Speaking to The Metro, Mustafa Ali recalled personally seeking out Vince McMahon to ask why he wasn’t being afforded much TV time.
The new Friday Night SmackDown star explained that in their interaction prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, McMahon questioned if Ali had the potential to make it in WWE.
Vince McMahon even questioned if Ali was somehow “too nice” to make it in his company, with Ali recalling:
“After sitting at home for seven months and then finally coming back to Monday Night Raw, only to pick up a few victories and then to go back to not being on Monday Night Raw and now being stuck on Main Event, you’re kinda scratching your head. Like, what have I gotta do? And then you realise, you’ve gotta go ask the hard questions. I went up to Vince McMahon himself and said, ‘What am I missing?’. (He said), ‘Too polished, too clean, too nice, I don’t know if you have it in you!’”
Ali then asked about the potential of a heel turn, and this is when things started to turn around for him.
The former 205 Live star said that he started pitching ideas and auditioning for a heel turn to Vince McMahon, which led to him being revealed as the leader of RETRIBUTION:
“I’ll still be presented as a babyface, I’ll still come out with the same look, I’ll still shake the guy’s hand at the end of the matches. But there’s a moment in the match where I’ve just had enough. And I did it! If you go back and watch these Main Event matches before I was revealed as the leader of RETRIBUTION, those were actually me auditioning to turn heel. Once he was satisfied with those (matches), I started cutting promos for him. I would go into his office, I would cut a promo on him, this and that.”
Ali is set to be in action at WWE Crown Jewel today when he takes on Mansoor in the first-ever singles match on pay-per-view between two Muslims.
You can watch WWE Crown Jewel later on today live in the US on Peacock and in all other international markets on the WWE Network.