Fans will get a preview of one of Money in the Bank's marquee matchups on SmackDown Live, as Ali, Finn Balor, Andrade, and Randy Orton will throw down in a Fatal 4-Way match. ComicBook.com had the chance to speak to Ali all about what's to come on SmackDown Live, as well as who he would love to face next, what winning the Money in the Bank match would mean for him and his career, and how he would handle holding that very important briefcase. Before Money in the Bank though is SmackDown Live, which recently got some new blood thanks to the Superstar Shakeup and the Wildcard Rule. We asked Ali which one of the newer superstars he would love to get a crack at, and there was one superstar that came to mind, which thanks to those new rules could actually happen despite being on the other brand.
"Oh man, someone new to the roster," Ali said. "With everyone moving back and forth, you've got the Wildcard Rule, too, so I feel like people from Raw are going to show up anyway. But I would love ... AJ did move over to Raw, but with that Wildcard Rule, I hope he is on SmackDown because I have not had a one-on-one match with him. I briefly got to touch gloves with him in a Fatal 5-Way earlier this year, but I believe a one-on-one match, against AJ Styles, would be something that the WWE universe would be buzzing about."
That's definitely a match fans want to see, but before that can happen Ali knows he has to take on 3 of his Money in the Bank competitors in a Fatal 4-Way, including Randy Orton, who managed to get the drop on him last week.
"It's a fatal four way with Finn Balor, Randy Orton, Andrade, and myself and one thing about these multi-way matches is there's no safe space," Ali said. "You can be outside the ring, inside the ring, on the top row, hell even making an entrance someone can sneak up on you. So that's the thing, you're going to be constantly looking for danger. But, that's something that's been the story of my entire life. I'm a former police officer. This is no different than me working the midnight shift walking the streets. I always had to be on guard, face opponents that are larger than me and stronger than me, both in the ring and outside the ring, again on the streets as a police officer. So all of this is oddly familiar territory so there are no nerves going into it."
While he's confident, he isn't taking things for granted in the least. While a win here won't get him the briefcase, it's an important step to making that ultimately happen on Sunday.
"But you know, I am cautious," Ali said. "This is the last show before Money in the Bank. What's on the line tonight is momentum. If you pick up a win tonight on SmackDown, you know that you can beat three other guys that are in the match. That's a good feeling, that's a good mentality to go into. So I'm treating tonight as important as Money in the Bank is, you know? A lot of guys are just fixated on the contract, they're fixated on that briefcase, they're fixated on Sunday you know? Tonight is about tonight for me. It's all about momentum."
On Sunday Ali will face down Orton, Andrade, and Balor once more as well as Richocet, Baron Corbin, Drew McIntyre, and Sami Zayn for the briefcase and with it a shot at a championship match against whoever holds the belt (currently Kofi Kingston). It means much more than just that though to Ali, who sees this as a chance to recapture what could've been his before he went down with an injury.
"Winning Money in the Bank would be more than just an opportunity of a lifetime," Ali said. "It'd be a story about redemption. Earlier this year, unfortunately, I suffered a pretty serious injury that took me out of the title picture and made me miss the Elimination Chamber, which undoubtedly would have been a night that could have changed my life. I could have been at a whole different level, I could be WWE champion. It's a what if question that I'll have to live with for the rest of my life. Money in the Bank gives me the opportunity to right that wrong. As happy as I am for Kofi Kingston, as deserving as he is of the WWE championship and everything that happened with him, I'll always have to carry that what if question with me. That's a pretty heavy burden to bear for a performer, to know that that groundbreaking performance that you would have had was taken away."
Ali is all in on getting that opportunity once more, though he isn't going to resort to underhanded or cheap methods to cash it in like some superstars have done in the past. For Ali, doing that just doesn't feel right.
"So again, Money in the Bank is a shot at redemption," Ali said. "I know if I get that briefcase, if I get that contract, I can right that wrong. But I won't be that guy that cashes it in at the opportune time. I'm not the type of guy to hit someone when they're down. I'm the type of guy to pick them up off the ground and look them in the eye and tell them that I'm going to take that WWE championship away from them and I'll tell them when and where. That's how I've been my entire life. I've never been one to take advantage of the situation. So if I win this contract, if I win this briefcase, I'll be announcing when I'm cashing it in."
You can catch Ali next step towards a win at Money in the Bank tonight on SmackDown Live, and you can see Ali every Tuesday at 8 pm ET on SmackDown Live on the USA Network. You can catch Money In The Bank on the WWE Network on Sunday, May 19th.
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