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The curious case of how ‘Mustafa’ is pronounced in WWE

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Since revealing himself as RETRIBUTION’s leader - and the anonymous SmackDown hacker - Mustafa Ali has been correcting WWE announcers on the pronunciation of his first name.

When someone pronounces it “moo-STAH-fah” he stops them and has them say “MUUS-tuh-faa”.

The latter is the proper way Arabic speakers say Mustafa:

But it’s not the way anyone in WWE has been pronouncing it for the last four+ years. Including Ali himself:

We got a sign of the internal confusion last night (Nov. 9) on Raw. Ring announcer Greg Hamilton pronounced it the old incorrect way, while lead play-by-play voice Tom Phillips said it correctly. Which may be part of why Phillips got a DM from a viewer about it, and decided to share his answer on Twitter:

The switch fits with what Ali’s been saying about RETRIBUTION’s names. It would be interesting to hear him explain why he went along with the incorrect pronunciation for so long; admitting he caved to explicit or inferred pressure to say his own (gimmick) name incorrectly so it would sound less alien to English-speaking audiences would be added justification for his decision to fight the machine.

We’ll see if they decide to tie up that loose end. Either way, now we know how to pronounce Mustafa.