Mustafa Ali was the first WWE talent to announce his departure from the company prior to last week’s mass releases across the main roster and NXT.
Dolph Ziggler, Mustafa Ali, Elias, Shelton Benjamin, Riddick Moss, Emma, Aliyah, and “Top Dolla” AJ Francis were among those let go from the main roster, while Quincy Elliott, Shanky, Bryson Montana, Yulisa Leon, Dabba-Kato, Kevin Ventura-Cortez, Alexa Gray, and Daniel McArthur were let go from NXT.
Ali had requested his release a few years ago when Vince McMahon was in charge of creative, but the company denied his request. In recent months, he had been working in NXT and had reinvented himself.
He was supposed to face Dominik Mysterio for the North American Title at NXT No Mercy this Saturday. Instead, Dominik will defend his title against Trick Williams.
According to Fightful Select, there was some frustration on NXT’s end due to a lack of communication with WWE higher-ups regarding the releases and how NXT has been attempting to stack the brand with familiar names.
Shawn Michaels stated during the NXT No Mercy media call that losing Ali changed some of his plans, that he enjoyed working with Ali, and that he will miss him.
Dave Meltzer reported in the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that the decision to release Ali was made late.
Meltzer stated, ”Regarding Ali being on television and pushing him for a match with Dominik Mysterio on 9/30 and then cutting him, it was said that there were names on the bubble and names that were going to be cut. He was in the former category but the decision was made late to cut him.”