Ali reveals advice given to him by Xavier Woods.
Ali was always fighting an uphill battle in WWE. Being Muslim, Ali was stereotyped as an evil foreigner throughout his career. He would go so far as to wear a mask in order to evade discrimination. He slowly began to break away from the stereotype through reinvention and hard work, but, as Ali tells is, WWE didn't quite get his character at first.
“I was given a promo one day and didn’t agree with the verbiage or how to do it,” Ali told TV Insider. “I talked to the writer about it but was insisted to do a certain way. I went and vented to Xavier Woods about it. I told him, ‘It’s almost like they don’t know me.’ He said, ‘Because they don’t. It’s on you to present yourself how you want to be presented. It’s up to you to create this image that you want people to see. It’s on you. If they can’t see it, then you’re not doing a good job at it.’”
Ali broke out in WWE through self-shot viral promos that looked different from anything you would see on WWE television.
“They are my brainchild,” he said. “Nobody really does them except for me. There is a reason I stuck out on 205 Live. There is a reason I was moved to SmackDown and stick out on SmackDown. That’s one of my strong suits, so thanks, Woods.”
Ali started off hot once he moved to SmackDown Live, pinning then WWE Champion Daniel Bryan in a tag team bout. But an injury prior to Elimination Chamber caused him to get lost in the shuffle. Ali took part in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 35.