Earlier today, Mustafa Ali announced that he is no longer with WWE. Ali was hired by the company in 2016 after competing in the Cruiserweight Classic and was moved to the main roster in 2018 after competing regularly on 205 Live. Following the 2023 WWE Draft, Ali became a free agent and began appearing regularly in WWE NXT. Prior to his exit, he was set to face WWE NXT North American Champion Dominik Mysterio at No Mercy later this month. Ali never won championship gold during his eight years with the promotion.
Haus of Wrestling spoke with a WWE source who said they do not believe Ali was ever going to get the opportunity to really shine in the company. They also noted to us that they don’t really know why. Those we spoke to who spent time around him during his brief WWE NXT run tell us he was always upbeat and smiled, even though some could tell he was unhappy with his position. One person described him to us as “the ultimate pro.” From what we gather, Ali was not totally caught off-guard by his release.
One possible reason that was given to us for Ali’s release was his recent politically charged vignette on WWE NXT TV. The change in character had been pitched by Ali for the main roster in the past but was never followed through on. Once some in WWE saw the vignette on NXT TV, some “freaked out” because Fox had expressed nervousness about Ali heading in that direction. The political angle was dropped shortly after.
Haus of Wrestling has also confirmed that WWE creative had planned for Ali to be sent to Raw this Monday night in Ontario, CA, which he stated he would be doing on WWE NXT this past Tuesday. The plan was for Ali to be involved in Mysterio’s title defense against Dragon Lee, which would have ramifications on his planned bout at No Mercy.
Already today, WWE has released Ali, Riddick Moss, Elias, Emma, Top Dolla, and Aliyah, with more releases expected. Haus of Wrestling reported this past Friday that major cuts to the WWE main and NXT rosters were expected. We will work to bring you coverage as they continue and send our best to everyone affected by today.