WWE’s ruthless aggression star that never existed

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When fans think back to Ruthless aggression, they tend to focus on the rise of great local talent like Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Randy Orton, and Batista. It’s also a time when guys like The Undertaker, Triple H, and Edge have deeply enriched their legacies and when Shawn Michaels got back into action and thrived. A name that was very promising then and is almost forgotten today is Muhammad Hassan.

The Mohammed Hassan Gimmick made capital out of world events

Muhammad Hassan Royal Rumble Undertaker

Muhammad Hassan was a provocative figure from his inception, posed with an interesting degree of nuance as an Arab-American man who felt discriminated against after 9/11. The grays faded over time and fans were more interested in having a clear character to boo on, but he nonetheless represented a fascinating creative endeavor and a unique achievement at the time in American history.

As the character simplified, he was mostly a modernized version of the Heel Foreigner type (although he was from the United States). In his heat, everything revolved around capitalizing on patriotic zeal, and he managed to garner significant responses from the WWE audience.

Muhammad Hassan confronts Hulk Hogan, the Undertaker and the world

Hulk Hogan vs. Muhammad Hassan

Muhammad Hassan was working at an important spot in the 2005 Royal Rumble when the match ended for everyone in the ring after he entered to band together and immediately eliminate him from the match. He was just getting started as he feuded a number of top baby faces from the era of reckless aggression and beyond in the months that followed. WrestleMania 21 saw him exchange blows with Hulk Hogan in a guest appearance before he and Daivari faced Hogan and Shawn Michaels in a high profile match.

In his final act, Hassan was able to feud with the Undertaker in a rivalry he seemed to be winning before he could challenge Batista for the World Heavyweight Championship.

Muhammad Hassan failed through no fault of his own

Muhammad Hassan and masked men

It was questionable that Muhammad Hassan was suddenly flanked by a band of masked men who looked like caricatures of terrorists. While the invention provided Hassan with a reason to compete against The Undertaker when they entered their battle at The Great American Bash in 2005, it still made little sense of the plot.

Related: 10 Controversial Things You Forgot In The Era of Ruthless Aggression

It got worse, worse for Hassan, when three days after the angle was shot – and the day SmackDown actually aired – there was a terrorist attack in London. The connections that viewers drew between the two sparked deep insult, if not outrage. This was neither the first nor the last time a television network dictated a wrestling promotion, UPN told WWE it would no longer feature Hassan on its network. While Hassan wasn’t to blame for any of these issues, at this point the character went from nervous to unusable.

Muhammad Hassan has chosen to move away from wrestling

Headmaster circumcised by Muhammad Hassan

After the aftermath of the incident at SmackDown and after he was crushed by The Undertaker at The Great American Bash, WWE has moved Hassan back to development for repackaging. He split from WWE months later and promptly announced his withdrawal from the business.

While Hassan’s rapid rise to near the top of WWE can be attributed to his remarkable gimmick, the same gimmick prepared him for one of the most dramatic falls in wrestling history. Although his run’s fame and demise likely meant he would never have been a world champion or main eventer in WWE thereafter, the decision to quit wrestling closed some potential for real comeback history. Hassan was working on a few independent dates in the late 2010s, but that was the extent of his wrestling career that was to follow. An interview with Fightful from 2019 stated that outside of the wrestling business, he is satisfied now he focused on his career as a school principal.

The era of ruthless aggression became one of the most influential and important times for WWE as it was rebuilt and renamed after the incandescent Attitude era. Muhammad Hassan seemed like a leading figure and moving forward in those years, but his polarizing gimmick and real world events ultimately made him more of a footnote in wrestling history. It’s fascinating to think about what could have been for him if WWE’s original plans and the talented youngster had reached their potential.


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