The reluctant tag team of Mansoor & Mustafa Ali has been one of my favorite parts of Raw for several weeks now. While I still wish they weren’t on a losing streak (it’s possible to get over and climb the card with a story built around losses, but it’s not how WWE typically treats acts they really have plans for), I’m enjoying the fact the duo have been getting consistent TV time, and with it a chance to show their personalities.
It’s also served as a reminder of hard work and commitment Ali’s put into every role WWE’s tasked him with during his five years with the company. After numerous interviews where he talked about how important it was to him to not play just another “foreign heel”, the former police officer from Chicago’s embraced the villain he’s been asked to play since last year and made it his own.
Working with Mansoor, he’s maintaining an arrogant edge even as the exuberant younger man’s positive outlook seems to be rubbing off on him a bit.
As he often has in the past, Ali is maximizing the storyline with some clever work online, too.
A good tweet game couldn’t save RETRIBUTION, and despite some great web promos from both men, WWE never followed through on an Ali vs. Kofi Kingston feud. But the dedication is impressive, and you have to think it will eventually serve Mustafa well - if not with his current company, then somewhere down the line.
After all, it was the promo videos he shot himself that caught a lot of people’s attention during his 205 Live days. The passion and effort took him from a Cruiserweight Classic alternate to a WWE veteran.
Here’s hoping the talent and hard work help take his angle with Mansoor over the top. Those things already have a lot of fans rooting for him... even when he’s playing a jerk.