Malakai Black on How Little Control Paul Heyman Had Over WWE Raw as Executive Director

In June 2019 WWE announced that Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff would be taking over the creative teams for Monday Night Raw and Friday Night SmackDown, respectively. And while Bischoff's tenure with the Blue Brand was short-lived, Heyman would remain in the role for nearly a full year. During that time the Red Brand put emphasis on stars like Aleister Black, Andrade and Murphy, all of whom quickly saw their pushes fizzle out after Heyman's departure and are now gone from the company. Heyman has consistently refrained from giving away too many details about his time in the role and any friction he had with Vince McMahon (who still had the final say in any booking decision). Black was a guest on Talk Is Jericho this week, where he shed some light on that situation.

"Since day one, me and Paul meshed. I love that man," Black said (h/t Fightful). "He's always been really good to me. He's been blunt with me and I appreciate people being blunt with me, don't dance around the subject, just tell me how it is, especially in this business. Paul had big ideas, not just with me, but with a lot of younger people like Buddy Murphy. He once told me that he had one night of control, that was the first night. After that, everything became a fight. Maybe 'fight' is not the right word, but a debate. I can understand, but it makes you wonder. I let it go because we were fighting tooth and nail to get me out of the room and to progress."

Heyman has since moved over to SmackDown to work as the Special Counsel to Roman Reigns, while (Malakai) Black made his in-ring debut for All Elite Wrestling on this week's AEW Dynamite. Black has repeatedly spoken very highly of WWE and its officials in interviews since his release, though he's also gone into detail about why so many stars from NXT struggle once they're up on the main roster.

"I think one of the main issues is that there [are] too many cooks in the kitchen," Black said while on Oral Sessions back in June. "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."