Daivari: Give me the ball; I'll run with it
During the course of a seven-month period in 2005, Shawn Daivari succeeded in becoming one of the most controversial and caustic characters in network television history. As Muhammad Hassan's manager and mouthpiece, Daivari drove crowds into frenzies with his half-Farsi, half-English diatribes about an intolerant American public. But as Daivari acknowledges, his job wasn't to make a name for himself; it was to keep Hassan's name and message in headlines. Because of the nature of such a role, Daivari's fate was linked to that of Hassan's. And when Hassan was removed from TV, so was Daivari. Now that Hassan is gone from WWE, where does that leave Daivari?
With the news of WWE and Mark Copani, a.k.a. Muhammad Hassan, parting ways, WWE.com contacted Shawn Daivari via cell phone to find out what the development means for him and his future.
WWE.com: So, where do you think your career now stands?
Daivari: I'm not really sure. I hope my job is somewhat safe with the company. I'm also smart enough and know enough about wrestling to know that nothing's for sure. If there was ever a point in time in 1996 when you could say, "Hey, guess what? Bret Hart won't be working for this company any more." I would have said, "Yeah, right!" It goes to show you that anything can happen. And I know that I haven't made enough of a mark yet in this company to say that my job is completely secure.
But I also do know that I was given one opportunity in this company, and John Laurinaitis, head of talent relations himself said that I've done an amazing job. So, I think they gave me the ball once, and I ran with it. And then, due to circumstances outside of their hands, I had to give it up. But I never fumbled. I know that there were a couple times when Mark fumbled, either personally in the locker room or professionally on television or with his work, but I never have. And that was only one time that they (gave the ball) to me. So, I'd like to hope that there would be a second opportunity. And then if they give me the ball a second time and I fumble, then I can understand if they wanted to let me go.
WWE.com: If given the opportunity to resume your WWE career, which show would you like to return to?
Daivari: I would prefer RAW. I'm thinking just business-wise because I would hate to get a good steam going on something and then have some jerk-off write in to the network saying, "This is just that ‘terrorist' character; they just changed his character and name, blah blah blah." And then have the higher-ups say, "Hey, I thought I told you guys we don't want this person on television anymore," and then I'm gone.
WWE.com: Are you in contact with Mark?
Daivari: Since we've both been taken off television, I think we've talked on a daily basis.
WWE.com: What's your understanding of why Mark is leaving WWE?
Daivari: Pretty much the deal with Mark was he liked wrestling. He liked it a lot, but it wasn't like a dream of his. It was something he liked to do, but it wasn't like, "Give me wrestling or give me death." There was a ton of other stuff that he wanted to do in his life. That was a way in which we were kind of different. Wrestling was the only thing on my mind ever, at all times. He liked what he was doing because we worked hard and we kind of had done pretty well for ourselves with the Muhammad character and the Khosrow Daivari characters.
Now, since that had kind of run its course and it's starting again from square one, I don't think he had the interest to devote that much of his life to starting something new again when there were other avenues that he wanted to explore. He wants to be an actor. I know another thing he always talked about was real estate. He wanted to get into real estate. So, he lives in California now — he's in Hollywood — and from talking to him, it seems like he's doing extremely well. He has pretty good ties to a manager and is having meetings with "A-list" talent agencies on a daily basis. So, he's doing, to my shock and surprise, really well. All the talent agencies he's listed, he told me talent they represented like Ashton Kutcher and a couple other people. One is a talent agency owned by Will Smith. These are all A-list things, and they're kind of like fighting for him right now. So, he's going to different agencies, talking to different people, and he's going to just see which one has the best opportunities for him and that's the one he'll probably end up signing with.
WWE.com: Why do you think he's in such demand?
Daivari: I think there was a very, very credible acting coach out there who worked with a lot of people. I can't remember them off the top of my head, but one is Heather Locklear. He worked with Heather Locklear. And he works with a lot of major Hollywood talent. And he was a fan of wrestling, and he watched Monday Night RAW and was super-impressed with Mark's ability.
When he found out that Mark was an Italian, he thought Mark was able to do a good job because this was all stuff he was (pulling from his own life experience), but when he found out that Mark was just playing the role of a Middle Eastern man — that he wasn't actually — and that the things he described didn't actually affect his life, yet was able to pull that kind of emotion and animosity out of it, he was really, really impressed. So, he got a hold of Mark. Since then, this guy has been helping him find work because, I don't know exactly how it works, but the way Mark described it is if he makes money, then the people he works with make money. And this guy is confident that Mark will have a future in Hollywood. So, he's helping Mark out right now with all the connections and (Hollywood) ties he has because he's confident that one day Mark will be able to make money and then he will make money.
WWE.com: Can you take us through what happened following you two being taken off of TV?
Daivari: When I was taken off TV, the office asked me to go to Atlanta for about 14 days, so I went there for 14 days just to stay in ring shape. I came back and was sitting at home for a little bit and I was kind of bored out of my mind. So, I went down to Atlanta in Deep South Wrestling for a couple weeks and then I went to OVW for a couple weeks and now I'm back home again.
There was some stuff I had to take care of as far as bills and mortgage and loose ends around the Twin Cities, so it's not like I could completely relocate. Well, I guess I could, but right now we've got a nice thing going: I go down there for two weeks, come back home for two weeks, go to Louisville for two weeks, and I don't even think it's mandatory. Wrestling is my life; it's in my blood. I couldn't think of anything worse happening right now than me sitting at home. I was bred to go out and wrestle in front of fans, and not being able to do that is just killing me.
WWE.com: There have been some changes to the sports-entertainment landscape in your absence. What do you think about RAW going back to USA?
Daivari: I think it's awesome. I know that when I was traveling, a lot of times I'd be staying in hotels that didn't get Spike TV. Every hotel that I've been to that has cable, has USA network. I know there's a lot of places that don't get Spike TV, so I think it'll be a bigger window for our fans to be able to tune in and watch us.
I'm excited. I would love to be a part of that Oct. 3, "Homecoming RAW." I couldn't think of a better place, I would love to come back at that show because that's the one that everybody will be watching and that's the type of show that you can make an impact on upon a return. Because even if I do keep the Daivari name and character, it's going to be completely different now that the spotlight's on me, instead of my job being to put the spotlight on someone else.