Former WWE star was on today’s episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily where he discussed his half decade time in WWE. Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman brought up Daivari’s infamous heel promo that he cut in Saudi Arabia with his brother Shawn where they waived the Iranian flag, and he revealed whose idea the segment was.
“From what I was told, that was requested from the Saudi Prince. Whether that’s true or not, I don’t know,” Ariya admitted. “He booked the show. At the end of the day, it was his idea, and for me, particularly being fairly new at the time, you’re not gonna say no to stuff. All this Saudi stuff was a big deal. It was a big money deal. Backstage, they made it seem like how important these Saudi shows are to the company.
“They’re doing the very first one, and as a cruiserweight, I’m not gonna be like, ‘No, I’m not doing this type of thing.’ You just kind of have to do what you’re told or at least that’s how I felt about it, and the only reason my brother came is, some people may not know this, but my neck was injured at the time. I was completely on the injured list, and they called me one day and said, ‘Hey, can we get your brother’s information because we’ll just send him to go do this thing,’ and that was a situation where I was kind of like, ‘Oh damn, maybe we can do something together.’ And I told them, ‘Hey, if you guys will let me like, I’ll still go too, injured or not. Maybe me and my brother can do it together,’ and they were all about it.
“That was the reason why, if you ever go back and watch it, he took all the bumps. I just got pushed onto my ass and rolled out of the ring, and then he took all the bumps because I wasn’t cleared to take any bumps at that point, so that’s why they brought my brother along too. Looking back on in hindsight, and hindsight’s 20/20, I wish we didn’t do it, and you never want to disrespect people. And it’s not like people in the United States were upset about it, but people in Iran, people in Saudi Arabia, they didn’t like it, and I said, ‘My goal was never to offend anybody.’ You never want to do that with wrestling.
“I really care about wrestling. I really care about my work. I don’t want to offend anybody or stuff like that. That was why I took it upon myself to put out that apology. Nobody told me to do it. The company didn’t ask me and all that stuff. I was gonna do it myself. I want to make this right. If it truly offended people, and they’re not understanding that this is just a show, then I’ll say I’m sorry. It wasn’t really a big deal to me to apologize for it.”
Iran and Saudi Arabia have been embroiled in a decades long conflict involving various proxy wars, some of which are still ongoing. Ariya, an Iranian-American, discussed one aspect of the segment at the Greatest Royal Rumble that he personally takes blame for.
“The only part that I take partial blame for is just being uneducated on how big the tensions are between Iran and Saudi Arabia,” Daivari said. “The geopolitics were a little bit over my head. Because here’s the thing, it’s pro wrestling. At the end of the day, how many offensive gimmicks and character segments have there been? There’s been tons.
“I didn’t know this one was such a big deal that it was really gonna offend a lot of people in those countries. That was why, like I said, I put out that apology because if this is one of those things that people are truly upset about, then, again, I apologize. We definitely shouldn’t have done that.”
“To this day, every once in a while, I’ll still get a DM on Instagram, out of the blue, like ‘FU you piece of S’ and all that kind of stuff,” Daivari noted. “So I was like, oh damn, people are really upset about it, but again, I like to let people know, look, that was wrestling. The cameras are on. It was a character. That’s not how I really feel. I’m not really involved with that. I’m guy from Minnesota.”
You can follow Ariya on Twitter @AriyaDaivari
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