RETRIBUTION leader Mustafa Ali has spoken out about what almost caused him to retire from professional wrestling.
Making an appearance on After the Bell with Corey Graves, the mastermind behind Raw’s vigilante group revealed that prior to his call-up to compete in WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic Tournament, he was ready to step away for good thanks to commitments to his secondary job as a law enforcer:
“As with anything that you’re passionate about in life, there is extreme highs and there’s a lot more extreme lows, and the Cruiserweight Classic was this tumultuous thing for me. It was that typical indie wrestler moment. Anyone that’s done this can understand. I thought this was the year that I’m going to hang up the boots or the kick pads or whatever you want to call them because I just wasn’t getting any traction.
A lot of my friends were blowing up on the indie scene, and like you mentioned, I was a police officer at the time so traveling all over the world, doing these tours in the UK and Japan just weren’t feasible. The number one thing for me, at that time, was providing for my family as a man should, so my dream came second.”
His entry into the novel Cruiserweight Classic came about when the talent hustled his way into the ranks via an email to WWE. The endeavour saw him chosen as an alternate:
“Luckily, I just emailed WWE at the right time at the right place not knowing that there was a Cruiserweight Classic. At the time, it was called ‘The Global Cruiserweight Tournament.’ So I just emailed at the right time at the right place, and they said, ‘yeah, we’ve got a spot for you.’ William Regal called and explained to me the whole process, and I was like, ‘this is my this is my opportunity. I’m in,’ and a few weeks before the the tournament, they released the list of the 32 participants in the Cruiserweight Classic.
And my name’s not on the list, and everything just comes crumbling down. I told my wife. I told my friends. I frantically call, and I go, ‘what happened?’ It was then explained to me that I’m not actually in the tournament. I’m a backup. I’m an alternate, and I said, ‘well, how many alternates are there?’ 10. And again, I have no shame. I’m a nobody at this point. I have not traveled the world. I’m not this world-class athlete like so many of the participants, and it was just a hard pill to swallow.
Luckily for Ali, he did make the tournament and competed in the Round of 32 where he lost to Lince Dorado on July 20, 2016.
Following the tourney, Mustafa Ali appeared sporadically on NXT and in Dark Matches until the creation of 205 Live when he became a regular for the promotion.
Credit for the interview: WWE After the Bell
h/t for transcription: Wrestling Inc.