Mustafa Ali could not believe that this was happening to him.
After being a part of the 205 Live brand since its inception and being dubbed "The Heart" of 205 Live, Mustafa Ali was called up to the main roster for what was supposed to be one night only and for that one night Mustafa got to mix it up on the microphone and in the ring with the WWE Champion Daniel Bryan. Ali was defeated by Bryan but the following week on SmackDown Ali was told he was going to be competing on the show once again and it was then announced that Mustafa was going to be a permanent member of the blue-brand.
This all came as a shock to Ali because he was told just a few days before his SmackDown debut that he was going to have a few weeks off because the writers had nothing for him for 205 Live. Ali detailed how everything went down, who he was contacted by and all that had to do with his arrival to SmackDown when he chatted with Chris Jericho on a recent episode of 'Talk Of Jericho'.
“So honestly, I didn’t know anything. Like you said, I’ve been working 205 since its inception, and it wasn’t like Vince was ignoring the product, it's just 205." Ali explained. "The situation with us is we’re always put in a tough spot but he does see and he does hear about it and I’ve had conversations with him about me, about 205 so it wasn’t that he wasnt’ just aware like all of a sudden, ‘Who the hell is this guy?’ But literally I come to the arena and initially it was like, ‘Hey, you’re not working 205 tonight’, and I knew that because I was talking to the writer before and I was actually told, ‘Hey, you’re gonna have a few weeks off. We just don’t have anything for you on TV for 205’ so I’m thinking alright, I got the next three-to-four weeks off. Probably start of the new year I’ll be doing something. So, I’m kinda just showing up to TV hanging out and they’re like, ‘Hey, you’re working SmackDown tonight’. I go, ‘Oh, okay’ and they go, ‘And you’re working Daniel Bryan, and you have a promo with him too, and it’s three segments’. I’m kind of blowing off this writer -- I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, okay.’ He’s like, ‘No, I’m being serious. They need you right now. Go.’ I’m like is he confusing me for somebody like what is going on? And then I find out, and that day I’m told, ‘This is just a one time deal. We kind of want to see what happens with it but it’s just a one-time deal. We’re gonna give 205 the rub. Bryan wants to work with you’ so it’s all -- [I’m] obviously honored and I went out there and I did my thing, and I was told it was a one-time deal like okay cool." Ali explained.
Ali continued by saying he was talking with WWE creative writer Brian "Road Dogg" James and was waiting for Road Dogg to tell him that this all was a joke. James then broke the news to Ali that he was going to be picking up a victory over Daniel Bryan and at that point Ali still could not believe it.
"Show up to TV the next week, ‘Hey, we need you to go see Road Dogg, Brian James’, and Road Dogg is the one who tells me he’s like, ‘We’re taking you off 205, you’re permanently on SmackDown now, and you’re teaming with AJ Styles tonight and you guys are working the main event against Andrade and Daniel Bryan and you’re getting the win on Bryan." Ali laughed. "So obviously, you go from hearing you’re off for the next four weeks to you’re working a main event program on SmackDown and I'm just staring [at] Brian dead face like, ‘Who’s ribbing me? Where’s the camera?’ Yeah that’s how I found out man. It was all very at the moment and I don’t know if it was a test -- if it was like, ‘Lets throw him in the water and see what happens' -- not just the water, the deep end.”
On the New Year's Day edition of SmackDown Live, Mustafa Ali competed in a Fatal 5-Way match for an opportunity at the WWE Championship and is consistently in the co-main event of house shows.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit 'Talk Is Jericho' with an H/T to Fightful for the transcriptions.