Wrestling has become a global phenomenon and WWE’s success in expanding its reach worldwide is evident through the discovery of new stars. Mansoor Al-Shehail, the first Saudi Arabian wrestler, has helped make him one of the most famous Arab athletes in 2023. In this article, we will take a closer look at Mansoor’s fascinating career, from his early days on the independent circuit to his rise in WWE, including his appearances in Saudi Arabia and his recent move to Raw.
Mansoor’s Journey To WWE
Mansoor began competing on the independent circuits in 2015 after being trained by Dort Funk Jr and the Stoner Brothers. During that period, he wrestled under a number of different names, including Big Money Manny and Manny Faberino. Time on the indy circuit helped Mansoor to perfect his craft, and he competed on a number of major independent shows, including Gold Rush Pro Wrestling, and Best of the West Wrestling. During this period, he won a number of individual titles, including the East Bay Pro Wrestling title. However, he was forced to vacate the belt after he was signed to the WWE in 2018.
Early Steps In WWE
Mansoor finally had his dream opportunity in 2018, as WWE try-outs were held ahead of the company’s first major show in the country. Al-Shehail was one of eight talents that were scouted by the WWE, and he was offered the opportunity to return to training in the United States at the WWE Performance Center. However, his first appearance on WWE television would come at the Greatest Royal Rumble show, as he was involved in a segment alongside Ariya Daivari and Shawn Daivari.
He then appeared on U.S. television for the first time in September 2018, using his previously acquired name Manny Faberino. On his debut, he made a losing start to life in NXT against Luke Menzies, before he debuted the name Mansoor on an NXT televised show in February 2019, but he was defeated by Jaxson Ryker. Al-Shehail would then have an extended role in the WWE 2K series, as he voiced the main character of Cole Quinn in both WWE 2K19 and WWE 2K20.
WWE Appearances in Saudi Arabia
As part of the WWE agreement with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the company put on a number of shows annually in the country. Mansoon was one of the stars involved in the 51-man Battle Royal at Super ShowDown in Jeddah in 2019, as he landed victory in the multi-man match, eliminating Elias to claim victory. He would later compete in his hometown at Crown Jewel later in 2019, where he would claim the biggest victory of his career in a one-on-one match against Cesaro.
Despite winning on two premium shows, Mansoor was never called up to the main roster, and he instead competed on the 205 Live developmental show for cruiserweights. However, appearances on this show saw his popularity with the crowd increase. On his debut, he landed victory against The Brian Kendrick, before he later picked up another show at SuperShowdown, beating WWE veteran Dolph Ziggler. Following that win, he returned to 205 Live and picked up successive wins against Ashante Adonis and Jake Atlas.
Main Roster Debut & Current
Mansoor would begin appearing on Main Event from the start of 2021, as he picked up wins against superstars such as Drew Gulak, Akira Tozawa, and Angel Garza. Just five months into 2021, he was elevated to the main roster, and he first competed on Raw when making a losing debut against United States champion Sheamus. His first meaningful feud would come against Mustafa Ali in June 2021, but he would suffer his first pin-fall loss against his rival.
Mansoor was then drafted to SmackDown in late 2021, and his short-term partnership with former rival Ali would come to an end after he was attacked backstage. That led to a match between the stars at Crown Jewel, in which Mansoor picked up the win. After a break from the main roster, Mansoor returned to SmackDown in April 2022 as part of LA Knight’s new stable ‘Knight Model Management’. The move turned Mansoor’s heel for the first time in his career, and in July, his name was changed to ‘Mån.sôör’.
Mansoor Al-Shehail’s journey from the independent circuit to WWE has been a fascinating one. As the first Saudi Arabian professional wrestler in the company, Mansoor has not only made history but has also become a popular figure among WWE fans. His appearances in Saudi Arabia have been particularly noteworthy, and his success on the 205 Live developmental show helped to increase his popularity with the audience. Mansoor’s recent move to Raw and his subsequent partnership with LA Knight’s stable has taken his career to the next level, and it will be interesting to see where this new direction takes him in the future.