At AEW Dynamite Road Rager, Malakai Black (formerly Aleister Black) made his AEW debut, taking out Arn Anderson and Cody Rhodes.
Black was released by WWE on June 2, but due to a clerical error, his non-compete clause lasted only 30 days instead of the type 90 days for main roster talent.
Speaking on Twitch, Black discussed his AEW debut and keeping it a surprise.
"It was a hassle to keep under wraps. Once I found out that my contract was a tad different than the usual, I just came up with this idea. I had already made the character movie and I came up with this idea and the company liked it so we ran with it. It was all very last second. I feel like, in modern day wrestling, there are few moments to make a genuine surprise and get people to look your way. For me to sneak in, not be seen, dip and dive so they wouldn't see me, that took some skill. Kudos to AEW and the entire crew. What a great operation they have there," he said. "It feels good where I'm in a place where my creative mind can be utilized instead of stopped and controlled and knowing that things weren't going to work."
Black's debut was teased throughout the show with the lights going out, which was his idea.
"I pitched that idea and said, 'what if we do multiple blackouts throughout the show and insinuated the technical difficulties?' Commentary did a great job getting that over and it came off great," he said.
The reveal came during an Arn Anderson promo where the lights went out and when they came back on, Black was there. He would lay out Arn and then Cody with the Sin Eater (Black Mass) for his debut.
Black posted a short film on Instagram on Wednesday afternoon, where he revealed his new name.
When asked how many people knew about his appearance, he mentioned his wife (Zelina Vega) and his dad before saying, "We made it a thing to make it available to as limited people as possible because that's how you keep it under wraps. Security, Cody Rhodes, and a few others. It may have been five or six total people. It was a good feeling. It's been a rough seven or eight months but I feel like I got a win last night. I feel wrestling got a win."
Later in the stream, Black called his debut one of the top three moments of his career.
"Last night was top three one of my favorite moments of my career. I slept for three hours because my adrenaline was so high. It was the cumulation of months and months and months and having this big payoff was worth the pain, chaos, and perseverance," he said.
Black also said that his current character was the original idea he had when he signed with WWE as he wanted to be a heel, but Triple H wanted him as a face in NXT.
When asked about his first impression of Tony Khan, Black said, "My first impression of Tony is great. What a fucking wonderful dude. Really nice guy. Loves his company. Love wrestling."
Black also noted that he isn't sure if he can work NJPW dates, but said it would be great. He also noted he has new ring gear and will be bringing his own music in.
Black said he chose to sign with AEW because "it was the right move for me to make for me, my family, my career, the state of mind I'm in. It's just a really good company. I can't say enough good things about it. They have a bright future. There are a lot of dedicated people and I'm really glad to be part of it."
On Thursday afternoon, AEW confirmed Black's signing by giving him the All Elite graphic.
If you missed anything from AEW Dynamite, check out Fightful's full report on the show by clicking here.
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