WWE reportedly changed plans for Mustafa Ali’s return to action on this week’s RAW.

As noted, last night’s RAW saw Ali make his first WWE TV appearance since last October. This came after Ali requested his WWE release in January, but was denied, which came following a creative dispute with WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon. For last night’s RAW return, Ali interrupted The Miz and WWE United States Champion Theory on MizTV, then defeated Miz in singles action. After the match, Ali was attacked by Ciampa, who is no longer being billed by his first and last name, just the last.

In an update, WWE creative came up with ideas to bring Ali back just last week, according to Fightful Select. As of Sunday afternoon, plans actually called for Ali to lose the match to The Miz, but virtually everything ended up playing out as planned.

Ali was scheduled to be at last night’s RAW to meet with WWE Talent Relations head John Laurinaitis, and had yet to be informed of the creative plans for his return at that point.

Word from backstage is that Ali was more than comfortable referencing his absence and why it happened. It was also noted that several people on the roster and the staff were excited to see Ali back to work. As noted, The Miz referenced Ali’s WWE release request during their in-ring promo segment.

Ali’s WWE contract is up in mid-2024. WWE had the ability to freeze his deal due to inactivity, but they hadn’t as of his return. It’s still possible that they will extend the contract due to the period of inactivity, but there’s been no indication that this will happen.

It looks like Ali vs. Ciampa will be one of the midcard feuds on the RAW brand moving forward, but this could also include the chase for Theory’s WWE United States Title.

Stay tuned for more on Ali’s WWE status and return.

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