Mustafa Ali made his return from injury on WWE SmackDown Live this past week. But how can creative make the most of his return and ensure he doesn’t get lost in the shuffle?
Mustafa Ali returned to action this week on WWE SmackDown Live. The high flyer, often referred to as the Heart of 205 Live had become an integral part of SmackDown before suffering an unfortunate injury right before Elimination Chamber. With that Ali’s dreams of winning the WWE title were sidelined. However, that paved the way for one of the most organic main event run of a babyface in recent times. Kofi Kingston’s sudden ascension to super stardom reminds me of Daniel Bryan’s in many ways.
Kingston would make the most of the opportunity that was presented to him and the veteran would go on to create some unforgettable moments. He stole the show in a gauntlet match before Elimination Chamber and he stole our hearts inside the Elimination Chamber. For a moment, it seemed like Kingston would face Bryan for the WWE Championship at Fastlane. However, Vince McMahon had other plans.
Kevin Owens was brought out as a replacement for Kofi and the babyface had no option but to watch helplessly as the Prizefighter took his spot. In all reality, we know that this is creative’s way of building up more fan support for the New Day member at potentially a title clash and a subsequent win might be on the horizon for him, as we head into WrestleMania 35.
But enough about Kofi though. What happens to Ali, now that he is back? I can’t help but feel like Kofi’s phenomenal run in the gauntlet match and inside the Chamber were both reserved for Ali. As such, we might have been waiting to see him get his one on one match with Bryan for the title perhaps. What will he do now?
Creative has to ensure that he does not get lost in the shuffle now. One of the possibilities that lie ahead for him is to get into a feud with Samoa Joe for the United States title. Ali has had his run ins with Joe in the past. But if one is being logical, Ali did get his revenge on Joe at the Royal Rumble. Moreover, Samoa Joe needs to go on a rampage as the champion and I see now reason why Ali will be booked to defeat him so soon.
He should, instead, try to get his title shot back. For all intents and purposes, Ali deserved it as much as Kofi did. He just suffered an untimely injury. From a storyline perspective, creative cannot go wrong with this idea. Ideally, Ali should make an agreement with Owens that he will be on Owens’s corner come Sunday, if he gets a shot at the WWE title once Owens defeats Bryan. Now this is not entirely characteristic of a babyface. That is exactly creative needs to go with him though. Mustafa Ali, as a babyface is a great fit on the roster. He can generate sympathy from the fans with every hit he takes. But a babyface Ali will simply go down the ranks eventually, before being asked to move back to 205 Live or the undercard of SmackDown Live.
Owens winning the title is a long shot. So one can say that Ali’s plan will not succeed. But as WrestleMania season approaches and as Kofi Kingston once again makes his return to the top of the food chain, Ali should begin to target the New Day member in his promos. After all, Kofi technically stole Ali’s spot and has been riding on his momentum from then on. In Kofi’s defense though, he made the most of an opportunity that was presented to him, in well over ten years and he ran with it.
Such kind of layered storytelling will get the fans invested in the number one contender spot deeply. On one side, Kofi will have to rise against the machine headed by Vince McMahon and on the other hand he will have to prove to Ali that he deserves this opportunity as much as the Heart of 205 Live. Even if Ali does not do a full-blown heel turn, creative can easily portray tension between the two.
A mini feud of such complexities will ensure that Ali does not fade into the background courtesy of an ill-timed injury in the midst of his push. It will also make Kofi look better as he presents his reasons and his side of the story. Best of all, it will give us one hell of a WWE title picture as we head into WrestleMania.