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Mustafa Ali says he’ll see us ‘in like 2 1⁄2 years’

Mustafa Ali on Twitter

Mustafa Ali publicly asked to be released from his WWE contract on Jan. 16. Since then we’ve heard reports that he & Vince McMahon argued over the direction for his character prior to his request. Word also is that WWE has no intention of releasing Ali, and — despite some pressure from fans & others in the business — all signs point to that being the case.

Including this latest sign from Ali himself:

Not a whole lot to go on, but the implication is clear. What’s not clear is if this means he just signed a three year extension last fall, or if WWE has some way of adding time to a deal that was set to expire sooner. That’s a mechanism they’ve used in the past for talent that’s missed time due to injury. While Ali isn’t injured, rejecting company-approved creative may be treated the same way.

Regardless of the specifics, if the company is planning to tie the soon-to-be 36 year old up for almost three years of his prime... that sucks. Hard.

Amidst last week’s Forbidden Door intrigue, some hypothesized Tony Khan might be able to buy out a WWE contract in order for Ali (or Jeff Hardy) to debut for AEW. But that didn’t come to pass, and was probably always a pipe dream. WWE’s unlikely to hand TK a PR win like that, and the AEW head honcho might not want to set a precedent in an industry that relies on wrestlers being classified as contractors.

Jokes and wishes about how Ali should do things like start a Twitch channel or tweet about unions abound, too. The trouble there is we don’t know what WWE might do to punish someone who tried those things besides release them. As a husband and father of three young children, Ali probably doesn’t want to risk huge fines or a costly legal battle.

So, instead he’s willing to wait until 2024 to ply his trade. It’s a principled stance. Here’s hoping it will convince WWE to release him in their next wave of “budget cuts” instead of making an example out of him.