A new report suggests that Mustafa Ali, who was apparently moved from Friday Night SmackDown to Monday Night Raw less than a month ago, is back on the blue brand and might not have even been transferred to the red brand after all.
As reported on Thursday by WrestlingNews.co, one of the publication’s readers had spotted Ali on WWE’s SmackDown roster page, suggesting that he might have been shifted to the brand just as quietly as he was supposedly traded to Raw. However, the outlet later updated its original story, citing an unnamed WWE source who claimed that Ali was “never officially moved” off the SmackDown roster page, contrary to what PWInsider had reported last month.
Although he isn’t known to be suffering from any injuries, Ali has not appeared on WWE programming since late last year, as shown on his ProFightDB wrestler page. He had last competed in the ring in February, defeating Drew Gulak in an untelevised “dark match” on SmackDown. Based on his recent social media activity, the former cruiserweight division standout appears to be staying in shape in the meantime, seemingly making sure he’s ready when WWE asks him to return to television.
In the lead-up to WrestleMania 36, Ali was widely rumored to be the man behind the mysterious hacker gimmick on SmackDown, though subsequent reports suggested that Chad Gable — another underutilized blue brand superstar — might have been joining Ali as the second person playing the hacker. This character played a pivotal role in Otis and Mandy Rose’s romantic storyline, with one of his videos helping expose Sonya Deville as the person who had made Otis look bad in his attempts to impress his love interest.
— Mustafa Ali / Adeel Alam (@AliWWE) July 7, 2020
Regardless of the hacker’s identity, his angle has seemingly been put on the shelf in recent weeks, with no follow-up on the other teases that were hinted at on the character’s cryptic videos. As WrestlingNews.co speculated, Ali’s return to SmackDown might be a sign that WWE will be bringing the hacker back in subsequent episodes.
While it’s still far from certain whether Ali is actually the hacker — or whether WWE will even revisit his angle —the company has been shaking things up as of late, moving a few other wrestlers from one brand to another for storyline purposes. Last month, Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode were both traded from SmackDown to Raw in a move that helped set Ziggler up as the next challenger to Drew McIntyre’s WWE Championship.