If there’s one thing wrestling fans haven’t seen too often, it’s the sight of WWE Chairman Vince McMahon in jeans. In an appearance on Wrestling Perspective Podcast, former WWE star and current AEW star Malakai Black recalled a moment where he caught Vince in jeans, during the day they filmed the 2020 Money in the Bank match at WWE Headquarters.
“It had something to do with the fact that he had a really busy day,” Black said. “And he felt that he was a bit overworked and he thought ‘well hey, I’m in my own environment so today I’m not going to be too formal.’ I mean he’s still always in his suit, he always looks really, really well dressed up. But he was wearing jeans and I wasn’t expecting it. I remember going ‘jeans sir?’ And he went ‘ugh, it’s one of those days.'”
Black then talked about his time in WWE as Aleister Black, particularly his successful run in the NXT brand. Black won the NXT Championship from Andrade in April of 2018, a moment he described as bittersweet due to all that was going with NXT creative.
“I knew it was coming,” Black said. “I had Terry Taylor who was one of the people, I think we spoke about it. Terry already knew and was like ‘look, it’s my job now to make you the guy. So I have to talk to you to make you mentally understand what that means to be the guy.’ I always look back at my NXT title (reign) a little bittersweet, because I felt that, and this might sound strange, I felt it wasn’t the right time. Because Johnny and Tommaso’s feud was so hot, I felt there was always a level of intrigue with me that could’ve passed through their feud, and then make the call. The decision was eventually made for like, so okay, I become champion. I had a match with Lars Sullivan, didn’t like that match at all for multiple reasons. And then I lost it to Tommaso, and I always felt like I was an interchangeable champion.
“With merchandise I did great. I think that was one of the reasons I won it. I was very popular, I did really good in merch, and I always felt like that was one of the reasons I became a champion. And sure, based on who’s popular, based on the skill, based on presentation, sure. All of these things there. But I felt that what Johnny and Tommaso were doing, even for me, felt more important. It felt like it transcended the belt, and clearly it did because they were main eventing and stuff. And kudos to them because they worked their asses off to do it and I will never, ever take anything away from those two. Those two have been my greatest proponents and opponents, and I have a lot of love and respect for both men. But I always felt, from a company standpoint, I wished it had started with them and then looped me into it. I felt that would’ve made it better, but it is what it is. I look back on the fact that I was an NXT Champion with a lot of pride. I thought it was an honor to be picked to represent that part of the brand, represent that part of the company and that the world was ready enough for me to be the champion. I thought that was crazy cool.”
Ultimately Black’s run with the title and the plans they had were halted due to an injury. Black detailed what the plan would’ve been if he had stayed healthy.
“Before I got injured, the plan was always for me to win the belt back again,” Black revealed. “So that’s something I think that always plays with me mentally. It was me and Tommaso, Tommaso takes it, and then it was apparently leading into me and Johnny for awhile, and then it would loop into a three way, where I would take the belt back again. And then it would loop to the point where it would’ve been me and Johnny. And I think the idea back then was that Johnny would take it from me, and then it would go in between Tommaso and Johnny and it would kind of take me out of the equation. Something like that. Don’t pin me down on that completely. But that was partially what one of the ideas was.”
You can watch the full interview below.