Dean Muhtadi, formerly known as Mojo Rawley, was recently released by WWE, and despite the surprising move, the superstar is ready to move forward. Speaking as a guest on the latest episode of the Insight with Chris Van Vliet podcast, Rawley spoke about winning the Andre the Giant Battle Royal during his time with WWE, on whether or not he thought he’d ever be cut by WWE, and more.
You can check out some of the highlights below:
On winning the Andre The Giant Battle Royal:
I think the plans all went into that [me winning]. I’ve come to learn that when you win the Andre it’s not to start a push afterwards. It’s either the lead in to a great moment sometime, or it’s a reward for a guy who’s been quietly busting his ass and here’s a thank you. It doesn’t always mean that it’s going to amount to a push. I don’t know what their thoughts were at the time, I know they put me on this path to win it, especially in retrospective. Looking at the weeks leading up to that, it made sense that I was going to take it. When I heard that it was probably going to be me, that’s when I had the idea to bring in Robbie G [Rob Gronkowski] and just hype it up even more. I always try and focus on big picture. I can do this myself and people are going to look at it as an average Andre moment. Or we can make it bigger than it is and get it out to more eyes and make it a bigger moment. They moved it to the pre-show, which a lot of people were upset about. But the pre-show was on cable, the pay per view was on the network, the pre-show gets more views by a mile than the network did. I was looking at it as a plus all around. But then afterwards they didn’t know what to do. I think I was doing some strange promos with kids or something.
Honestly I think that was what my whole career boiled down to. It’s we got this guy, he is perfect for this one spot, high energy, hyped up dude. We are going to put him in this space and we don’t know what to do with him after. I remember meeting with Vince one time, I felt pretty boosted after it. He sat me down and went ‘Alright, you may be one of the best athletes in the company. You may be one of the strongest in the company. You have one of the best attitudes and one of the best work ethics.’ He literally went down the list of all these superlatives where I was number one or top three. Then he was like ‘We’ve just got to figure out what to do with you.’ I remember thinking to myself I think you just said it. How do we not use that? There are so many things you could do with it. But you never know what’s going on behind the scenes. All you can do is work your butt off. I was pitching things constantly, very seldom does that come to anything if at all.
On if he thought he would survive this round of cuts:
Truth be told there’s some other stuff going on there. All I can say is I’m grateful to have been with the company as long as I was. I mean putting in almost a decade, that’s a hell of a run. Truthfully I am happy it happened. It was time for a change. Sometimes you never want to be the one to necessarily initiate that, but you needed it to happen. It was a thought that was going through my head for a while. Let’s give this another year or two, if this amounts to nothing, or very little, then yeah it is time for a change. I am going to turn 35 shortly. If I am thinking about starting another industry, the more you wait, the less is on the table. I got pigeonholed a lot as being this big hyped up guy that very much did a lot outside of the ring.
I was one of the few guys they used for the community service drives. There aren’t a lot of guys in the company that can do those. I know that Titus O’Neil is the poster boy for that stuff. Honestly in my opinion I think Titus is one of the top 3 most valuable people in all of WWE. I know that might come of a shock to some people, but we got tons of guys that can wrestle. Almost everyone on the roster can put on a hell of match. But how many guys can go out there and make change and bring in a new fanbase from all of the promos that he does. There is no one that does more in that space than Titus. I felt like I was used for both, but again, sometimes those guys don’t get the big Roman Reigns career. But sometimes change needs to happen, whether it comes from you or them.