Prior to winning WWE's Money in the Bank briefcase, Big E was set to start a rivalry with former NXT Champion Aleister Black on SmackDown. Black had been spending weeks unveiling his new persona, The Dark Father, and had cost E an Intercontinental Championship match with Apollo Crews by smacking him in the face with a Black Mass kick. The pair were set to begin their feud in earnest in early June, but days before WWE opted to release Black from his contract. E spoke about the sudden change of plans in an interview with Give Me Sport's Louis Dangoor this week.
"I don't know the plans. I had no idea," E said (h/t FIghtful) "Obviously, we had seen the vignettes for weeks and weeks. He comes out at the end of the main event and kicks me in the face. I'm thinking, 'Airight, it's him and I, we're going to run for a bit.' I was definitely surprised (when he got released). I think he's extremely talented and has a ton to offer. People were excited to see us because there is such a difference in the way we carry ourselves and our characters. We're polar opposites and I think it would have made for a lot of fun. I'm not entirely sure the way things went the way they did. I think he's an incredible talent and a guy who I didn't worry about him and his future. I knew he would get picked up somewhere. I didn't know the plan or where we were going, but I had been married to Apollo and he has a ton to offer in the ring. It's been a long time with him and I. The Aleister thing was an opportunity to do something different and a nice break from that. It ended up fizzling. He's very good at what he does and I wish him well."
Due to a clerical error, Black's contract enabled him to arrive in All Elite Wrestling just one month after his release. Now going by Malakai Black, the Dutch star will make his in-ring debut for the promotion on April 4, taking on Cody Rhodes in Jacksonville. Meanwhile, E now finds himself on the doorstep of the world championship picture once he decides when to cash-in his MITB contract. While WWE Champion Bobby Lashley has been making life hell for The New Day lately, E has maintained he wants to use to briefcase on Roman Reigns.