Unhappiness Within WWE Over Mustafa Ali's Release
Mustafa Ali's WWE release leads to unhappiness
Despite being scheduled for a title match at NXT No Mercy, WWE released Mustafa Ali on Thursday, September 21 as part of major post-merger cuts. Ali was let go along with over 20 wrestlers, including Dolph Ziggler, Matt Riddle, Elias, and Rick Boogs.
The release caused plenty of unhappiness within WWE, with Fightful Select reporting "there were several people unhappy" with Ali's release and there was notable frustration over the lack of communication between WWE and NXT.
Some of the frustration stemmed from the renewed effort to position familiar names on WWE NXT and the planned Mustafa Ali vs. Dominik Mysterio match suddenly being off the table with Ali's release. The release also appears to have caught people in NXT by surprise as there was no indication Ali was set to be let go on Tuesday, September 19, nor was there any indication anyone with a main roster contract was going to be released.
Ali returned to WWE NXT early in 2023 and plans for Ali on the Tuesday night show were mapped out well into March 2024.
Shawn Michaels addressed Ali's release on the pre-No Mercy media call, saying:
"I found out right before he did. I will say this, I'd be lying to you if I said it didn't take us by surprise. That's one thing I'm learning here is that main roster and NXT are totally separate rosters. I think the world of Mustafa, had a great working relationship with him in the time that he was here, I will miss him. That's what we do here in NXT. We adjust. The fire drill is something that is a regular thing here in the WWE and certainly here at NXT. I feel we made a great pivot, we adjusted, and he's an unbelievably creative and talented young man and no doubt his future looks incredibly bright and he'll be successful. I'm going to miss him and I enjoyed working with him for the time that I did have him here. Now, Trick Williams is the beneficiary of that, and he has the biggest match of his life at No Mercy."
According to reports, WWE decided to release Ali because he was still being paid main roster money despite being a part of NXT and there was no indication he would be brought back to the main roster on a full-time basis.
H/T to Fightful