Mustafa Ali has reflected on an incident that could’ve been much worse and scared not only the fans watching but himself as well.
A big part of Ali’s success while on the WWE main roster is due to the influence of WWE Champion Daniel Bryan. It turns out that one of his more scary incidents to happen inside of the ring also had Bryan involved.
Back on the December 18th episode of SmackDown Live in Fresno, CA at the Save Mart Center, Bryan and Andrade Almas battled AJ Styles and Ali in a tag team match that ended up serving as the main event.
The finish of the match saw Ali pick up the win for his team once he hit his finisher, 054, off the top rope. Ali wasn’t centered and landed on Bryan’s head with his knee due to him not being centered properly. Ali immediately apologized for the incident to Bryan then pinned him. The good news that despite Bryan having a history of concussions, he was fine after the spot.
Ali reflected on what he was feeling after the spot when he joined Chris Jericho’s ‘Talk Is Jericho’ podcast to talk about a wide range of pro wrestling topics.
“Yeah that was a freakout. That was the tag match, and there’s no explanation behind it other than it… no one bats a hundred man. He wasn’t out of position. It wasn’t like we were rushing on time because SmackDown has to be off. It was none of that and obviously when it happened, anyone could see that I was like, ‘Holy [crap], I just landed on his face’. Luckily when we came back, we found out it was his chin. I mean still you can knock someone out easily with that, but it’s almost like as it happened, you could see me kind of, I’m trying to make myself even lighter if that makes sense — so I don’t squish him. But I got him, and I felt… one you’re thinking did I just mess up the WWE Champion? Heat, what’s gonna happen to me? This is my first night.”
Ali continued, “Yeah, there goes my push like whatever, and you’re freaking out and it was extra stressful because it was a night we were taping the second SmackDown for Christmas so I had a match right after that. So I’m trying to get mentally ready for that and the finish was that move again. So now you’re talking about playing games with your mind. You’re like, ‘Am I gonna land on Cien [Andrade] on this one too?’ And luckily I got some good brothers back there that are giving me a pep talk like, ‘Get your head in the game. He’s fine’, and literally they checked him, Bryan was fine, he assured me he was fine.”
“Obviously, I’m profusely apologizing that it happened and everyone talked and they go, ‘You realize people get knocked out throwing kicks, people get knocked out throwing punches, you’re doing a backwards 450 and you clipped a dude, and you didn’t even hurt him, you just clipped him. It looked nasty but you clipped him like relax’, but to me, obviously it was the end of the world.” Ali explained. “Like oh my God, this and that. Thankfully he wasn’t injured. Thankfully, nothing came of this as far as backlash on me, but you know obviously some people are gonna nitpick it like, ‘Oh, he’s unsafe’. I’ve been wrestling 16 years and I landed — I kneed a guy in the face accidentally and it wasn’t sloppiness, it just happened, and I can’t explain why. I thought the jump was good, I thought the rotation was good, I thought his positioning was good. It was just off.”
You can listen to the entire interview by clicking on the player below:
H/T to Fightful for the transcript