After vanishing from WWE and pro wrestling for more than a decade, Muhammad Hassan says he missed sports entertainment and is hoping for an opportunity to rewrite the ending to his story.
Hassan wrestled his second match in 13 years over the weekend for The Dynasty in New York after getting the itch to see if he could still go a few months ago. With two matches under his belt, Hassan tells Pro Wrestling Sheet he believes there’s still something in the tank.
“The first time I was a little nervous — a little unsure of what I was doing. The second time it felt like it was the day after I stopped,” Hassan said. “It was a lot more fun the second time.”
In the mid 2000s, Hassan was one of wrestling’s hottest acts. After only a year in WWE, he was rumored to be on a path to becoming world champion. But in an instant, it was gone.
A controversial angle with the Undertaker around the London bombings of 2005 forced WWE to pull Hassan off television. Months later, he’d be released. Hassan called it “heartbreak.” At the time, he dealt with it by shutting wrestling out of his life.
“I had to put it behind me and I had to move forward,” Hassan recalled. “That was the only way I could survive — if I forgot about wrestling and I focused on a new career.”
That new career was as an educator. Hassan, real name Marc Copani, now serves as an assistant principal at a high school outside of Syracuse. He’s able to use wrestling as a tool to relate to students who can often be difficult to connect with.
With a new life outside of the business, Hassan vowed he’d never wrestle again. That was then; this is now. As he admits the wrestling bug doesn’t go away that easily.
“It might have taken 13 years to kind of get over it and get out and work again, but I miss working in the ring,” said Hassan. “I love being in the ring. The actual wrestling part, I really enjoy.”
Copani says at 38, he’s not looking to be on the road for 300 days a year. However, he’s open to the idea of a one-time WWE appearance like the Royal Rumble — an opportunity to perform on wrestling’s biggest stage one more time.
“It would be enjoyable to be back in the atmosphere again,” Hassan said. “It’s nothing I would want to do full-time, but I’m not going to lie — I miss it. I miss being around the boys. I miss being in the ring. I miss the athleticism of it — the art of wrestling.”
As of now, his future in wrestling is uncertain. Hassan has no upcoming dates on his schedule, but he’s open to opportunities that don’t involve a major disruption to his work life.
One thing he’s keeping a close eye on: the publicity that’s sure to come when his WWE run is the topic of discussion on the “Something to Wrestling With” podcast next month. “I don’t know what to expect of it,” Hassan noted. “I’m a little more nervous than anything. I wouldn’t expect Bruce Prichard to do a show on me. He’s usually dealing with top talent.”
Whether Hassan realizes it or not, he was top talent — and will always hold a place in WWE history as one of its most controversial characters.
Maybe one day “what could have been” will transform into chants of “welcome back!”
Only time will tell.