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WRESTLING COLUMNS

What A Shame
March 15, 2006 by Matthue Okarmus


Recently I read an article posted on this website entitled "Whatever Happened To..."" No offense to the author, Kyle C., (at least he put something out), but his article was way off. Some of his facts are not even straight (Mordecai still being employed, Chavo disowning his Mexican heritage WHEN Eddie passed), but there is one part of his article that I feel needs something to be written all in itself. Kyle got a load of negative comments mainly focusing on the Muhammad Hassan angle. And I have to say, I agree with all the negativity. Hassan's angle was truly killed too soon.

Here are the points left by some of the fans:

(Before I go on, let me state that when I refer to "Hassan", I am referring to the character, not the man Mark Copani)

Hassan always said good things about America. This is true. Hassan never said bad things about the country America itself. It was the freedom of speech that he embraced. His problem was with the racism towards himself ever since 9/11. However, let's look at this for a second. I was born in Modesto, California, USA, and was raised in Alabama since I was nine, so my credibility speaks for itself. So as an American asking other Americans this question, can you honestly tell me that your perception of Arabs was not altered after 9/11" If you say no, you are lying. It's the ones that are intelligent to notice the difference to know that not all Arabs are going to blow up our planes that separate us from those who literally wanted to shoot Hassan and Daivari anytime they came to their town. That's who Hassan was directing his rants to.

What Hassan couldn't do in the ring, he made up for on the mic. If you want to Hassan because his in ring work was not excellent, that is your opinion. Look at the boos Cena is always getting. It's the same reason TNA is slowly starting to get over. They exhibit wrestling. However, the reason WWE is still number one is that they have more than wrestling to offer. Hassan offered more. If you hated him because of his character, then good, because quite frankly, that is what you were supposed to do. That is the job of a heel. On Smackdown!, a show that lacks great heels (see: Mark Henry in the main event of the 2006 Royal Rumble), I for one was excited for Hassan to be on the brand after the 2005 draft. I felt it would give them the legitimate heel heat they needed.

The pop for Taker giving Hassan the Last Ride through the stage was "sickening"/Hassan's character was too easy to get heat due to the events of 9/11. These two points go hand in hand. While the character was easily accessible to getting heat, he didn't just rely on bringing up 9/11 all the time. He cut good promos, and worked the classic heel/manager heat with Daivari. A perfect example of this was his ability to get legitimate heat in Canada on an episode of The Highlight Reel with Chris Jericho. If he had only relied on the easiness of 9/11, he could never have gotten that. The reason for the pop at the Great American Bash being "sickening" I would have to say was the way it all went through. We all saw it coming, much like the casket match looming around the corner. (If you do not pick Taker at WM22, then there is something wrong with you. If you end up being right and Taker's record goes to 13-1, I think the whole IWC will be pretty much pissed for something so outrageous). It would have been classic if it was done a different way. Which bring me to my next point.

Hassan was not a terrorist. Never once did he say anything that would put him in the category of terrorist. Never once did he say anything like "that's why my people are responsible for 9/11", or something to that degree. To the ones that were offended by Hassan choking the Undertaker, once again, took the actions in the wrong way. I was in attendance in Arco Arena when the incident took place, and I saw nothing wrong with the event. It was filmed on July 4th, so it was nothing more than to get heat on the most patriotic day of the year. The media immediately labelled him a terrorist due to the men surrounding him and the London Bombings that took place on Thursday, July 7th. However, what the media failed to realize was what I have previously mentioned, that the event took place on the 4th and bombings happened on the 7th. Without taking that into consideration, the WWE were brought under assault from viewers and media outlets alike for displaying "an act of terrorism on a day such as that", even though there were warnings clearly displayed. I will sit right here and call this act ludicrous. To say that WWE should be punished for their angle, then Paul Walker should be arrested for street racing. The Fast and the Furious was a movie, and the WWE is a television show. There is no difference. So, to please everybody, Hassan was removed due to "injuries sustained at the hands of the Undertaker".

In closing, the whole thing I really don't get with the removal of the Hassan character is how come they have not brought him back now that it has died down. Case in point, Daivari. He is back, and no one has said anything about his previous occupation. However, he still used the same song. Yet no heat. Why" Because Daivari is successful as a heel manager. Hassan is successful as a heel wrestler. Now, I will be the first to admit that I was never a fan of Hassan (did he really have any") However, it was not because I didn't like the angle, it was because I didn't enjoy his matches. I think if he would have brushed up in OVW, he could have been successful. It's a shame too. If I can recall, he was in line for a push to face Batista. While I don't think he was ready for that, I can say this: How awesome would it be for Hassan to come back and attack Taker seeking revenge" I can tell you this. I would pay to see a Hassan/Taker match before a casket match with "The World's Most Overrated Man" any day.

by Matthue Okarmus ..


Kevin Roberts wrote:
Good rant Matt, I too enjoyed the Hassan character and thought he was killed off unjustly. No he was not a great wrestler, but nobody green comes to the WWE and becomes Kurt Angle right away. He was a great mic worker and he was brushing up on his ring work. But of course we all know that is NOT why he was taken away from people like me, the true fan who appreciates ALL the guys' and gals' talents. Hassan was killed off because he told the truth about racism, in general and after 9/11. It just so happened that the London bombings took place AFTER Hassan cut that stellar promo, and while it was unfortunate, Mark Copani had nothing to do with it and Im really disappointed at Vince for backing down to "the man." (what ever happened to "Im Vince McMahon dammit.") I mean really, american wrestling fans didnt give two sh#$* about London until Hassan cut that promo because he gave them so one to point a finger at, he gave them a bad guy. Its professional wrestling people, youre gonna have "good guys" and youre gonna have "bad guys," but the whole point is to entertain you humanoids. Vince told you to not to like Hassan because he was a heel, and thats what youre supposed to do. But then the media told you to hate Mark Copani, and in true humanoid form, thats what you idiots did. Thanks.

P.S. Wouldnt it be cool if Hassan did a run-in and helped Mark Henry and Daivari beat up Taker, but then Kane comes out helps Taker hold them off and he goes 14-0.
Jesse Lee wrote:
Enjoyable column. I actually liked the whole Hassan angle and was disgusted with the media for chewing WWE apart for the "despicable acts of terrorism." I didn't mind his wrestling skill level, because his mic skills covered it for me. I'm just glad they got rid of him in such a way. I personally was looking forward to the Batista/Hassan feud with their match taking place in Washington D.C. but after I heard he was in the procedure of being removed, I knew all too well that such an amazing atmospheric that could have been between one of the biggest heels of the time against one of the biggest faces of the time would never be. I agree that it's time to bring him back. After all, in Wrest-o-World injuries only last for so long, ne" Perhaps bring him back to feud with Taker after Wrestlemania. That would be one match I would gladly pay money to see.
Cam Brehaut wrote:
Just wanted to say great artical. Its all true too and just wanted to mention somethat confirms how dumb the regular american WWE fans are. During an episode of Smackdown or RAW where Hassan faced Benoit the crowd were actully chanting USA as an insult to Hassan. The problem with that is that Hassan in actully from America where Benoit is from Canada. The fans didnt even realize that they were technically booing Benoit. Great article though
Jack MacLaine wrote:
It is a shame that someone that had so much potential had to be "killed off" because of bad decisions and network politics. When I first saw Hussan I didn't know what to think. Will he be the stereotypical Muslim and hate and bash America or will WWE try something new" When Hussan came out and said how he loved America but hated how Americans think of Muslims I was confused. Is he a heel or a face" This is one of the major problems I believe. Frankly, I believe Hussan could of been either. He could of been a baby-face trying to prove Americans that not all muslims are evil. Or he could of been a arrogant heel using his manager and his "connections" to win matches at any cost. It wasn't till the terrorist angle that they cleared this up. But it all dosn't matter because of UPN and WWE's idiotic management Hussan will never reach his potintial. The infamous terrorist angle was a great angle. I will even compare this angle to Sandman getting crucified by Raven. This got Hussan heel heat Buddy Rogers, Ric Flair, and Triple H could only dream of. I know the London terrorist attacks were horrible. But WWE had no knowledge of it and it happen to play on that day. If they were pushing Hassan to face Batista, they could of build on this angle, build up the heel heat to epic preportions. But because of UPN being idiots and WWE management being weak, we will never know what could of been. I know this sounds harsh. But give it some thought.
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