WWE Superstar Mustafa Ali recently appeared on Mark Andrews’ My Love Letter To Wrestling podcast to discuss the complexities of heel portrayals and why he no longer incorporates his Muslim ancestry into those performances.
Using the Muslim heel gimmick during his indie career had negative consequences, according to Ali.
Highlights from the podcast are included below:
On where the negativity in a heel character should originate:
“If I’m [playing] a bad guy, I want to be a bad guy because I’m a bad person. Not because I’m a Muslim… If I’m jealous it’s just because I’m a jealous person.”
On playing the Muslim heel in the past:
“I caved in and I did the character. I put the head garb on. I came out and cut these threatening promos about America. And what do you know? It worked.”
On the interaction that ultimately changed his approach:
“I had a terrible fan experience where I feel like I taught a young kid to hate Muslims. Like I saw it in his eyes. I remember connecting eyes with him and going, ‘Man… I see the way he’s looking at me, and it’s not haha I’m gonna boo you. It’s like, aw you’re evil.’”
Ali will challenge GUNTHER for the WWE Intercontinental Championship at Night Of Champions 2023 on May 27 in Saudi Arabia.
You can check out the complete podcast below: