On a recent episode of the AEW Unrestricted podcast, Aubrey Edwards and Tony Schiavone sat down with Malakai Black. Black made his AEW debut in an impactful way going after Cody Rhodes, and he made a big impression with his entrance. Black discussed his approach to his entrance and what his goals were for it.
“There’s a couple of things to that, number one, right before I made my debut, I released this little movie on my social media platform,” Black said. “That was a tie-in to a lot of stuff and gave some backstory as to the how, the what and the when, and there was a lot of light cuts in that particular clip until the manifestation. I wanted to see if I could have elements of that that translated towards the biggest screen.
“When I was in the other company, I had a very elaborate bells and whistles kind of entrance, very produced. Not that that’s a bad thing, but I consider myself a bit of a minimalist and I wanted to see if I can create something similar by just using the bare minimum.
“When we talk about television wrestling, it’s obviously very different than live events. It’s very different than regular professional wrestling, basically. It needs to translate. So I started thinking, how do I translate something on TV that gives a different impression and that translates well into theatrical aspects on television? So I came up with the three light cuts and the three different positions. I asked myself, how could I create an entrance based off of light cuts and just using three simple lights, and the result is what you see on TV. And what I have literally is one of the easiest entrances that we have, but taking your word for it, it is one of the more unique ones that has been displayed in professional wrestling, especially current day.
“I wanted to switch away from the bells and whistles and just make something that is minimalistic in nature but still has a very memorable impression to people at home, to the people in the audience. I think it’s an incredible thing now that in the span of seven, eight weeks, the second that the lights cut, they know what time that is, and the people just come up and then as soon as the first note of the song plays, everybody quiets down because everybody wants to be involved and everybody wants to feel the entrance.
“And to me as a professional wrestler, as a performer, as someone that works in television and in wrestling, that’s what I want. I want the audience to be an inevitable part of my entrance, and I want them to connect and feel to what it is that I’m doing. I want it to be an experience. So from the get go, I wanted their attention, and this is how, in my head, I visualize that and I’m glad that it paid off. I also have to thank Tony [Khan] for allowing me to build this and give me the trust because the conversation literally went, well if I can’t get it done in three months, then maybe we should see if I’m a good fit. And we did it in less than four weeks. It was very rewarding, but that’s basically the thought process and the manifestation behind my entrance.”
Edwards and Schiavone praised Black’s unique entrance and talked about their reactions to seeing it for the first time. Edwards revealed a behind-the-scenes detail about Black’s entrance just before Dynamite: Homecoming.
“One of my favorite little behind the scene notes about this entrance in particular was before you had your match with Cody in Jacksonville, the night before they had to do a rehearsal of the entrance, but you had not arrived yet,” Edwards recalled. “Instead, they had QT [Marshall] do the entrance, and no one really knew what was happening. We just kind of heard this really menacing, powerful music. It’s like, what is this? And then the lights come on. You see QT standing on the turnbuckle looking as fierce as he possibly could, which was just silly. It’s a testament to how you portray your character that someone who is attempting to do so cannot even fathom touching what it is you do.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.