AEW wrestler Malakai Black joined The Universal Wrestling Podcast to discuss his run with WWE and current time working for All Elite Wrestling.

Following the WWE Draft that took place in October 2020, Malakai, then known as Aleister Black, was taken off WWE television and was absent until vignettes played for his return in April 2021. He explained that it took eight months for plans to be put together for his return, but following his release in June 2021, the former NXT Champion felt it was time wasted.

“The Dark Father vignettes were great,” Black said. “But it’s always such a questionable thing as to why they [WWE] did what they did. The thing is, I say questionable, now, I obviously know everything that went down and why. Things went the way they went, but it still feels like sometimes an incredible waste of time for me and Chris [Dunn] because we were invested in that thing for eight months.

“We spoke a lot, and Chris was a lot of the time my conscience in this. Calming me down because sitting at home for eight months, for a guy like me who loves working, I love to be involved. I’m involved in this process that just eats me alive sometimes.”

It was disclosed that the initial plan was for the Aleister Black character to be off television for six weeks, with a return penciled in at the Royal Rumble. Instead, his return to television came on May 21 on SmackDown, some four months after the original date for his comeback.

Malakai Black did provide some insight into his start on NXT, after signing with WWE in 2016. He revealed that Triple H wanted him to be a good guy on television and knew he needed a fresh identity after his stint as Tommy End on the independent scene.

“Funnily enough, I always considered this installment of who I am to be a mesh of the years on the independents and the years in NXT and WWE, predominantly, and kind of blend them together,” Malakai said. “That’s what Malakai basically became, and even funnier though, this was actually the character I was supposed to debut within NXT but then Hunter [Triple H] wanted the character to be a good guy.

“This is the same character that I got picked up on from the independents because if you go back ten-twelve years, you look at The Sumerian Death Squad and the tag team stuff I used to do, the symbolism that we used, the promos we used to do, and these vignette-type promos that we used to make for PROGRESS and ICW.

“It all stems from that, then obviously, everything that I learned in NXT and then the main roster, talking and learning from people like Shawn Michaels, Terry Taylor, and Triple H, Robbie Brookside, and Norman Smiley, and even Vince. Like, listening to him talk — even Pat Patterson taking me to the side and would verbalize with me. I had a lot of good soundboards.”

Malakai stated that Paul Heyman was one of his biggest backers and advocates behind the scenes when he was on RAW. He recalled Vince McMahon giving him and Buddy Murphy a run of matches on television because of the impressive television ratings they received.

“Vince gave us the platform, via Paul, for me and Buddy to have those consecutive matches in a row,” Malakai Black said.”It was because the ratings were good on them. It was because people kept tuning in for them. I remember me and Buddy really going, like, maybe this was a bit foolish to think, but me and Buddy both went like, ‘well, I think after this, it’s up space mountain.’ For some reason, he went this way and I went that way, and then the pandemic hit.”

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

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