How a Saudi WWE fan became a top wrestler’s personal designer

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Abdulmalik Ali Al-Muwizri with Chris Jericho. (Supplied)
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21 year-old Abdulmalik Ali AlMuwizri, a fresh college graduate from Saudi Arabia’s Al-Kharj city. (Supplied)
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In October of 2016, he designed a graphic for a rumored AJ Styles vs Shawn Michaels match. (Supplied)
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A recent artwork AlMuwizri released for his followers. (Supplied)
Updated 10 June 2019

How a Saudi WWE fan became a top wrestler’s personal designer

  • 21-year-old Abdulmalik Ali Al-Muwizri started off designing posters for WWE matches
  • Recognition came when Chris Jericho shared one of Al-Muwizri’s fan-art posters on Instagram

JEDDAH: Sometimes all it takes to hit the big time is a chance. For 21-year-old Abdulmalik Ali Al-Muwizri, a college graduate from Al-Kharj, that chance came two years ago.

From writing fan reviews of wrestling shows, he has become the personal graphic designer to former World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) superstar Chris Jericho.

Al-Muwizri had been designing posters for WWE dream matches in 2017 when news leaked in May of a Japanese tour. Two of his favorite professional wrestlers, Jericho and Hideo Itami, were going to be there.

The fan poster he designed that got him noticed by Chris Jericho. (Supplied)

Despite knowing that neither star reposted fan art, Al-Muwizri decided to design a new poster. He uploaded it to the internet, and instantly received a lot of love from his followers. But a far bigger surprise awaited him on Instagram.

“I received a notification saying: ‘Chris Jericho has followed you,’ and I was like ‘come on, not another fake.’ The notification scared me because it had happened to me before — fake wrestler accounts following me,” Al-Muwizri told Arab News.

“So I checked if it was real or not, and it was in fact the real Chris Jericho. I was so excited, I was geeking out.”

Jericho, who is also into music, writing and acting, sent a direct message to Al-Muwizri via Instagram, saying he loved the poster but wanted it to be lightened up a little bit so that he could post it. “That was so incredibly thrilling, I can’t even put my feelings in words. I knew something special had just happened but I didn’t realize it fully at that time.”

The thrill remained palpable as Jericho requested announcement posters for his band FOZZY’s famous hit “Judas” as well as for his tours. He then asked Al-Muwizri to create an official Jericho vs Kenny Omega graphic. It was becoming clear that life would not be the same again.

Tour poster of Jericho's band Fozzy. (Supplied)

The next day, the announcement was made formally: Chris Jericho had a new personal graphic designer by the name of Abdulmalik Ali Al-Muwizri.

The young Saudi’s fascination with WWE began at the age of 14, when he developed a habit of posting online match reviews on a popular Saudi forum, “Eqla3.” Every review had to have fact-based takes on the pay-per-view (PPV) show and the wrestlers, with a well-designed image and a suitable background.

“I didn’t know anyone who would design for me, so I had to learn from scratch with the help of my brother. I learned the basics and have loved it since then,” Al-Muwizri told Arab News.

“A few years later people started to gravitate away from online forums and into social-media outlets like Twitter and Instagram, so I started my Instagram account called ‘wrestlingparty’. It was simply to post wrestling photos, clips and some of my opinions.

“When I ran out of new photos or clips to post, I began to post some of my old designs just as fillers and was pleasantly surprised to receive a lot of positive feedback. The more I posted my designs, the more positive feedback I got. That’s when I knew I needed to focus on this.”

It was not enough, though, to just simply design posters for match reviews. Al-Muwizri started designing graphics for rumored “dream matches” in the hope that they would go viral and get noticed. In October 2016, he designed one for a rumored AJ Styles vs Shawn Michaels match.

“As soon as I posted it, it got a massive response and went viral very quickly. It was easily the most amount of feedback I had received at the time. AJ Styles then reposted it on Twitter and it got about 10,000 retweets. Everyone in the wrestling world was talking about it.

“A few months later, AJ and Shawn Michaels talked about the graphic on the WWE Network show ‘Table for 3.’ They showed it too on the show. This was a big sign that anything is possible when you put in the work. So I kept slogging away.”

Al-Muwizri is fluent in the lexicon of WWE. He considers himself a major fan, having viewed every weekly PPV show since he was a kid. He was hooked on the sport from the get-go, he says, recalling the days when he watched the matches of the 1990s and early 2000s on his older brother’s VHS tapes.

One of Al-Muwizri’s proudest moments was when he signed a piece of artwork for the first ever women’s match in the Middle East, in Abu Dhabi in 2017.

“This is Hope” was about sending a powerful message to all young women in the region that anything is possible. Visiting Dubai for an interview, Al-Muwizri was stunned to see his artwork displayed prominently. 

A poster for the first ever female wrestling match held in Abu Dhabi. (Supplied)

“This is Hope” was about sending a powerful message to all young women in the region that anything is possible. Visiting Dubai for an interview, Al-Muwizri was stunned to see his artwork displayed prominently.

“I want to thank WWE for making that happen, and especially Adam Bigwood and Carlo Nohra. Without them, none of this would have happened and they deserve credit for it.”

As for Jericho, he may have appointed Al-Muwizri his personal graphic designer, but it was not until WWE came to Jeddah last year that the two finally got a chance to meet face to face.

“So you’re real then!” were the wrestler’s first words to his young counterpart, who added “I was so glad that I was able to thank him in person for everything he did and still does for me. He’s such an amazing guy.”

Al-Muwizri describes the opportunity to work with Jericho as “an absolute honor. He is not just one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, he is also humble and down to earth.

“I always get emotional talking about how Jericho gave me — a stranger on the internet — a chance that day when he followed me on Instagram. Just imagine if he had not happened to see the poster that day? Or what if he had decided not to repost it? It is crazy how things work.”

Saudi minister meets Italian, Swiss envoys in Riyadh

Updated 10 min 21 sec ago

Saudi minister meets Italian, Swiss envoys in Riyadh

RIYADH: Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir met the newly appointed ambassador of Italy to the Kingdom, Roberto Cantone, in his office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Riyadh on Thursday.

During the meeting, the two discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and ways to enhance them. They also discussed issues of common interest and the latest regional and international developments.

The meeting was attended by the deputy foreign minister for protocol affairs, Azzam bin Abdulkarim Al-Qain.

Also on Thursday, Al-Jubeir met the ambassador of Switzerland to the Kingdom, Andre Schaller. They also discussed bilateral relations between the two countries and ways to develop them in various fields, as well as reviewing recent developments in the region and the world.

The meeting was attended by the undersecretary for political and economic affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Adel bin Siraj Mardad.