Former WWE star Dean Muhtadi, better known as Mojo Rawley, has called on other countries in the Middle East to host more wrestling shows as WWE prepares to return to Saudi Arabia.
On May 27th, WWE will make the trip to Saudi Arabia for the first time in 2023 for Night of Champions. At the event, the company will crown a new World Heavyweight Champion, and Roman Reigns will also be in action. Surprisingly, Reigns will be teaming with Solo Sikoa against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. The latter has never previously wrestled in the Kingdom due to his Syrian heritage.
During a new exclusive interview with Nick Hausman for Inside The Ropes, Muhtadi — who has his own family ties in the Middle East — discussed WWE’s role in Saudi Arabia and what the shows mean to both the nation and the company.
It should be noted that the interview was recorded before Zayn was announced as competing at Night of Champions. When asked about Zayn’s potential involvement in Saudi Arabian events, Muhtadi said that anything was possible, as has since been proven to be the case.
The former WWE star went on to explain that things in Saudi Arabia have progressed a great deal, before discussing his own personal links to the region.
“Things are changing in Saudi on literally, a weekly basis. I mean, I was talking to some of the ladies that have been wrestling out there recently, they’ve talked about how different it is over there. I know from me, from my first show to my last show over there, how much things have changed.
I mean, I’ll always have a kind of a biased mentality on Saudi, half my dad’s entire side of the family lives in Saudi, they’re all there. So that was always one of my favorite shows of the year, being able to go and see family that I hadn’t seen since I was a kid and hang out with and meet their kids and their grandchildren and see all these relatives, and, you know, go experience their culture, I get to practice my Arabic, which three days in Saudi, my Arabic was really good. By the time I left, I get back here, and I start to forget it immediately! [laughs]”
Muhtadi added that the events are also of massive importance to WWE given the sums of money involved and how lucrative they have proven to be. The former 24/7 Champion said that with this in mind, and his own background, he would like to see more wrestling events taking place in the Middle East.
“I always thought that was such a good situation, and with WWE making, I believe it’s like $50 million every time they go over there. There’s a reason why these pay-per-views are valued so highly, I mean, look at what they make for any other show. I mean, the Saudi shows like on par with a WrestleMania. And they’re treated as such for a reason. So I mean, that was a big time deal for the company from a business standpoint, from a financial perspective, looking at the adjustments the stock made after that, I mean, that’s certainly of note.
I mean, for me as someone with an Arab background, it’s been awesome to have like a regular presence with power shows in the Middle East and you know, for me personally, I’d love to see a lot of other Middle Eastern countries start to have more wrestling shows and maybe that’s something that Paragon we’ll have to take a closer look at this coming year.”
Why Is Sami Zayn Wrestling In Saudi Arabia?
On the May 12th episode of SmackDown, Roman Reigns returned to the blue brand to apply pressure to The Usos and revealed that he would be teaming with Solo Sikoa to take on Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens at Night of Champions.
While the match in itself was a surprise, the fact that Zayn will be competing in Saudi Arabia has also raised eyebrows.
Since the partnership between WWE and the Kingdom began, Sami Zayn hasn’t featured on any of the shows due to his Syrian heritage, owing to the animosity between the two nations. Meanwhile, Kevin Owens has also asked to be left off the events previously.
While Syria and Saudi Arabia have been at odds for over a decade, the situation has changed in recent days. As reported by CNN, Syria has been readmitted to the Arab League, and diplomatic in both countries have resumed.
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