Two months ago, I wrote about how we haven’t seen Mustafa Ali in a while. In those two months, we still have yet to see him. This may be just WWE’s refusal to use him; however, in the last couple of months we have also had the mysterious videos and actions of the “SmackDown hacker”. You probably know where I am going with this (especially since it was right there in the title), but in my opinion it is pretty clear that Mustafa is the hacker.
There have been some theories bouncing around so far, most of which put Ali as the hacker, or create a stable of hackers with Ali as one of them. This theory in particular seems to be a favorite among the internet, which would see Ali and Chad Gable working together. I am not the first one to say that the possibility of the hacker being Ali is high. However, no one has really looked at why Ali’s character is perfect for the role.
First, I need to point out the obvious, but the symbol that appears in the hacker videos is extremely similar to the lights on Mustafa’s gloves and his chest. There is no question about it.
As with most hackers in recent pop culture, the SmackDown hacker has taken on the same vibe as such things as Mr. Robot; a figure who seeks to attack those in power and the establishment. Lines in the hacker’s videos such as “through force and fear they have risen to power, but the people should not fear those in power” line up with language found in works such as V for Vendetta, the mask of which was of course co-opted by hacker group. It fits perfectly with the anarchist hacker archetype.
Ali has recently been tweeting such sentiments himself with regards to his career. He cut a promo after Royal Rumble about being left out of the event. In it, he doesn’t call out any one person in particular, rather chastising “them”, referring to the authority/creative/the powers-that-be. Further, he points to the people and the crowd as a source of power. He refers to the fans as “them”, and says, “if you don’t want to hear me, that’s all right, but you will hear them” pointing to them specifically as a source of power. Ali gives agency to the people in much the same way the hacker does in the video above.
Ali has also been extremely vocal in his personal life regarding his personal beliefs, which he blends into his character. Using his Twitter account to bring attention to certain world events, his tweets are usually a call for unity and understanding. While he usually doesn’t call for action against higher powers or authorities, he always stresses the need for people to be empowered and be united, as demonstrated with a tweet from earlier this year.
The hacker also says “the evil done in the dark will be exposed in the light”. Ali obviously has made light a large part of his gimmick. His entire entrance and entrance gear revolves around light. His rhetoric, his promos, his tweets, all revolve around light as well. He has time and time again claimed he is “the light of WWE” and will “be the light for those lost in the night”. He has contrasted the light and the dark in promos and tweeted out similar sentiments as well. One of his catchphrases is simply “chase the light”.
Rhetoric aside, Ali and his character simply fit with the goals of the Anonymous-type hacker. Ali’s message is about uniting people, it is about bringing people together and breaking down barriers that may be in the way. While he doesn’t currently target specific institutions, he shares a lot of the same values as a stereotypical anarchist hacker with beliefs that revolve around unity and empowering ordinary people.
The first feud for Ali is already set up as well. The hacker specifically starts off his video (linked further up) with a clip of Sami Zayn. If Mustafa is targeting “those in power” (i.e. heels with titles), the perfect choice is to get revenge on Sami for when Ali lost to Nakamura last year. It would then position Ali to be able to go after higher card wrestlers.
However, this doesn’t just make sense from a character or story point of view — the fact is, Ali has been missing from TV since the beginning of the year, yet he seems like he isn’t being shelved and ignored due to his Twitter activity, such as him responding to not being put in the Rumble. He also survived the big round of releases recently, an odd thing for someone who hasn’t been seen on TV for months. The only conclusion I see is that he is being repackaged.
Everything about the anarchist hacker persona fits with Ali and is a perfect evolution of his character. While there may be others who join in and create a faction of hackers, Ali is the the most well suited for the role and I would be extremely surprised and disappointed if he wasn’t the SmackDown hacker.
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