SmackDown Superstar's WWE career could have ended in 2019 due to injury
Speaking on Kentucky radio station 99.5 WKDQ, the SmackDown Superstar recalled how 2019 was a year of ups and downs for him, which included a one-month spell between February and March where he was forced to take a break from in-ring action.
Ali wrote on social media in December that he collapsed backstage earlier in the year after trying to fight through an injury, which was reportedly to his tailbone, and he has now disclosed that the injury could have been career-ending.
“2019 was a rollercoaster. It started off with the highest of highs and ended with the lowest of lows. I was slated, or positioned, to do big things in the main-event picture. An unfortunate injury, which almost could have been career-ending, took me out for almost a month.”
While Ali missed a month of action, Kofi Kingston replaced him in the 2019 Elimination Chamber match – and the gauntlet match on SmackDown that preceded the event – to establish himself as the biggest fan favourite in WWE heading into WrestleMania 35.
The New Day member then defeated Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship in a match that would not have happened if Ali did not suffer an injury.
“I don’t feel like I’ve regained that position that I was slated for [WWE Championship contention]. The good thing out of all that tragedy is that KofiMania was born and we got to see this incredible well-deserved moment that is more than anything I could have aspired to do.”