As one of the sleeper picks in the 2019 WWE draft, Aleister Black's move to Monday Night Raw may prove to be exactly what he needed to get to that next level of superstardom in WWE.
Although his abrupt debut on the main roster back in February caught many fans by surprise, it didn't take him long to find his footing. He ripped it up with Ricochet in the tag team ranks before branching out on his own on SmackDown Live following April's Superstar Shake-up.
Black seemed to be a fantastic fit for the blue brand at first, but despite scoring several victories over the likes of Cesaro and Sami Zayn, his lack of television time prevented him from building momentum. It became apparent after a while that he was never going to be a main event star on SmackDown, and thus a run on Raw was only inevitable.
Coming out of WWE's latest locker room shake-up, Raw's roster looks stacked. Buddy Murphy, Cedric Alexander, Ricochet and Rey Mysterio will bolster Raw's midcard scene, while Seth Rollins, AJ Styles, Randy Orton and Kevin Owens are bound to be positioned as the faces of the flagship show.
Black, in particular, will be one to watch in the coming months if recent rumors are to be believed. Per Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc), Raw executive director Paul Heyman has been high on the former NXT champion for months and was instrumental in bringing him to Team Red in the draft.
With that in mind, it's logical to assume that Black will have the rocket strapped to him sooner rather than later. As he should. With the immense amount of talent he possesses, there's no reason to think he can't be a world champion by 2020.
The most important thing WWE must keep in mind with Black on Raw is to not put him in the same position he was in on SmackDown, where he begged for fights backstage but rarely got any. Those segments nearly ruined Black's mystique and caused fans to not care about him.
Black occasionally cut promos in NXT, but more often than not, he let his actions in the ring do the talking for him. In fact, he didn't speak a word for the first few months of his stint in NXT and instead generated buzz by beating his opponents quickly and decisively.
The more he established himself, the more popular he became. If Heyman and the rest of the Raw writing crew can apply that same formula to his main-roster run, he will be competing for championships in no time.
First and foremost, he should be placed in a program with someone he would benefit from working with, such as Orton or AJ Styles. Both of those men are accomplished athletes, so having Black knock them off en route to the top of WWE would lend him a lot of credibility.
The United States Championship hasn't been too sought-after in 2019, but if nothing else, it feels important around the waist of Styles. He's held it since July's Extreme Rules pay-per-view, and if Black could beat him for the belt sometime soon, it would be a meaningful moment.
Assuming he's back to being an important player by the end of 2019, he could well be in the running to win January's Royal Rumble match and earn the opportunity to vie for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania 36.
Current champion Seth Rollins is scheduled to defend his title against Bray Wyatt again at Crown Jewel on Oct. 31, but the odds The Fiend wins to take the title to SmackDown are slim to none. Then again, if he isn't the one to dethrone Rollins as universal champion, there aren't many other realistic options left, except for Black.
It sounds implausible, but with the proper booking, Rollins vs. Black can be a believable bout for WrestleMania 36, especially if Rollins returns to his roots as a heel before then. Not only would the match be of excellent quality, but it would also be the best way to get him over as a world championship-caliber competitor.
Raw's crowded roster creates an initial feeling that Black is destined to be buried beneath the bigger names, but his strong start should give fans hope that great things are on the horizon for The Dutch Destroyer.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.