It’s an undercard storyline that’s actually been going on for a long time, but it probably wouldn’t have landed on the main card during a PPV in the United States.
The Road to Crown Jewel
A rivalry between two of WWE’s Muslim Superstars started not long after Mansoor started showing up on Raw. Mustafa Ali was fresh out of almost a year in the RETRIBUTION story, so you can understand why he was cranky.
Ali was still trying to help the younger man, however. He counseled Mansoor to always look out for number one, and to never trust anyone else in WWE. An interesting dynamic developed when they started tagging, as it seemed Mansoor’s enthusiasm was actually warming the heart of the cynical veteran.
Cruiserweight champion 205 Live star never stopped completely playing the heel, though. So it wasn’t too surprising that when their losses started to pile, Ali eventually decided he’d had enough.
A match was made for Oct. 21’s Crown Jewel show in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (and while it’s disappointing we never got a successful tag run out of Mansoor and Ali, as both men have pointed out, it’s very cool they’re getting a chance to show out & inspire on an event that will be watched by a lot of people who look like them, and come from similar backgrounds). Each man has delivered some fiery speeches about their rivalry. Now they’ll settle things on Thursday in Mohammed Abdu Arena on the Boulevard.
What to watch for
Ali & Mansoor were drafted to SmackDown, so this may not be the end of the road for them. I doubt we’ll see either man’s fortunes change drastically on the blue brand - Ali’s booking has been well-documented, and they did break Mansoor’s long undefeated streak as soon as he showed up on Raw. Don’t be shocked if whoever loses at Crown Jewel gets their win back on SmackDown soon.
But WWE has protected Mansoor in Saudi Arabia, and that figures to remain the case tomorrow. It would be pretty surprising if after having him win at 50 man battle royal at Super ShowDown and beat Cesaro at Crown Jewel in 2019, then defeat Dolph Ziggler at last year’s Super ShowDown, this was the match they decided to have Mansoor lose. This year’s Crown Jewel may be the best card a Saudi show’s ever had, but it’s still more of a house show than the average WWE event. Having the guy who outright said he wants to wipe smiles off faces beat the local kid wants to ensure them would be a weird look.
But weird things happen in the KSA. We’ll see how this one goes tomorrow afternoon.
Who will win?
This poll is closed
Author’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said Mansoor and Ali were assigned to different brands in the recent WWE Draft.