Mojo Rawley Explains The Source Of His Ring Name, Origins Of His ‘Vanity’ Face Paint Gimmick
Photo Credit: WWE
Mojo Rawley was recently interviewed by Chris Van Vliet for his Insight podcast and spoke about how he got his ring name in WWE. Mojo (Dean Muhtadi) said he thought it was silly at first and wanted to do more with it, but it’s the one thing that stuck with him, even now in his post-WWE career.
“Rob Naylor was a creative assistant at the time. He was like Dusty’s right-hand man. He came up with the name and I think he came up with it after a week of knowing me. He said ‘You should be Mojo.’ And I’m like ‘No. Who is going to take a guy named Mojo seriously? That is ridiculous.’ I could not have been more against it. But he explained it to me, told me to take some time and think about it. So I did and I started chopping it up from a marketing perspective. All the crafty marketing too. You meet Mojo one time,” he explained, “you are going to remember it. [I thought] ‘You know what, let’s run with it but tag a real-life name on the end.’ The thought was originally to be just Mojo. I wanted to do ‘Monday Night Rawley’ which of course 30,000 people have already done. The funny thing is we never used Monday Night Rawley. But even after not being with the company, Mojo has still stuck with me.
Mojo also shared his thoughts on wearing face paint and said that he never wanted to do it, and it was pitched as an entirely different concept.
“[laughs] I was so against that. I really didn’t want to do that. But truthfully the sketches didn’t look half bad. I remember thinking I hope when I wear this it looks this cool, it couldn’t be furthest from. I pitched this idea of everyone looks at themselves in the mirror and everyone hypes themselves up. Everyone has that degree of vanity, let me run with it. Let me cut promos where I am berating them for their shortcoming, and you don’t know who I am talking to. You find out later it’s me,” Mojo explained, “and we can take this whole new attitude and run with it. Somehow that lead to me losing my mind and drawing on my face, I don’t know what it became.
“We literally did one match with that character. Me and Apollo [Crews] were paired together on a Europe tour. I remember I was like 2 and half weeks of every day working together, we put on some great matches. There was so much that we pitched together. We put on matches that nobody was really expecting out of us and the fans gravitated towards. It’s hard though. You got two guys with no TV time going after these guys with established rivalries. But it was in the reports every night. These two are onto something, let’s give them a run. So they booked Apollo for my debut match in this new run. We were stoked, we were like let’s go out and kill it, show them what we got. Then we found out it was a 60-second match that was written out entirely for us. Two and a half weeks, then it’s that, then it’s over,” he sais. “I just painted my face like an idiot for nothing.”