Photo credit: WWE.com.
Mustafa Ali hasn’t been seen on WWE programming since December, but he is back in the news because of his involvement in some reported roster movement.
According to PWInsider.com (h/t Wrestling Inc’s Marc Middleton), Ali has been moved from SmackDown to Raw despite the fact that he is still listed on the SmackDown roster on the WWE website.
It was widely assumed that Ali was behind the mystery hacker gimmick on SmackDown, but no hacker vignettes have aired in recent weeks. Given the rumors surrounding Ali, it is unclear whether the angle was scrapped or if it may move with Ali to Raw.
Regardless of what the future holds for that storyline, here is a look at a few supremely talented Superstars who would be great opponents for Ali once he settles in on the red brand.
If anyone on the WWE roster is somewhat comparable to Seth Rollins in terms of look and in-ring style, it can be argued that Ali fits the bill.
Both Ali and Rollins worked their way up through the midwest independent wrestling scene before hitting it big, and they even faced each other on a couple occasions. It has been a decade since their most recent meeting, though, and they have never had a one-on-one match in WWE.
Rollins is currently embroiled in a rivalry with Rey Mysterio, Dominik, Aleister Black and Humberto Carrillo, but Ali could be a good fit to either join the angle or take over as Rollins’ foe once that feud comes to an end.
First and foremost, Ali and Rollins are two of the most talented in-ring performers WWE has to offer, and there is no question that they have the potential to put on some classic matches against each other. That isn’t the only reason why a program between them would work, though.
Rollins is locked in as a heel thanks to his Monday Night Messiah character, and he seems to be improving in the role every week. He needs a strong-willed opponent who can cut a great promo in their own right, and that perfectly describes Ali.
Much like Rollins is capable of captivating fans with his words from the heel side, Ali can do the same from a babyface perspective, and he has proved that many times when given the opportunity.
A program with Rollins may be precisely what Ali needs to reach the next level, and going in that direction could result in Raw having another bona fide star on its hands.
Apollo Crews is in the midst of the biggest push of his WWE career after beating Andrade for the United States Championship in May.
Crews has a loose alliance with Kevin Owens, is being targeted by MVP and has been winning matches on a regular basis, most recently beating Shelton Benjamin on Monday’s episode of Raw.
That win came after MVP questioned whether Crews has the killer instinct needed to be a champion. Crews seemed to show MVP that he was willing to do whatever it takes to win when he held the ropes for leverage during a pinfall attempt.
If WWE is setting the wheels in motion for a heel turn, then Ali would be an ideal babyface opponent for Crews in a feud over the U.S. title.
While Ali and Crews have never faced each other in a televised match, they clashed in a pair of dark matches in January, which means they have already laid the foundation and should have at least some level of in-ring chemistry.
Crews is one of the most unique and impressive performers in WWE, as he boasts notable power but can also fly and flip like a cruiserweight, which is what Ali initially was when he joined WWE as part of the Cruiserweight Classic and then 205 Live.
There is reason to believe that Ali and Crews could make magic together in the ring. And if Crews does align himself with MVP, the promo battles between Ali and MVP should be entertaining as well.
Ali and Andrade have faced each other on several occasions in WWE, but they have yet to engage in a proper feud.
Andrade is in an iffy situation, as he and Angel Garza aren’t on the same page, and manager Zelina Vega may have to make a decision on whom to support. If Andrade comes out of the situation remaining a heel, then Ali would be a great opponent for him.
Both Andrade and Ali are special athletes and have the ability to steal the show whenever they compete. If given enough time and the proper storyline, Ali and Andrade could carry the midcard on Raw.
Should Andrade, Garza and Vega remain together as a unit, Ali could play the role of the underdog babyface overcoming the odds quite well. He and Vega could also sell the rivalry and matches well on the mic, which is half the battle.
Ali has the potential to be a top star and possibly even a world champion, and if WWE views him in that light as well, a program with Andrade would be a solid launching pad in the right direction.
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