In recent Wrestling Observer Newsletters, Dave Meltzer has noted that Mansoor was on a winning streak.
This stretched back to 2019, and included house shows (remember those?), NXT, 205 Live, and Main Event. Highlights of the streak were wins over Cesaro and Dolph Ziggler at events in Saudi Arabia. It was also suspected that was a reason behind his run of wins, as the Saudi-born Mansoor is allegedly a favorite of members of the Royal Family.
So when the wrestler who won a 50 man Battle Royal at Super ShowDown 2019 arrived on Raw last night – complete with a backstage scene announcing he’d been signed to red brand, and setting up a match with United States champion Sheamus – you may have been tricked into thinking Mansoor was being set-up as a player on Monday nights.
Those 49 wins for naught, as the streak ended on a disqualification loss when Humberto Carrillo appeared to drop kick Sheamus mid-match.
What’s even more confounding is that Carrillo AND Mansoor ended up taking Brogue Kicks from the Celtic Warrior. The 43 year old Sheamus, who’s been more or less directionless since taking the red, white & blue belt from Riddle at WrestleMania 37, stood tall over both 25 year olds. It’s not like Mansoor was about to win when Carrillo showed up to get revenge for being assaulted earlier, either. He was about to take a Brogue Kick before the DQ. Then he took one after, just cause.
As many, many people have pointed out (including Meltzer & Bryan Alvarez on today’s Wrestling Observer Radio), there are a ton of different ways they could have gone about this.
If the intent is to make Mansoor a star, he could, you know, just beat Sheamus. Even if he did it via distraction, it would make him – and his streak – a story on Raw. You could also book it so he was on the verge of winning before Carrillo arrived. You could have Humberto get the better of Sheamus after his surprise attack, thus continuing their feud and leaving Mansoor in a slightly less diminished role since he wouldn’t have been Brogue Kicked for funsies. You could have Sheamus take out Carrillo to continue their feud and then just not Brogue Kick Mansoor for funsies.
Pretty much anything else they could have done here would left Mansoor in a better position.
Now, it’s not impossible WWE could turn this around. They could present Mansoor as more of a threat going forward, or just not using him for a while so fans forget this all together. But given their track record, that’s pretty unlikely.
Give them this though: taking a young guy with promise, who’s extremely marketable internationally, and making him look like a chump for a 40-something who, Lord love him, hit his ceiling years ago is one of main roster WWE’s signature moves.
At least they got their shit in.