The wrestling superstar on being the first person from Saudi Arabia to compete in the WWE, his burgeoning legacy, and why The Undertaker is his inspiration
As one of WWE’s most exciting young superstars, Saudi Arabian wrestler Mansoor — the first from his country to compete in the WWE — has already cemented his legacy. Growing from strength to strength since his debut for the brand in 2018, the 25-year-old stands on the cusp of hitting another level soon, with titles and international fandom in the reckoning.
Having navigated a difficult year during the pandemic like most other professional athletes, Mansoor now is enjoying the world of WWE returning to normalcy, as his burgeoning career grows from strength to strength. Excerpts from a quick chat with the dashing WWE RAW performer:
As the the first Saudi Arabian wrestler to compete in the WWE, do you think you have paved the way for others to now follow in your wake?
When I was a child, it was inconceivable for me to even imagine WWE having a show in Saudi Arabia, much less someone from my country becoming a wrestling superstar.
Now that we have such an amazing global outreach, and we’re doing shows all over the world, that isn’t just a dream anymore, it’s actually becoming a reality. So yeah, I hope that in the future, more and more Saudis become inspired to try and join WWE.
But not just Saudis, I want people all over the world to be inspired and passionate, and to do what they really dream of. If I can help people believe in themselves in any way at all, that’s really fulfilling for me.
What would you consider the biggest highlight of your career so far?
Almost three years ago, I had a match with WWE superstar Cesaro, who is one of the best athletes in the world. He’s so incredibly strong, and such an amazing wrestler. To this day, it’s probably my best match in WWE, and one that really put me on the map and made people think that I had a lot of potential. It ultimately got the ball rolling, and that is why I’m on RAW now, because people started believing in me after that match and noticing my skill and ability. I’ve only grown since then!
Is your aim to challenge for the WWE Championship or the Universal championship, in a few years?
Absolutely. I think that whenever you’re in the WWE, you should always strive to win the most prestigious, important title you possibly can. It really is a benchmark, an indicator of how hard you’ve worked and how successful you are.
Mansoor: ‘My goal has always been to win a championship in Saudi Arabia’
My goal has always been to win a championship in Saudi Arabia; it’s something that I’m really hoping I get the chance to do in the future, in front of my friends and family. I just hope that I’ve prepared myself and trained enough to be successful in that endeavor.
How much more difficult has it been to train, stay in shape and travel during this COVID-19 pandemic?
It’s been a totally crazy transition period. I remember when the pandemic started, the first thing I did was start buying gym equipment from my garage. We are so used to the Performance Center in Orlando in Florida, where we have a training facility for all the wrestlers, with state-of-the-art modern equipment and personal trainers.
So for a while, it was just me and my phone looking at workouts trying to figure out what I should do. It was tough, but I kind of got the hang of it. I would say that the hardest part of being in the WWE is being on the road; it’s very hard to eat and work out right, and still perform at the level that we do, on a consistent basis.
But hey, that’s why it’s such a great job and that’s why only such a small number of people can do it. It’s such a specific sort of unique skill set, but it does take so long to really know how to do this stuff.
Who would you consider your wrestling inspiration and someone whose career you want to emulate?
Ever since I became a WWE superstar, I have been so focused on the present and the now that sometimes I forget to look back on who inspired me.
But I remember as a kid, I fell in love with WWE because of The Undertaker. A lot of people in Saudi Arabia really really loved him, because he was such a mysterious sort of powerful presence, and was so different from the other wrestlers.
I still recall watching when The Undertaker was in a coffin, he was struck by lightning and then it got set on fire. But then he kicked the door down and beat up Randy Orton! That’s the kind of stuff that sticks with you forever.
Obviously, we’re very different. I’m not, you know, six foot seven, and 300-something pounds, and shooting lightning! (laughs) But I am inspired by Undertaker in the sense that I want to be able to bring about awe in people, and the belief that what they are watching is captivating and magical. I want to create moments for kids and families that they will remember for their entire lives.
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