One look at the official superstar SmackDown page and his social media account, it's clear WWE has removed the Mustafa from Mustafa Ali's ring name.
The most obvious change can be seen on WWE's profile page for the superstar where his name is now simply three letters, "Ali". His new Twitter handle is @AliWWE. His Twitter name now includes his real name - "Ali / Adeel Alam."
According to Ali himself, part of the reason for the name change is the reaction he often got from fans around the world. With "Mustafa" attached to his name, he was often booed. "I've had nights where it's very obvious that I'm the good guy but I'm still booed, and you can kind of make a checklist about reasons why they're booing me, and one of the evident ones is because of my name and where I'm from," Ali said.
When Ali first started in WWE, he explained that people would really go hard on him thanks to his name and long before anyone had ever actually seen him wrestle. He said the name simply elicited a negative reaction. The assumption was that he was a bad guy fans would get confused when they saw this really happy babyface guy coming out, slapping hands and kissing babies. He had to work extra hard just for fans to see Mustafa Ali for what he is, and who he is."
These comments came prior to the name change and since, he has not made a public comment.
What This Means
While somewhat understandable, one has to wonder if this change will last. Ali is now one of many superstars who has seen their name shortened, but he might be unlike many shortened names have stuck.
Instead, like Apollo Crews, whose name was changed to "Apollo" and changed back because of the connection to other famous names; with Ali, the WWE is running the risk of having the name associated with Muhammed Ali and that may not be where the company wants to go.