One of the most controversial WWE superstars of the 21st century says his success, short-term as it was, wouldn’t have happened without a specific producer’s regular input
Many fans might not be familiar with the name Marc Copani, but it’s likely that they would remember his stage name: Muhammad Hassan.
Copani played the Hassan character between 2004 and 2005, at a time when geopolitical tensions were still high, especially in North America. Though the Hassan character cut promos lambasting America for being prejudiced and racist and wanted to not be miscast as a stereotype, it wasn’t long before the character was getting immense heat from fans.
And while Copani was game to play the character to the best of his abilities, he also credited Shawn “Khosrow” Daivari for adding more to the character’s presentation.
Speaking on The False Finish, Copani, who is of Italian descent, explained that while the Muhammad Hassan character was a Vince McMahon creation, it was Daivari who took the gimmick in the direction that would lead to the strongest reactions from fans.
“Shawn was an Arab himself. Shawn is a Persian, he’s from Iran and he spoke Farsi, not Arabic. And I’m not trying to insult anybody, but 20 years ago no one really knew the difference in the United States that was watching wrestling…
Having Shawn with me really made the character. I don’t know if Muhammad Hassan would have been Muhammad Hassan without Shawn Daivari with him.
When we would try to travel from town to town, city to city, and we would fly through any airport, and Shawn got lagged because his last name’s Daivari, and we’re spending a half hour almost missing our flight while they ‘randomly’ searched Shawn…
It must have been awful to be him and to be randomly searched at every other airport we ever flew out of.”
Why did the Muhammad Hassan character disappear from WWE?
By mid-2005, Hassan was a rising star on SmackDown and found himself in a short feud with The Undertaker. As part of that feud, WWE booked a segment in which Hassan “prayed” and then several masked “thugs” in baklavas and camo pants attacked Undertaker, including one that allegedly choked him with piano wire.
SmackDown was taped at the time and that particular episode aired unedited on the same time as the 7/7 London Bombings. The reaction was so severe that several networks both local and international demanded that the character be kept off WWE programming as much as possible.
WWE eventually caved into said pressure and Marc Copani was released from his contract in July 2005 while Daivari remains a producer on RAW.