When Mustafa Ali came down to NXT, he instantly inserted himself into the Tyler Bate/Wes Lee friendship, taking a page out of the former’s playbook — playing nice while also clearly working with an ulterior motive, that being the hopes of eventually taking the North American championship from Lee.
It led us to this week’s NXT “Gold Rush” episode, where Bate challenged Lee for the title and Ali acted as special guest referee.
It didn’t take long at all for Ali to make his presence felt. Early on in the match, Bate had Lee in a side headlock and when they went to the mat and Lee’s shoulders were down, Ali went with a very fast count. Not long after, Lee tried a pin and Ali counted dramatically slower. Lest it seem as though he was playing favorites, he did the same to Bate on his next pinfall attempt.
Somehow, this resulted in Bate and Lee going harder at each other and Ali openly laughing about it.
Later still, instead of counting Lee out when he was on the outside, Ali jumped the ropes and slapped him around a bit to wake him up. Then he went to Bate and did the same. Shortly after, the Kardiac Kick from Lee got the three count.
On replay, it seemed at least possible Lee was aiming that kick for Lee, however.
This story isn’t done just yet...
Get complete NXT “Gold Rush” results and coverage of the entire show right here.