He worked a heel “Prince Ali” gimmick on the indies for a while, and it was very easy to get heat. However, he hated playing that character and took no pride in instilling more hate between Americans and people who look like him. He decided to drop that character and he never went back to it.
Ali talks about the difficulties of working on 205Live. He points out that going on after Smackdown Live ended was a tough time slot for a new brand. It was also very hard to build a new brand while also trying to build an entire roster of new Superstars that the audience wasn’t familiar with as well. However, dealing with all those difficulties made the roster come together very quickly, and they’re all very close now.
He points out that he received a standing ovation and applause after his Smackdown match against Daniel Bryan. Guys like Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy, who he’s looked up to for years, all greeted him with praise after the match.
He notes that Vince McMahon also gave him some very personalized advice after the match. McMahon told him that he has the rare ability to get empathy from the audience and he’ll always be working from underneath; that’s where he’ll make his money. Ali appreciated that advice a lot.