Mansoor On WWE’s Perception In Saudi Arabia, How He Landed In NXT
Speaking with Esquire Middle East, NXT star Mansoor talked about his first days in WWE. Despite premiering at the Greatest Royal Rumble event and having a tryout in Saudi Arabia, Mansoor had previously moved to the United States when he was young. His brother, still living in his homeland, called him up when he heard about the opportunity. Still, it took a bit of badgering to get him to attend.
I thought that there was no way they would want me, they probably want body builders, or football players etc. Talal [his brother] said, “if you pass this up, I am never going to forgive you” and then went and filled out the application for me anyway! The next day I got a call saying that they were going to fly me out from the US to Jeddah.
The access to schools and independent bookings in the United States helped him immensely at his tryout. “I was the only person there with previous experience, so that was huge even though I was probably the least physically imposing person there.”
Now that he’s in the company, Mansoor has seen a shift in perception in his countrymen. His father has also been swayed, especially since his only prior experience was an 80s event where “big muscular Americans would beat up evil Muslim characters.” “When he came to the recent shows in Jeddah and Riyadh, he was on his feet cheering – not only because he got to see his son, but because a Saudi was presented in a positive light and not as a villain. That’s what I want to do for an entire generation of Saudis who might not necessarily think that wrestling should be something respectable or even acceptable.”