He’s been in the ring with the best, been in the business for over 21 years, been a champion for numerous organizations but for Mustafa Saed, a career in professional wrestling really began at the age of six when he was told to shut up.
“I was six years old and we would watch Mid-Atlantic wrestling on Saturday mornings,” Saed said. “I’d be in the room running around because I didn’t like it and I would be told to shut up. Pretty soon I wanted to watch. Georgia Championship Wrestling, Florida Championship Wrestling, there was no cable at the time so we would just play with the UHF until we got the station and could watch.”
Later on, Saed would get wrestling magazines, cross out the names of the champions and write his own name. He worked on the way he walked to the ring, how he would look to the fans and even made a few championship belts of his own.
Since that time, Saed has been around the world. He has seen wrestling grow from a business divided into regions to a business that has seen one company buy out almost all of its competitors.
While he studied with Gene Anderson in North Carolina, Saed began with setting up the rings and watching the professionals go to work. Soon that turned into working in the ring in the smaller venues before teaming up with a wrestler named New Jack.
“It was the same school that Ken Shamrock went to, when I started with Gene,” Saed said. “So New Jack and I got together and wrestled in Georgia as a tag team. We expected it to be hostile ‘cause we were the only brothers in town, but they treated us good.”
Success there led to joining another regional promotion, Jim Cornette’s Smoky Mountain Wrestling. Cornette had heard of Saed and New Jack’s following and that led to the birth of the tag team known to the wrestling world as “The Gangsters.” And that, as Saed says, is where “the magic happened.”
In addition to working with the likes of Rob Van Dam, Sabu, Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit, Saed was able to get a first hand view of a company falling apart as Heyman chose to sell ECW to the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment).
“There hasn’t been anything like it,” he said. “We had a lot of great wrestlers and the WWE just doesn’t have the same buzz that we did. Paul sold it to the WWE and it was terrible. I thought we had enough to pull through.”
After a run in the WWE, Saed got out on his own and wrestled in England, Japan and Puerto Rico. While he resides in California, after 21 years of professional wrestling, Saed still has the desire to keep going.
“I’m a fighter,” he said. “I was raised to fight until they put ya down and that’s what hurts most promotions. You have to start slow and put the people where they get to know the wrestlers. Do it small, ’cause that’s how they all got started. If you can push it and get people that know the business, I do believe that it’ll work. Whether it’s in the ring or out, you have to be a fighter.”
And what of this new promotion, the SWF? They will be debuting in the Northern California region and more specifically, Sacramento, in 2011.
“On the west coast there’s really no pro wrestling,” said Saed. “No place wants to stand out because they all think too small. In my book this (SWF) can be as big as you want but it has to be done the right way. Wrestling here was big once, why can’t it be again? We just need a new twist. You gotta add to it and it will work. People just need to have fun.”
That is what the Sacramento Wrestling Federation plans to provide. The SWF is currently getting ready to promote their events at local high schools in order to raise funds for youth athletic programs, and SWF founder Josh Edlow is excited to have Mustafa on board. “Mustafa Saed would be an asset to a sports-entertainment promotion at any level. I know I speak for everyone involved when I say that we are privileged to have Mr. Saed’s interest. He is one of the many reasons why the SWF will make such an impact in Sacramento and wrestling in general.” What does the ECW original have in store for the SWF? That remains to be seen.
Photographed by Eternal Expressions Photography by Chandra: www.eternalphoto.com