Dara Daivari (born April 30, 1984) is an Iranian professional wrestler, currently performing for Ring of Honor as Shawn Daivari. He is best known for his work with World Wrestling Entertainment as simply Daivari and with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling as Sheik Abdul Bashir.
Daivari grew up admiring Mick Foley and Bret Hart. His childhood hero was Shawn Michaels. He participated in his first professional wrestling match at age 15. He started his career in the Midwest with All-Star Championship Wrestling. He is known for representing Iran for international title matches
He appeared on February 26, 2003’s TNA Xplosion and wrestled a tag team match against Mike Sanders and Glenn Gilberti with Ken Anderson. He also appeared on the October 5, 2003 edition of WWE Sunday Night Heat as “Sheik” Shawn Daivari, losing his match against Tommy Dreamer. He also made four appearances for independent promotion Ring of Honor between April and July 2004.
World Wrestling Entertainment (2004–2007)
Daivari signed a contract with World Wrestling Entertainment in August 2004 and debuted on October 19, 2004, on Raw alongside Muhammad Hassan as “Khosrow Daivari”. Their gimmick was that of two Arab-Americans who were tired of the prejudice and racism they were receiving after the 9/11 attacks. In the weeks leading up to their debut, the two men would appear on Raw in vignettes promoting their hatred towards America. In the following weeks, they would both up their words with actions, initiating a feud with Raw announcers Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler. At WrestleMania 21 on April 3, 2005, Daivari and Hassan were involved in a storyline with returning WWE legend Hulk Hogan. While attacking injured wrestler Eugene, Hogan made his classic entrance and ejected both men from the ring to the delight of fans in attendance. Ironically, Daivari would scream instructions in Persian to Hassan when working as his manager, though this was often described as “Arabic” on broadcasts.
The following night on Raw, Daivari and Hassan interrupted Shawn Michaels during a promo. The two attacked Michaels and left him helpless in the ring. This led to Daivari’s first singles match in WWE, on the April 11, 2005 edition of Raw. Although Michaels was heavily favored, Daivari, with help from Hassan, got the upset win. Enraged, Michaels demanded a match against both Daivari and Hassan. Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff refused to grant a handicap match but instead ordered Michaels to find a partner. That partner turned out to be Daivari and Hassan’s WrestleMania foe Hulk Hogan.
On the April 18, 2005 episode of Raw, Michaels was once again double teamed by Daivari and Hassan until Hogan appeared to make the save. Hogan accepted Michaels’ offer to tag and the match was set for the Backlash pay per view on May 1, 2005. At Backlash, Hogan and Michaels picked up the win which led to friction between the two since Hassan blamed Daivari for the loss. The next night on Raw, Hassan verbally and physically attacked Daivari leaving their future as a team in question.
Both Daivari and Hassan were later drafted to SmackDown! on June 23, 2005 as part of a package deal. On the July 7, 2005 episode of SmackDown!, GM Theodore Long put Daivari in a match that night against The Undertaker, and Muhammad Hassan in a match against The Undertaker at The Great American Bash. Daivari was squashed easily in that match, after which Hassan began to pray on the ramp, summoning five masked men to the ring. The masked men beat and strangled the Undertaker into submission, and Hassan put him in the camel clutch. Afterward, the masked men carried Daivari off like a martyr. The controversial imagery aired unedited in America and Canada despite the terrorist attacks in London earlier that day, but was removed from the Australian and UK broadcasts. (It should be noted that SmackDown! is typically taped on Tuesday (though this particular episode was taped on a Monday) and, at the time, aired on Thursday, so the skit was taped 3 days before the attack occurred).
In late-July, UPN requested that WWE keep Muhammad Hassan off of their network. WWE complied, effectively removing him from SmackDown! At The Great American Bash 2005, after Hassan lost in a match with The Undertaker, Hassan was given the Last Ride through an open stage ramp onto a concrete floor. It was reported that he sustained serious injuries and had to be rushed to a nearby medical facility; this was an angle aimed to “kill off” the character.
Although Hassan would eventually retire from professional wrestling, Daivari reported to WWE’s Deep South Wrestling territory for training and repackaging. He returned from Deep South and, after working in Minneapolis, made his debut in September 2005 on OVW TV returning as his “Sheik” Daivari persona.
On November 7, 2005, Daivari returned to Raw, acting as Kurt Angle‘s anointed special guest referee in the tag team match between Shawn Michaels and John Cena versus Angle and Chris Masters. During the match, Daivari favored Angle and Masters, who won the match via disqualification when Michaels was caught with a chair Angle brought in.
On November 21, 2005, Kurt Angle announced that Daivari was to be the referee for all his future matches, including his match against WWE Champion John Cena for the title at the 2005 Survivor Series. Mr. McMahon rescinded that at the kangaroo court trial of Eric Bischoff on Raw on December 5, 2005. Daivari remained aligned with Kurt Angle as his manager.
On the January 13, 2006, edition of WWE Friday Night SmackDown!, Angle and Daivari jumped to SmackDown!, where Angle won the World Heavyweight Championship the very same night. Angle later revealed that his contract on Raw had expired, which allowed them to switch brands. Angle was already signed to face Shawn Michaels on Raw, however this non-title match went ahead, but Daivari would accidentally cost Angle the match against Michaels. Afterwards, Daivari and Angle argued, but when Daivari slapped Angle, he was Angle Slammed over the ropes and down to the floor on the outside of the ring. During the break on WWE.com Unlimited, an enraged Angle made it known that Daivari’s services were no longer needed.
A short time later, Daivari faced his former client in a match. During the match, Mark Henry, the number one contender for Angle’s title, attacked Angle. After the match, Daivari officially announced that he was now managing Henry and continued to manage Henry during his feud with The Undertaker. Daivari would disappear off television in the weeks leading up to WrestleMania 22 when, at WWE’s Saturday Night Main Event, Daivari suffered a chokeslam and Tombstone Piledriver at the hands of The Undertaker onto the lid of a casket.
On the April 7, 2006 edition of SmackDown!, Daivari made his return bringing in the debuting The Great Khali to attack The Undertaker during his match with Mark Henry. The next week, Daivari officially presented him to the crowd, hyping him as an unstoppable monster. Over the following weeks, Daivari would accompany Khali to the ring as he destroyed various SmackDown! superstars. This would all lead up to a match with The Undertaker at Judgment Day on May 21, 2006, which Khali would end up winning. Daivari and Khali appeared as guests on Piper’s Pit on the June 2, 2006 edition of SmackDown!, in which Piper made fun of Khali, who supposedly can’t speak English. Eventually Piper stood on the bottom rope, attempting to match height with Khali, he managed to say: If this was twenty years ago, before Khali grabbed him by the throat. Daivari made Khali put Piper down and straitened Piper’s jacket disrespectfully, Piper slapped Daivari, but was then given a chop by Khali. The Undertaker was the original guest on the Pit, but he declined the invitation a few days before. Daivari continued to accompany The Great Khali to the ring when Khali wrestled or attacked other wrestlers, but when The Great Khali became inactive due to injury, Daivari was taken off the road as well.
Daivari and The Great Khali were moved to the ECW brand officially when they made their ECW debuts on the October 31, 2006 edition of ECW on Sci Fi. Daivari beat “The Reject” Shannon Moore in a very quick match. Daivari’s original theme music was used as well as his Persian rants on the microphone. Afterwards, Moore was manhandled by The Great Khali. Daivari continued his ECW winning streak over the next several weeks with The Great Khali usually following up the contest with a chokebomb on Daivari’s opponent. At December to Dismember, Daivari got a victory over Tommy Dreamer following a schoolboy rollup. Dreamer then chased Daivari all the way to the back then, The Great Khali appeared and caught Dreamer, planting him on the steel ramp with a chokebomb. On January 8, 2007, The Great Khali debuted on Raw, without Daivari. The following night, however, Daivari accompanied Khali to the ring for his match with Dreamer on ECW.
Daivari returned to SmackDown! on February 9, 2007, defeating the Cruiserweight Champion Gregory Helms in a non-title match. He began wrestling in the Cruiserweight division. He was involved in a feud between Kane and The Great Khali once again promoting the Great Khali in March 2007. His first match against Kane, involved him being dragged backstage by Kane’s chain and hook leaving his back with multiple bruises. A few weeks later, Daivari had a rematch with Kane and was again defeated.
Daivari returned to SmackDown! a few months later, teaming up with Chavo Guerrero and Jamie Noble against Jimmy Wang Yang, Paul London and Brian Kendrick in a losing effort. On the June 15, 2007 episode of SmackDown!, Daivari competed in a Fatal Four Way number one contenders match for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship, which he lost to Yang and also involved Shannon Moore and Noble.
Daivari was drafted back to Raw in the Supplemental Draft on June 17, 2007. He re-debuted on the June 18, 2007 edition of Raw, losing to Jeff Hardy. On the July 30, 2007 episode of Raw Daivari was defeated by Cody Rhodes who had to win his match or face being fired from WWE. Daivari’s losing streak continued when he failed to win the position of General Manager of Raw by been eliminated early in the battle royal the week after Rhodes defeated him. Daivari then started to get on a roll on Heat (Raw’s sister show) being victorious against Super Crazy and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan. His return to Raw on September 17 saw him lose to Hacksaw Jim Duggan in a Flag match.
On October 16, 2007, Daivari was released from his WWE contract.
Independent circuit (2007–2008)
Daivari made his debut for Professional Championship Wrestling in Arlington, Texas at PCW’s Heroes 2 Legends event in November 2007. He wrestled J.T. Lamotta and “Jiggle-O” James Johnson in a triple threat match for the PCW Cruiserweight Championship. Lamotta won the match to become the new champion. He returned to PCW on February 23, 2008 at PCW’s Big Bang ’08 event to again wrestle a Triple Threat match for the PCW Cruiserweight Championship, this time against Robert Evans and Aaron Eagle. Eagle won and became the new champion. On September 6, 2008, it was announced by The Bussey Brothers that Daivari will return on September 20, 2008 to team with them to take on Aaron Eagle and a partner of his choosing. Eagle had chosen Action Jackson to be his tag team partner. However, Jackson was injured at the hands of Mace Malone. PCW World Heavyweight Champion, Mike Foxx, who was supposedly suspended and also Eagle’s main rival, shockingly saved Eagle from an attack and announced he would be Eagle’s partner. The stipulation was that if Eagle did not win he could never get another world title shot again. On September 20, Daivari and The Busseys defeated Eagle and Foxx when Foxx turned on Eagle and Daivari debuted his new finisher, the WMD (Weapon of Mass Destruction), for the victory. Afterwards, Foxx announced he would give Eagle one final shot at Sick ‘n’ Twisted on October 11.
On April 4, 2008 Daivari made his AMW debut in a triple threat match against Wally Darkmon and Robert Evans for the AMW Light Heavyweight Championship. Daivari won the match to become the AMW Light Heavyweight Champion. During most of 2008 he feuded with Wally Darkmon. On September 12, 2008 Daivari lost his AMW Light Heavyweight Championship to Wally Darkmon in a Casket Match. This Match was a considered a classic by some and considered by many of the AMW Fans as the match of the year.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2008–2009)
Daivari signed a contract with TNA. On the July 24, 2008 edition of Impact!, after the conclusion of the X Cup, it was announced that he had joined the TNA roster under the name of “Sheik Abdul Bashir”. Retaining his anti-American gimmick and also adding a bullying mean streak, he quickly established himself as a heel after helping Petey Williams retain the TNA X Division Championship over Consequences Creed at Hard Justice as well as delivering promos to draw heat. His official debut match on Impact! was a victory over Jay Lethal.
X Division Champion
Bashir won the X Division Championship at No Surrender on September 14, 2008 by defeating Williams and Creed in a Three-way match. At Bound for Glory IV, Bashir defeated Consequences Creed in another match for the X Division Championship. On a live edition of Impact! on October 23, Bashir successfully defended his title against Jay Lethal. After the match he attacked Rhino after being confronted by him over his political views.
On October 30, 2008, it was announced that Daivari was taken to “wrestler court” at the week’s Impact! tapings following a rib he played on Kip James during a flight they shared. Daivari pulled aside a flight attendant, who then announced over the loud speaker that Kip was celebrating his 65th birthday. He was taken to wrestler court because it was determined that he hadn’t spent enough time in the company to pull a rib on a veteran. Brother Ray served as the judge while B.G. James represented Kip and Brother Devon represented Daivari, and agent Pat Kenney served as the bailiff for the proceedings. Daivari was found guilty and was required to supply the locker room beer and booze, which he did on Tuesday night after the tapings.
On the November 13 episode of Impact!, Bashir lost the X Division Championship to Eric Young. During the match, Bashir shoved TNA Official Shane Sewell to the mat after Sewell questioned Bashir and the TNA audience of Bashir’s actions during the match. Sewell became enraged, removed his shirt and attacked Bashir. This led to Eric Young hitting his Death Valley driver on Bashir and pinning him for the win and the championship. However, Bashir was awarded the championship back the following week due to Sewell’s interference, thus continuing his original title reign and making Young’s title reign null and void. Sewell helped Young defeat Bashir for the belt for the second time at Final Resolution on December 7. After the match Bashir bloodied Sewell and tried to leave with the belt, but was stopped by Jim Cornette who announced that he had decided to vacate the belt. At Genesis Sewell defeated Bashir in a grudge match.
World Elite and departure
In July 2009, Bashir formed an alliance with Eric Young, Kiyoshi and The British Invasion (Doug Williams, Brutus Magnus and Rob Terry) known as World Elite. They were also later joined by Homicide. At Final Resolution Bashir took part in the “Feast or Fired” match and was able to pick up one of the four briefcases. However, the briefcase he had picked up included a pink slip, which led to him being immediately fired from the company. It was later reported that the release was legitimate and that Daivari had himself requested for it. Daivari would later say he originally signed a two year extension with the understanding that Jeff Jarrett would be his boss, but after Jarrett stepped down a month later, he could not see eye to eye with the new management and asked for his release.
Ring of Honor and independents (2010–present)
Daivari made his return to Ring of Honor on February 5, 2010, at the tapings of Ring of Honor Wrestling on HDNet, once again portraying an anti-American heel. At the March 6 tapings he joined Prince Nana‘s stable The Embassy. On September 11, 2010, at Glory By Honor IX, Daivari unsuccessfully challenged Eddie Edwards for the ROH World Television Championship.
Daivari made his American Wrestling Rampage debut on AWR’s seven-night Twisted Steel Tour. On November 10, the first event of the tour, he defeated Dunkan Disorderly in Bordeaux, France, to win the AWR No Limits Championship.
Although Daivari was born in Minnesota, he is a full blooded Iranian with his parents immigrating to the United States in the 1970s. He also speaks Persian fluently. He has an older and a younger brother. His younger brother, Arya, is also a professional wrestler.
Daivari married his long-time girlfriend Deanna on February 14, 2009 in Chicago.
- Finishing moves
- As Daivari / Khosrow Daivari / Shawn Daivari
- As Sheik Abdul Bashir
Championships and accomplishments
- American Made Wrestling Entertainment
- AMWE Light Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- American Wrestling Rampage
- AWR No Limits Championship (1 time)
- Mad Asylum Pro Wrestling
- MAPW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)
- Midwest Independent Association of Wrestling
- MIAW Lightweight Championship (1 time)
- NEO-PRO Wrestling
- NEO-PRO Cruiserweight Championship (1 time)
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated