Work in Progress

Baseball, Seminary, Wrestling, and the Dreams and Days of one Mike Work's Angeles experience

Friday, July 22, 2005

Wrestler Banned from Television

In the surreal category this week, Bob Ryder (, a site full of popups) reports that UPN officials have told the WWE that they no longer want the Muhammed Hassan character on their network, and the WWE appears to be following suit.

Hassan is an Arab-American from Detroit who, upset with the prejudice he has been shown since 9/11, has taken his frustrations to the wrestling ring, and made quite a few enemies over the past year. Last month, he moved from the WWE's Raw show, which airs Monday nights on cable (Spike TV), to their Thursday show, Smackdown, which airs on UPN.

Hassan soon injected himself into the championship picture, and caught the ire of erstwhile WWE superstar Undertaker. Two weeks ago, Hassan led five masked men in a beatdown on the Undertaker, setting up a match at the Great American Bash, with the winner becoming #1 contender to the world heavyweight title, likely receiving a title shot at SummerSlam, traditionally the second-largest pay-per-view of the year.

As a fan, I was curious about the match, and thought that Hassan might have a chance, especially if Randy Orton were to interject himself in a continuation of his spring feud with Undertaker, costing the dead man the match and sending Hassan on to SummerSlam, where he'd presumably face champion Batista in the champ's hometown of Washington DC. The scenario seemed plausible enough, and given the amount of heat Hassan draws from live crowds, I could picture him in a world title match this early in his career.

However, the attack on Undertaker, taped on a Tuesday, aired two days later, on the day of the London bombings. Terrible timing, no question, and the manner of the beatdown left many uneasy, as Hassan played closer to the 'terrorist' stereotype than he had in previous appearances, where he vehemently protested against such racial profiling. The WWE immediately placed a statement on their corporate website, no longer immediately available.

Hassan's actions caught the eye of NY Post writer Don Kaplan, who penned an article entitled 'Terrorist Wrestles After Bombing,' no longer available without cost on the Post's website, but reprinted on the WWE's website.

Last week, Hassan's response to Kaplan's column didn't make the airwaves, but was available on, and, IMO, was one of his best promos. Hassan was off tv again last night, and his bio page states that he has taken a leave of absence, but will fight at the Bash.

The WWE has put up a blurb on their main page regarding Hassan's future, and the uncertainty therein. He could've been the #1 contender, and still could find himself on the winning end come Sunday, but at this point, it's unlikely. How do you promote a major match when one of the parties is banned from tv, not by the 'general manager' of the promotion, but by the network that airs the television show? Not an enviable situation for tv writers to face, and it may be that the path of least resistance involves Undertaker going over at the Bash.

Beyond the pay-per-view, it's plausible that Hassan could jump back to Monday nights and ply his trade on cable tv, using this controversy to add more fuel to his character, yet just as likely that he could be defeated decisively Sunday and the character 'killed off.' From possible world title contender to being written off the program, within a matter of weeks. Such may be the story of Muhammed Hassan.


Post a Comment

<< Home