WWE Fastlane: Mustafa Ali's title impact - and what it might mean for WrestleMania
We examine the role of the ex-205 Live star on this weekend's Sky Sports Box Office event and beyond.
By Abel Morton
Last Updated: 10/03/19 11:29pm
Mustafa Ali may have found himself on the precipice of greatness if it wasn't for his unfortunate injury prior to the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view last month.
That badly-timed setback saw him replaced by Kofi Kingston in the six-man WWE title match inside of the unforgiving structure.
Ali made his return to SmackDown this week, coming to the aid of the number one contender for Daniel Bryan's WWE title at FastLane this Sunday, Kevin Owens.
To the naked eye Ali saving Owens from a vicious beatdown at the hands of Bryan and Rowan would seem like Ali just being the good Samaritan and evening the odds.
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See Daniel Bryan defend his WWE title against Kevin Owens at Fastlane on Sunday March 10.
But on the other hand, Ali cunningly might have intentionally inserted himself in the WWE title picture coming out of FastLane - after all, it was Randy Orton who put Ali on the shelf a month ago on SmackDown so it would only seem logical that he would go straight after 'The Viper', right?
But being unable to compete for the WWE title for the first time in his career has most likely left Ali feeling like there is some unfinished business between him and the most converted prize on the blue brand, the WWE title.
Losing the biggest opportunity of his career, having taken SmackDown by storm after his arrival from 205 Live last December, must have been a bitter pill to swallow.
As for Kingston, the man who replaced Ali in the Elimination Chamber match, he is still feeling a massive sense of injustice after he was pulled from his title match with Bryan by WWE chairman Vince McMahon and replaced by Owens.
As the entire WWE fanbase continues to make their voices heard with deafening chants on 'Kofi' and as they take to social media and continue in their support of Kingston by relentlessly tweeting #KofiMania, Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E took time out from a promotional trip to India to post a video of themselves stating they will have one eye on SmackDown's main event between Owens and Bryan on Sunday.
This leads you to believe that Kingston will also feel that this whole situation is far from over with for him as you can almost guarantee that he too will be seeking vengeance. With the entire world behind him, it would seem inconceivable at this point for Kingston to not be competing for the WWE title at WrestleMania.
In an emotional post-match interview after Kingston came tantalising close to capturing the championship in the Elimination Chamber, Kingston was quick to give Ali his utmost respect and mentioned that his heroic Chamber match performance stemmed in part from him taking inspiration for what Ali has impressively delivered up until this point in WWE.
It looks to be a domino effect as in regards to the WWE title picture right now. With Kingston replacing Ali and Owens replacing Kingston, Bryan vs Owens has now become an even more significant WWE title match this Sunday at Fastlane, with whoever comes out of the pay-per-view as WWE champion looking over his shoulder between now and WrestleMania with three viable contenders gunning for his title.A fatal four-way match at WrestleMania could be the culmination of one save made by Ali that initially seemed nothing more than an underdog attempting to even the odds.