Aleister Black made his surprise arrival in All Elite Wrestling during AEW Dynamite: Road Rager on Wednesday night in Miami. On Thursday AEW's Twitter account officially confirmed Black had signed with the promotion, adding him to the signature #AllElite graphic. Black was released by WWE back on June 2, and on Wednesday morning he released a short film where announced his new name while escaping a mental asylum. His first night in AEW saw him cut the power twice throughout the show before attacking both Arn Anderson and Cody Rhodes with his Black Mass finisher. By the end of the show the company was already selling Black's first official piece of merchandise.
Black was reportedly able to avoid the typical 90-day "No Compete" clause in the standard WWE contracts thanks to a clerical error, according to PWInsider's Mike Johnson.
"I'm not sad, I'm not depressed," Black said on a stream the day of his release. "I'm sure there will be dark days and bad days. It's all up and down. I got told it was budget cuts. Whether it is or not, it doesn't matter. I had a great time and had a phenomenal four or five years. I'm really thankful WWE has done for me. I was given a platform, even in a limited amount, I was able to give you parts of my character."
Black previously found incredible success in NXT after signing with WWE in 2016. However, once he was bumped up to WWE's main roster his character was consistently unable to build momentum. He explained why so many NXT call-ups struggle during an interview with Renee Paquette last month.
"I think one of the main issues is that there [are] too many cooks in the kitchen," Black said. "Whereas Hunter [Triple H] has a vision and oversees the entire vision with his team. He always puts his ear to the ground and he communicates very one-on-one with his talent and everybody shares his vision. Where I feel the main roster a lot of people think that they know Vince's [McMahon's] vision, they haven't closely followed the people that are being brought up. Vince sees individuals and is completely mesmerized by them. And then when he has them he's like, 'All right, where do I place you?' I feel the time spent with 'where do I place you?' kind of loses it because it taking too long for people to be placed. Whether that's because the rotation is too quick or people don't have a creative vision coming in or people rely too much on letting the main roster do your creative work for you, who knows?
"I think it's a combination of both, I don't believe in one party always being the complete blame for everything," he continued. "When you come in you're a professional, you need to have a vision for yourself. You need to have a vision, you need to have ideas continuously. Even when you're not empty-handed, it just sometimes doesn't always translate the way that you want it to translate. Or it doesn't go with the vision that you want it to go. Because at the end of the day there's one man in charge of the vision, and if that vision doesn't pan out the way that it should pan out it's hard to stay afloat."
Official Malakai Black TeeJuly 8, 2021