AEW star Malakai Black sat down with CBS Sports to talk about some of the inspirations for his current character in AEW. Black, who was just joined by Brody King in The House of Black on Dynamite, revealed some of the inspiration came from the type of religion that members of his family grew up on.

“Parts of my family grew up with a type of religion that wasn’t common and it was a very ‘end of the world’ type religion,” Black said. “It was a very doomsday, ‘you’re on this Earth so you’re a sinner.’ It doesn’t matter what you do. You’re sent here on Earth and you will sweat and toil. There is no love. There is no affection. There was no nothing. There was just you and God working for your redemption. And, hopefully, by the end of that redemption, by the end of your life, you have redeemed yourself enough so that you’ve earned a spot in paradise.

“The ’50s, ’60s and ’70s were such a pivotal time for a lot of people where the world started changing and opening up minds. New ideas would come in. A lot of my family was very conflicted in that ideology. It affected them in a negative way, in a way that they wanted to escape from it. So they did, but it did affect their personalities and it did affect their ways of perceiving the world because they didn’t get it because they were sheltered for so long. That religion, even back then, had cult-like tendencies. A lot of things that happened in that church were very questionable.”

Another thing that influenced Malakai Black? Black magic in Malaysia. According to Malakai Black, his grandfather used to tell him stories of black magic and voodoo he encountered while he was in Malaysia.

“That was also something that had a great influence on me because my grandfather would tell me incredible stories about, and this might sound bizarre, but he would tell me stories about things that he witnessed with black magic in Malaysia,” Black said. “There was a type of voodoo that they used was that was called Guna-Guna. He got involved with that in terms of he saw it happening around the camps. Things were strung up and soldiers were sick and they couldn’t find what was going on, and the villagers were like, ‘oh, he’s being subjected to this voodoo.’

“That sparked my interest as well. As a kid growing up, I was exposed to a lot of maybe strange things, but it really shaped my mind into questioning everything and looking at the world differently than a lot of kids. It made for a very interesting childhood in a sense, you know what I mean? A lot of difficult moments and a lot of like, growing up very, very, very difficult, very disconnected often. It was definitely not your run-of-the-mill childhood when it comes to that stuff.”

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