Muhammad Hassan, real name Marc Copani, recently recalled how WWE abandoned plans for him to win high-profile matches against Batista and The Undertaker in 2005.
On July 7, 2005, four suicide bombers killed 52 people in an attack in London, England. Later that night, Hassan and five masked men targeted The Undertaker in a terrorist angle on a pre-recorded episode of SmackDown.
Speaking on Rene Dupree’s Cafe de Rene podcast, Hassan said the company originally intended to give him a major push that summer:
“I was gonna beat The Undertaker at The Great American Bash, and from there I was gonna wrestle Batista in Washington D.C. at SummerSlam. It was supposed to be like the F-U from the Arab to the United States. I was gonna beat Batista, who was from D.C, hometown boy, big babyface, in D.C. to win the Heavyweight title.” [11:42-12:00]
WWE quickly dropped the terrorist angle due to pressure from advertisers and the media. Hassan went on to lose against The Undertaker at The Great American Bash before he was removed from television.
Muhammad Hassan explains why the angle made WWE look insensitive
Then aged 23, Muhammad Hassan would have become the youngest winner of a World Championship in history if he defeated Batista at SummerSlam.
The former superstar, who is now the principal of a junior high school, clarified that his segment was filmed two days earlier, on July 5. Despite that fact, he realizes that WWE had little choice but to end his controversial storyline:
“The segment aired and after that it was really just a s***storm of push-back from everybody, from Arab-Muslim groups, from advertisers… it was looked at as if not that we were mocking what happened in London, but insensitive to what happened in London, when the truth is it was recorded days before,” said Hassan. [13:20-13:44]
WWE wrote Hassan off television after The Undertaker launched him through the Great American Bash stage area with a Last Ride. He received his release from the company two months later.
Please credit Cafe de Rene and give a H/T to Sportskeeda Wrestling for the transcription if you use quotes from this article.