Mustafa Ali (wrestler)

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Mustafa Ali
Ali - 2019-08-18 - 01 crop.jpg
Ali in August 2019
Birth nameAdeel Alam
Born (1986-03-28) March 28, 1986 (age 34)
Bolingbrook, Illinois, United States
ResidenceChicago, Illinois, United States
Children2
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Ali[1]
Alto
Mustafa Ali[2]
Prince Mustafa Ali
Billed height5 ft 10 in (178 cm)[2]
Billed weight182 lb (83 kg)[2]
Billed fromChicago, Illinois[2]
DebutFebruary 2, 2003[3]

Adeel Alam (born March 28, 1986) is an American professional wrestler currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the Raw brand under the ring name Mustafa Ali.

Prior to signing with WWE, Alam worked on the independent circuit after his debut in 2003, while also working as a police officer in a Chicago suburb for four years. In 2016, he competed in the Cruiserweight Classic as a replacement and through his performances, earned a full-time contract with WWE. He initially worked for their new cruiserweight division as part of the 205 Live brand, but was moved to the SmackDown brand in December 2018.

Early life[edit]

Adeel Alam[4] was born on March 28, 1986 in Bolingbrook, Illinois,[3][5] the son of a Pakistani father from Karachi, and an Indian mother from New Delhi.[6][7][8][9][10] He was raised in Chicago, Illinois.[10] He has two older brothers.[11] Alam wanted to be a wrestler since his youth, idolizing first Bret Hart and later also Eddie Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, The Hardy Boyz, Chris Jericho, and Hayabusa.[10]

Professional wrestling career[edit]

Independent circuit (2003–2016)[edit]

Alam made his professional wrestling debut on February 2, 2003. He worked in various promotions, including Dreamwave Wrestling, where he was a former Dreamwave Alternative Champion and Dreamwave Heavyweight Champion. He also appeared in other promotions, including All American Wrestling (AAW), Freelance Wrestling, GALLI Lucha Libre, IWA Mid-South, Jersey All Pro Wrestling (JAPW), National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), Proving Ground Pro, and WrestleCircus. During his first six years as a professional wrestler, he used a mask so he would not face discrimination.[12] He did it all during the day while working night shifts as a police officer.[13]

WWE[edit]

205 Live (2016–2018)[edit]

Ali making his entrance at WrestleMania 34, in April 2018

On June 25, 2016, after Brazilian wrestler Zumbi was not able to participate in the Cruiserweight Classic tournament due to visa issues, WWE announced that Mustafa Ali would replace him.[14] On July 20, Ali was eliminated from the tournament by Lince Dorado in the first round.[15] Ali appeared on the October 26 episode of NXT, where he and Dorado entered the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic, but were eliminated by Kota Ibushi and TJ Perkins in the first round.[16]

On the December 13 episode of 205 Live, Ali made his debut for the brand, wrestling Lince Dorado to a double countout.[17] On January 23, 2017, Ali made his Raw debut, teamed with Jack Gallagher and TJ Perkins to defeat Ariya Daivari, Drew Gulak, and Tony Nese.[18] Ali began feuding with Drew Gulak, when Gulak began his "No Fly Zone" campaign on 205 Live.[19][20] The feud culminated in a two-out-of-three falls match on July 18 episode of 205 Live, which Ali won.[21] In February 2018, Ali began participating in the Cruiserweight Championship tournament; he defeated Gentleman Jack Gallagher in the first round,[22] Buddy Murphy in the quarterfinals,[23] and Drew Gulak in the semi-finals to advance to the final at the WrestleMania 34.[24] At WrestleMania on April 8, Ali lost to Cedric Alexander, failed to win the WWE Cruiserweight Championship.[25] Ali then started a rivalry with Hideo Itami, who interfered in his match against Buddy Murphy.[26] On the August 7 episode of 205 Live, Ali lost to Itami and collapsed afterwards, rendering him out of action for a short time.[27] On the October 24 episode of 205 Live, Ali defeated Itami in a falls count anywhere match to end the feud.[28] On the October 31 episode of 205 Live, Ali defeated Tony Nese to become the number one contender for the Cruiserweight Championship,[29] but failed to win the title from Buddy Murphy at Survivor Series.[30]

Promotion to SmackDown (2018–2020)[edit]

During his time in 205 Live, Ali gained the attention of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon, who decided to put him on the SmackDown brand.[31] According to former WWE writer Kazeem Famuyide, then-WWE Champion Daniel Bryan was pushing hard backstage for a "hot young babyface" to be on television, arguing that all the babyfaces they had were pushing 40-years-old; this led to management choosing Ali for this push.[32] Ali made his first appearance on the December 11, 2018 episode of SmackDown Live, confronting Daniel Bryan and losing to him later that night.[33] The following week on SmackDown Live, Ali was confirmed as a full-time SmackDown roster member and teaming with AJ Styles to defeat Daniel Bryan and Andrade "Cien" Almas in a tag team match, after Ali pinned Bryan.[34] At the Royal Rumble on January 27, 2019, Ali competed in the eponymous match, lasting 30 minutes and eliminating Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe, before being eliminated by Nia Jax.[35] In February, Ali was scheduled to compete in the Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship at namesake event, which would have been his first world title match; however, he was pulled out due to a legit injury, and replaced by Kofi Kingston.[36][37] Ali made his televised return at the Fastlane pay-per-view, as a last minute addition in the WWE Championship match between Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens, which Ali lost after being pinned by Bryan.[38][39] On March 25, 2019, his ring name was shortened to Ali.[1]

At the Money in the Bank on May 19, Ali competed in the ladder match,[40] which he failed to win, after a returning Brock Lesnar won the match.[41] The following month, Ali would compete in the 51-man battle royal at Super ShowDown, but would fail to win.[42][43] At Smackville, Ali failed to capture the Intercontinental Championship, from Shinsuke Nakamura.[44] In August, Ali competed in the King of the Ring tournament, where he defeated Buddy Murphy in the first round,[45] but lost to Elias in the quarterfinals.[46] At the Hell in a Cell event, Ali lost to Randy Orton.[47] At the Crown Jewel event, Ali competed in a ten-man tag team match as a part of Team Hogan, coming out victorious against Team Flair.[48] On November 13, his name was reverted to Mustafa Ali.[49] At Survivor Series, Ali competed as a member of Team SmackDown, and was eliminated by Seth Rollins, however, his team won the match.[50] Following this, Ali would be taken off television, wrestling primarily on dark matches and live events.[51]

Trade to Raw (2020–present)[edit]

After a seven-month hiatus from television, Ali returned on the July 20, 2020 episode of Raw, teaming with Cedric Alexander and Ricochet to defeat MVP, Bobby Lashley, and Shelton Benjamin,[52] thus moving to the Raw brand.[53]

Professional wrestling style and persona[edit]

Ali uses a high-flying style of wrestling.[54] Ali's finishing maneuver is an imploding 450° splash named the 054. After his debut, Ali used characters different from Muslim stereotypes.[55] During his feud with Cedric Alexander over the Cruiserweight Championship, Ali was commonly referred to as "The Heart of 205 Live".[56][57][58]

Other media[edit]

Ali made his video game debut as a playable character in WWE 2K19 and has since appeared in WWE 2K20.[59] He was the subject of a 2009 documentary focusing on issues that Muslim wrestlers face when booked as villainous characters and stereotyped as terrorists.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Alam is a Muslim.[10] He met his wife in 2010. The couple got married in January 2011, and have a daughter and a son.[60]

Alam was criticized for not displaying a Pakistani flag and representing the country by his Pakistani fans in January 2017. He stated, "I don't care for nationality. I care for unity. I don't mean to offend anyone. This is just me stating that I feel nationality doesn't define us as people, it separates us."[61]

Alam spent four years serving as a police officer in Homewood, Illinois, a suburb south of Chicago, in order to support his family before being signed to WWE.[13]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]