One of the brightest prospects in World Wrestling Entertainment, Mustafa Ali recently got drafted into SmackDown Live and as wasted no time to become one of the top performers after impressing in the 205-Live for over a year. Ali’s career catapulted to heights pertaining to his passionate and dedicated displays since making his debut in the WWE.
However, everything wasn’t always as smooth for the young star as it seemed in the ring and on the television sets of the audiences. On a recent episode of Chasing Glory with Lilian Garcia podcast, he revealed how he battled anxiety ahead of the biggest match of his career.
“The one time it really got to me was WrestleMania 34,” Ali said. “It was a pre-show match, but still, it’s WrestleMania, and they told me there’s like 2 million viewers on the pre-show and they told me that John Cena is going to be watching ringside so try to do your best. It’s all this stuff. It’s the Cruiserweight Championship with me and Cedric Alexander in New Orleans, Louisiana. I was having anxiety, and there was a moment with 10-15 minutes before we were up and I was wearing a new debut costume, everything was ready in my head, and I don’t want to say it was a panic attack, but the anxiety got to me and I was freaking out.”
“I told [Ayers] that it is getting to me and I start going on about me; what if I screw up? What if I fall? What if I choke?” Ali recalled. “He looked at me dead in the eye and he said that this was the first time he has ever heard me talk about myself. He said, ‘You know that you are about to go out there and kill it for your family: for your daughter, for your son, so that you can get this money and you can take care of them and also what you stand for. For your message and everything that you are fighting for is right now, so get your head in the game.’ He may have used some expletives in there too but when he said that it was like, absolutely.
“I don’t think I even thanked him I just walked away and went straight into autopilot and had a WrestleMania moment, and even though I didn’t win the Cruiserweight Championship, but maybe next year, we’ll see. That is the only time where the pressure got to me after 16 years of wrestling.”
Ali has already impressed both critics and fans in SmackDown Live, already having defeated the likes of Buddy Murphy, Cedric Alexander and Kalisto and also Daniel Bryan.