Wrestling: Muhammad Hassan
(real name Mark Copani) had a brief but memorable run in WWE
as an Arab-American heel who was angry about the prejudice he faced after 9/11. Before a controversial segment ended up killing his career, this guy was being pushed to the moon. On his very first appearance, he got to interrupt Mick Foley
. He wasn't even on TV for a year, and he got wins over various wrestling legends (including Sgt Slaughter
and Jerry Lawler
), a WWE title match, feuds with three of the greatest wrestlers of all time (Hulk Hogan
, Shawn Michaels
, and The Undertaker
), and a win over then-WWE World Heavyweight Champion Batista
(it was by disqualification, but a win's a win).
Under his previous ring name of Mark Magnus, he was a 1x OVW Heavyweight Champion
.The Other Wiki
has a more detailed rundown on his life and (very brief) career.
Tropes associated with Muhammad Hassan include:
- Arab Oil Sheikh: According to this interview, Hassan's character was originally conceived as one of these.
- Badass Beard: Likely in part of playing up his "Arab" heritage.
- Badass Teacher: After he retired from wrestling, he took up a job as a global history teacher.
- Bilingual Bonus: Daivari, Hassan's manager, spoke mostly in Farsi. In fact, as mentioned below, there were even times where he would swear in Farsi.
- Cloth Fu: He sometimes used his headdress to choke people.
- Combat Pragmatist: So he might not of been a criminal, militant or anything else of the sort but he was a dirty cheat, BOOO!
- Early Installment Weirdness: Wrestled in WWE's developmental promotion Ohio Valley Wrestling as "This Year's Model" Mark Magnus and looked VERY different from how he looked as Hassan.
- Enemy Mine: When he entered the 2005 Royal Rumble, the eight other men already participating in the Rumble immediately stopped fighting and ganged up on him to eliminate him. This approach is usually reserved for the Mighty Glacier/The Giant-type of wrestlers (André the Giant, Earthquake, Yokozuna, etc.), since it would be necessary to have a bunch of guys team up to eliminate them), not a 243 lbs. normal-sized wrestler such as Hassan, who could have been tossed at any time by anyone.
- Hassan was also part of a different enemy mine. During Triple H's feud with Batista, Batista had a lumberjack match with an opponent Triple H selected (Kane), and Hassan was one of the lumberjacks. When Ric Flair was motivating the lumberjacks by telling them about how Batista screwed them all (each lumberjack had previously suffered a loss to Batista), he mentions Hassan and "whatever country you come from." Hassan uncharacteristically didn't launch into a tirade against Flair about how he comes from the same country as him and how Flair was being prejudiced for assuming that he came from a different country.
- Finishing Move: The Camel Clutch
- Flanderization: Towards the end of his run, he slowly began to act more like a terrorist, even though the point he was trying to make was that he was not a terrorist.
- Foreign Wrestling Heel: Inverted. His character was born and raised in the United States, and the main part of his gimmick was that he was fed up with people treating him like one of these post-9/11. He was portrayed as a villain because of this.
- The fans would chant "USA" whenever he was in the ring, regardless of who he was confronting. This was particularly humorous when he interrupted Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel, and the crowd still chanted "USA". Hassan was American, and Jericho is Canadian (he was born in America, but was raised in Canada and identifies as Canadian). Therefore, the crowd was unintentionally cheering for Hassan.
- Fun with Foreign Languages: A segment where Hassan interrupted Chris Jericho's "The Highlight Reel" had this exchange between Daivari and Jericho:
Daivari: (Yells something in Persian while making various hand movements that include gesturing to his penis and pointing at Jericho)
Jericho: (disgusted look on his face) Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa! That is disgusting, you wanna do what with me? Y2J doesn't play on that side of the fence, junior, okay?
- An earlier segment, in which Hassan and Daivari were guests on the Highlight Reel had Jericho intentionally misinterpreting ("Carry the 'R'") Daivari's yelling as a request for his then-new album.
- Garbage Wrestler: In WWC, which did not have a whole bunch of guys to carry him like WWE did, nor the star power.
- Genius Bruiser: He's a teacher now.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: His manager, Daivari, would frequently swear in Farsi. At least once, he referred to Chris Benoit as a motherfucker.
- Insistent Terminology: He's not Arab, he's Arab-American.
- Interrupting Meme: After his debut in WWE, he would often interrupt other wrestlers promos and whatnot, with his distinctive theme music. This spread to YTMND, and became what is now referred to as "Hassaning," where his music would oftAN ALIEN, ALIEN, ALIEN, ALAYLEE....
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: In contrast to Muhammad Hassan's outspokenness and willingness to attack anybody who disrespected him, Mark Copani is very mild-mannered and cited his not wanting to offend anybody as one of the reasons why he would not want to return to wrestling.
- Mistaken for Terrorist: The reason why his character was angry.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: The reason for his bashing of Americans is because of how they treated him after 9/11.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Inverted, he was a villain pushing for political correctness.
- Power Stable: (both in OVW)
- Real Life Writes the Plot/Screwed by the Network: After a now infamous segment in which Hassan came down to the ring with several men wearing ski masks, which coincidentally aired on the same day as the 2005 London bombings (although it was taped beforehand), UPN demanded that WWE keep Hassan off of TV. This led to him losing his match with The Undertaker at the Great American Bash and getting the Last Ride through the stage as a way to "kill off" the character.
- Red Baron: (as Mark Magnus): "This Year's Model"