Malakai Black Reveals How Soon WWE Contract Expired Before AEW Debut

Malakai Black was on today's episode of the AEW Unrestricted podcast with Aubrey Edwards and Tony Schiavone. Black made his surprise AEW debut on Dynamite attacking Cody Rhodes and Arn Anderson. Black revealed the details behind his debut.

"My contract was up three days before my debut, and obviously, there was no direct contact between myself and Tony [Khan] at the time, until the contract was done," Black revealed. "I presented him with an idea. I said, 'Look, I know you have the show on Wednesday. This is what I want to present you. This is how I feel. This is what I think,' and he said, 'Let's give it a go.' He got really excited about it, as Tony does.

"The phrase 'let's f-ing go' came up a couple times. I think that Tony is just a really good judge of character with stuff, and he understands to let the professionals do their thing and I feel that there's a very big mutual respect between me and Tony. Obviously, Tony is no stranger to the world of wrestling, and he had seen what I'd done previous and he liked it. And then with some discretions he said, 'Alright, let's pull the trigger on this.' There wasn't a lot of time for it to kind of get out.

"I had this idea in my head from the second I transitioned back to being a free agent, basically. I had this idea in my head of what I wanted to do, and I was like, well, the only platform that I feel is fit for this is AEW. Even though we had literally three days to finalize it, I had about 27, 26 days to kind of write this whole thing out, map this whole thing out, talk to several people, bouncing off ideas, coming up with this idea. I just presented this entire ball of information to Tony, and Tony just absorbed it and was like, 'Yeah, I love it. Let's give it a go and we'll see where it ends.' The rest is history because obviously, it was a big success."

Schiavone then revealed what he was told by Rhodes on the day Black debuted. Black also revealed a close call while making his way towards the venue.

"I know you were kind of holed up in the hotel the entire day, and I remember even Cody that day saying, 'We've got a surprise tonight' and I went okay. A lot of times that's what they say," Schiavone noted. "When you appeared, that's the first time I even knew that you were here. I love doing that, and I'm so glad Tony does that because I think as announcers and his employees, our surprise is authentic and it comes across that way.

"It's difficult to have a genuine surprise in this day of social media, especially in 2021 to keep things a secret and to keep it hidden," Black added. "There was one moment as I'm driving in, and this was just one of those 'oh sh*t, all is lost.' I'm driving in, and there's two fans walking about six feet away from my car and I just go, oh no, but for some bizarre reason, they didn't look my way. I was with Josiah [Williams] from Wrestle and Flow.

"He was documenting a bunch of stuff, and he just kind of held his breath and they walked past us and it was just [Black makes a breathe out sounds]. At that point, I said, 'Hey dude, I'm gonna hop in the back of the car. You drive, and I'll just cover myself in suitcases and jackets and whatnot.' That was a little too close for comfort, but hey, we did it. That was the story behind the surprise, and it definitely stands out as one of the coolest moments of my career because it was self made. That's what I take away from it. That's why I take pride in stuff that you do yourself that gets rewarded or that is deemed as successful, feels like a success."

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.