Malakai Black On What He Contractually Could Not Do Before AEW Debut

Malakai Black made his AEW debut on July 8, 2021, delivering a 'Black Mass' to both Cody Rhodes and Arn Anderson. During an interview with The Wrestling Classic, Black discussed who booked how his debut went down and his communication with Tony Khan.

"Tony (Khan), for the most part, let me be, let me book that first part, you know, especially my debut," Black explained. "It's definitely been a collaboration, but right now, you know, we needed to change something. The good thing is, I have a really good communication line with Tony. I explained to him what I felt and he agreed upon it, and we were like 'okay'. I gave him this whole pitch, this whole idea and he loved it," Black claimed. "As we're going, things might still change, you know? Not everything we have in our head will always pan out that way."

Malakai Black was released from WWE on June 2, 2021, and had a 30-day non-compete clause. Many believed Black's non-compete clause was 90 days, but it was never changed after he was brought up to the main roster from NXT. Black explained when he signed his AEW contract and how many people knew about it.

"Contractually, I wasn't allowed to talk to Tony (Khan). There were conversations between agents and lawyers and stuff, but me and Tony are not allowed to discuss any of these things until my contract is over. But that worked to my advantage because I had one moment, and one moment only to convince Tony of the idea that I had and Tony just loved the whole idea," Black said. "I don't care what anyone says, no one knew that I was coming. My contract wasn't, like, wasn't like made until literally, almost, almost the day of. It was the day before, but it was later in the day, so I don't care what anyone says.

"The day I came in, I was in a hotel room the entire day. No one really knew that I was there, apart from a handful of people. I wouldn't even say a handful of people. Tony Schiavone wasn't even told until like, five minutes before he went out, they didn't tell him anything," Black discussed. "So, when it was about time, I walked through the locker room, and everybody just went {points as if the wrestlers were pointing out of shock that he was there}, 'oh sh-t, he's here.'"

Malakai Black wrestled Dante Martin on the October 16, 2021, edition of AEW Dynamite. Black discussed acknowledging Martin after their match and praised Martin, citing him as a possible "big player."

"When I had the match with Dante (Martin), I already knew ahead of time that what I did at the end would be beneficial for him. And also I knew him not being able to beat me, wasn't necessarily a bad thing because of it. If I can, what's the word? If I can acknowledge this kid gave me a run for my money without being compromised, then that helps. You can put someone over without them beating you," Black explained. "We had a great match and Dante, a standby, is a phenomenal athletic guy. And I think in due time when he gets a character under control and he starts, like, cutting his promos the way he wants to, and when he gets comfortable, and he finds his face, his body language because that takes time, I think he can be a big player."