In a new interview with Sportskeeda, Ali spoke all about being overlooked and whether or not he had to change his style on SmackDown Live coming from 205 Live:
Ali on his dream opponent:
“I had a brief little skirmish with Jeff Hardy leading into Elimination Chamber but I haven’t had a match against him. Jeff was the guy I grew up watching, idolizing, mimicking. He is someone absolutely influential in my career. So, I’d absolutely love that when he’s back from his knee surgery…I’d absolutely love to get in the ring and take on Jeff Hardy.”
Ali talks style differentials on the main roster:
“No modifications at all. I’m performing the same way that I did on 205 Live. Obviously, the competitors are bigger, you know, and stronger, so there are adaptations to that from a psychology standpoint. Like I’m not picking up a guy like Randy Orton and throwing him over the top rope.
As far as me, myself, the moves that I perform they all stay the same. 205 Live really groomed me and got me ready for this stage.”
Ali on Tony Nese as Cruiserweight Champion:
“I think it’s very very cool. Tony Nese, for the longest time in 205 Live, he was in the same position that I was in, they didn’t really have plans for me or were interested in us. We were kind of guys who were going to be used in the background. We weren’t going to be the main focal point.
I was very, very quick to realize that they don’t believe in me. I mean it’s one thing to get a job here but it’s another thing to be positioned to be a star. So, I felt like they don’t see me as the next level star. So I was very quick to start rewriting my character, do promos and paint the picture for them.
I think that Tony realized that later on and look what’s happened now. He’s become the Cruiserweight Champion. He was always an insane athlete. He was missing the direction, you know. Because he’s a guy like me, he’s been in the trenches.
He was absolutely killing his matches, but not getting a reward from it. Sometimes great matches become an afterthought. But now he got to win the Cruiserweight Championship in his home state at WrestleMania. That’s a memory he’ll have for the rest of his life. He got to do it in front of his wife and his kids and I’m very very happy for him!”