Good Riddance To Hassan
August 1, 2005 by Johnny LaRue
I had another column planned and half written but once again I change gears and felt compelled to give my two cents (one American cent and one Canadian cent) on this Hassan debate. That being said, I say good riddance to Hassan.
I can't understand why there are so many who liked him. Let's be honest, his character was based on cheap heat. He had NO talent and had below average ring skills! I could have taken any Arabic-looking guy and done the same thing. His character was VERY one-dimensional and if he returns with a brand new gimmick I guarantee his character won't be as over. If I am wrong I will print out this column and eat it.
But Johnny, Hassan was supposed to be face and the fans made him a heel. Sorry, he did NOT debut as a face nor was there any plan for him to be one. His first promo was one of anger and his first real angle was attacking J.R and Lawler. Nuff said. Now if Hassan ran out and attacked a heel and the fans still booed I'd be inclined to agree with you. Not to mention when Hassan went to Canada he insulted the fans. I could maybe see the connection of his character upset at Americans but at Canadians" The same country who did not send troops to Iraq" The same country who does not support the war in Iraq" The same country who enjoys booing America" Go figure eh"
Yeah, but people cheered after Hassan got the Last Ride onto the concrete. So what" Foley got tossed off the top of the cage by the Undertaker and the crowd cheered. I guess using that logic the fans would see an overweight guy get beat up on the street and cheer and then walk away. Most fans hated the character and his views and not the wrestler. Yes there are bad fans out there everywhere but to assume all fans are like them is the equivalent of me saying all young wrestling fans kill 9 year olds by doing wrestling moves on them.
But Johnny, how is Hassan any different than Russians or Mustafa" Well, because there is a war on terror going on and unlike the "cold war" or the Gulf War (which I fought in) American civilians, Australian civilians, English civilians, Spanish civilians, ..etc all have been unnecessary targets and have died at the hands of terror. To make a gimmick out of this trivializes the seriousness of terrorism and those who have died as a result of it.
Oh yeah Johnny, well UPN did not have to ban him from SmackDown! Actually with the FCC handing down fines and the simple fact that it's UPN's network not the WWE's they can ban whomever they want. If I was an advertiser I would have pulled out if they allowed Hassan to be on SmackDown!. America is based on capitalism and it's bad business to lose revenue over something like this. Those of you who would have allowed Hassan to continue his angle; the only thing I can say please never run a business. Besides you want to complain about censorship, go watch RAW on TSN as all my fellow Canadian readers can attest to.
What about JBL then" It's racism and a double standard! Well, I don't see JBL using the same tactics Hassan has. Now if JBL pretended to bomb some mosque or flushed the Koran down a toilet you would have a valid point. Yes the JBL Hitler fiasco was tacky but it was not on primetime television, and last I checked World War 2 ended a long time ago. Oh and he did lose his job at Fox over it. Yet I don't see any of you calling up Fox asking for JBL to get his job back. The only double standard I see is the fans sticking up for Hassan and not doing the same for JBL. Before I get accused of being a JBL fan let me state that I have NEVER been a JBL fan!
Johnny, it's the Americans fault for Hassan! Sorry, the "blame America" argument falls flat on this one. You are really reaching here. I know it's cool to blame the USA and I enjoy the occasional jab at the USA as well but to blame them for this is absurd. What is also equally absurd is those who say "the terrorists or Hassan might actually have a legitimate complaint". Since I am on the topic of being absurd I am going to toss in all those who want to make this issue political. As much as I would love to say my piece about it this is a wrestling site not some political website. I don't get paid to write about my political opinion. Wait a second I don't get paid at all!
The bottom line here is Hassan's character crossed the line with the terrorist episode which was the proverbial straw that broke the camels back (no pun intended). Don't tell me with a straight face that men in ski masks are no big deal and a mock beheadings are not related to terror. I think we can all agree that this was a silly stunt especially during a time like this. I don't fault the wrestler for this but lay blame at the feet of the dopey writer who thought this was a great idea. What is even more telling is instead of realizing the idea was bad after the fact they decided to have Hassan on SmackDown! trying to defend himself/the writer. A simple apology by the WWE on their website or a brief mention of it before the show and this whole fiasco may have blown over. But since I have never seen Vince apologize or admit fault it did not shock me when Hassan gave his rant on SmackDown!.
Was I offended by the Hassan gimmick" Let's just say I found HBK wiping his nose on the Canadian flag far more offensive than Hassan. Also maybe those who were offended by Hassan were *gasp* Arabs. Look at the uproar over the show "24" and how they portrayed Arabs. Is it not plausible that some of the "stupid Americans" who complained were Arabs" For the majority of you to assume that it was non Arabs who called UPN are equally as racist as those you are condemning. I think the phrase "pot calling the kettle black" can be used here.
In closing, if you walk away from this column and the only thing you understand is that there is a proper time, place and manner for such things and Hassan's character was in the wrong place and the wrong time then I have got my point across. Trust me Hassan won't be missed by the majority of us who saw through the cheap heat and his lack of talent.
When Johnny LaRue is not watching old wrestling tapes he can be reached at Easyreader2@Hotmail.com..
Scott Williams wrote:
I've never been a fan of xenophobic angles. I don't see why they are continually put in use. For promoters to expect fans to react a certain way to a wrestler because of his origins is low. For the fans to actually follow suit may be lower.
Personally, however, I had a fondness for the Hassan character that had absolutely nothing to do with his whole "raging Arab" gimmick. I liked that as arrogant as he was, yelling and accusing the fans of whatever, he clung to his "undefeated streak" in "singles competition," and was constantly trying to use that for leverage. That was the only interesting thing about him, and when John Cena beat him clean 1-2-3, that was taken away, and there was nothing interesting left about him. That's when the offensive stuff took the front seat.
As to your charge that he couldn't work, I disagree. Sure, he was no Benoit, but he wasn't Batista either, if you catch my drift. I'd say he was roughly on the level of Carlito (ergo it was smart having him heel, where he could distract from his greenness with dirty tactics,) and he could certainly improve from there.
And to TSN... yeah, shame on them.
Now, I'm not at all surprised that Muhammad Hassan is no longer in the WWE. I don't say this as an insult or like a "Happy days are here, one more bad guy gone", but rather that Hassan has had a weak gimmick from the get go. What could he say if he had gotten the WWE Championship" That he is still prejudiced against" Simply, any success for Hassan would have equaled the death of that character itself. Me and a friend discussed this. My friend said, "He could become like an Iron Sheik character." But the major flaw is that Iron Sheik had patriotic zeal infused with his gimmick. It was "I hate America cause I'm Iranian, and I'm better", while Muhammad Hassan's gimmick was "I hate western culture cause I'm Arabic and you look down on me even though I'm better, oh and I'll never get opportunity cause I'm Arabic." All I can say is that, Hassan's gone, no surprise. All in all, I just hope McMahon's scouts can find someone with better wrestling ability, and that maybe Stephanie can pull out some decent writing for once.
Tony Bruce wrote:
i dont have a criticism for ur whole article coz i think its pretty accurate, just wanted to mention about jbl when he was feuding with eddie guerrero he did a long taped promo showin him huntin down mexicans tryin to cross the border. to me thats pretty racist n bad in a similar way to the "terrorist" angle. and why would you stick up for jbl he's got the company in his pocket he doest need help. Other than that you pretty much hit the nail on the head
Jennifer Fontanez wrote:
I've never felt compelled to send feedback to a columnist, but I just have to say to Johnny LaRue, thank you for expressing exactly what I feel about the Muhammed Hassan character. Everything you said here is spot on and I wish more would see it. I especially love you bringing up the part about 'cheap heat' and his lack of talent. Everyone always makes such a big deal over what, the fact that he cuts the same rambling "you Americans disrespect me" promo every night(yet the same people who marvel at this genius bitch about the HHH promos)" And what else, his Camel Clutch" Wrestlers still using a Camel Cutch finisher in 2005" Oh wait he also has that umm...weak-assed Flatliner finisher that they give to every new bland, OVW worker. A question, what do you think of Daivari, because everyone's shitting themselves over how's he's the 'cruiserweight talent of the future' and such.
Kevin Roberts wrote:
LACK OF TALENT" ARE YOU SERIOUS LITTLE JOHNNY"
Come on guy, can you wrestle" I hate it when non-wrestling, non-athletic people are so quick to judge talent. Everyone in the WWE has talent, I dont care what you say. They are all there for a reason, and true enough, some are not as talented as others, but they all have talent. Some are better on the mic, some are better in the ring. And as far as Hassan goes, controversy sells and thats all Im going to say about that. Personally, I liked the guy and it saddens me to see him go. But whats even sadder is that YOU PEOPLE are rejoicing in his misfortune. I'll bet you wouldnt say it to his face. YOU GUYS SUCK.
Ben Vonstein wrote:
Can't say that I agree with your article as I enjoyed Hassan's promos. In
the ring he was tolerable and I can say that as a character he was very
workable. Hassan was well organized as an anti-american and didn't attack
American's because they're americans but rather attacked american hypocrise
and spred that to an attack on all americans for supporting these
hypocrises, plus he was definately over as a heel, ideally they would move
him turn into to a guy who attacked Vince McMahon calling him a racist and
not giving him his due opertunities thus having them feud, this would
accomplish a few things one it would let Vince play a face for once and it
would also gives his character huge versatility, as an anti McMahon they
could even turn him into a tweener, a guy who loved to point out hypocrise
and attack americans for it but also a guy who hated unjust "tyrants" i.e.
McMahon, thus they could make him an IC champ much in the way Cena became
champ against Bischoff and how JBL attacked Long for trying to take his
title. With Hassan the WWE definately had to be extremely careful with any
anti-american-arab and they unfotunately suffered greatly from the London
Bombings. The "terrorist" episode wasn't actually a problem when it was
taped as a bunch of guys in masks running out and being used as secret
enforcers is fine by me. So all in all the WWE had to handle the London
Bombings better and missed on a guy who could become a big talent or could
remain a nobody.
Muhammad Hassan was a great wrestler. I think he could have became something more than just an Anti-American. London was hit with a major terrorist attack, but writers should have "chilled" or "clamed" him down and stopped the terrorist, even maybe keep him off the show awhile. But Great American Bash, even though I haven't seen it, should have been done to him like that. But, I guess we will never know what come have became of Muhammad Hussan.
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