10 Best Feuds for Malakai Black on AEW Roster

Anthony Mango@@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistJuly 8, 2021

10 Best Feuds for Malakai Black on AEW Roster

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    The ex-WWE talent known as Aleister Black is no more. The man formerly known as Tommy End made his debut in All Elite Wrestling at the Road Rager special edition of Dynamite, wherein he was renamed Malakai Black.

    The timing of his appearance was shocking, but that Black has ended up in AEW was to be expected. His abundance of talent meant he was ripe for the picking. Any federation should have been striving to get him, and AEW is now the de facto alternative brand to WWE.

    Now that he's there, what's next?

    Thankfully, there are tons of amazing performers in All Elite Wrestling to work with, so Black should be busy. Everyone from Adam Page to Wardlow are good options.

    But let's take a look at 10 of the best possible new opponents for Black now that he's part of the AEW roster, in no particular order.

Cody Rhodes

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    First things first, Black has already started an angle with Cody Rhodes after attacking The American Nightmare and Arn Anderson during his debut.

    This should be more than just a throwaway scuffle. These two should continue working together, building toward a marquee match, if not a multi-match feud.

    Rhodes would have been on this list regardless of who Black attacked in his debut. He's one of AEW's biggest names and provides a much better starting point for Black than battling lower-card wrestlers on AEW Dark and Dark: Elevation.

    Not only is that important for marquee value, it's also a big factor in the quality of the eventual match. Rhodes is in the top echelon of in-ring performers and wrestles a style unlike many others in that same category.

    He's worked well with bigger guys like Brodie Lee and Lance Archer as well as smaller talent like Darby Allin and John Silver. At this point, Rhodes has proved he is ready to pull out a great match with anybody, so anyone who comes into AEW should have him on their list.

Darby Allin

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    This is a compliment: Darby Allin is AEW's best punching bag.

    The guy gets tossed around like no one else and takes hits most people wouldn't dare attempt. He's reckless and should consider not putting himself in such danger so often, but it's undeniably entertaining while he's able to do it.

    Everyone who comes into AEW should seek to wrestle Allin at least once, as he'll make them look like a million bucks when he sells their beating.

    On top of that, Allin's style—both his ring attire and face paint as well as his penchant for filming dark vignettes—should parallel nicely to Black's character. Before leaving WWE, Black was even telling stories of his own with cartoon vignettes.

Lance Archer

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Everybody dies, but is Black above death? That's a question that should be answered in at least a short-term feud between Black and Lance Archer.

    Most likely, Archer would stick to his role as a stepping stone. That would be an important win for Black as he'll have taken down someone bigger than him who is already established on this roster as a destroyer.

    Just the same, though, a victory for Archer would useful. As much as it would be a negative for Black's reputation, it would offset the fans' perception that Archer is perpetually built up to challenge the top names but always lose.

    An added bonus of these two feuding would be the promos between Black and Jake Roberts. Those two could touch on some dark ideas and play mind games with one another in ways almost no one else on the roster could.

Orange Cassidy

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Variety is the spice of life. Black shouldn't just look to wrestle opponents of a similar nature, as opposites clashing can be even more fun.

    While Black is uber-serious, Orange Cassidy has a more comedic style. His maneuvers revolve more around giving the crowd something to laugh at than making anyone feel intimidated.

    However, he himself isn't a joke. He backs up this silly nature with impressive athleticism and an ability to take down big names like Chris Jericho and nearly win the AEW World Championship at Double or Nothing.

    It would be fun not only to see Black vs. Cassidy for what they can do on their feet but also to see how they could tell a story with such diametrically opposed characters.

Chris Jericho

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Working with a veteran like Chris Jericho is always beneficial. Despite how long Black has been in the game, he can still learn from one of the best of all time.

    Whether it's a new lesson in timing, playing to the crowd, switching up your offense to keep things fresh or just simply playing opposite someone who's seen and done it all at an even higher level, there are no downsides to this feud.

    Black vs. Jericho is a match that helps sell a pay-per-view. It's never happened before and may never happen again.

    This is also a match that would draw in more of the WWE audience, as both have established themselves on that brand. As much as AEW shouldn't depend on that, it doesn't hurt to piggyback off that notoriety and milk it for what it's worth.

Kenny Omega

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    It's a no-brainer for every list of this sort to include Kenny Omega. He's been one of the top in-ring performers in the entire wrestling business for years and is the top dog in the company.

    Black vs. Omega shouldn't happen any time soon, though. It's much too early to be thinking about that dream match being around the corner at All Out, Full Gear or even Revolution 2022.

    This has to come after one of them has turned more babyface so there can be less awkward of a dynamic. Of course, if AEW wanted to rush it, there doesn't need to be much of a feud other than setting up the match, as that's what fans will be more interested in anyway.

    Above all else, Omega is an opponent for Black because they're talented wrestlers who could put on a great match fans would likely enjoy from start to finish. They're both intense, hard-hitting and would give it their all to do something special.

    Sometimes, that's as simple as it needs to be. Professional wrestling has lots of pomp and circumstance, but its focus is still the wrestling.

Andrade El Idolo

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Every time Black has stepped in the ring with Andrade El Idolo, they've had great chemistry together. Whether it was NXT or Raw, no matter if there was any steam to their feud or not, they got the job done between the ropes.

    Imagine what they could do in AEW, where the gloves are off and they can truly capitalize on their full skill sets.

    Familiarity means they know how each other move, what maneuvers they can make interesting counters for and how to keep up with the other's pace. After having had so many matches, they can likely freestyle a great routine like two dance partners who have practiced all their steps a thousand times.

    This is another feud that shouldn't happen too soon, though. If it takes place too quickly, fans could complain it feels like it just happened in WWE, even though they last went at it in April 2020.

Jon Moxley

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Taking two tough, passionate, twisted wrestlers and letting them duke it out is a recipe for success.

    There's no way Black against Jon Moxley would be anything short of a car crash in the most entertaining way.

    Moxley works best when he's against someone who can take a beating and dish it out, which Black has shown he can do just fine.

    The darker they take it, too, the more it would be fitting with their characters. While Black is more supernatural, he and Moxley are agents of chaos above anything else.

    This feud would also have some previously mentioned bonuses, such as capitalizing on the WWE fanbase, putting two established marquee names together and checking off a dream match that Black has already even teased on Twitter.

Jungle Boy

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Jungle Boy didn't become the first AEW star to reach 50 wins for nothing. He's had as many matches and as many wins because he's talented enough to justify seeing him wrestle at least once per week and puts on a great show every time.

    That consistency has awarded him a spot at the top of the "young and hungry future of the business" club.

    While Black is likely not hanging up his boots any time soon, he's been at it longer than guys like Jungle Boy and can teach them a thing or two that may go a long way in improving the younger star's career trajectory.

    Think of it like the opposite of the Jericho vs. Black match. Jungle Boy has much quicker offense and would be a more energetic fighter that Black would have to contend with.

    As a smaller wrestler, too, Jungle Boy would give Black the option to play a more dominant role rather than being more of an equal with others on this list.


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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Pac has had better matches in AEW that show off his impressive hybrid style of high-flying and power than anything he did in WWE. The same may be the case for Black, so why not put them in the ring together?

    This is a match that could steal the show on any episode of Dynamite, draw an audience even in the midcard of a pay-per-view or headline as a TNT Championship or AEW World Championship match.

    Both have clearly studied enough styles of fighting that they could craft a match that feels both different enough from others on the card but also familiar enough that it wouldn't stray too far past sports entertainment and more into MMA.

    A healthy dose of Pac's frenetic energy mixed with the stopping power of Black's devastating kicks would make for quite the battle if these two ever go to war with one another.


    Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.