Mojo Rawley

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Mojo Rawley
Mojo Rawley in December 2016.jpg
Rawley in December 2016
Birth nameDean Muhtadi[1]
Born (1986-07-17) July 17, 1986 (age 33)[2]
Alexandria, Virginia,
U.S.[2]
ResidenceOrlando, Florida,
U.S.[1]
Alma materUniversity of Maryland
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Mojo Rawley[3]
Billed height6 ft 4 in (193 cm)[3]
Billed weight265 lb (120 kg)[3]
Billed fromAlexandria, Virginia, U.S.[3]
Trained byWWE Performance Center[3]
DebutMay 29, 2013

Dean Muhtadi (born July 17, 1986)[2] is an American professional wrestler and former defensive lineman currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the Raw brand under the ring name Mojo Rawley.

Football career[edit]

Dean Muhtadi
No. 64
Position:Defensive lineman
Personal information
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:296 lb (134 kg)
Career information
College:Maryland
Undrafted:2009
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only

Early years[edit]

At T. C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, Muhtadi was a four-year starter along the defensive and offensive lines. He also was the team's punter during his last two years. He finished second in the Patriot District in sacks in 2004, and broke the school's all-time punting record with a long of 76 yards against West Springfield High School.

Throughout his high school playing career, Muhtadi started games at defensive tackle, end, nose guard, and outside linebacker on defense, and at offensive tackle, guard, center, and tight end on offense. He was also the team's punter and kicker. Often his position changed every week to shadow the opposing team's best player. Muhtadi was an All-District choice at both defensive line and punter, as well as the team MVP.

College career[edit]

In 2004 and 2005, Muhtadi played college football for Division III Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. After redshirting his freshman season due to mononucleosis, Muhtadi started at defensive tackle for the Captains his sophomore year. He then transferred to the University of Maryland in the Atlantic Coast Conference where he earned a scholarship, and a starting position. In 2008, Muhtadi finished third in sacks for the Terrapins. He was also only the second player in the past 15 years to play all defensive line positions in a game for the Terrapins.

Pre-Draft Measureables
Wt 40 yd 20 ss 3-cone Vert BP Broad Jump
302 lbs 4.78 4.37 7.29 36.5 36 9'8"

Muhtadi currently owns several of Maryland's all-time records for strength and speed: 225 lb. Bench Press Test: 36 repetitions (Team Record) 40 Yard Dash: 4.78 (Defensive Tackle Record) Power Clean: 390 lbs. (Defensive Line Record) Vertical Jump: 36.5 inches (Defensive Line Record) Pro Agility (20-yard shuttle): 4.37 (Defensive Line Record)

Academics[edit]

At Christopher Newport, Muhtadi was awarded a full academic scholarship. While also being named the top student-athlete on the team, Muhtadi was a two-time All USA South Athletic Conference All-Academic Selection, a member of the President's Leadership Program, Honors Program, and Student Executive Board of the Business School. He also received the Edith McMurran Honors Scholarship for the student who best demonstrates the balance of leadership, public service, and academic excellence.

In his three years at Maryland, Muhtadi was one of the top student-athletes in the Atlantic Coast Conference. In 2008, Muhtadi won the Jim and Pat Thacker Postgraduate Scholarship for being one of the top student-athletes in the ACC for all sports and all schools. In 2007 and 2008, Muhtadi also received the George Boutselis Memorial Award for being the letterman with the highest academic average on the football team. He also was named to the All-ACC Academic Team in 2008 and was a three-time Dean's List student. Muhtadi received his MBA from the Smith Business School MBA Program.

Professional football career[edit]

Green Bay Packers[edit]

Muhtadi was signed by the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent following the 2009 NFL Draft on May 4, 2009.[4] He earned his contract on a tryout basis by being one of three players signed out of 25 trying out for the team. Muhtadi was the only player on the depth chart listed at both Defensive End and Nose Guard. On September 3, 2009, in a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans, Muhtadi finished third on the team with 5 tackles, 1 for loss, and a forced fumble. Toward the end of the game, Muhtadi forced a fumble to save a touchdown. He was waived the next day.

Arizona Cardinals[edit]

Muhtadi was signed by the Arizona Cardinals on January 20, 2010 to play defensive line. Muhtadi became training partners with Darnell Dockett as the two competed against one another every day in workouts. He was injured during training camp and placed on Injured Reserve.

Professional wrestling career[edit]

WWE[edit]

NXT (2012–2016)[edit]

Muhtadi spent 18 months rehabilitating from the injury he sustained with the Arizona Cardinals. During his recovery, he had received offers to return to the NFL and to work in financial services, but instead opted to become a professional wrestler with WWE by August 2012.[5][6] He joined WWE's developmental territory WWE NXT and he adopted the ring name "Mojo Rawley".[1]

Rawley made his television debut on the May 29, 2013 episode of NXT, competing in a battle royal that was won by Bo Dallas.[7]

On the October 9 episode of NXT, Rawley adopted a high-energy character based on the concept of "staying hyped"; Rawley explained that if getting hyped allowed superhuman achievements, he would take it one level higher by staying hyped.[8][9] Rawley defeated CJ Parker at NXT Arrival[10] and then went on an unbeaten streak, defeating CJ Parker, Sylvester Lefort and Oliver Grey, among others. He also took part in a battle royal to determine the new number one contender where he made it to the final seven before being eliminated by Jason Jordan.[citation needed]

On May 29, 2014 at NXT TakeOver event, Rusev beat down Rawley.[11] Rawley then formed a team with Bull Dempsey, but they lost in the 1st round of the number one contenders tournament for the tag titles, causing Dempsey to turn on Rawley. The two faced off at NXT TakeOver: Fatal 4-Way with Rawley losing, he also lost a rematch a few weeks later. In October, Rawley suffered an shoulder injury that would take him out of action for four to six months.[12]

In June 2015, Zack Ryder debuted in NXT, and returning Rawley formed an alliance with him, dubbing themselves as The Hype Bros.[13] On the June 10 episode of NXT, The Hype Bros went on to defeat Elias Samson and Mike Rallis. On August 22 at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn, The Hype Bros teamed up with Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady to defeat Jason Jordan, Chad Gable and The Mechanics (Dash Wilder and Scott Dawson) in an 8-man tag team match. On the October 16 episode of NXT, The Hype Bros competed in a match for the NXT Tag Team Championship in a losing effort.[citation needed] On the October 22 episode of NXT, Rawley competed in a 26-man battle royal to determine the number one contender for the NXT Championship, he was unsuccessful, although he was among the last few competitors in the match. On the November 11 episode of NXT, The Hype Bros teamed up with Bayley during an intergender tag team match against Blake and Murphy and Alexa Bliss, where they emerged victorious.[14] On the February 10, 2016, episode of NXT, The Hype Bros defeated Corey Hollis and John Skyler in a tag team match.

Main roster debut (2016–2017)[edit]

Rawley (left) with actor Ryan Phillippe in December 2016

On July 19, Rawley was called up to the main roster as a supplemental pick in the 2016 WWE draft, being selected in the 11th round by SmackDown, the brand in which his partner Zack Ryder wrestled.[15] He made his main roster debut at Battleground, helping Ryder against being assaulted post-match by Rusev. On the SummerSlam pre-show, The Hype Bros teamed with American Alpha (Jason Jordan and Chad Gable) and The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) to face The Vaudevillains (Aiden English and Simon Gotch), Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango), and The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor) in a 12-man tag team match, where The Hype Bros' team was victorious.[citation needed] On the August 30 episode of SmackDown, they defeated The Vaudevillains to advance in the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Tournament.[16] The Hype Bros were later eliminated by Heath Slater and Rhyno in semifinals.[17] The Hype Bros would later get a second chance to face Heath Slater and Rhyno in the final at Backlash after American Alpha were injured by The Usos, in a losing effort. On the October 25 episode of SmackDown, The Hype Bros defeated The Ascension to qualify as part of Team SmackDown for the 10–on–10 Survivor Series Tag Team Elimination match at Survivor Series.[18] On the December 13 episode of SmackDown, The Hype Bros won a multi-team battle royal for a chance to take on The Wyatt Family for the titles, but Ryder sustained a knee injury, cancelling their #1 contender status.[19]

After Ryder's injury was determined, the following week on SmackDown, Rawley defeated Curt Hawkins. On the January 24, 2017 episode of SmackDown, Rawley won a battle royal to earn a spot in the 2017 Royal Rumble match.[20] At the event, Rawley entered at number four and was eliminated by Braun Strowman. He defeated Hawkins on the Elimination Chamber pre-show.[citation needed] On the March 7 episode of SmackDown, Rawley announced his participation in the André the Giant Battle Royal. On the March 14 episode of SmackDown, Rawley faced Dolph Ziggler, which he won by countout. On the WrestleMania 33 kickoff show, with the help of real-life friend, Rob Gronkowski, Rawley won the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal with the last elimination of Jinder Mahal.[21]

After six months of inactivity, Ryder returned on the June 13 episode of SmackDown, reuniting with Rawley. On June 18, at the Money in the Bank pre-show, The Hype Bros faced The Colóns (Primo and Epico Colón) in a winning effort.[22] Two days later on SmackDown, Shane McMahon announced that The Hype Bros would have an opportunity to become number one contenders for the SmackDown Tag Team championship at the June 27 episode of SmackDown in a match against tag team champions The Usos, in which they were defeated.[citation needed]

Championship pursuits (2017–present)[edit]

After several weeks of losing matches causing dissension between the team, both Rawley and Ryder began to claim that a change was needed. On the November 28 episode of SmackDown Live, after losing to The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper and Rowan), Rawley attacked Ryder, turning heel in the process for the first time in his career.[23] Rawley appeared on the December 5 episode of SmackDown Live, claiming Ryder was dead weight.[24] Rawley and Ryder had a match scheduled at the Clash of Champions pre-show which Rawley won.[25] A rematch was scheduled between the two in the first round of United States Championship tournament which was again won by Rawley. On the January 16, 2018 episode of SmackDown Live, Rawley lost to Bobby Roode in the semi-finals of the tournament. At Royal Rumble, Rawley answered Bobby Roode's open challenge for the United States Championship, but was unsuccessful in winning the title.[26]

On April 16, Rawley was drafted to Raw as part of the 2018 WWE Superstar Shake-up. He entered the Greatest Royal Rumble, where he eliminated both members of Breezango but was unable to win the match. On the May 7 episode of Raw, Rawley answered Seth Rollins' open challenge for the Intercontinental Championship, but lost the match. On the June 18 episode of Raw, he defeated No Way Jose. After the match, Rawley claimed that he was no longer hyped and simply focused. Over the following weeks on Raw, Rawley defeated No Way Jose and Tyler Breeze several times. Following a brief feud with Bobby Roode, Rawley found himself off Raw for an extended amount of time.

On the January 28, 2019 edition of RAW, Rawley was featured in a backstage segment talking to an off-screen person, blaming them for his lack of success and saying "They'll find out who I really am," before being revealed that he was talking to a mirror. On the February 4, 2019 edition of RAW, he was shown saying to the same mirror that he wouldn't be a "team player" anymore. On the March 28, 2019 RAW, he was again seen talking to the mirror, saying that he needed to "figure it out." On April 8, 2019, on the RAW after WrestleMania 35, the mirror was shown to be shattered, and Rawley wore a matching shattered glass face paint design, stating that he had finally "found himself." On the May 13 episode of RAW, he debuted his new look and defeated Apollo Crews in a squash match

Personal life[edit]

Muhtadi is the son of T.J. Muhtadi and Maria Muhtadi-Roach. He has four siblings. While in the seventh grade, Muhtadi began working for the financial services firm Morgan Stanley as an intern. After graduating from high school, Muhtadi continued to work for Morgan Stanley.[5] Muhtadi made a cameo appearance in 3LAU's video for his song "On My Mind". Muhtadi's father is Palestinian and his mother is half-Syrian, and he has extended family through his father's side in Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and throughout the Middle East.[27][28] Muhtadi also speaks fluent Arabic.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Fishman, Scott (July 18, 2013). "Football players Baron Corbin, Mojo Rawley surprisingly reunite at WWE NXT". The Miami Herald. The McClatchy Company. Archived from the original on January 18, 2014. Retrieved January 16, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c "Mojo Rawley: Profile & Match Listing". profightdb.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Mojo Rawley bio". WWE. Retrieved May 14, 2016.
  4. ^ Bernard, Greg A. (May 4, 2009). "Peckers sign Maryland DT Dean Muhammad". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Retrieved January 21, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Saxton, Byron (October 16, 2013). "Staying hyped: Mojo Rawley makes his NXT debut". WWE. Retrieved May 14, 2016.
  6. ^ Scherer, Dave. "New WWE signings". PWInsider. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  7. ^ Jason Namako. "WWE NXT results - 5/30/13 (#1 Contender battle royal)". Wrestleview. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  8. ^ James, Justin. "James's WWE NXT report 1/15 - Week 81: Triple H makes announcement, Kofi vs. Rusev test match, NXT champ in action, Neville/PAC; Overall Reax". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  9. ^ "Staying hyped: Mojo Rawley makes his NXT debut (page 2)". WWE. Retrieved March 9, 2014.
  10. ^ Howell, Nolan. "NXT ArRival: Neville reaches for the gold". SLAM! Sports: Wrestling. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  11. ^ Howell, Nolan (May 29, 2014). "Neville tops Kidd at NXT Takeover". Canoe.ca. Québecor Média. Retrieved May 30, 2014.
  12. ^ "WWE News: Mojo Rawley's Shoulder Injury Is Legit, Upcoming HBK Appearance - 411MANIA". 411mania.com.
  13. ^ "WWE NXT results - June 10, 2015: Samoa Joe makes his debut, Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley join forces". WWE.
  14. ^ Trionfo, Richard (November 11, 2015). "WWE NXT REPORT: TAG TITLE MATCH, BAYLEY AND ALEXA IN SIX PERSON TAG ACTION, SAMOA JOE EXPLAINS HIMSELF, THE ASCENSION ARE BACK NEXT WEEK, AND WHAT IS GOING ON WITH NIA JAX AND EVA MARIE?". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved November 11, 2015.
  15. ^ "2016 WWE Draft results: WWE officially ushers in New Era". WWE. Retrieved July 19, 2016.
  16. ^ The Hype Bros vs. The Vaudevillains - SmackDown Tag Team Championship Tournament Match: SmackDown Live, Aug. 30, 2016, retrieved September 21, 2016
  17. ^ "Heath Slater & Rhyno def. The Hype Bros in the SmackDown Tag Team Championship Tournament". Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  18. ^ Parks, Greg. "10/25 WWE Smackdown LIVE – Parks's Ongoing, Real-Time Report". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  19. ^ "Zack Ryder injures knee during battle royal". ESPN.com. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  20. ^ "WWE SmackDown LIVE results, Jan. 24, 2017: Intercontinental Title Lumberjack Match explodes in chaotic Royal Rumble Match prelude".
  21. ^ "Rob Gronkowski helps Mojo Rawley win the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal". Wwe.com. April 2, 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2017.
  22. ^ "The Hype Bros reunite to battle the Colons in Kickoff showdown". WWE. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  23. ^ "Say It Ain't So Bro: Mojo Rawley turns on Zack Ryder after another loss".
  24. ^ Chiari, Mike. "Mojo Rawley Is Top Option to Liven Up US Title Scene After Win vs. Zack Ryder".
  25. ^ Kain, Reverend (December 17, 2017). "WWE Clash of Champions 2017 results, live streaming match coverage: Styles vs. Mahal". Cageside Seats. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  26. ^ Melok, Bobby. "United States Champion Bobby Roode def. Mojo Rawley (United States Championship Kickoff Match)". WWE. Retrieved January 28, 2018.
  27. ^ "Mojo Rawley talks his WWE career, Arabic heritage, and Vince's headbutt". YouTube. September 15, 2017. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  28. ^ Mark Giannotto (January 27, 2016). "Dean Muhtadi was a college football star. As "Mojo Rawley," he's trying to be the next big thing in the ring". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  29. ^ "Pro Wrestling Illustrated (PWI) 500 for 2017". The Internet Wrestling Database. Retrieved August 31, 2017.

External links[edit]

Professional wrestling[edit]

Football[edit]