The rise of Mustafa Ali as a Smackdown star has been fun to watch on Tuesday nights over the last couple of months. Ali managed to pin WWE Champion Daniel Bryan in a tag team match and got some big singles wins as a regular on the Smackdown roster. The push went so well for the former 205 Live star that he was advertised for Sunday’s Elimination Chamber event in the main event for the WWE Title with champion Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe and Jeff Hardy. However, there is bad news to report today because Ali is no longer going to be part of the match due to injuries.
It’s been reported by Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful that Ali has been dealing with an injured tailbone that was injured again at the Royal Rumble over two weeks ago. Last week on Smackdown, Ali had a swollen eye after Randy Orton accidentally booted him too hard. Sapp added that another injury was accelerated during Sunday’s live event, so Ali is likely not going to be cleared for action this week. Apparently Ali has been trying to convince WWE officials to let him work, but they are going to be cautious and rule him out.
The storyline plan, according to Sapp, is to blame Randy Orton for Ali’s injuries, which could lead to another match between them after Orton beat Ali on Smackdown last week. Fastlane next month would make sense for a potential match, but that’s just a guess on my part.
There is no official word from WWE yet, but when they say something, I will update this post.
TJR Thoughts: It’s unfortunate news because Ali has been gaining a lot of momentum on Smackdown and the fans like him a lot, but injuries happen even though none of these things sound that serious. I wonder if it was a top guy if he would be on the shelf or if they would just work through it. In today’s world, WWE tends to be extra cautious because they don’t want a minor injury to become serious.
As for a replacement, I’m not sure what WWE will do. They might add Andrade or Rey Mysterio to the Elimination Chamber because their match isn’t official yet, but I hope they are kept out of it so that they can have their own singles match. Luke Harper is apparently ready to go, so maybe they go with him. They could even put Rowan in there because as Daniel Bryan’s ally, they can tell the story that he’s there to keep the title on Bryan and he can help Bryan retain the title. We should know more on Smackdown this week.
— Mustafa Ali / Adeel Alam (@AliWWE) February 10, 2019