Mere weeks ago, on December 17th, the McMahon family, including Vince McMahon himself, told the WWE Universe that things were going to be changing. While many could argue that there has not felt like much change yet, one fresh face to the blue-brand has attracted a plethora of eyes his direction – Mustafa Ali.
Making the switch from 205 Live to Smackdown on December 11th, 2017 in a segment with WWE Champion, Daniel Bryan, it was clear the bar was already set high for Ali. However, he has lived up to the hype and puts on stellar performances for the blue brand. Mustafa may just be set to become WWE’s ultimate diamond in the rough, and WWE might have not even realized it.
— ALI / Adeel Alam (@AliWWE) December 30, 2018
Mustafa Ali, real name Adeel Alam, was born on March 28th, 1986 in Bolingbrook, Illinois. He began his professional career February of 2003, tearing it up on the independent circuit in companies such as DREAMWAVE Wrestling, where he would capture the DREAMWAVE Heavyweight Champion, as well as All American Wrestling (AAW), Freelance Wrestling, and Proving Ground Pro. His arrival onto the big scene in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic was that of interesting conditions, as Mustafa would be the replacement for Zumbi, who had to bow out due to a visa issue. While he would not advance past the first round, this was many wrestling fan’s first taste of what Mustafa was capable of.
Much of Mustafa Ali’s career before his SmackDown Live debut, including his Cruiserweight Championship match at Wrestlemania 34 versus Cedric Alexander, as well as his rise in popularity with classic matches against Buddy Murphy, has been covered at Last Word On Pro Wrestling previously. However, it is Ali’s new spot on SmackDown Live that may speak even higher volumes on how the company feels about him. As predicted in prior piece, Ali’s feuds of choice out the get-go were high profile, including Daniel Bryan, AJ Styles, and Andrade “Cien” Almas. Very few stars debut on a brand and immediately are put on that level. The great part about Mustafa is that he is already able to hold his own. Whether it be one-on-one or multi-man matches, Mustafa naturally fits into the Smackdown main event scene. While his rise has come as a surprise to many, those who follow 205 Live and have heard the praise Mustafa has been given for months now, including Dave Meltzer, would say it is long overdue.
He's looked tremendous. https://t.co/aw4yPMYTlE
— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) July 5, 2018
The way the WWE is treating himself, along with AJ Styles, Andrade “Cien” Almas, Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Samoa Joe, and even Rey Mysterio reminds many fans of the “Smackdown Six” (Eddie Guerrero, Kurt Angle, Edge, Chris Benoit, Rey Mysterio and Chavo Guerrero.) It has made Smackdown Live already feel like a better show and it truly forced a genuine feel of competition. While not having the best success record, Ali seemingly always walks away looking stronger.
— WWE (@WWE) January 9, 2019
While there is no guarantee that the WWE will, in fact, push Mustafa Ali the way that many would like, the fact that he has been showcased in matches and presented in the ring across from Smackdown Live‘s champion, Daniel Bryan, does speak volumes for his future. With the Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber looming around the corner, there is no telling what WWE may test with Smackdown’s new star.
— ALI / Adeel Alam (@AliWWE) January 9, 2019