Mustafa Ali wants to make sense of RETRIBUTION.
Speaking with Scott Fishman of TV Insider, Ali discussed a number of topics, including Vince McMahon not believing he was a talker, the obstacles facing his faction, the freedom of Raw Talk, and finally some helpful advice from Sami Zayn.
RETRIBUTION is filled with talented individuals and Ali believes that the biggest challenge they're encountering at the moment is a lack of clarity. There are too many unanswered questions about the group that not only hang over the audience's heads but their leaders' as well. Here is what he said:
"The talent is there. The biggest obstacle and challenge the group faces is the “Why.” Who are we? Why are we here? What’s our vendetta against WWE and corporate infrastructure? We have not been able to tell that story. Retribution is still an opportunity to be on TV every week. We’ve done stuff, and everyone is aware who is in the group. But we’re not able to address who we really are. I haven’t explained why I’m the leader and what power I hold over these people. I’d like to do so. The fans have been left to connect the dots, which I never like to do. It’s a three-hour show. Stuffing 5,000 pounds into a five-pound bag isn’t going to work. We have to take our time. We’re doing the best with the time we’re given."
Luckily for Ali, Raw Talk has allowed him to connect a lot of the dots that slip through the cracks on television. A piece of advice from Sami Zayn also helped recontextualize the limited time they are given on a weekly basis. He said the following:
"Definitely. It’s the most fun because that is one-hundred percent me. It’s just off-the-top of my head. The last show I didn’t know I was a guest until minutes before and it was probably one of my better appearances. [SmackDown superstar] Sami Zayn told me a true artist is able to work within parameters. It’s not hard to have amazing matches when you have 25 minutes. Now, try to have a super-competitive match in six minutes and 60 seconds to get your point across in a promo. That’s true artistry."
When asked what it took to be given the aforementioned freedom on the microphone, Ali replied that at first, Vince McMahon didn't believe he was a talker so he took it upon himself to record his own promos and show the company what he was capable of doing. Here's what he said:
"I can only speak of my experience with [Chairman] Vince McMahon and the creative team, but not really. You can always tell them what you’re capable of doing, or you can show them. The first time I told Vince McMahon I’m a talker, he didn’t believe I was. So I recorded my own promos. I record my own videos. It’s a lot easier to show them what you’re capable of doing than telling them. I’ve got a pretty good range in terms of saying the things I do."
Mustafa Ali is set to challenge Riddle for the United States Championship on the March 15 episode of WWE Raw.
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