Recently on E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness, WWE Legends Edge and Christian welcomed WWE Superstar [Mustafa] Ali to the podcast. Among many other things, Ali talked about the challenges he faced as a part of the 205 Live roster. Additionally, Ali discussed how former WWE Champion Daniel Bryan changed his life.
According to Ali, 205 Live feels like the "redheaded stepchild" of WWE and this made the cruiserweight roster bond.
"On 205 Live, it's kind of like that feeling like you go out there and you kill it, and you come back, and everyone is like, 'great match!' But the next week, that doesn't carry over. Do you know what I mean? It's that frustration of, like, 'oh, that wasn't enough? I've got to do more?' Or they don't have time to do promos with you because the SmackDown crew needs the pretape room to do promos. There's the theory of, like, you're kind of like the redheaded child, the redheaded stepchild. You're not as appreciated and I feel like that in and of itself made the 205 locker room bond together even more where it was like we've got to have our own other's back. We've got to push each other. We've got to protect each other because if you feel like you're not being put in the best possibly way and it's every man for himself, then I feel like the product is doomed."
During the podcast, Edge asked Ali to talk about 205 Live being taped after SmackDown Live. Ali said his fellow WWE Superstar Jack Gallagher said it best when he once compared it to an opening act going on after the headlining band.
"Everything that could be said was summarized by Jack Gallagher one time. He said it the best. He said, 'we're an opening act that goes on after the headliner.'" Ali joked, 'stay for this unknown band that's going to come out!' That was my mentality. We're behind the eight-ball. They've already seen everything. And then you think of the longer weekends like WrestleMania or SummerSlam. We're in the same town, so they've seen an NXT TakeOver on Saturday, then they've seen 'Mania on Sunday, then they've seen RAW and SmackDown on Monday and Tuesday. But, last but not least, here comes the cruiserweights!"
Also, Ali says it is tough being the opening match on 205 Live as the performers are giving it their all and the audience starts emptying the arena.
"I can tell you how hard it is because I've been in that opening match spot," Ali said. "They give the main event of 205 Live time, which is awesome. These guys are have 20 to 25 minutes, it's one-on-one, which is a good thing. But if you're in that first match, but sometimes you have this six-minute [segment] and it's supposed to be competitive, but I remember being in that spot, looking up, and seeing people leave. 'Uhh, I'm literally dying over here and I can't get you to leave for three minutes?' It's a tough spot, man."
Ali shared that he is so grateful to Bryan for helping him get to his current spot and claimed that Bryan changed his life for the better. Despite telling AEW's Chris Jericho in January 2019 that he suspects Bryan is responsible for his main roster move, Ali has experienced a difficult time expressing his feelings to Bryan.
"Man, he changed my life. I'm at a point where everything is good now, my home, my family. My mother is getting a little older now, so she's on certain medications now and more doctor's appointments, but everything is fine because I'm okay now. And I keep pointing to Bryan. Whether or not he'll ever admit that he had anything to do with me getting moved over [to SmackDown]." Ali continued, "I heard from numerous people that he was very vocal about the work that I did on 205 Live and he would watch it. He was vocal about 'we need young guys that can sell' and different and diverse when talking about the future. And to know that he thought of my name when talking about the future means a lot, so yeah, the guy changed my life."
Check out the podcast here or via the embedded player below. If you use any of the quotations from this article, please credit E&C's Pod Of Awesomeness with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.