One WWE talent was planned to be involved in an angle on Monday Night Raw prior to his release.
In the wake of WWE’s merger with UFC under parent company Endeavor, more than 100 staff members were let go from the company on September 15th. While the layoffs initially affected office staff, a report indicated that talent cuts were also on the way.
Sure enough, on September 21st, multiple stars were released from their WWE contracts, including former World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler. The releases have reportedly caused frustration backstage as the company announced a new huge money deal for SmackDown the very same day.
Mustafa Ali, who had primarily been working in NXT in recent months, was also among the names released. His being cut comes as somewhat of a surprise as he’s been heavily involved in the North American Championship scene in NXT and was set to face Dominik Mysterio for the title at No Mercy later this month. Ali confirmed his release on social media.
According to a report from Nick Hausman of Haus of Wrestling, there were plans for the star to feature on the September 25th episode of Monday Night Raw. Ali was planned to be involved in Mysterio’s title defense against Dragon Lee on the show, and his involvement would help build the angle for No Mercy on September 30th.
Why Was Mustafa Ali Released From WWE?
Elsewhere in the report, Nick Hausman wrote that one WWE source indicated Ali was “never going to get the opportunity to really shine in the company,” though the source was unclear as to the reason for this. Ali had reportedly been smiling and upbeat backstage in NXT despite not always being happy with his position, and one person described him as “the ultimate pro.”
When it comes to the reason for his release, Hausman writes the following:
“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.”
The full list of talent released on September 21st can be found here.