KUALA LUMPUR, April 2 — Malaysian professional wrestling sensation Nor “Phoenix” Diana has made it to Forbes’ “30 under 30 Asia” list for 2020 in recognition of her contribution to the sport.

Nor Diana grabbed worldwide attention after being the first female to win the Malaysia Pro Wrestling (MYPW) wrestlecon championship in July last year.

She was a featured honouree in the list’s ‘Entertainment and Sports’ section.

The other categories include The Arts (Art & Style, Food & Drink); Finance & Venture Capital; Media, Marketing & Advertising; Retail & E-Commerce; Enterprise Technology; Industry, Manufacturing & Energy; Healthcare & Science and Social Entrepreneurs; and Consumer Technology.


The 2020 list features a diverse set of “30 Under 30” honourees, with 22 countries and territories represented across the Asia-Pacific region, with the publication vetting some 3,500 nominations.

According to Forbes, “this select group of relentless individuals are disrupting industries and tackling major global issues”.

It added that the criteria for honourees making the list include “their demonstration of leadership, how they embody the entrepreneurial spirit that is synonymous with Forbes, and their potential of success in their industry”.


Other factors like innovation, disruption — and size and growth of their ventures in some categories — also played a role in the final decision.

Honourees were vetted and selected by a panel of accomplished and acclaimed judges in each category.

They include Hiroshi Mikitani (CEO of Rakuten); Roshni Nadar Malhotra (Executive Director and CEO of HCL Corporation and Trustee of Shiv Nadar Foundation); and JP Gan (General Partner at INCE Capital).

Eleven other listees from Malaysia include Zac Liew (co-founder of Curlec); Ooi “Jason” Wei Xiang (founder of Agrain); Lennise Ng and Aizat Rahim (co-founders of Dropee); and Wan Hasifi Amin Wan Zaidon (co-founder of Baituljannah).

Malaysian professional wrestler Nor ‘Phoenix’ Diana graces the cover of Forbes Asia’s April edition.
Malaysian professional wrestler Nor ‘Phoenix’ Diana graces the cover of Forbes Asia’s April edition.

Forbes lauded 20-year-old Nor Diana as having broken down barriers for women in her chosen sport.

“While she’s being criticised in Malaysia’s online community for fighting — and for her tight costume — her involvement in the sport has sparked growing interest in wrestling among young women in Malaysia,” its profile of Nor Diana read.

In an interview with Malay Mail last year, Nor Diana said she was drawn to the sport after being inspired by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and their biggest stars such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, The Undertaker, Triple H and John Cena.

In the same interview, Nor Diana said she believes that she can use her image to challenge stereotypes and break down social walls, and hopes that people will someday recognise her as a wrestler for her talent and not because she wears the hijab.

She wants to spread good vibes and inspire young people to be themselves and be courageous and fearless like her in-ring persona.