Levi Cooper, f.k.a. Tucker, was on today’s episode of The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman noted his entry in the Greatest Royal Rumble was Cooper’s main roster WWE debut. Cooper recalled his trip to Saudi Arabia and noted how long he was there for.
“They had this segment in there where they had the actual guys from Saudi Arabia, and the Daivaris came out with the Iranian flag. And these guys kicked their heads off or whatever,” Cooper recalled. “They had a tryout to try to find those guys. They didn’t have them before that. So myself, Dan Matha, Matt Bloom, Canyon Ceman, one of the doctors and a couple security guys, we went over there two weeks before the Greatest Royal Rumble in Jeddah.
“It was one big tryout, and then they picked eight people. And then we worked with those eight guys for another four days. We got there. We had a day off, and then we had four days and a half days of tryouts in a row, then another day off, and then another four or five days of tryouts, and then a day off and then we did the show. We didn’t find that out until the night before the Greatest Royal Rumble. It was like, ‘you guys might be in, you might not kind of thing or just be prepared. It’s possible you guys will get in. It’s a 50-man Royal Rumble, they’re gonna need people potentially.’ That was how it happened. It was awesome.
“That day was a long, long day, I remember, because the Royal Rumble is the last thing to go on, and we had to help the the Saudi guys with that little segment. I think they wanted to do it at noon or something, so we left the hotel at 10:30 that morning, and the Royal Rumble didn’t go on until 11:30, close to midnight. I remember being excited because I never wrestled on the main roster. Of course, I’m juiced up. I’m wrestling in front of everyone. It’s my chance. Who knows when I’m gonna get another chance like this? I need to make the most of this opportunity.”
Cooper continued as he spoke more on his experience in Saudi Arabia. He noted one struggle that he had during the trip.
“It was cool. I’ve been to Jeddah twice, and Riyadh once, so Riyadh not as cool, but Jeddah’s on the Red Sea and definitely a little more laxed,” Cooper said. “The vibe is definitely not as uptight and as strict as what you get in Riyadh, the enforcement from the religious police. I won’t get into the long spiel, but there’s the government and then there’s the religious police. There’s two sets, and the religious police are sort of what govern the day-to-day, making sure that women are adhering to the dress code, and there’s different sections in restaurant, single men, single women, families, and you have to act a certain way and be under certain guidelines.
“The family section is where you want to go, but you have to have guys and girls, and there’s an interesting kind of politics with it or whatever that exists. The culture was very different. I mean, we had a bunch of big white guys, so people were excited to see us. ‘Hey, what are these guys up to?’ We had this guy that was a Saudi national, and he spent half his time in the States. He showed us around. he was sort of our guide, and we did a lot of cool stuff.
“We went snorkeling and jet skiing on the Red Sea. I just remember it being an awesome trip, other than obviously, we were sober for two weeks, which is not like, I can’t stay sober for two weeks but just it’s a thing. Hey, you’re going to Saudi Arabia, you can’t drink. There’s nothing going on there, and inevitably when you get there, you can’t go to sleep because you’re halfway around the world. You’re like, man, couple glasses of wine would be pretty nice right now to help me go to sleep.”
One of the infamous parts of WWE’s endeavors in Saudi Arabia came in late 2019 where a plane incident occurred. Many WWE Superstars have spoken about the incident including AJ Styles and Heath Miller during his appearance on The Wrestling Inc. Daily.
“I was there. I was part of it,” Cooper stated. “It was wild. I wasn’t scared. I like to think I’m a fairly logical person. Even if they are messing with us, to some extent, they’re only gonna mess with us up to the point where it doesn’t become an international thing. They might want to mess with the company, but they’re not trying to mess with America, and they don’t want it to be like, hey, the Saudi government didn’t let a bunch of wrestlers go home. They don’t want that story, in my opinion anyways. That’s how I was feeling about it at the time. We leave the show, and we go to what is the executive hangar where it’s not the public place.
“It’s like a private charter area, and I don’t know how long we sat there, eight hours, maybe. We got on the plane once, and then we had to get back off of it because they wouldn’t let the plane go. We were on the plane for two hours, and we got back off. Then we had to wait in the lobby for another hour and a half or so because they had to get the buses, and then obviously, there’s the logistics of trying to find a hotel now for however many people we have on the trip, 100 plus or whatever. We then stayed for however long, maybe 12 hours, 15 hours in the hotel.
“And then we head back, and I remember it being kind of sketchy because we went back, and we got off, and when we got on the plane and back off of it. Both of the times, you walked out onto the tarmac, and you basically walked right onto the plane. The plane was right there. You didn’t have to get on anything or nothing. The time we’re going home, I guess they moved the plane or something because it had to stay overnight. They didn’t tell anybody anything about that. We get through security and everything, and then we have to get on these big people movers, essentially, like trams, just stand up airplane trams.
“They take off, and we start driving. We’ve been driving for maybe five minutes. There’s nothing else around. We’re driving over to wherever the plane is, which is on the outskirts of the main airport, and we’re off in the executive area. So now all of us are driving through the middle of the desert. ‘What is happening dude? Why are we driving through the middle of the desert in all these people movers by themselves?’ We just ended up going to the plane and getting on the plane, but I remember for 10 minutes, everyone was like, ‘What is happening here?’ My wife was not pleased.”
Hausman asked Cooper if he would ever return to Saudi Arabia.
“I’m not in a hurry to go back, certainly. I don’t know if I’d go back to wrestle,” Cooper admitted. “I was prepared to tell WWE I don’t want to go back to Saudi Arabia and be a part of this thing again. Probably not but maybe under certain circumstances. I don’t hate Saudi Arabia or anything like that. I don’t blame that on anything other than kind of, I guess politics or whatever it ended up being.
“I don’t know that anybody will ever know the truth of the matter. Anyone who knows about the story I’m sure knows about the reports. To some extent, I think we were political pawns a little bit in some regards. That’s at least what it seems like to me, and that definitely would make me think twice, I guess, about going back to Saudi Arabia.”
You can follow Levi on Twitter @REALLeviCoopper
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