By Chris Featherstone:
Shawn Daivari was truly one of the fortunate ones. At only the age of 20, he was inserted in a prominent position, managing one of the most hated people in the WWE at the time, Muhammad Hassan. In light of the 9/11 terrorist attacks a few years earlier. Hassan and Daivari were placed in a role of being vocal toward the prejudice shown by Americans to everyone of Arabic descent as a result of the tragedy, and turning a negative into a sports entertainment positive.
?Daivari admits he gained his early opportunity due to living in the right place at the right time. “There’s a good chance if I didn’t live in Minnesota, that I wouldn’t have started maybe until after high school, if not ever. But, I right in the right place, I happened to be in the right territory, where AWA used to run, and I happened to meet the right guy who was desperate for money. So, he’ll take anybody, I was 15 years old, to sign the injury waiver or if I break my neck he wasn’t responsible and he needed the money, so [Eddie Sharkey] started training me.”
After making his start wrestling for independent promotions, as well as dark matches for TNA, Daivari made his way to WWE’s developmental promotion at the time, Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). Again, he found himself in the right place at the right time. Despite being a smaller competitor, he had the gift of gab, which is something that Vince McMahon immediately noticed during an extremely rare appearance at an OVW event. As far as what allowed him to be called up to the main roster so quickly, in a managerial role, Daivari stated, “I think that was when Vince came down to OVW, and he heard me cut a promo, and it was one of those things that like, a good promo always come from some place real in your heart, just like a good story or a good novel, or any piece of art, music or whatever. If it comes from inside your body like a piece of your soul, it’s gonna be better than something that is just factory generated.” He explained how he was viewed as an enemy after the terrorist attacks, which is something he was not used to feeling growing up in Minnesota. He was able to channel that new reality in his promos, making it much more poignant and realistic. “After 9/11, I really started feeling like a minority,” said Daivari. “I never felt that before, so there was a little piece of me that kind of held that resentment, and when I was able to do those characters, I was like, ‘Holy crap! These characters are exactly how I felt in 2001! I’m an American. I’m one of you guys. Why are you guys turning your back on me? I don’t get it; I think we were buddies. And that was the ability to pull from some place real, and I think gave me a little bit of that extra juice that was something that caught Vince’s attention.’”
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