WWE fans were almost denied one of the biggest and most emotional moments in WrestleMania history with another match originally in the works in 2019.
At the Elimination Chamber event in 2019, the roots of KofiMania took hold in WWE albeit by complete accident. Daniel Bryan was forced to defend his WWE Championship in an Elimination Chamber match against Samoa Joe, Jeff Hardy, AJ Styles, Randy Orton, and Mustafa Ali. However, an injury to Ali forced him out of the bout and he was replaced by The New Day’s Kofi Kingston.
With the Chamber match coming down to just Kingston and the hated Bryan, the fan support swelled behind Kingston but ultimately he came up short. However, a light bulb had gone off and Kingston was the man who eventually dethroned Daniel Bryan for his title at WrestleMania 35.
WWE Had WrestleMania Plans For Mustafa Ali
Speaking on his Oh You Didn’t Know podcast, Road Dogg – who was lead writer for SmackDown during the time in question – confirmed that discussions had taken place about Daniel Bryan defending his title against Mustafa Ali on the grandest stage of them all:
It might’ve been — yeah, it was talked about (doing Daniel Bryan vs. Mustafa Ali at WrestleMania 35) and that’s probably what they’re referring to with the Daniel Bryan talking about Ali (coming to main roster) and stuff so yeah, there was talk about a storyline leading up to that. But yeah, so there was talk about that. Again, and that’s probably what they’re talking about.
Mustafa Ali only missed a few weeks of action as a result of the injury and was back in action in plenty of time for WrestleMania 35 but ultimately only featured in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
Kingston’s gain was Ali’s loss as the star never won gold during his time in WWE before his release from the company in September 2023. Mustafa Ali has announced his debut for TNA following in the footsteps of Dana Brooke and Dolph Ziggler who were released by WWE on the same day as Ali.