Malakai Black Will Add New Life to AEW and Become WWE's Worst NightmareJuly 10, 2021
Whispers from fans have become reality once again. The man sometimes known as Aleister Black has made the jump from WWE to All Elite Wrestling.
Going by Malakai Black, the well-known star made his stunning debut on Wednesday night's AEW Dynamite broadcast, instantly getting some shots in on some of the biggest names in the company while a live crowd went wild.
And we don't use stunning in a misguided fashion here. Fans in the know with how things work behind the scenes just assumed they wouldn't be seeing Black in wrestling again for the better part of a few months at least. Companies, and especially WWE, work in a 90-day no-compete clause for most Superstars.
So imagine the shock when Black showed up elsewhere, early, right? Now for the fun wrinkle: According to Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com, a clerical error led to the 30-day clause not getting bumped to a 90-day clause when Black made the jump to WWE's main roster in 2019.
Even if that's an exaggeration or even wrong, it smacks as totally believable given how horribly WWE handled Black. His usage and presentation was all over the place once he arrived on the main roster, ruining almost any momentum he had gained during a stellar run in NXT. Some of that had to do with injury, yes, but the typical WWE-isms, like not letting him compete for big titles, sticking him in odd tag-teams and generally losing him in mid-card purgatory ruined his run with the company.
That is a shame because WWE could have really used a character and overall talent like Black. Him leaning into the supernatural side of his character and hunting down Bray Wyatt's The Fiend or even—just use the imagination for a second—trying to have a passing-of-the-torch moment with the Undertaker would have been amazing.
Instead, Black's name merely showed up on a list of recent roster cuts and that was it. The suddenness of it—a mere day or two after the company started pushing him in a big feud with notable promo packages—made the situation all the worse.
It was a matter of seconds before fans started whispering about Black to AEW. Not only was his unlimited upside hinted at on WWE's stage, he had previous superb success with other promotions before his trip to the "big leagues."
Except now those "big leagues" have been expanded to include AEW. Like Jon Moxley and those before him, Black will be free to use his character how he wants and in some amazing feuds. Think of the unforgettable stories he could craft with the likes of Cody Rhodes, Darby Allin and even Sting, to name a few starter-level things worth seeing.
Plus, given his presence, mic work and threat level as a deadly striker, he's believable as a top contender for the top titles. Not that it needs to happen quickly, either. Black's character is one where long, long-term booking and storytelling can work. And AEW's audience is much more inclined to buy into the long-term plan, too.
If the long game provides AEW with their own powerhouse, mystical-based threat and character for the next decade or so—which doesn't seem too unrealistic—it dramatically changes the company's outlook, if not the industry.
And this is the worst sort of nightmare for WWE, right? If Black goes on to be a headlining star with AEW, it's problematic because he could have done the same on Raw or SmackDown. But this would be even worse—WWE would have effectively promoted and propped up on an international scale with all of its power a guy who now grabs eyeballs away from its product.
Maybe it's a lesson WWE will receive and learn from, no matter how unfortunate it is. This, so far, feels like another case of WWE should have just listened to fans, and now those fans who said Black would be huge in AEW will turn out correct.
Ultimately, wrestling fans win with this development, which is always the most important takeaway with things like this. As long as Black is in the role he deserves, everybody—but the company that didn't use him that way—wins.