Fans can see Ali dazzle in the ring every Tuesday night on SmackDown Live, but over the past few months, you might have noticed a change in his name on the fancy LED screens. Ali's full name is Mustafa Ali, but recently WWE decided to shorten his in-ring name to Ali, and some fans weren't happy about the change. WWE has done this sort of thing in the past with other superstars, but some also see it as messing with something that doesn't need changing. ComicBook.com had the chance to speak to Ali all about it, and while his first name means a great deal to him, he doesn't seem to mind.
"In the scheme of things, it doesn't matter," Ali said. "And that's the thing. I saw the ... I don't want to call it outrage, but the public concern about it and a lot of people pointed it out... was it a thing that Mustafa was too hard? WWE has been in this game for a very, very long time and they know how to market their guys."
In fact, Ali's already noticed a change in how many chant his name, so it seems the change helped. "I can tell you there's been a dramatic vocal increase of my name getting chanted during matches because it's Ali. As a performer, sometimes I'd be wrestling and one side of the ring would be chanting Mustafa, while the other side of the ring would be chanting Ali and then it just gets muzzled out because no one knows what to chant."
"Ever since they dropped my first name, the chants have gotten louder I've noticed," Ali said. "And it can be for a number of reasons, it's easy to remember, what not. Mustafa had a close meaning to me, but at the end of the day, like I said on social media, I'll bring it up again, the name might have changed, but the man behind the name hasn't. I'm still Ali. I'm still the same person and to me, that's what's most important. WWE isn't making me change. I'm the same guy that broke it on 205 Live, I'm the same guy on social media. They're not changing who I am as a person. So the name change, no, it doesn't bother me."
You can see Ali every Tuesday at 8 pm ET on SmackDown Live on the USA Network. You can also catch him at Money In The Bank on the WWE Network Sunday, May 19th.
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