The rumor mill was really working overtime ahead of this week’s Raw. First, news that Asuka would be making an appearance on WWE TV for the first time since last summer, and then the even more surprising news that Mustafa Ali would also be making an appearance. Turns out both of those rumors were true as Ali and Asuka returned for pretty major segments on Monday night.
They weren’t the only two Superstars making their WWE returns last night either. Becky Lynch also showed her face on Raw for the first time since losing the Raw Women’s Title at WrestleMania. It was while Big Time Becks was vowing revenge against The EST of WWE that Asuka’s music hit. The Empress let Lynch know no one is ready for Asuka, and a physical altercation that began with Asuka flicking Lynch’s nose ended when the latter rolled out of the ring.
While Asuka’s return has been on the cards for a while, most fans likely assumed we would never see Ali in a WWE ring again, at least not anytime soon. Ali interrupted a Miz TV segment involving Theory at which point he was predictably berated for going missing for the past six months. Ali questioned whether Theory would be bringing back the US Title open challenge, at which point he declined to face Ali in a match.
Miz and Ali continued to go back and forth until Theory used his pull with the boss to book the two of them in a match. The match ended with Ali winning via a rollup, at which point The A-Lister told Ali he’ll make him wish he got his walking papers. This is a reference to Ali being denied his request to be released by WWE back in January of this year. Ali was brought right back down to Earth when Ciampa rushed him on the ramp, standing over him to end the segment.
With less than two weeks to go until WrestleMania Backlash, both Ali and Asuka’s returns appears to be set ups for potential matches on the premium live event card. The card is arguably in need of some fresh faces since right now, three of the five matches announced are WrestleMania rematches.