Before his breakthrough in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic, Mustafa Ali was on the verge of stepping away from professional wrestling. A significant figure on the independent circuit, Ali was only listed as an alternate in the renowned tournament; however, when visa complications led to the absence of a Brazilian competitor, a golden opportunity knocked at Ali's door.
Ali reflects on this crucial turning point in his career: "There was a mix-up with his visa, or perhaps he just didn't make an appearance." The wrestler's name remains elusive, but Ali humorously adds, "Whatever the case, I'm grateful to him for inadvertently giving me the chance I needed."
"Ali's Struggles and Rejection"
Ali's journey toward this pivotal moment was far from easy.
Before this, he was grappling with a sense of despair. He recalls, "I was trying to carve out a niche for myself in the independent scene. I had auditioned for the WWE a few years earlier, only to face rejection. The organization didn't believe I embodied the archetype they sought for their wrestlers." Aware of the industry's harsh realities, Ali anticipated the end of his wrestling dreams.
In a last-ditch effort, he sent an email to WWE, expecting little to come of it. The fates aligned in his favor when WWE was assembling a roster for what was then named the Global Cruiserweight Series, which subsequently transformed into the Cruiserweight Classic.
William Regal, a top official in WWE, informed Ali about ten alternate spots. Ali, grappling with a bruised ego, wasn't very hopeful. He only had a slim 10% chance. However, he gathered the courage to take this chance. "I thought, 'If I don't seize this opportunity, I'll never know what could have been.'
So, I went," Ali recalls. He gratefully acknowledges Lince Dorado, his longtime ally, who vouched for Ali. Dorado knew their chemistry in the ring could create an unforgettable match. Today, Mustafa Ali, having turned a new leaf in his wrestling career, is gearing up to contend for the WWE North American Championship.
He is set to face Dominik Mysterio in a Triple Threat match at the WWE NXT Great American Bash, solidifying his place as a crucial player in the wrestling scene.