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Armando Estrada

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Hazem "Haz" Ali (December 20, 1978) is an American professional wrestler and manager of Palestinian descent best known by his ring name Armando Estrada.

Professional wrestling career

World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE (2005–2008)

Ohio Valley Wrestling

Ali began his WWE career wrestling in their developmental territory, Ohio Valley Wrestling, making his OVW television debut as a bodyguard named "Osama" in Muhammad Hassan's entourage. When Hassan and Daivari were called up to the main roster, Ali remained in OVW wrestling with an Arab, anti-American character, similar to that of the Iron Sheik, and began wrestling in a tag team with Da Beast.

When Paul Heyman began booking OVW, he expanded Osama's name to "Osama Rodriguez Alejandro", revealing him to actually be half Cuban and half Palestinian. Along with being an active wrestler he became a backstage interviewer, conducting interviews with wrestler Robbie Dawber as a sidekick, for his own storyline Spanish language version of OVW's television show. At the same time, he began a storyline campaign to be elected "Dictator of Kentucky", which he intended to rename "Los Kentuckos", often coming to the ring with a placard reading "Bote for Lalo", utilizing his nickname at the time: "Big Lalo".


In April 2006, Ali was called up to the main WWE roster and placed on the Raw brand. He debuted on the April 3, 2006 edition of Raw as "Armando Alejandro Estrada", a Cuban businessman, and the heel manager for the also debuting Umaga. His debut saw him mocking Ric Flair, saying he was too old to still be in the business, and promising to bring about a new hero (Umaga). Estrada led Umaga in a feud against Flair until the Backlash pay-per-view at the end of the month, where Umaga dispatched Flair.

Following the feud with Flair, Umaga began a period of squashing jobbers, before and after which Estrada would cut promos about his charge's greatness. During this time, he stopped introducing himself before promos, as his use of long rolling r's and a short "ha ha" laugh was beginning to get him cheered instead of booed. On top of this, his name was simplified to Armando Estrada.

At August's SummerSlam, Estrada offered the undefeated Umaga's services to The McMahons (Vince and Shane) to "take out" their D-Generation X (Shawn Michaels and Triple H) opponents during their tag team match. As Umaga attempted to deliver on Estrada's promise, however, he was attacked by Kane. Kane and Umaga feuded for two months, with Kane attacking Estrada on at least one occasion. The feud seemingly came to an end when, on the October 9, 2006 Raw, Estrada's interference helped Umaga defeat Kane in a Loser Leaves Raw match.

During December, Umaga, and thus Estrada, began a feud with John Cena over the WWE Championship. In the opening stages Estrada inserted himself into matches and confrontations with the two, leading to Vince McMahon's executive assistant Jonathan Coachman signing a match between Estrada and Cena. Before the match Estrada attempted to buy Cena off (offering him a box of Cohibas, his watch, and finally cash) only to have him refuse. The resulting match was a squash, with Cena winning with his signature FU (later called "Attitude Adjustment").

In February 2007, he managed Umaga to his first title, the Intercontinental Championship, and stood beside him during his partnership with Vince McMahon and feud with Bobby Lashley. As the Umaga and Lashley feud intensified, Lashley targeted Estrada after being banned from putting his hands on Umaga, Vince, or Shane McMahon outside of official matches; on the May 8 episode of ECW on Sci Fi, Lashley shoved a wheelchair-bound Estrada down a ramp into a collection of garbage cans, in what turned out to be Estrada's last appearance (except for one cameo) for months. Estrada was written off television after the WWE creative team decided that there was too many people at ringside for the Umaga-Lashley match at WrestleMania 23.


On August 14, 2007, Estrada was announced as the General Manager of the ECW brand, giving him (kayfabe) power to book matches and make arrangements for the brand. In early 2008, he was placed into a feud with Colin Delaney—an independent wrestler wrestling on the brand without a contract, offering him a WWE contract if he could beat the likes of the Big Show or, the then ECW Champion, Chavo Guerrero. Delaney was finally awarded a contract after defeating Estrada himself on the May 6 episode of ECW on SciFi. The next week, he signed himself onto the roster, putting himself into his first match against Delaney, picking up the victory. He was removed from his position as General Manager of the ECW brand on June 3 and replaced by Theodore Long, as the WWE Board of Directors (kayfabe) decided that paying Estrada as both a General Manager and an active wrestler was too much of an expense.

Estrada was then primarily used as a jobber, losing to both established stars (including Delaney) and debuting stars alike whilst attempting to earn a contract in storyline, mirroring the predicament Estrada himself had put Delaney in. Despite this, Delaney aided Estrada in defeating Tommy Dreamer on the August 5 edition of ECW, allowing Estrada to win his contract in what was his last television appearance for WWE. On November 18, 2008, Estrada was released from his WWE contract after months of inactivity.

Independent circuit and semi-retirement (2008–2011)

Following his WWE release, Ali returned to the independent circuit. On January 3, 2009, Ali, wrestling under his Armando Alejandro Estrada ring name, teamed with Elijah Burke in a losing effort against Thunder and Lightning for the World Tag Team Championship at the World Wrestling Council's event Euphoria. Twenty one days later, Estrada lost to Mickey McCoy in a match for NWA Wisconsin. On March 21 at Great Lakes Championship Wrestling's event Two Worlds...Two Sweet, Ali, under the ring name Mr. AE, wrestled his last match in the independent circuit as he defeated Al Snow for the GLCW Heavyweight Championship.

Return to WWE (2011-2012)

On the May 26, 2011 episode of WWE Superstars, Estrada returned as the manager of Tyson Kidd. Estrada had shed his previous image (including the Estrada character's previous accent), instead being presented as more of a professional businessman. The union proved to be brief, as Kidd's hunt for the right manager continued the following week.

Personal life

After his departure from WWE, Estrada opened a restaurant, "Baby's Steak and Lemonade," in Glendale, Arizona.

He appeared in a Cypress Hill Video in 2010.

Wrestling facts

  • Nicknames
  • "Big Lalo"
  • "El Presidente"
  • Managers
  • Wrestlers managed

See also

External links and references

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