Mustafa Ali almost didn’t get a chance to appear in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic but he took the opportunity he was given and ran with it.
Ali was this week’s guest on WWE After The Bell with Corey Graves where he talked about his path to WWE as an alternate in the CWC. Ali was initially listed as a reserve, but a visa issue with Brazilian wrestler Zumbi allowed him to enter the tournament. WWE had announced several names as other alternates, but Ali told Graves that he was one of ten alternates and he gives Lince Dorado all of the credit for making his WWE debut actually happen.
“A few weeks before the tournament, they released the list of the 32 participants in the Cruiserweight Classic and my name is not on the list. Everything just comes crumbling down—I told my wife, I told my friends, and I frantically call and said ‘What happened?’ It was then explained to me that I’m not actually in the tournament, and I’m a backup, I’m an alternate. And I said, ‘Well, how many alternates are there?’ ‘Ten.’” Ali said. “And again, I have no shame in saying 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. A lot of stuff was going on personally as we always have going on, and I had to make this decision of ‘Do I still get on this plane and go?’ You know, do I swallow my pride and stand there like a good boy and hoped to be called on? I said you’re always going to ask yourself ‘what if?’, just go. And I went.
“There was an opening, Lince Dorado’s opponent wasn’t able to compete. Lince and I are old friends that have competed a lot. I owe the world to him because he immediately stepped up and said ‘give me Ali.’ They reminded him that the segment our match was, the timeslot, was very, very small. And he’s like, ‘Yeah, that’s why I want him because I know we can get it done.’ We went out there and I think we tore it up. Obviously,” Ali said, “I’m here now but they cracked the door open a little bit and I kicked the damn thing down.”
Other known alternates for the tournament included Aaron Solow, former TNA star Jesse Sorensen, Jesus Yurnet, Kai Katana and Vandal Ortagun.
Check out the full episode below: