There aren’t many wrestlers I enjoy watching more than Mustafa Ali. His in-ring work is fantastic, he cuts a heck of a promo, commits himself fully to (almost) any gimmick he’s handed, and evidence points to his just being a good human.
But even setting the release request and #FreeAli stretch from earlier this year* aside, his WWE run’s been a roller coaster. Every time it seems like he might be on the verge of some kind of push, it fizzles out (chasing the Cruiserweight title on early 205 Live) or ends up being a big joke (RETRIBUTION).
So while what we saw on Raw last night (Oct. 3) — Ali challenging United States champion Bobby Lashley, delivering his customary banger in a match where he refused to stay down or tap out and ultimately earning the All Mighty’s respect — seems like it could be the start of something?
We’ve been burnt before. And for as strong as the Lashley match made him look? It ended with Seth Rollins standing tall over both men as set-up for Rollins' U.S. title shot next Monday.
And, as you no doubt know, the man who had final say during the bulk of Ali’s frustrating WWE career no longer has final say. Triple H has shown a much greater interest in giving everyone on the roster something to do than Vince McMahon ever did. So maybe this is something?
* Yep, that was in 2022, a year that’s featured such a steady stream of big stories that something a popular mid-carder sitting out during a public dispute with the biggest pro wrestling company in the world won’t even crack the top 20 biggest stories of the year list.