Mustafa Ali Discusses Leaving WWE, Finding Happiness In TNA

After publicly asking for his release in early 2022, Mustafa Ali was finally let go by WWE in September 2023. When his non-compete agreement expired, Ali debuted in TNA Wrestling, where he currently holds the X Division Championship, along with making many other independent appearances. Speaking on a recent edition of "Busted Open Radio," Ali was asked to share his feelings on the current state of his career.

"The reality of the situation is I'm happy — for the first time in a long time, I'm happy," Ali said. "That's not a knock on anyone. It's just nice to finally [have some] control of what makes you happy."

Ali went on to discuss the perception that he is an underrated talent, stating that most fans don't understand that there are many incredibly talented performers working behind the scenes who don't get to show the most that they can do. Having a promotion willing to offer the right kind of presentation for a performer is rare, and it's something Ali said he's been chasing for a long time.

"When I left WWE, I left with an incredible sense of peace of mind," Ali continued. "People in the past that had been let go — they all told me one thing. They said, 'I wish I tried a little harder. I wish I fought a little bit more.' ... There wasn't a week where I wasn't knocking on someone's door. There wasn't a week where I didn't have an idea."

Mustafa Ali On Magazine Covers

When he was released by WWE, Ali was confident he had given it his all. However, things didn't work out and Ali believes the two sides simply weren't the right fit at that time. Still, he had confidence in his abilities and came up with an entire marketing campaign to push himself on the independent scene, complete with a version of Ali as a wrestling politician.

Now that he's in TNA, holding a championship and gracing the cover of magazines like Pro Wrestling Illustrated, Ali feels better about his career than he has in quite some time. During his conversation on "Busted Open," Ali recalled drawing up a mock cover of PWI as a child with himself as the highlight, with a dialogue bubble asking why there weren't any wrestlers who looked like him.

"So it's very, very cool that almost 20 years later, I get to go, 'Now there's someone who looks like you,'" Ali said. "I've been told several times that no one's really going to get behind someone named Mustafa Ali. ... It's a hard hill to climb but here we are, on the cover of PWI."

Ali then shifted to promoting his title defense against Jake Something at TNA No Surrender, which Ali won. The X-Division Champion is now more than 60 days into his title reign, with plenty of momentum to carry him forward.

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit "Busted Open Radio" with a h/t to Rllegends for the transcription.