Mustafa Ali Was Added To WWE Cruiserweight Classic After Someone Couldn't Make It

WWE's Cruiserweight Classic tournament took place in the summer of 2016. The 32-man elimination series was ultimately won by T.J. Perkins. One current WWE star who was involved in that tourney was Mustafa Ali. The 37-year-old, who sent an email to the Stamford-based promotion in early 2016 looking for an opportunity, has explained how he was added to the Classic. 

"By, like, March, I was on the phone with William Regal," Ali said on the "Mark Andrews: My Love Letter to Wrestling" podcast. "He's like, 'Hey listen, there's this tournament. It's in June." And Regal is the one that got me my initial WWE tryout and he's like, 'I know this could be a huge opportunity for you. Just stay ready.' So he tells me I'm in this Cruiserweight Classic thing. You tell some friends and family and you get all excited, and then the initial list of participants is released on WWE's Twitter account, and everyone's name is there except mine. I go, 'What is going on?'"

Ali immediately called Regal and was told that he was now a backup, along with nine other wrestlers. The former police officer still attended the first taping hoping a chance would come his way. An opportunity did arise when a member of the tournament, who was set to face Lince Dorado in the first round, wasn't able to make it. Dorado requested that he faced Ali instead after stepping into the ring with him in the past on the independent scene. Dorado defeated Ali to advance to the next stage before being eliminated by Rich Swann. 

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit "My Love Letter To Wrestling" and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription