As the guest on this week’s Chasing Glory podcast, new SmackDown Superstar Mustafa Ali had some interesting things to say about his finisher and wrestling in general. If they didn’t seem interesting at the time, they certainly do in light of said finisher not going as planned and prompting (thankfully unfounded) injury fears for the man he used it against, WWE champ Daniel Bryan.
“I do this maneuver, my finishing maneuver. It’s called the 054 and it’s a 450 splash, but it’s going backwards. I’m sure my opponents aren’t going to be thrilled to hear this, but I don’t know what I’m doing up there. I literally close my eyes and I just jump. My body just takes over and thankfully I haven’t hurt anybody. I jump and I tuck. I don’t know what happens and somehow I land where I land. I know my body and I know what I’m comfortable with.”
Personally, I’ve watched Ali perform this move dozens of times, and I know he’s performed hundreds if not thousands more. Last night was the first time I’ve seen it dangerously botched, and I imagine we’d have heard about it if there were many others.
As Ali points out elsewhere in his talk with Garcia, wrestlers have been injured on everything from strikes to flips. In discussing his own approach to possibly getting hurt while performing, he said:
“It’s the risk we take. I feel the fear of getting hurt will get you hurt. I don’t second guess myself and I hope my opponent doesn’t. There’s 100 percent trust of each other to perform for these people obviously. The last thing I need be worried about is ‘will I get hurt during this’ because the minute you start thinking that, your mind goes that way. I go out with the mentality that ‘we’re here, we’re professionals.’ Accidents are bound to happen, accidents will happen, but let them happen and don’t let that override your mentality. If you go in with that mindset of, ‘I’m gonna get hurt doing this,’ you’re gonna get hurt.”
Will he be able to continue with this approach after a spot which left him apologizing to a main eventer? Will his critics, now armed with a “close my eyes and jump” soundbite, influence a change in his finisher, style or both?
Looks like he’s gonna be on our television Tuesday nights, so I guess we’ll find out.