After securing a shocking victory over the field in a number one contender’s battle royal to decide on Gunther’s opponent at Night of Champions in Saudi Arabia, Mustafa Ali was riding high, celebrating backstage on RAW before making his way over to The Bump on Wednesday to continue his one-man hype train.
Sitting down virtually with the in-studio trifecta of Matt Camp, Kayla Braxton, and Megan Morant, Ali was asked about how he was able to beat out the field and become the last man standing in the RAW ring on Monday, and, funny enough, laid out his pretty simple strategy for punching his ticket to Saudi Arabia.
“Again, back to my theory, just not getting thrown off the top rope. It’s a crazy concept, I know. High flyer, I should be jumping off the top, I won it off the top, yes, but that was when I picked my moment,” Ali said. “Braun’s just this big angry guy, and he’s gonna throw Ricochet – I mean who cares about Ricochet? I hope he gets thrown into the third row – but that’s when I saw my opportunity. That’s when I took my chance. I played it safe. I played for the long game, and guess what happened, guys? Guess what happened. Guess what, you don’t need to guess, you don’t need to guess, because I won! I won! I’m the number one contender, yes!”
Asked how he feels about being the number one contender for Gunther’s Intercontinental Championship, Ali was nothing but positive, suggesting that he has the fans behind him.
“I mean, I don’t think they’re done doubting me, you know?” Ali said. “I’m known to check the social media, but I’m known to trend here and there – you know, I’m trending constantly, basically every time RAW happens I’m trending – and I take a look, and there’s a majority, the majority of the people, majority of the people in the locker room, majority of the WWE Universe are happy for me, because they know I deserve this moment. Guys, you guys all know everything I’ve been through. But I come to work with a smile on my face, I changed my mindset, and look, I’m a winner now, so people are happy for me.”
Now sitting pretty with a four-match win streak on television, Ali has a reason to be feeling positive about his WWE run at the moment. How positive he’ll be feeling on the morning of May 28th, one day after his match with Gunther, however, remains to be seen.
How did @AliWWE avoid getting eliminated in the #ICTitle No. 1 Contender Battle Royal on #WWERaw and how does he deal with the doubters? 🤔#WWETheBump pic.twitter.com/v5uNSvBN9r
— WWE (@WWE) May 17, 2023
Mustafa Ali explains why his feud with Seth Rollins fizzled out.
While Mustafa Ali is currently in the middle of one of the bigger pushes he’s experienced in WWE over the past few years, easily surpassing his time in Retribution in terms of fan appreciation, one push that the WWE Universe didn’t get to experience, at least to the degree it appeared to be, was “Mr. 205 Live” versus Seth Rollins, despite the duo appearing to gear up for a program in October of 2022.
When asked about this false-started feud by Metro UK, Ali explained what happened and why he was still happy to get in the ring with “The Visionary.”
“What I think happened was, I was this babyface that wasn’t fully developed, so you have to reintroduce me as this contender,” Ali said. “Even though Seth was this bad guy champion, he was blurring the lines where the fans were really starting to sing his song, and they had to make a decision. Do we lean into this, or does he commit to being the bad guy?”
Though Ali and Rollins didn’t get to see their feud through, in the end, the former is proud of what he accomplished and would happily share the ring with “The Visionary” again should the opportunity present itself.
“The matches would have been incredible, but I feel like they pulled back on it because they’re saying, ‘Well, let’s see what’s happening with Seth first.’ What happened, happened. Good for him!” Ali said. “He’s standing in Paris for 12 minutes while people are singing his song, so I’m glad for him. Hopefully, we’ll get to it again someday. But yeah, I’m good with that, I’m ok with that.”
Could Ali parlay his match with Gunther into a new feud with Seth Rollins, who may or may not win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Night of Champions? Only time will tell, but for Ali’s sake, he should probably focus on Gunther, as he was able to overcome Drew McIntyre and Sheamus at WrestleMania 39 while barely breaking a sweat.