Mustafa Ali Returns on WWE Raw, Miz and Austin Theory Poke Fun as His Release Request

Mustafa Ali appeared on WWE programming for the first time in roughly six months on this week's Monday Night Raw, interrupting a Miz TV segment between The Miz & Austin Theory. Ali stated back in January that he had requested his release from WWE, which the company rejected. Since Ali still had more than two years left on his contract, he was left without any options and began posting videos of himself training as fans persistently got #FreeAli tweeting. 

Miz and Theory both poked fun at Ali choosing to "take his ball and go home," but Ali wound up getting booked into a match with Miz. He wound up winning by countering a Figure Four Leglock attempt with a rollup.

One of the reasons for Ali's decision to request his release was reportedly due to an argument backstage with Vince McMahon over his character. Ali explained in an interview with ComicBook last year that he had to audition just to be considered for a heel turn. 

"I kind of looked at my career at a snapshot. I made my return. Nothing really happened. I was off for seven months, for no apparent reason to me other than just creative had nothing for me," Ali said. "When I was initially looking at the mirror, I go, 'What is wrong with me? Nothing's wrong with me. Look at me.' Again, after seven months, you have to eventually have that look in the mirror and go, 'What am I missing?' I think the thing I was missing was a little bit of edge. I knew I could cut a great promo. But again, within the confines of being a good guy, you're very limited as to what you can say.

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"So I presented the idea of doing something. It wasn't being the leader of Retribution, it was, I met with Vince McMahon and the creative writing team and said, 'I think I'm capable of doing more and this is the route I'd like to go.' And it was basically, 'Well, you'd have to show us,'" he continued. "So I recorded my own promos, my own videos. I had to audition basically to not be a good guy anymore. And if you go back and you watch these WWE Main Event matches I was having before joining Retribution, you would see the small details, the storytelling when I was slowly becoming more aggressive, a little bit more violent, having a little bit more of these heelish tendencies in my matches."