AEW's Malakai Black Says His Current Character Was What He Pitched in WWE NXT

Malakai Black (fka Aleister Black) made his shocking arrival in AEW last week and firmly [...]

Malakai Black (fka Aleister Black) made his shocking arrival in AEW last week and firmly established on Wednesday night at AEW Fyter Fest that he'll be working as a heel. The former NXT Champion battered both Arn Anderson and Cody Rhodes with his Black Mass finisher last week, prompting a pull-apart brawl with "The American Nightmare" midway through this week's show. Black revealed during a recent Twitch stream that his current heel persona is what he always wanted to do when he first showed up in NXT, but Triple H envisioned him as a babyface. Black didn't get the chance to go full heel until midway through 2020 during a feud with Kevin Owens, but between a long hiatus and his sudden release fans barely got to see that side of him.

"It's funny. The reason I did this is because this is actually how I wanted the WWE version to be," Black explained (h/t Wrestling Inc.). "When I started, I wanted to come in as a heel and Hunter [Triple H] wanted me face. If anyone has ever seen any work of me on the independents, you would know that the gimmick I was portraying in the WWE was an amplified version of what I did on the indies. That's why they wanted me. But I wanted to be a heel because I was coming off a heel run on the independents. But then Hunter had this idea of making me face, a stoic face character.

"So, I had to switch the character from being this obnoxious, sadistic, possessed by a demon guy, to the same possessed by a demon/devil guy, but then having remorse, and I have to find the middle ground with that. And I had to find the middle ground in that and how would someone who is [like] that [could] find remorse and show remorse by being stoic and having a problem expressing his emotions," he added.

Do you think Triple H made the right call back in 2016? Or is Black better suited as a hell? Tell us your thoughts down in the comments. AEW will continue its "Welcome Back" Tour with Fyter Fest Night 2 next week in Dallas, featuring:

  • IWGP United States Championship: Jon Moxley vs. Lance Archer (Texas Death Match)
  • AEW Women's World Championship: Dr. Britt Baker vs. Nyla Rose
  • Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Spears (Spears can use a Steel Chair, Jericho can't)
  • Orange Cassidy vs. The Blade