether we’d fight again. Everything we’ve been through makes this match more important than ever.”
Both women battled back from their injuries and, despite the hardships they’ve shared and their close friendship, agree they won’t hold back at their match in Dubai.
“I’ll admit I am slightly nervous,” says Windsor. “Not just for the fight itself, but for what it represents.
“Female wrestling has been growing massively in the last five years or so and to be part of that progress is a huge honour. We’ll both be giving it everything we’ve got.”
For Al Shehhi, who made history as the first Emirati wrestler to represent the UAE overseas, the female match is just the next step in the growth of wrestling in the Middle East.
“Every female wrestler who fights in the region is paving the way for change and making amazing moments like this possible,” he says.
Equal Measures is just the first of many female wrestling matches fans can expect to see in the UAE.
“WrestleFest DXB will continue to support women who are rocking it in the male-dominated field of pro wrestling,” he says.
“We want to place a spotlight on international female performers to inspire and empower the growth of a women’s wrestling scene in the region.”
WrestleFest DXB's Equal Measures will take on October 15 at Warehouse Four, Al Quoz, Dubai. More information is available at www.instagram.com/wrestlefestdxb