How Cody Rhodes Influenced Fired WWE Star

Cody Rhodes

Cody Rhodes inspired Mustafa Ali to forge a new path outside WWE.

Mustafa Ali was released from WWE in September 2023 and hasn’t looked back since. The star quickly put together a world tour of different promotions, revealed in a video that took influence from political campaign ads.

The tour has been a huge success, helping independent companies sell out shows all over the US. Ali has also become a regular fixture of TNA, where he now reigns as the X-Division Champion, and is set to make his NJPW debut in April.

During an appearance on Straight Talk Wrestling, Ali admitted that the response he has had since leaving WWE has been a welcome surprise.

“The only thing that I’m surprised about is how quick I was able to reap the rewards of my risk. Usually, this takes a while and we’re talking about a few months in… When I announced this run and I saw sold-out after sold-out after sold-out, these promoters started contacting me that they haven’t had someone move tickets and have these sell-out crowds since Cody Rhodes.

Ali went on to explain how Rhodes provided the inspiration for his campaign video, with the concept behind that coming from the list The American Nightmare released on social media after his own WWE departure back in 2016.

“So to have that comparison and look where he’s at. Literally, the top of the business, heading into WrestleMania, the talk of the industry and deservingly so. Cody was a guy that I take a lot of inspiration from and what I mean by that is what set this all up was the launch of my campaign video which was released on December 21st.

“The concept behind it was who was the last guy that really made that impact of like, what’s gonna happen? And this is when Cody Rhodes released the list and I remember everyone was like, ‘Oh my God, these dream matches, but where? And how? How are we gonna see them?’ And I go, ‘What’s the 2024 Mustafa Ali version of the list?’

“So the campaign video came about of, you know, calling out guys like Will Ospreay and ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey and (El Hijo del) Vikingo and (Matt) Cardona and all these notable names and that’s what happened is it became a frenzy of people wondering how is this gonna — where is he gonna go? Where is this gonna happen? And it’s happening, it’s happening so a marketing campaign well done.”

Mustafa Ali Expected His WWE Release

During the same interview, Mustafa Ali admitted that he expected to be released from WWE and when it came, he felt no sadness about it. Instead, he decided to bet on himself like Rhodes before him, and the star says it has already paid dividends.

H/T to POST Wrestling for the above transcription.