Dean Jonathan Muhtadi (July 17, 1986) is an American professional wrestler and a former American football defensive lineman currently signed to WWE under the ring name Mojo Rawley, performing on the Raw brand.
At T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia, Muhtadi was a four-year starter along the defensive and offensive lines. He also was the team's punter during his last two years. He finished second in the Patriot District in sacks in 2004, and broke the school's all-time punting record with a long of 76 yards against West Springfield High School.
Throughout his high school playing career, Muhtadi started games at defensive tackle, end, nose guard, and outside linebacker on defense, and at offensive tackle, guard, center, and tight end on offense. He was also the team's punter and kicker. Often his position changed every week to shadow the opposing team's best player. Muhtadi was an All-District choice at both defensive line and punter, as well as the team MVP.
In 2004 and 2005, Muhtadi played college football for Division III Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia. After redshirting his freshman season due to mononucleosis, Muhtadi started at defensive tackle for the Captains his sophomore year. He then transferred to the University of Maryland in the Atlantic Coast Conference where he earned a scholarship, and a starting position. In 2008, Muhtadi finished third in sacks for the Terrapins. He was also only the second player in the past 15 years to play all defensive line positions in a game for the Terrapins.
Muhtadi currently owns several of Maryland's all-time records for strength and speed: 225 lb. Bench Press Test: 36 repetitions (Team Record) 40 Yard Dash: 4.78 (Defensive Tackle Record) Power Clean: 390 lbs. (Defensive Line Record) Vertical Jump: 36.5 inches (Defensive Line Record) Pro Agility (20 yard shuttle): 4.37 (Defensive Line Record).
In his three years at Maryland, Muhtadi was one of the top student-athletes in the Atlantic Coast Conference. In 2008, Muhtadi won the Jim and Pat Thacker Postgraduate Scholarship for being one of the top student-athletes in the ACC for all sports and all schools. In 2007 and 2008, Muhtadi also received the George Boutselis Memorial Award for being the letterman with the highest academic average on the football team. He also was named to the All-ACC Academic Team in 2008 and was a three-time Dean's List student. Muhtadi is currently enrolled in the Smith Business School MBA Program.
At Christopher Newport, Muhtadi was awarded a full academic scholarship. While also being named the top student-athlete on the team, Muhtadi was a two-time All USA South Athletic Conference All-Academic Selection, a member of the President's Leadership Program, Honors Program, and Student Executive Board of the Business School. He also received the Edith McMurran Honors Scholarship for the student who best demonstrates the balance of leadership, public service, and academic excellence.
Professional Football Career
Green Bay Packers
Muhtadi was signed by the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent following the 2009 NFL Draft on May 4, 2009. He earned his contract on a tryout basis by being one of three players signed out of 25 trying out for the team. Muhtadi was the only player on the depth chart listed at both Defensive End and Nose Guard. On September 3, 2009 against the Tennessee Titans, Muhtadi finished third on the team with 5 tackles, 1 for loss, and a forced fumble in a spectacular performance. Toward the end of the game, Muhtadi forced a fumble to save a touchdown. He was waived on September 4, 2009.
Muhtadi was signed by the Arizona Cardinals on January 20, 2010 to play defensive line. He was given the nickname "The Iron Sheik" by coaches and teammates due to his freakish strength as he was the strongest player on the team. Muhtadi became training partners with Darnell Dockett as the two competed against one another every day in workouts. He was injured during training camp and placed on Injured Reserve.
Professional wrestling career
World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE
Muhtadi spent 18 months rehabilitating from the injury he sustained with the Arizona Cardinals. During his recovery, he had received offers to return to the NFL and to work in financial services, but instead opted to become a professional wrestler with WWE by August 2012. He joined WWE's developmental territory WWE NXT and he adopted the ring name Mojo Rawley.
Rawley made his television debut on the May 29, 2013 episode of NXT, competing in a battle royal that was won by Bo Dallas. On the October 9 episode of NXT, Rawley adopted a high-energy character based on the concept of "staying hyped"; Rawley explained that if getting hyped allowed superhuman achievements, he would take it one level higher by staying hyped. At NXT Arrival, Rawley defeated CJ Parker. After ArRival, Rawley went on an unbeaten streak, defeating the likes of CJ Parker, Sylvester Lefort and Oliver Gray, among others. He also took part in a Battle Royal to determine the new number one contender where he made it to the final seven before being eliminated by Jason Jordan. At NXT TakeOver on May 29, 2014, Rusev beat down Rawley. Rawley then formed a team with Bull Dempsey, but they lost in the 1st round of the number one contenders tournament for the tag titles, causing Dempsey to turn on Rawley. The two faced off at NXT TakeOver: Fatal 4-Way with Rawley losing, he also lost a rematch a few weeks later.
In June 2015, Zack Ryder debuted in NXT, and Rawley formed an alliance with him, dubbing themselves as The Hype Bros. The Hype Bros went on to defeat Elias Sampson & Mike Rallis (now known as Riddick Moss) at the May 21st NXT TV Tapings, three weeks later, with the duo officially recognized as a tag team, they defeated the team of Angelo Dawkins & Sawyer Fulton on the June 18th TV Taping. After a month long feud with the likes of Dash Wilder, Scott Dawson, Chad Gable, and Jason Jordan, along with countless victories over the teams, The Hype Bros teamed up with Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady to defeat Chad Gable, Jason Jordan, Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson in an 8-man tag team match at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn.
On the October 16th edition of NXT, The Hype Bros competed in a match for the NXT Tag Team Champions in a losing effort. On the October 22nd edition of NXT, Mojo competed in a 26-man battle royal to determine the number one contender for the NXT Championship. Mojo was unsuccessful, although he was among the last few competitors in the match. On the November 11 episode of NXT, The Hype Bros teamed up with Bayley during an intergender tag team match against Blake and Murphy and Alexa Bliss, where they emerged victorious, after Bayley attacked Murphy.
Main roster (2016–present)
On July 19, Rawley was called up to the main roster as a supplemental pick in the 2016 WWE draft, being selected in the 11th round by SmackDown where his Hype Bros partner Zack Ryder was also drafted to. He made his main roster debut at Battleground helping his Hype Bros partner Zack Ryder after Ryder was assaulted post match by Rusev.
In 2017, during the November 28th episode of Smackdown Live, the Hype Bros were defeated in a tag match against The Bludgeon Brothers (Harper & Rowan). After Ryder was pinned during the match, he was almost immediately interviewed by Renee Young for post-match comments. During this, Rawley attacked Ryder, establishing his heel turn and dissolving their tag team.
The following year in 2018, during the January 9th episode of Smackdown Live, Rawley began competing as a singles wrestler. He met Ryder in a match during the WWE United States Championship tournament. Rawley eliminated his former tag partner to advance to the semi finals. The semi finals were held the following week during the January 16th episode of Smackdown Live, where Rawley wrestled against Bobby Roode. Although significantly weakening Roode in their match, Rawley was defeated and eliminated from the tournament. Rawley later received a second opportunity for U.S. title gold, meeting Bobby Roode at the 2018 Royal Rumble, during which Roode successfully defended the title against Rawley. On April 8, Rawley joined the WrestleMania 34 Kickoff show, entering the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal that was eventually won by Matt Hardy. Weeks later on April 27, Rawley and 49 other superstars competed in the WWE Greatest Royal Rumble that was eventually won by Braun Strowman.
After the Superstar Shake-up, Rawley was drafted to the Raw brand. His first Raw match was on May 7 in a title match losing to the defending Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins. His second Raw match was on July 9, defeating fellow NXT graduate No Way Jose.
Since he was in 7th grade, Muhtadi has worked with the financial services firm Morgan Stanley. Beginning as an internship and branching into employment, Muhtadi worked after school and in the summer for several branches throughout Northern Virginia.
Dean Muhtadi currently resides in Tampa, Florida but his hometown is in Alexandria, Virginia. Muhtadi is the son of T.J. and Maria Muhtadi and has 4 siblings: Lena (28), Casey (24), Tammy (22), and Garrett (13).
- Finishing moves
- Sit-Out Alabama Slam – 2018–present
- Hyper Drive (Seated senton – 2014–2016, or a fireman's carry drop – 2016–2017; used as a signature move thereafter)
- Killer Instinct (Running forearm smash to a cornered opponent – 2016–present
- Tilt-a-whirl powerslam) – 2017–present
- Signature moves
- Discus punch
- It's Hammer Time (Sitout double axe handle, with theatrics)
- Jumping hip attack
- Shoulder block
- Stinger splash, sometimes multiple times
- Thesz Press, followed by repeated left elbow strikes
- With Zack Ryder
- Double team finishing moves
- Hype Ryder (Diving Rough Ryder (Ryder) / Spinebuster (Rawley) combination)
- Double team finishing moves
- Entrance themes
Championships and accomplishments
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated