Mustafa Ali has been an incredible addition to the SmackDown Live roster since he first showed up for a seemingly one-off match against Daniel Bryan, but he could really make his presence felt on the main roster with a huge WWE Royal Rumble performance.
Last year’s WWE Royal Rumble matches gave the audience four distinct star-making performances. Asuka and Shinsuke Nakamura won their respective Rumble matches, while even bigger fan favorites Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, and Finn Balor lasted for most of the match in workhorse performances.
While Mustafa Ali isn’t expected to win this year’s rumble – that distinction goes to Seth Rollins, who was one of WWE‘s most impressive superstars in 2018 – he should emerge as one of the biggest winners from what is looking like an exciting Rumble weekend.
With standout matches against Daniel Bryan, Andrade “Cien” Almas, and four of the world’s best competitors in Fatal Five-Way competition, Ali has become one of the most impressive stars on the loaded SmackDown Live roster since making his debut on the brand in December.
Ali was always viewed by diehard wrestling fans as one of the biggest talents on the roster, firmly establishing himself as a top breakout candidate in 2018 on the strength of his in-ring and promo work on 205 Live. The crowd loves to get behind Ali as an ultimate underdog, and social media went nuts when he pinned Bryan with an 0-5-4 in tag action weeks ago.
While Ali wasn’t able to earn a WWE Championship match against Bryan, who defeated him in his first main roster match, he can win something more valuable than a championship.
He can win over the collective hearts of the WWE Universe at the Royal Rumble.
The Rumble match is the best place for underdog stories, and based on a conversation with Vince McMahon that Ali shared on Talk is Jericho, WWE may see huge value in Ali as that type of underdog in their promotion.
Imagine Mustafa Ali entering the match as the first or second entrant and valiantly fighting his way to the final four, shrugging off exhaustions and the beatings taken at the hand of superstars like Samoa Joe, Dean Ambrose, Bobby Lashley, Andrade “Cien” Almas, John Cena, and Baron Corbin.
There are so many big names in this Rumble for Ali to challenge himself against, and because nobody expects him to win over the likes of Rollins, he can do himself a world of good by having an awe-inspiring showing.
This is Ali’s chance to show his talents on the best stage for him right now. He’s only been on the main roster for about a month, so winning a title is almost out of the question, even with WWE feeling the heat from AEW and promising changes that the audience wants.
More than anything else, the WWE Universe wants to get behind awesome babyfaces that receive proper booking from the so-called “powers that be”. Championships are nice, but wonderful stories are the best. And there’s nothing more heart-warming than watching Ali outlast the competition, losing the Rumble match at the very end to give him even more vigor in pursuing excellence in 2019.
This is Ali’s year to grab WWE by the horns after establishing himself as a star in 2018 on the 205 Live brand. The WWE Royal Rumble match? It’s his opportunity to show the rest of the WWE Universe why so many fans have been buzzing about an inspirational wrestler who stands out in the ring and pushes for breaking barriers outside of it.