Mustafa Ali made his surprise return to the Monday Night Raw roster on the April 25 episode, a little over four months after he had publicly requested his release from the WWE. It was reported in the weeks that followed his announcement that WWE officials had denied him his request and that he still had multiple years left on his contract, leaving him stuck in limbo. It's still unclear what prompted him to change his mind, but WWE has been booking him consistently alongside The Miz and United States Champion Austin Theory ever since, positioning him as a babyface for the first time since his ill-fated run as the leader of Retribution.
"Everything kind of came together last minute and I had been eying the roster up and down," Ali said in an interview with WWE El Brunch this week (h/t Fightful). "I had been making jokes at Theory and taking shots at him, but the reality of the situation is, a guy like Theory and a guy like me, it's a situation everyone can relate to. There's a guy in Theory that is, no doubt, an amazing competitor, but he's gotten to the head of the line by kissing up to the boss, cutting corners, being the suck up and that corporate employee, the perfect model employee who will tattle behind your back. We all know a guy or girl like that who will do anything to get ahead in the corporate world.
"Then there's a guy like me, who will call it down the middle. If I think it's bullcrap, I'll say it's bullcrap. I have to be true to myself at all times. If you look at our careers, that's been one of the defining factors. Theory has been the youngest United States Champion in WWE history. I've been in the company six years and have never held a championship, but I'm widely regarded as one of the best in-ring performers that we have. When you compare the two, that's the glaring difference and the story we're trying to tell. One guy is a corporate suck up and one guy is not. When I came back, that's who my eyes were on, Theory and the United States Championship," he added.
Ali was on the losing end of a match with Ciampa on this week's Raw thanks to The Miz being the special guest referee. Meanwhile, Theory had his US Title reign saved when Seth Rollins interfered in his defense against Cody Rhodes to force a disqualification.