Follow TV Tropes


Wrestling / Mustafa Ali

Go To
Chase The Light

Adeel Alam (born March 28, 1986) is a Pakistani-American professional wrestler who is formerly signed to WWE under the moniker Mustafa Ali. He began his career in his hometown of Chicago and in the independent scene around Illinois, usually working for places like AAW, IWA Mid-South, NWA, Proving Ground Pro, and WrestleCircus, all while maintaining a job as a night-shift Police officer, before being signed to the WWE after a fantastic set of matches in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic. Initially placed in the company's cruiserweight division, 205 Live, Ali moved up to WWE SmackDown in the winter of 2018 and officially joined the main roster, leaping to the top of the blue brand's card at an astonishing pace with his inspirational message, high-flying skill, and willingness to do some absolutely insane things in order to "Chase the Light".

Ali has been a former one time world champion in Dreamwave Pro, Proving Ground Pro, and Freelance Pro.


  • Archenemy: Drew Gulak, who constantly pesters him about his high-flying wrestling style. Also Enzo Amore, Hideo Itami, Buddy Murphy, Samoa Joe, The Hurt Business, Ricochet, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, his former Retribution teammates T-Bar & Mace and Theory for the United States Championship.
  • Beard of Evil: As a heel.
  • Big Bad: As the leader of Retribution.
  • Breakout Character: Initially qualified for the Cruiserweight Classic after another competitor had to withdraw and was one of the competitors to join the revived cruiserweight division afterward. Taken to another level in 2018 as he emerged as one of the feature stars and a finalist for the Cruiserweight Title at WrestleMania 34.
    • As of the end of 2018, he's become the breakout character for the cruiserweight division, getting a match on Smackdown Live against Daniel Bryan (currently the WWE Champion). He so impressed the higher-ups with his performance that they not only moved him onto the Smackdown Live roster full-time, but in his second match had him tag with AJ Styles in a main event match against Bryan and Andrade "Cien" Almas in which Ali won the match for his team by pinning Daniel Bryan clean.
  • David Versus Goliath: The David against Samoa Joe's Goliath.
  • Evil Costume Switch: After he turned heel, Ali started wearing a black outfit and removed the LED light.
  • Face–Heel Turn: On the October 5 episode of Raw, Ali was revealed as the leader of Retribution after he ordered them to attack The Hurt Business during his match with MVP, thus turning heel for the first time in WWE. He had played a heel during his indie career, and never enjoyed it, but he seems to be running with this new character.
  • Finishing Move: An imploding 450 splash, dubbed the 054. Will also end matches with the normal 450 on occasion. He later dropped the move because of the dangers.
  • Foreign Wrestling Heel: Initially, he was billed as being from Pakistan, specifically Karachi. His Heel–Face Turn started at the first 205 Live in his actual hometown of Chicagonote  when he got a pop that killed any chance of him being taken seriously as a foreign heel, leading them to abandon the angle and begin billing him as from Chicago.
  • Heel–Face Return: After disappearing in October 2021, he would return on the 4/25/22 of Raw, reverting to his pre-Retribution persona.
  • I Was Beaten by a Girl: At the 2019 Royal Rumble, he was eliminated by Nia Jax. Downplayed as this doesn't seem to have caused him any lasting mental anguish.
  • Older Hero Versus Younger Villain: He has wrestled against Buddy Murphy at 205 Live and Survivor Series (2018) and Theory at Raw and Hell in a Cell (2022).
  • Only One Name: As of March 25, 2019, the "Mustafa" name was dropped, but it was re-added in November.
  • Power Stable: Retribution with T-Bar, Mace, Slapjack and Reckoning.
  • Pronouncing My Name for You: As a heel, Mustafa has been insistent that all commentators and backstage personnel learn to pronounce his name correctly. note 
  • Put on a Bus: He took time off from television, following his loss to Mansoor, then Drew McIntyre. Before he returned to television in 2022, he requested Vince McMahon to be released from the company, but he declined.
  • Sudden Sequel Heel Syndrome: Inverted—he was initially portrayed as a heel but suddenly turned face a couple of episodes into 205 Live without any particular event to mark the turn. To be fair, though, his original appearance was in the Cruiserweight Classic, and he didn't last very long.
  • Tag Team: With Mansoor (not that he'll admit it)
  • Taught by Experience: Randy Orton has been using the RKO for about fifteen years - and Ali may be the only guy to have figured out that you can avoid its effect (read: having your face forcefully mashed into the ground) if you're quick enough to get your hands down before impact.
    • Fridge Brilliance: Ali, at least in storyline, received the injury that cost him his spot in the Elimination Chamber match from the RKO and his push has never really recovered. That he would try to figure out a way to avoid the move that altered his career makes a bit of sense.
  • Theatrics of Pain: Not shy about taking some hard bumps. A particular spot that pops up with alarming regularity is a bump that involves him getting knocked off the top turnbuckle and catching his face on the ring apron on the way down to the floor.
  • Token Minority: A positively portrayed Pakistani-American. (Notable in that WWE's historically had problems with this. Most characters portrayed of Arab/Middle Eastern descent have been Foreign Wrestling Heels at best, to say nothing of the Muhammad Hassan debacle.)
  • Triumphant Reprise: His new theme, "Problematic" is an orchestrated version of "Disruptor", even though he still used this after he returned as a babyface.
  • Tsundere: His recent union with new partner Mansoor has shown this. He is reluctant to admit caring for his new partner. He'll get very annoyed whenever anyone points this out.
  • Unnecessary Combat Roll: Seems to use this to set up a signature jumping neckbreaker. At least it looks awesome.
  • Whole Costume Reference: His entrance attire recalls some portrayals of Sub-Zero. He even has a spinning LED light attached to one of his hands to mimic the character's ice beam during his entrance.
  • Would Not Hit a Girl: Not even a girl taller than him and over 70lb heavier. Despite the fact that Nia Jax (who had entered the Men's Royal Rumble in 2019 by ambushing and beating up R-Truth) had already squashed Dolph Ziggler, clotheslined Andrade "Cien" Almas, and hit Rey Mysterio with a big boot before elbow dropping him, Mustafa refused to fight her, apparently trying to talk her down instead. Nia smiled sweetly, headbutted him, then hoisted him onto her shoulders and dumped him out of the ring.