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WWE's Lita explains decision to wrestle in Saudi Arabia despite previous criticisms

Lita will challenge for Becky Lynch's Raw Women's title at the Elimination Chamber in Jeddah.

In an interview with Ring The Belle, WWE Hall of Famer Lita explained why she's wrestling in Saudi Arabia despite previously criticizing WWE's relationship with the country.

Lita will challenge Becky Lynch for the Raw Women's Championship at WWE's Elimination Chamber pay-per-view in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, February 19. Lita told Ring the Belle that women now being able to wrestle in Saudi Arabia, along with positive experiences she's heard from other talent, made wrestling there an opportunity she wanted to take.

So I will say I was outspoken on the early relationship between WWE and Saudi. ‘Oh, they say they want women to wrestle over there, but like, I don’t know if I believe it. There’s no women on this card.’ There’s women on the card [now] -- and I’ve talked to the women personally that have been over there. And they’re like, ‘It's unbelievable. There are women crying, never thinking they would get to see two women be so strong in the ring.' They’re like, ‘It's really powerful. You’re gonna enjoy that.' And so, sure, do they have a long way to go? Do we as a society have a long way to go? Absolutely, but you’ve got to take the opportunities when they’re there.

Lita had said in a 2018 interview with WrestleZone that she thought WWE's relationship with the Saudi government was a "direct conflict of interest" with the promotion's efforts to push forward women's wrestling.

"I understand that they are a business, a global business and they are always looking to expand their global presence. However, I do feel this was a direct conflict of interest with them maintaining any integrity or truth to the fact that they say they would like to push forward women, their roles and their reputations in this business as anything resembling equal to a male," Lita said in the May 2018 interview.

"Make the money, that’s fine, but don’t try to cover it up. Don’t say, 'No, we are doing this because in the future we would like to help progress their culture forward!' No, you want the money, you’re a business and businesses make money. That’s okay. From my perspective over here, I don’t own your business so that’s your call. From a PR perspective don’t say you are doing it because, 'We want to help progress that culture forward.' No, it’s a direct conflict of interest, in my opinion."

This year's Elimination Chamber will be WWE's seventh event in Saudi Arabia since the company's 10-year deal with the Saudi government began in 2018. WWE's first women's match in Saudi Arabia took place in October 2019.

Lynch vs. Lita was set up for the Elimination Chamber when Lita confronted Lynch on the post-Royal Rumble episode of Raw. Lita was also an entrant in this year's women's Royal Rumble match.

Lita told Ring The Belle that she was initially supposed to go home after the Royal Rumble, but WWE asked her if she wanted to wrestle Lynch.

Lita was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2014.

Lita's full interview with Ring The Belle can be seen below: