Vince McMahon Argument With Mustafa Ali May Have Led To Ali's Absence Prior To WWE Release Request

Mustafa Ali wasn't on Smackdown this past week, which prompted Fightful to dig about the wrestler's status. Since then, he's announced he requested his release from WWE.

Fightful learned that Mustafa Ali asked for only one show off for paternity leave, even though he hasn't appeared on WWE programming since back in November. We're told that even before that, he wasn't at Survivor Series or the Smackdown prior, which initially just looked like the company was extending his paternity leave. However, there was much more than that, and those that we've spoken to say that he hasn't been back at Smackdown since then. One source even indicated they were surprised that Ali wasn't at the Smackdown show in Chicago in any capacity, which is his home town. Ali has been available for a return since the first week of December.

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As Ali revealed weeks ago, there was a vignette filmed for a Mustafa Ali "New America" gimmick that looked promising for the star. According to those in the know, initially the character was accepted, before those in power in WWE changed their mind. However, it was canceled, and we're told that in its place, there was a pitch from Vince McMahon for "something Mustafa Ali would never have done," and it led to a heated argument between the two.

Ali said last fall in in interview that McMahon told him “Too polished, too clean, too nice, I don’t know if you have it in you!" before he would eventually be brought back to lead Retribution. McMahon had some degree in trust in him at some point, as Ali was able to have his own vignettes produced and used on WWE TV.

A higher up in WWE tell us that they've granted release requests of late because it would be difficult to justify not granting releases when they've had so many "budget cuts" of late. One wrestler on the Smackdown roster said that for someone that works on his craft as much as Ali does, not having anything for him or featuring him at all was seen as a punishment. Ali was well liked within WWE, and we've had numerous talent mention their desire to work with him since he was initially brought up to Smackdown. That call-up in itself was only supposed to be a one-off. He was also known for often pitching his own creative and having ideas for his own character.

We've reached out to WWE to see if they've granted the request but haven't heard back since.

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