Before he won the Money in the Bank briefcase, WWE star Big E looked poised to feud with Aleister Black on WWE’s Smackdown brand. Instead Black was suddenly released in June, followed by him joining AEW as Malakai Black in early July. In an interview with Give Me Sport, Big E revealed he had no idea what the plans were for him and Black and that the release took him by surprise.

“I don’t know the plans. I had no idea,” Big E said. “Obviously we’d seen the vignettes for weeks and weeks, then he comes out at the end of the main event and kicks me in the face so I think ‘alright, it’s him and I. We’re going to run for a bit’. So I definitely was surprised by his release.

“I think he’s extremely talented, I think he has a ton to offer. I think people were excited to see us, you know because there’s such a difference in the way that we carry ourselves, in our characters, in many ways polar opposites. I think it could have made for a lot of fun.”

Despite that, Big E also revealed that he wasn’t worried about Black’s future and that he knew someone would pick him up. He praised Black, calling him an incredible talent, and wished him the best.

“I’m not entirely sure why things went the way they did, but as I said, I think he’s an incredible talent,” Big E said. “He’s a guy that I didn’t worry about him and his future, because I knew he was going to get picked up somewhere.

“But yeah man, I didn’t know the plan, I didn’t know where we were going. I had been married to Apollo, and I think that Apollo has a ton to offer in the ring. I think that despite butting heads from a character standpoint, I think he has a ton to offer in the ring. He’s so so good and I think we have great chemistry, but it’s been a long time with him and I. The Aleister thing was an opportunity to do something different, a nice break from that, and it just ended up fizzling. Like I said, he’s very very good at what he does, and I wish him well.”