Chris Van Vliet interviewed former WWE Superstar Muhammad Hassan (Marc Copani) for his YouTube channel and podcast.
Copani was one of the top heels in WWE in 2004 and 2005 until his release from the company. His release was because the company got too much heat after a controversial angle that occurred in the same week as the 2005 London bombings.
Copani talked about why he left wrestling after his WWE release, plans for him to get the WWE Championship and his current job as a Junior High School principal.
Check out the transcribed highlights below:
Hassan talks about his WWE run: “I had a great gimmick. I was pushed to the moon. I worked with some incredible veterans who wanted me to succeed, who wanted me to do well because they wanted to make money with me. I was very fortunate to be in the position I was put in. I was with Shawn who was great. Shawn (Daivari) was a heat magnet. I would not have gotten the heat that I got without Shawn. I was very fortunate to be put in the position I was in and I think that’s why the character did so well for that 7 months because it was a character that people loved to hate. It was genuine hate and genuine heat.”
Were you nervous with interviews?: “My character was super easy because if I ever got lost with what I was saying, all I had to do was stop and they would chant USA or What? But, heading out for that first promo, I can still remember, I think it was Huntington, AL, I felt sick. I felt like I was going to throw up. I was incredibly nervous and anxious but pumped at the same time. Once you hit the curtain and go out there and start talking, the nerves dissipate and suddenly all you have left is the excitement.”
Hassan would wear his gimmick head dress in public and tell stories of the general public reacting to him: “This was 2004 so this was just a few years removed from 9/11. I remember a few instances. I remember Shawn and I were on the path walking on from the parking lot to the hotel lunch room. A lady was walking towards us and we had the full gimmick on. I was 230 pounds at the time. We looked intimidating. She took her daughter off the path and walked by us like 5 feet away. There was plenty of room for us on that path, but she was scared. One time we were on the plane and we were sitting towards the front. Somebody came up and told us that towards the back of the plane, people were calling their families to tell them that they loved them. So there were some times when people were really frightened. It made playing the character pretty easy because the things you feel when you are dressed like that and you are out in public and you see how people treat you, that is how people treated Shawn. It became kind of a joke, but then it got annoying because it would hold us up. Shawn was randomly searched at 7 out of 10 airports. But, feeling that and being exposed to that as a non Arab, it was not hard to get into character and feel anger towards Americans and some outrage and how unfairly people are being treated for things that are out of their control and have nothing to do with it.”
What do you think would have happened if the London bombings did not happen as that was the critical thing that happened that caused your character to be taken off TV: “I think it would have lasted for a little bit, but I think ultimately it would have been something else. We really started to push the envelope. We were really starting to blur the lines, especially with what was happening around the world. Like you said, the bombings were the nail in the coffin, but we had started to push the envelope.”
Were you told you were going to win the WWE championship from Batista at SummerSlam?: “It was, but I’m not sure if it was told to me after or at the time. My memory of it is a little fuzzy but it had to have been because it was supposed to be the big F U to the country that the Arab defeats the hometown boy in the nation’s capital because Batista is from there. But, as in anything in wrestling, that could have changed within that month or whatever span that was. Who knows?”
You can watch the entire interview by clicking on the video below: