Mustafa Ali made his SmackDown Live debut on Tuesday night, but his match against WWE Champion Daniel Bryan didn't go quite like many 205 Live fans hoped.
Late in the match Ali attempted his finisher, an inverted 450 splash, only for Bryan to roll out of the way. He then slammed one of Ali's legs into the ring post, charged at it from behind on a sliding tackle and locked in a Heel Hook to pick up the submission victory
Bryan kicked off the show this week by cutting yet another heelish promo on the fans in attendance, calling them idiots and parasites. Ali arrived and confronted Bryan, asking him what's changed about him ever since he became "The New Daniel Bryan."
Bryan attempted to stop the match from happening, saying Ali was a great in-ring competitor and that the Las Vegas crowd didn't deserve to see a match between them. Ali said he was looking for a fight, which angered Bryan and caused him to slap and insult Ali multiple times.
Ali made his WWE debut back in 2016 as an alternate for the WWE Cruiserweight Classic. He debuted on 205 Live in Decemeber of that year, and quickly became one of the show's most popular babyfaces.
After Enzo Amore was stripped of the Cruiserweight Championship and 205 Live became more in-ring focused, Ali quickly established himself as one of the roster's best in-ring workers. Dubbed "The Heart of 205 Live," Ali made it all the way to the finals of the Crusierweight Championship tournament, but fell short of winning the vacated title against Cedric Alexander at WrestleMania 34.0comments
Following that loss Ali has spent the bulk of the year feuding with Hideo Itami, culminating in a victory in a Falls Count Anywhere match in late October. Ali got yet another chance at the Cruiserweight Championship, this time against Buddy Murphy at Survivor Series, but fell short once again.
Back in mid-November Bryan turned heel during a WWE Championship match with AJ Styles, where he kicked the champion in the groin while the referee was temporarily knocked out in order to win the match. He faced Brock Lesnar in a champion vs. champion match days later at Survivor Series (and nearly one), and finally explained his actions days later by saying he had allowed his "dreams" to take over and turn him into the "New Daniel Bryan." He's since stopped doing the Yes! chant and declared that the Yes! Movement was dead.