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.”


Uthman Taha: ‘I wish the verses about heaven would never end’

Taha is the official calligrapher of the Qur’an at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. The 86-year-old is still in the recovery phase, his wife said, and has been advised to rest and to avoid stress. (Supplied)
Updated 15 August 2020

Uthman Taha: ‘I wish the verses about heaven would never end’

  • The Syrian Qur’an writer, regarded as one of the world’s finest calligraphers, is on the road to recovery following his recent hospital admission

MAKKAH: Syrian calligrapher Uthman Taha is in good health and recovering at home after a 13-day stay in a hospital where he was treated for what he and his wife initially suspected to be the novel coronavirus COVID-19, although he ultimately tested negative for the virus.

Taha is the official calligrapher of the Qur’an at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. His wife, Fatimah Umm Al-Nour, said Taha had a chest infection during his stay at the hospital and stressed that he had been “careful and took all the precautionary measures” and that he had not left the house for five months before his hospital visit.
The 86-year-old calligrapher is still in the recovery phase, his wife said, and has been advised to rest and to avoid stress. She praised his doctors, who have consistently checked in with the couple since Taha returned home, and added that she has tested negative for COVID-19 too.
Taha is regarded as one of the most skilled calligraphers in the Arab world. Al-Nour told Arab News that he continues to practice calligraphy daily.
Taha, who has written the Qur’an 12 times at the King Fahd Complex, was born in 1934 and attended school in Aleppo. His father was also a skilled calligrapher, who used the Ruq’ah script, and Taha studied with several of Syria’s finest calligraphers including Mohammed Al-Mawlawi, Mohammed Al-Khatib, Hussein Al-Turki, and Ibrahim Al-Rifai.
When he moved to Damascus for university, Taha began to learn other scripts, including Thuluth, Naskh (in which he is now considered a master), and Farsi. He received his calligraphy certificate from master calligrapher Hamed Al-Amadi in 1973.
He arrived in Saudi Arabia in 1988, and began work as a calligrapher at the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah. He writes the Qur’an in the Ottoman script, and copies of his work have been distributed throughout the Islamic world.
What makes Taha’s work unique is that each page of the Qur’an that he writes concludes at the end of a verse. The secret, he explains, is to simplify the words — which is the origin of the Kufic script in which the Qur’an has been written since the days of Prophet Muhammad’s companions — keeping the letters close to one another.
Taha spent years perfecting his technique of evenly distributing the words in every line so that the space between the lettering is consistent throughout every page of every book, which means eliminating many of the script combinations that make such consistency difficult.
He explained to Arab News that when he is working on his Qur’an calligraphy he is transported: “When I begin writing the Holy Qur’an, I resort to solitude to allow myself to be invested in the verses and their interpretation, forgetting about the world around me,” he said. “I wish the verses about Jannah (heaven) would never end, and my hand trembles when I write the verses about Jahannam (hell).”