Just when things were going right for Ali, they went slightly left.
Mustafa Ali was declared an official member of the SmackDown Live roster on the December 18th edition of SmackDown and it was on that show that he teamed with AJ Styles to face Andrade "Cien" Almas and the current WWE Champion Daniel Bryan. Ali scored a victory over Daniel Bryan but it was hard for him to enjoy the moment because while executing his "054" finishing maneuver, Ali clipped Bryan's chin when he came down and wrestling fans were expecting the worst when it happened because it appeared that Ali's knee crashed down onto Bryan's head.
Mustafa Ali could audibly be heard telling Daniel that he was sorry and on top of the move going wrong, Ali began to check out mentally because the Christmas episode of SmackDown was being taped right after his match and he was worried about the "054" going wrong again although he received word that Daniel Bryan was going to be fine. Ali recalled what he was feeling in those moments when he joined Chris Jericho's 'Talk Is Jericho' podcast.
“Yeah that was a freakout. That was the tag match, and there’s no explanation behind it other than it… no one bats a hundred man. He wasn’t out of position. It wasn’t like we were rushing on time because SmackDown has to be off. It was none of that and obviously when it happened, anyone could see that I was like, ‘Holy [crap], I just landed on his face’. Luckily when we came back, we found out it was his chin. I mean still you can knock someone out easily with that, but it’s almost like as it happened, you could see me kind of, I’m trying to make myself even lighter if that makes sense -- so I don’t squish him. But I got him, and I felt… one you’re thinking did I just mess up the WWE Champion? Heat, what’s gonna happen to me? This is my first night." Ali continued, "Yeah, there goes my push like whatever, and you’re freaking out and it was extra stressful because it was a night we were taping the second SmackDown for Christmas so I had a match right after that. So I’m trying to get mentally ready for that and the finish was that move again. So now you’re talking about playing games with your mind. You’re like, ‘Am I gonna land on Cien [Andrade] on this one too?’ And luckily I got some good brothers back there that are giving me a pep talk like, ‘Get your head in the game. He’s fine’, and literally they checked him, Bryan was fine, he assured me he was fine. Obviously, I’m profusely apologizing that it happened and everyone talked and they go, ‘You realize people get knocked out throwing kicks, people get knocked out throwing punches, you’re doing a backwards 450 and you clipped a dude, and you didn’t even hurt him, you just clipped him. It looked nasty but you clipped him like relax’, but to me, obviously it was the end of the world." Ali explained. "Like oh my God, this and that. Thankfully he wasn’t injured. Thankfully, nothing came of this as far as backlash on me, but you know obviously some people are gonna nitpick it like, ‘Oh, he’s unsafe’. I’ve been wrestling 16 years and I landed -- I kneed a guy in the face accidentally and it wasn’t sloppiness, it just happened, and I can’t explain why. I thought the jump was good, I thought the rotation was good, I thought his positioning was good. It was just off.”
Mustafa Ali is set to be a part of this year's men's Royal Rumble match and to view the list of other competitors in the match, click here.
If the quote in ths article is used, please credit the 'Talk Is Jericho' podcast with an H/T to Fightful for the transcription.