Mustafa Ali: Vince McMahon Told Me I Was, 'Too Polished, Too Clean, Too Nice'

Just over a year ago on the October 5, 2020 episode of WWE Raw, Mustafa Ali was revealed as the leader of RETRIBUTION.

RETRIBUTION first appeared in August 2020 and caused chaos before Ali was revealed as the leader, cementing his heel turn.

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Speaking to Alistair McGeorge of Metro, Ali discussed turning heel and leading RETRIBUTION.

"Even pre-pandemic, I was struggling to maintain television presence – and I know it was all character based," Ali recalled. "When you pitch a million and one ideas as far as stories, characters, promos, this and that – and you always get told that you’re good, but then nothing happens – you start pointing the finger at everybody except for you. After sitting at home for seven months and then finally coming back to Monday Night Raw, only to pick up a few victories and then to go back to not being on Monday Night Raw and now being stuck on Main Event, you’re kinda scratching your head. Like, what have I gotta do? And then you realise, you’ve gotta go ask the hard questions. I went up to Vince McMahon himself and said, 'What am I missing?' [He said], 'Too polished, too clean, too nice, I don’t now if you have it in you!'"

Ali's transformation to heel started on Main Event when he would work a different style as a way to audition for the role. He also presented himself more to Vince McMahon.

"Once he was satisfied with those [matches], I stared cutting promos for him. I would go into his office, I would cut a promo on him, this and that," he added, suggesting Vince knew ‘well in advance’ that Ali would be revealed as the RETRIBUTION leader.

Of course, Ali didn't know until the day of the reveal.

While fans had high hopes for the group, things quickly fizzled out before Ali was booted from the group at WWE Fastlane.

"I did the best that I could with what I was given, there was a lot of amazing talent in that faction. As with everybody – this is what I tell people – everybody could be so much more," he insisted. "Top to bottom of the roster, whether it’s the main event or the opening act, everyone is capable of so much more. That’s why they’re in WWE – they are capable. But sometimes things take priority and we have to do the bare minimum sometimes, but even with that, the bare minimum, you’re expected to over deliver on that. So, we did the best we could with what we were given."

Ali has since moved on from RETRIBUTION and is currently set to face Mansoor at WWE Crown Jewel. He will be donating his earnings to charity.

You can view the current lineup for WWE Crown Jewel by clicking here. Fightful will have live coverage of WWE Crown Jewel beginning at noon ET on Thursday.

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