In June 2019, Paul Heyman was named the executive director of WWE Raw.
Heyman took a liking to many wrestlers while he had some control on Raw, including Aleister Black (Malakai Black in AEW), who received a push under Heyman's guidance.
Speaking on Talk is Jericho, Black discussed his relationship with Heyman and the vision the two men had that never quite came to fruition.
"Since day one, me and Paul meshed. I love that man. 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," said Black, referring to his promos where he would sit in a room, begging someone to knock and fight him.
The promos eventually led to a fed with Buddy Murphy, which was the start of a long-term plan according to Black.
"It was the same thing week in and week out, the promos became more vague. That ran for a little bit and as it was supposed to transition to something else, but it didn't. We wanted to get it to one point and then switch it up because that's how you progress, you have to go to the next level. This had a shelf life and Paul thought it had shelf life too," said Black. "The progression never came. Eventually, I became lost in the shuffle. No matter how many times I knocked on the door and tried to explain, it was like, 'We're good for now.' You feel when it's time to shift and that's how I felt. I genuinely felt after the Buddy Murphy thing, 'Here we go' and it was right back in the room. We had momentum. What (Paul Heyman) wanted to do was set something up with Buddy where we could come back to it at WrestleMania in three, four, or five years down the line. Lay a foundation now and five years from now, circle back to it on a bigger stage. It writes itself. Plant some seeds, a couple years later, you pay it off. It never went there and I never felt it transcended despite the promises. You feel like you've thrown everything at the wall and the rest is history."
Black was released by WWE on June 2.
Due to a clerical error, Black only had a 30-day non-compete clause, allowing him to show up on the July 7 episode of AEW Dynamite, where he attacked Cody Rhodes.
Black will make his in-ring debut for AEW on Wednesday's Dynamite against Cody. Fightful will have live coverage of Dynamite beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
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