Over the past several years, I’ve written quite a bit about how great Mustafa Ali is, and how WWE’s inability to figure out a way to utilize his talents bordered on promotional malpractice. So when he requested his release yesterday (Jan. 16), I didn’t think I had much to say other than “YAS KING!”
And really, I still don’t. Because these Kofi Kingston quotes that Alistair McGeorge of Metro republished in the wake of Ali’s request make the point better than anything I could write, anyway.
They’re from an interview McGeorge did with Kofi last summer where he asked about the WrestleMania 37 program Kingston & Ali were setting up on television before WWE changed gears in favor of having New Day put over AJ Styles & Omos in Tampa. It was a great angle based on the real-life injury Ali suffered that opened the door for KofiMania back in 2019, and the company just decided not to do it, leaving Ali to play out the string on a RETRIBUTION gimmick everyone but the talent had long since given up on.
Kingston’s story covers two big points of fan (and wrestler) frustration with WWE creative, namely changing plans — especially when it comes to New Day, it seems — and wasted talent:
“It was perfect! It was written, you didn’t even have to go out of your way to creatively write anything else, it was perfect! But alas, that’s not the direction that ‘the office’, I guess, wanted to go in... I was told a few things, and we start working towards those things that we’re told, and then all of a sudden it’s not those things. But that’s really kind of standard fare for us.
“It was really disappointing, man, because I think he’s so amazing in the ring and such an innovator. He finds ways to do the littlest things in such a different way, but he puts his own spin on it. He has a great mind for the business and a great mind for storytelling...
“I would love to get in there and mix it up with him. I thought it would’ve been the perfect opportunity to do so, but again things change, and that’s the nature of the beast. Not to say I wasn’t upset about it, but I wasn’t really surprised that they did change.”
We probably won’t get to see Kofi work with Ali, at least not for the foreseeable future. For fans, however, this story is another reminder that leaving WWE is the only way we’ll ever get to see what Mustafa Ali can really do.
Something it seems he knew, too.