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Sami Zayn on stereotypes in wrestling, praises Mustafa Ali

WWE have always loved to incorporate a wrestler’s heritage into the gimmick. While appearing on Mike Jones’ podcast along with Shinsuke Nakamura, Sami Zayn addressed stereotypes in wrestling. Mustafa Ali’s article for the CBS Evening News was brought up which stressed upon changing the perception of Muslims and Arabs in the eyes of people.

Zayn added his own thoughts by expressing his delight over the fact that wrestling is moving away from this. He elucidated by adding Shinsuke Nakamura and Finn Balor’s gimmicks. He stated:

“For me personally, it’s one of the things I love about this generation,” Zayn said. “Shinsuke’s [Nakamura] gimmick doesn’t revolve around him being Japanese.

“Like me, being Arab, I’m not coming out with a turban or acting the way the Iron Sheik acted. I’m a performer who happens to be Arabian.

“Finn Balor, he’s an Irishman and it’s not like he comes out with a box of lucky charms or waving an Irish flag talking with a funny accent to be Irish. It’s just a lot more rooted in reality of who we actually are and not playing this caricature or this stereotype of our background.

To conclude, the former NXT star praised Mustafa Ali for his efforts to break the stereotype. He said:

“So, I applaud Mustafa Ali for that for trying to break that. It’s something I have been interested in as well.”


  • Dirt McGirt

    I don’t hate anybody, you ignorant plebeian. Why don’t you go back to beating your girlfriend, since that’s the only thing you’ve ever been good at? I give facts. If you don’t agree with them, that just proves your lack of education.

  • Dirt McGirt

    You are human garbage. You are the scum around the edge of the gene pool. You contribute nothing of value and your existence is a joke.

  • عمر ادونيس

    Oh look, an ignorant hillbilly on a wrestling site, that’s new.

  • CC

    Grow up you racist idiot. Nobody asks for your blinkered views from 1866 but you still give them.

  • Dirt McGirt

    And once again, you’re wrong and running your mouth when no one asked you to.

  • CC

    I get what he is trying to say, but in many respects he is very wrong. WWE has never made every single person from a country or heritage act certain stereotypical ways, but they have done it a lot, and the foreign heel trope is so over used it is not funny.
    Hell, there have been points where if you were not American or Canadian, you were almost certainly gonna be a heel of some kind. Thankfully that one has died off in recent years though with the influx of international talent.

    Back in the mid 2000s or so, it even got to the point that when Jericho and Benoit were heels they were from their home cities in Canada, but when they were baby faces they were billed as “currently residing in…” whatever US city they currently lived. It was quite ridiculous.

    As for Sami, the guy is whiter than white and has ginger hair so despite his heritage, he does not look “foreign”, so no way would they play up to his Syrian heritage.

    I think the fact is, with the deal WWE have with Saudi these days, it would be very very difficult for them to portray Arabic characters as evil heels, as can you imagine how that country would take it? Money talks to WWE so right now and for the next ten years or so, that old cliche is dead.

  • CC

    A lot of Muslims do not have beards, and when they do, then are not full beards with moustaches, so once again you show your ignorance on something.

  • R.T. Red

    The point is he’s not characterized as a terrorist as his character or an anti American. Same with Ali. Just cause he has his heritage in his Attire doesn’t make him a stereotype.

  • Dirt McGirt

    Yes, muslim men have to have beards, like the Amish. Yes, ,lots of people do have beards, those that look foolish with them, like Zayn, need to shave it off. If you bothered to read my comment, I didn’t say that NONE of the wrestling fans could read it, I said that 99% couldn’t. You cater to the majority, not the minority. That’s how business works if you want to be successful. Clearly you’re a snowflake.

  • Luke

    “A Muslim beard”

    …otherwise known as “a beard”.

    Lots of people in wrestling have beards. Lots of wrestling fans around the world can read Arabic. This was a silly comment.

  • Dirt McGirt

    No there isn’t. He should shave that beard because it makes him look ridiculous. On top of that, there’s no point in using arab writing on his gear when 99% of the audience has no clue what it means and there is no reason that he couldn’t go by the name Bob Smith and oh, by the way, he’s muslim. Stereotypes are stereotypes and whether or not they are deemed to be offensive is completely in the eyes of the beholder.

  • Rinn13

    Sami, you may be Syrian but you’re a pale, red-haired dude. I’m a quarter Lebanese, and you’re “whiter” than I am. Talk up your heritage all you want, but you’re FAR from the stereotypical “Middle Easterner”, from the outset.

  • R.T. Red

    There’s a big difference in what he’s saying versus what you’re saying.

  • Dirt McGirt

    He says he’s a performer who just happens to be arab, but then had muslim writing on his gear, a muslim name, and a muslim beard. Come back to me when you address that, Sami.