Former WWE star Dean “Mojo” Muhtadi (formerly known as Mojo Rawley) made a name for himself in the company’s NXT brand as a high-energy hero. But he says Vince McMahon saw him as a heel after he was called up to the main roster.

“I think that was just kind of where his mind went when he was looking at who am I, how I act, how I work, the physically with it,” Muhtadi told The Sessions with Renee Paquette. “So I think that was just something that was bound to happen. I wasn’t resistant to it in the beginning. I thought it would be fun, I thought it would be different. I had my first ever match as a heel in a pay-per-view with Zack (Ryder), I think it was the Clash of Champions when I turned on him.

“Man, that was kind of nerve-wracking too. I didn’t have any practice runs at this,” Muhtadi continued. “I was a babyface literally my whole career and then that happened. Yeah, it was just kind of an interesting situation. I know they wanted to get me away from the ‘stay hype’ thing, which I really didn’t want to do. I mean, that’s been like kind of my life’s mantra.”

Dean Muhtadi says he didn’t have frequent interactions with Vince McMahon while he was on WWE’s main roster. But he says they were always positive and they got along well.

“I wasn’t one of these guys that will hang out in his office for like, an hour and really talk about nothing,” Muhtadi recalled. “But we always had like, a good relationship and I think he always saw me in one particular role in the company. But it seemed like it got to be like, the same kind of ebb and flow. I would go have a conversation with him and kind of let him in on just a small fraction of what I thought I could do.”

Dean Muhtadi went through a number of character changes during his run on WWE’s main roster. That included one that was set up by a series of vignettes where he talked to himself in a mirror. It led to Muhtadi wrestling in face paint. He says he was not fond of that change.

“The runs would last anywhere from like, one week, from when I did the stupid face paint thing, to like, a month or two,” Muhtadi recalled. “And then, somehow when it came time to actually have the run, not just set up the run with get-over matches, things just ended. And then it was back to, ‘Okay, I’m in this lull again. Let’s just rinse and repeat.’ And every year it just seemed to be this new little wrinkle and we go from there and it used to drive me crazy because it was like, we’ve got some guys that play major characters and major personalities on television that in real life have the personality of a rock. Not The Rock, like a rock.”

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