While he’s not in any main events (or even storylines) yet, you may have noticed a new face appearing more regularly on NXT TV, albeit in an enhancement role. Known as Mansoor, the athletic youngster has been seen more and more on WWE programming of late. Mansoor became the first ever Saudi signee in 2018 after an impressive WWE Tryout earlier that year and made his televised debut in a segment with the Daivari brothers at The Greatest Royal Rumble in Saudi Arabia.
But despite his Saudi heritage, Mansoor isn’t a foreign product trained in the Middle East, or even Europe, who is coming to America to join NXT. Mansoor has actually been living in America since childhood and was trained at Stoner U Academy in Oakland, California in 2015. He worked for Stoner U’s school shows and in 2017 was working with other West Coast promotions like Pacifica’s East Bay Pro Wrestling (EBPW) and Gold Coast Pro (GP), as well as Oakland’s Hoodslam Wrestling, where he wrestled as Manny Faberino.
After joining the WWE Performance Center last summer, he made his debut on the NXT Live Events circuit this past September, working with the likes of Keith Lee, EC3, and Fabian Aichner. He finally made his NXT TV debut, facing Forgotten Sons’ wrecking machine, Jaxson Ryker.
He continues to wrestle on the NXT Live Events circuit regularly and wrestled as part of WrestleMania weekend in Brooklyn, where he worked the NXT UK tapings. He faced off against Travis Banks, in a match that just aired this past Wednesday. He also appeared on this week’s regular NXT TV as well, facing off against Dominik Dijakovic. He also found himself as part of this past Thursday’s NXT TV tapings, indicating his TV appearances are becoming more regular.
No doubt about the heart of @KSAMANNY!
— TDE Wrestling (@tde_wrestling) May 2, 2019
And while some may just suggest that his signing coincided with the start of WWE’s relationship with the Saudi Arabian government, Mansoor looks far beyond that. “I thank God every day,” Mansoon told WWE cameras after his NXT TV debut. “To be afforded this opportunity, and to be the first Saudi to be able to do this, is amazing. Honestly, if I had it my way, there would have been 100 Saudis before me, and if I have it my way, there will be 100 Saudis after me, and they’ll all be better than me. That’s the future I want.”
— WWE NXT (@WWENXT) May 2, 2019
While Mansoor is openly proud of his Middle Eastern and Saudi heritage, much like former 205 Live (and now SmackDown Live) WWE Superstar Ali is of being a Muslim Pakistani, he is not being portrayed as a cultural stereotype, but just another passionate wrestling who happens to love his heritage, no more or no less than characters like John Cena, Sheamus, Becky Lynch or Natalya are there own.
“Being a kid and growing up, in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), and seeing and watching wrestling, and hoping and dreaming and praying that one day there would be someone like me up there,” he told the WWE. To be that person feels weird, cause I don’t see myself as that person. It’s like Why Me?, but also, Why Not Me? cause I just want it so bad. And here I am.”
— WWE (@WWE) May 1, 2019
And the influence of wrestlers like Mansoor, like Ali, like Kofi Kingston winning the WWE Championship, isn’t about jumping on any sort of “Politically Correct” bandwagon, its about giving hope to children of different heritages that one day they too can become WWE Superstars and it’s not just a white man’s dream anymore.