Originally posted by Rick Scaia at OOAlso of note from RAW house shows: a new character debuted, named Mohammed Hassan. He did the full-on Islam thing with the prayer rug and the denouncing America, and also had an unnamed, turban-wearing manager. He faced Maven and got DQ'ed when his manager interfered. On two of the three shows, Sgt. Slaughter ran out to make the jingoistic save.
Based on physical descriptions and on my understanding of the developmental depth chart, I'm guessing this is full-blooded American Mark Magnus doing the Hassan gimmick (he's just swarthy enough to pull it off), but I'd bet a body part that his manager is Iran-born Shawn Daivari. Why have an American playing the role of a middle easterner when you have a real one on the developmental roster (Daivari is actually a fully trained and very skilled wrestler)? Simple, cuz Daivari is a cruiserweight (and not a very big one at that), while Magnus is a big, beefy heavyweight. So that's why I'm betting the manager is Daivari, anyway... because he's just a little guy.
We'll see. As with Eugene and Simon Dean, expect WWE management to get a scouting report on how the gimmick went over (by all accounts, it generated exactly the cheap heat you'd expect) and start hyping Hassan on TV before too long.
If anyone can find any possible good in this gimmick, let me know. It's not fair to prejudge, yeah, but I hope they don't bring this to TV.
Its cheep heat and its something the WWE has tried countless times before in the past. As long as the WWE is around we will always see at least an anti American gimmick,a racial stereotype or a homosexual gimmick on TV. It upsets me that this is all that Vince and the rest of the WWE writers think we can comprehend.
What's interesting is that they've been "testing" this character out for Magnus in OVW over the past few weeks. They'll have Cornette doing an interview or recording some type of promo for an upcoming show and Magnus will then storm out and interrupt, proclaiming his new name, etc., etc.
I can't recall WWE testing the waters for a character in OVW before. Is this a first for them?
The response I'm seeing from OVW fans to it? Well, people are happy to see Mark Magnus coming back. As to the character? The general response seems to be, "feh, whatever."
There's no need to make him Muslim. Make him another generic Middle Eastern bad guy like the ones from the '90s action films, if you must. Pick a country and go with it, like Iran Sheik or La Resistance. But don't rely on his religion as a gimmick.
Cripes, you wouldn't do a heel Jew, would you?
"To be the man, you gotta beat demands." -- The Lovely Mrs. Tracker
I'm surprised they didn't get this going a couple of years ago.
They created La Resistance because it's apparently popular to hate the French these days. I think that's because of their position on Iraq and the "war on terror." Now, if WWE will exploit a silly bias like that, why wouldn't they exploit a much larger and inflammatory one? I've been waiting for this character since shortly after September 11, and I'm just surprised it took so damn long.
"Are you- are you sad?"
"But your- your songs are sad."
-My songs are of time and distance. The sadness is in you. Watch my arms. There is only the dance. These things you treasure are shells.
"I can't recall WWE testing the waters for a character in OVW before. Is this a first for them?"
Pretty much, but only because the idea has been in the works for a while (since at least April or May) instead of the usual giving a guy a new gimmick after he's been called up, since obviously the best place to learn it is right away in front of patient WWE crowds.
As Jakegnosis said, the only surprise with this gimmick is it took Vince 3 years to have the guts to do it. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the death of most Nazis has really hindered the ability to create cheap foreign heel heat for the past decade. And, this formula has generally worked for the past 50 years. Also, at least it's not Rikishi being re-re-packaged as the Sultan yet again.
Actually, that was written about in the "Are we there yet?" book. Edge wrote about how they were near the North Pole and were invited up to a local "Santa's Village" type place, and how "Santa" was a huge wrestling fan.