RF Video Shoot Interview with Shawn Daivari

This was filmed in 2013

The Interview was conducted by Rob Feinstein
It runs at one hour and thirty-eight minutes long
The interview begins with Feinstein asking Daivari if he grew up a wrestling fan. He said that he did and grew up watching the AWA as he lived in Minnesota. He also got into wrestling again in high school during the “Monday Night War” era.
His favorites as a young kid were Hulk Hogan and Sting. When he got older, he became more into the actual wrestling side and became fans of Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels. 
Daivari had his first match at age 15. His plans were to graduate from high school then go down to the WCW Power Plant and learn to be a wrestler, as it was the only advertised wrestling school. A friend of his told him about Eddie Sharkey and Daivari got in contact with him and it cost $2,000 for training. 
He said that while training, only a few of them took it seriously. Daivari said that he was with Austin Aries, Ken Kennedy, and ODB and they were all serious as everyone else was content with staying on the local independent scene and did not want to branch out. 
Daivari said that Sheik Adnan Al Kaissie took a liking to him and helped him out a lot, even taking him out to dinner. He also said that the best way to learn is by being in the ring. 
His first impression of Austin Aries was that he was a dick. Daivari said that Aries was rude towards him but at the same time, Daivari was 15 years old while Aries was in his twenties and Daivari thinks that he might have been annoying by doing “kid things.” He talks about when they had to drive 300 miles, he got all fucked up on Mike’s Hard Lemonade and they had to pull over every twenty minutes so he could puke. Daivari said that he got to know Aries after a while and how some still say that he is a dick, he just marches to the beat of his own drum. Daivari said that Kennedy is one of his best friends and they used to live and travel together. At that time, Kennedy and ODB dated and they all lived together. Daivari said that Kennedy would watch over him on the road. Daivari also said that he also hung out with Punk and Cabana during this time. 
His first major break was at the 2004 ECWA “Super 8” show. Tyson Dux got hurt and could not compete so Aries put in a word with Jim Kettner and that was how he got a shot. Daivari said that they all helped each other out at that time. He said that Kennedy was the first to get a push in the WWE but Punk eclipsed him when he became popular. 
Daivari also said that Punk was a dick to him when they first met. He also said that Punk thought he was a jabroni because he had a website before he even wrestled in his first match. Daivari said looking back, he would have probably done the same thing. He also said that Punk helped him get into Ring of Honor. 
Speaking about Punk, Daivari knew that he would become popular as not only is he really popular but he looks different and carries himself like a star. When asked about Colt Cabana, he said that he was handcuffed by the WWE. 
When he made his RoH debut, Daivari said that it was cool. He also said that the match went okay and that Gabe Sapolsky booked him for a few more dates but some of the shows were very long drives. 
Before he got signed by the WWE, Daivari said that he wrestled in sixteen dark matches. He wondered what he had to do to get signed and why they kept bringing him back if they did not want to sign him to a deal. Daivari mentioned how Tom Prichard and Michael Hayes vouched for him but they also had OVW and HWA as developmental territories and they had some guys that wrestled in WCW and ECW so there was no room for him. He thinks that after those guys started to trickle away, they started to look at the independent guys to fill those slots. 
His first WWE dark match was with Austin Aries. Daivari said that they tore it up and got a standing ovation from the crowd. When they got back to the Gorilla position, Gerry Brisco told them it was the best dark match they have ever had and some of the other guys they were bringing in at that time told them they would be brought into the company but nothing ended up happening. He ended up working with the ECW guys like Tommy Dreamer, Stevie Richards, and the Dudley Boyz. When he and Aries wrestled the Dudley’s in a dark match, Bubba went up to them and said they were put in a dark match because they were fucking with them and to go out and tear it up. After the match Vince apologized to Bubba, who told him that it was a shame the match was not on RAW and walked off. 
He finally got a job with the WWE when they developed the Mohammed Hassan character. Daivari said that Tom Prichard got him in as a manager after he told WWE officials that if they were not going to use him as a wrestler, then make him a manager. Daivari was brought to OVW initially to tag with Hassan but Vince came down and wanted Hassan to be the singles star and for Daivari to be the manager and that was how he got signed. In four weeks, they were in Stanford, CT taping vignettes. 
Daivari said that he was in OVW for less than a month. He was there with guys he considers friends like Carlito, Chris Masters, and Bobby Lashley.
When they first arrived together in the WWE, Daivari said that Hassan had a tough time in the locker room as he had never been there before. Hassan was trained and only wrestled in OVW while Daivari had over a dozen dark matches and they remembered him and he developed friendships and would go out drinking with them. He said that he was training with Benoit within weeks and hanging out with Randy Orton, briefly menitoning how they would toss out firecrackers from cars. He also said that they would fuck with Hassan constantly.

Feinstein asks Daivari who would mess with Hassan and to provide an example. Daivari said that Bob Holly and Bradshaw fucked with him a lot then tells a story when they toured Japan. Bradshaw, Holly, Undertaker, and Charlie Haas called him and Hassan down to the bar. Chris Jericho was there and saw what was going on and asked if they needed both of them and they said “just the big one” so Jericho tool Daivari and they went out drinking. He has no idea what happened to Hassan.

Daivari then tells another story. Hassan was a using the camel clutch as a finisher and Eddie Guerrero was using the move in his matches. Kurt Angle told Hassan that he should protect his finisher and Hassan went up to Eddie and told him about not using the move. Eddie then asked Hassan who invented the move and he said the Iron Sheik then Eddie corrected him and said that it was his dad who invented the move and it was done with but once word got out to the rest of the locker room, the veterans started to rag on Hassan for being disrespectful. He also tells another story of John Laurinatis and Gerry Brisco getting into an argument on a tour bus that ended with Johnny yelling at Brisco just to make sure that all of the fucking bags get off of the bus. Brisco then started to angrily take the bags off and asked Hassan, who was holding his own bag, to give it to him. Hassan said no a few times and had no idea what was going on and Brisco ended up taking it and that although it was just an isolated incident, word spread to the rest of the locker room and Hassan got heat for that. Daivari then added how he went back for a dark match in 2010 and that the locker room was totally different and stuff like that would never happen and if Mark broke in at that time, he would have probably made it in the WWF.

When asked if Hassan cracked due to the locker room, Daivari said that he never sold it but quit after they dropped the Hassan character.

On his initial impression of Vince McMahon, he said they did a pretape and Vince was watching the playback and asked what was wrong and when no one said anything, Vince yelled at the top of his lungs if anyone saw what was wrong and they saw that a cord was shown hanging in the background. Daivari said that Vince was always cool with him and that they would go into his office and talk a lot. He then said that Stevie Richards told him he was an idiot for doing that but Daivari said Vince was always cool with him and that was why he kept going back to his office.

He is asked about working with Hulk Hogan and Eugene at WrestleMania 21, he said they had no idea until the day of the show that the angle was going to happen. Daivari said that Pat Patterson, who was always Hogan’s agent, came up with the whole thing. When asked, Daivari said that Hogan was awesome to work with.

Daivari said that he found out he was working with Shawn Michaels on RAW when he was at the gym with Molly Holly and got a call from the office if he had his gear with him because he was going to wrestle HBK. Daivari said he was told that he was going to work with a four-week long program with HBK but it got switched after two weeks. Daivari added that he thought they were joking when told he was doing a program with HBK.

He loved working with William Regal & Tajiri. Daivari said that he hung out a lot with Jericho, who jokingly called him his “Pet Arab” but doesnt remember a lot of their matches.

When asked about the London bombings ending their gimmick, Daivari said that they filmed the piece on Tuesday and the actual bombings happened early Thursday morning. He said that Smackdown was already in the can at that point and it was aired, with one reporter wrote how it was distasteful, thinking it was a live show then when it was on the AP Wire, the network wanted the characters off of the network.

After that, Vince told Daivari that he was going to be called “George W Bush” and come out dressed like the Apollo Creed character from “Rocky.” That night, Daivari went up to Stephanie and said that the gimmick would tank and she agreed with him and convinced Vince to pull the plug on the character. Daivari also said that Stephanie was more hands-on than Vince.

He went down to the Deep South Developmental territory and Laurinaitis asked him to find a partner, as he thought Daivari needed to be paired with a big guy. However, Cena was feuding against Kurt Angle, who was the heel but getting cheered, so they decided to put Daivari with Angle so he would get heel heat. After that, they put him with other heels, like Khali and Mark Henry to get them heat.

When asked about the Undertaker, Daivari said that he was always cool in and out of the ring. He also said that Taker would always pay for bar tabs. He said that he would even show up for just a half-hour and leave then at the end of the night when they went to pay, they were told that Taker already took care of the tab.

Daivari is asked about his time in Deep South and if he had any horror stories about Bill DeMott. Daivari said that he never saw DeMott hurt anyone but at the same time, never thought that what he did would be necessary for someone to become the next WWE Champion. He said that doing Hindu squats are not going to make you a champ then went on to explain how his drills were all basic stuff that you would pick up after thirty days in wrestling school, even adding that he is not the best wrestler in the world himself. Then he adds that guys who had never wrestled or trained might need those drills though. He also said that it might not have been DeMott’s decision to train the way he did either.

He is asked about John Cena and Daivari said that he was cool. He also said that they were drinking buddies. He also said that Cena never let him pay for anything when they traveled. Daivari also mentioned how Cena would change in the locker room with everyone else and not in Vince’s office. When asked who would change in Vince’s office (he is referring to Vince’s office in the arena), Daivari said that HHH, Batista, and sometimes Orton would change in there. Daivari said that those guys would change in Vince’s office on RAW and not the house shows.

When asked about how he got to work with Mark Henry, Daivari said that he was with Kurt Angle when Batista got hurt and they needed a top face for Smackdown. Daivari said that Angle told him they originally asked Shawn Michaels but he did not want to go to so they switched Angle to Smackdown, who was getting cheers anyway.

Daivari said that Henry was cool and they would chill at strip club together. He also said that Henry would bend silverware and frying pans too. He then tells a story of how Henry went to pick up a car and the bumper basically crumbled in his hands and they took off after that happened.

He is now asked about working with writers and agents. Daivari said when things go off script in a segment, Vince blames the writers and agents instead of the talent. He then said that the head writer only works with he main event guys. He also said that Michael Hayes was specifically assigned to him and the Great Khali when they worked together and said that happened when Khali told Daivari that he could understand Hayes when he tried to talk with him (Khali did not speak English) so Daivari told Stephanie that Hayes could work with Khali. Daivari jokingly refers to Hayes as the “Khali Whisperer.”

On when he went to ECW, Daivari said that he was pissed on how he wound up there. He said the original plans for WrestleMania 23 were for Hulk Hogan, with Donald Trump in his corner, against Khali with Vince McMahon in his corner. But Hogan did not come to terms with the WWE and they already split Daivari from Khali so he had nothing to do at all and his split from Khali wound up being unnecessary as a result. He then talks about how he learned that it is much better to be a hot act rather than a wrestler as his last two years in the company he was wrestling every night but on secondary show instead of being involved with the top storylines.

He talks about his first match in ECW, which was against Shannon Moore. Daivari said that match killed him as they wanted him to go out and squash Moore but he considered him a friend and decided to give him some offense but Vince saw two guys who were not over and wanted to see a heel destroy the babyface.

Daivari talks about the Cruiserweight Division and how the company did not care about it but did like Shane Helms and made him the champion, who rarely ever defended the belt. Daivari said they got a little bit of confidence in him again and when Helms turned face, they brought him over to Smackdown and he beat him. He said that he was supposed to face Helms at a PPV for the belt and thinks he was supposed to go over but the week before the show it was scrapped and they decided to have a gauntlet match as he was told that cruiserweights do not draw. Daivari said it ended up being good then they decided to have all sorts of gauntlet matches and six-man tags but no focus on the belt.

When asked if he felt that his character was racist, Daivari said not at all and that was how he got to make it to the WWE and on the independent scene, that is the character they want to see him play too.

On how he left the WWE, Daivari said that they offered him a contract but he was coming off of his worst year creatively and did not want to get signed and have to ride the bench with nothing to do because when that happens, it is a lot harder to get work elsewhere so he decided to leave when his contract expired.

He got booked in All Japan through the Great Muta and said that it was awesome. He wrestled with Silver King as a partner a first. Daivari said he was wrestling a Japanese style at first then Silver King pulled him aside and old him that they brought him in to wrestle an American style so he switched it up and he got more over as a result. During his next tour of All Japan, he worked with the Great Muta in the main event and found out it was due to him being broken-down and the fact that Daivari worked the easier American style of wrestling.

On how he got into TNA, Daivari said that Bert Prentice used to book him when he first started out and did some dark matches when they were doing the weekly PPV shows. He met with Terry Taylor then a few weeks later Scott D’Amore said that he was among the top of the list of new guys they wanted to bring into the company. He made is debut as the captain of the World X Cup team then after that he signed a contract.

Daivari tells a funny sorry about when he was filming vignettes in Houston. They filmed him at a power plant and someone called law enforcement and Homeland Security arrived and saw him dressed up in a turban and the guys from Spike showed their press passes but they were told they had to leave.

He talks about how they played a prank on Billy Gunn in TNA when they told the flight attendant to announce over the loudspeaker that it was Gunn’s 65th birthday. When they got to TV,they had a wrestler’s court, which Daivari said resulted because there was so much downtime during the tapings and he ended up taking a plea bargain, which was to buy a case of beer for the locker room. He also said that someone was the bailiff and he cannot remember who it was but when Vince Russo tried to enter, they threw him out. Daivari said that he was in the first segment of that taping then left after that to get the beer and saw that a Walmart was right next door then bought some supplies and ended up making a bar in the locker room that was up for about a year but Universal Studio’s made them tear it down. He said there were bottles of Grey Goose and beers on ice and he made signs that read “Talent Only” and they had a party that night.

When asked about the politics in TNA, Daivari said that once Russo became the Head of Creative, he told him that he disliked his act and started to strip away pieces of his act. He then said that it got worse as his contract was based off of TV and PPV payoffs and he was barely being used. He then said one night he got drunk and flipped out on Russo, which led to him getting fired.

He talks about how Jarrett told him he was going to be the head of the World Elite stable and from that, the Main Event Mafia was going to turn face and that feud to lead into a match at the Lockdown PPV. Russo ended up replacing Jarrett as Head of Creative and told Daivari that he was going to be replaced as the leader of World Elite with Eric Young. Daivari said that Russo fucked over his money as Daivari was only on house shows under Russo and he barely made any money off of those payoffs.

After TNA, he went to Ring of Honor. He said once Adam Pearce was replaced as the booker, he was done as he made more money than the main event guys but was wrestling the opening matches. He liked his time with the company and made a lot of new friends.

When asked about working for Jarrett’s Ring Ka King promotion, he first talks about how Jarrett had talks with the Speed network for a wrestling show that involved racing as well called “All Wheels Wrestling” and from that they went to India.

Daivari said that India was rough and tells a few stories. He talks about how he was with Abyss and had some rubies that were worth about $10 in American currency and a homeless child tugged on his shirt for money and Abyss gave him some rubies then after that, all sorts of kids came up to him and he kept giving them money until they got into the cab to go to the airport. He then tells a story of how a few of the guys wanted to get some weed and thinks that something got lost in translation when they talked about getting high and had a guy knock on their door with a brick of black tar heroin for them.

Feinstein asks him about the incident on the train. There was a belligerent drunk on the train spouting off racial obscenities right in front of him and really targeted one guy who got on the train. An elder Chinese man told the guy to be quiet and he flipped out on him then took off his backpack and Daivari did not know what he had inside of it so he decided to take the guy down and put him in a chokehold. He said that the police were not going to come and the guy was twice his size but the train stopped and he dragged him out then the train pulled away. He said that it wasn’t until two days later when TMZ emailed him about what happened.

He is asked about Chris Benoit. Daivari said they became friends in the WWE and how he looked up to him as a child. He said that the police contacted after the incident as he was one of the last people that texted him. He was in a ton of shock when it happened and still seems to be that way too.

When asked which wrestler’s death hit him the hardest, Daivari said that it was Lance Cade’s. He said that he saw Lance a week before he passed away and was all fucked up on drugs and said that maybe if he went to someone about it, he could have gotten help.

Daivari said that the Wellness Policy is awesome as his friends are no longer dying from drug overdoses. When asked, he said that the drug use has calmed down a lot because there are no consequences for their actions as when you are suspended, you lose a lot of money.

On his future, he said that he would love to have another “money” run but does not know if it will happen again and said that he was in the right place at the right time before in the WWE.

He closes by saying that as a heel, he hopes that he does not have many fans because that means he was doing his job right and you were paying attention to his opponent. Daivari rushed this a bit as he wanted to leave to hit up a strip club.

Final Thoughts: I thought this was a good interview. Daivari speaks fast and kept the interview moving. He definitely loves to go out drinking and hit up strip clubs too. Seems like a cool guy to hang out with.

Besides Russo, he never went out of his way to bury anyone and never took himself too seriously. Also, it shines light as to how the WWE locker room still was like the “Wild West” as he put in several years ago and I wondered how many young careers that atmosphere ruined myself.

Overall, this is a solid shoot interview and a breeze to watch.

You can purchase it as a rental for $9.99 here:

http://www.rfvideonow.com/catalog.php?id=c765ccda289b2b0b7ff2

or at RFVideo.com on DVD

Here is my schedule for my reviews this week: 

Friday: WWF Championship Wrestling 8/16/86
Saturday: RoH Invades Boston 8/24/02
Sunday: WWF Championship Wrestling 8/23/86
Tuesday: WWF The Big Event 8/28/86
Thursday: 1992 WWE Timeline as told by Bret Hart

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