Ah, Mustafa Ali.
He’s one of my favorite wrestlers in WWE right now. He’s one of my favorite people on social media and I follow a LOT of people, so that’s saying something. Simply put: I’m a massive fan. He made an appearance on 670 The Score and I had to give it a listen.
Fun fact I didn’t know: He’s been wrestling since he was 16 and his family wasn’t initially supportive so he would tell his family he was “working on school projects” but would really be sneaking out to training.
One of the hosts asked him what part of his job makes him say “yay” (great question) and his answer is awesome. I’m just going to leave this here:
“I came into WWE with a very clear initiative: obviously I wanted to support myself and my family, but something that’s kind of personal to me is that .. professional wrestling in its history, has always kind of had the evil foreigner, you know if you don’t look like us, or if you’re not from here, you’re the bad guy. There’s nothing wrong with that because everyone understands it’s entertainment. I think what’s going on in society today, not to get political and stuff like that, but stuff that’s going on, sometimes we have to take a step back and kind of ask ourselves ‘what subliminal messaging are we sending, you know?’ So I came with a very clear-cut initiative, asking ‘why do I have to be the bad guy? I’m from Chicago. I’m as American as you. I love apple pie! [laughs] Why do I have to be the bad guy? I can do this amazing moveset.’ I remember them kind of scratching their head going ‘Well, why can’t he be a good guy?’
So, what my goal is, what makes me happy, is I get so much love for that. People saying ‘it’s such a relief to tune in and see something we haven’t seen before.’ Especially from people from that background, people that have Middle Eastern backgrounds, or southeast Asian backgrounds, going ‘It’s so cool to hear the name Mustafa Ali and for it to not get booed.’ It’s a big deal for them, it’s a big deal for me.”
He goes on to say, “I think I’m doing something special, if that makes sense you know? It’s different. I feel good about it. I hope it takes a life of its own. To me, it’s kind of like I’m trying to change an aspect of the business.”
It was a really great listen so check it out yourself or just stay tuned because I will likely post more from his interview. Can’t help myself.
Root for this man!