For most of his professional wrestling career, Shawn Daivari has been booed as a Middle-Eastern bad guy, but the Minnesota native of Persian descent is now being cheered for the role he played outside the ring last week.
"It was definitely different than any other ride I've taken on that train," Daivari recalled.
When Daivari boarded the light rail in the Warehouse District, a man who was already on board began swearing and hurling racial slurs at other passengers on the train. Even though several passengers hit the emergency call buttons during the outburst, there was no sign of Metro Transit Police.
"Another passenger told me him to sit down and be quiet because he was making the ride bad for everybody," Daivari recounted. "That's when he got in the passenger's face, saying, 'I am going to kill you,' and stuff like that."
So, Daivari stepped in and drew upon his years of wrestling experience, putting the man in a rear-naked choke hold similar to a sleeper hold.
"It's one of those things where I'd rather be safe than sorry," he said. "If police are taking too long to respond, I'd rather not sit on my hands and wait for them to show up."
Daivari said he held the man until he lost consciousness, emptying his bladder in the process. For the next 45 seconds, he held the man in a scissor hold until the train reached its next stop and he threw the man's limp frame off the train.
"That was the hardest part," Daivari recalled. "He was a big, fat guy -- 280 pounds. I had to lug him out the door. It was like throwing out a dead ox."
Although Daivari is used to playing the villain, it now looks like he'll have to get used to being hailed as a hero.
"Stuff like this happens, and when it does, people need to take care of themselves as well," he said. "It might be that one second too long, and you live to regret it."