Mustafa Ali: The police officer who became a WWE superstar
In a mid-day.com exclusive interview, American WWE superstar Adeel Alam (ring name Mustafa Ali) of Pakistan descent, opens up about being half Indian and his love for Shah Rukh Khan
WWE superstar of Pakistan descent Adeel Alam (ring name Mustafa Ali) has a candid chat with mid-day.com on the inspirations behind becoming a professional wrestler, his liking for Bollywood films and how he wants to bring a change in the WWE over the coming years.
In your childhood, what inspired you to take up wrestling as a profession?
Well, I think it is like a standard story, I was a young child and my dad was a big wrestling fan, so he used to watch a lot of wrestling on TV and when I used to walk by the television set, he used to grab me and put me on his back, and I watched Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart, Shawn Michaels and thought that this was amazing and wanted to do it myself. From there it became an obsession, I used to admire their larger-than-life personalities, their moves, and I used to recreate their moves at home. So it has been a life-long thing and I started training when I was 16 years old.
You were a police officer earlier, then you took up wrestling, so how did that go about?
I went to college and got a double major, unfortunately around this time my father had passed, and then I started looking for jobs in entry-level positions, then I took up a few marketing jobs because making money and providing my family was more important than anything else. Then one of my buddies told me he was becoming a cop, he also told me everything about it and then asked me if I wanted to join him. I was fascinated by the profession and how one can give back to the society, which was more intriguing for me than doing a desk job hidden behind a computer, also it was more than just collecting a pay cheque but also about bringing a change. Thus I became a police officer and hung on to the job for four years.
Any immediate goals you have as a professional wrestler in WWE? Any titles or championships you are aiming at?
Well I don’t have the most glamorous response to the question, but I am not here to chase any titles or championships. I am here to bring about change, what I mean by that is, my message of breaking down barriers, by not being seen as the bad guy and bringing about a change in the people’s mindsets.
Have you ever visited India? If yes, what is your fondest memory of India?
I have been to India when I was 14 years old, the point is I am actually half-Indian, lot of people know that I represent Pakistan, but what they don’t know is that my mother was raised in New Delhi. I have friends in Bangalore, although my father was born in Pakistan this actually makes me half-Indian. You know I loved my time in India, and maybe I might represent India in the future as a wrestler. What I believe is that nationality of a person is not important, what is important however, is humanity and unity between people around the world. I would never put the flag over the flesh, the person is more important than the nationality.
Speaking of you being half-Indian, have you watched any Bollywood movies by any chance?
I am a big fan of Bollywood films, my best friend used to watch a lot of Indian movies and while cooking in the kitchen, she used to teach me all the famous Bollywood dance moves. I am a huge Shah Rukh Khan fan and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai is one of my most favourite movies.
Coming back to WWE, who is your most favourite WWE wrestler and who do you look up to as a role model?
There are two wrestlers I really look up to, one is Rey Mysterio and the other guy is Jeff Hardy. I think Jeff Hardy is one of the coolest wrestlers ever and I am at a point right now that I get to spend time with Jeff Hardy, so that’s awesome for me.
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