MUHAMMAD HASSAN: WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION
Muhammad Hassan was an absolute heat magnet. His aggrieved Arab American gimmick made him feel like The Iron Sheik’s spiritual successor, and he got off to a great start. After a month on television, Hassan was the most hated heel in WWE, and his sharp portrayal saw him gain high profile matches with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Batista, and John Cena.
Sadly, WWE soon eroded everything that made Hassan so effective. They took him from an angry, oppressed Arab American to a cartoonish terrorist act that pushed the envelope a little too far. It culminated with Hassan and five masked men attacking The Undertaker with clubs and piano wire at the Great American Bash ‘05, before carrying him away to the backstage area.
Three days later, the London bombings took place, and WWE were rightly thrown to the wolves.
All plans for Hassan were immediately scrapped, including the grandest of them all. It’s believed that WWE were set to capitalise on Hassan’s monster heat by having him defeat Randy Orton for the World Heavyweight Champion that summer. Capturing the belt would’ve made Hassan the youngest champion in WWE history, and winning it in America’s capital – Washington DC – would’ve made him the most hated man alive.
WWE’s chronic lack of subtlety and terrible timing soon put an end to that.