Malakai credits Rollins and Owens, reflects on his NXT run and discusses his future.
On the 5/4 installment of AEW Dynamite, the House of Black (Malakai Black, Brody King & Buddy Matthews) took out Brian Pillman Jr. and Griff Garrison and attempted to get Julia Hart to attack Garrison with a steel chair.
Coming out of that show, The Universal Wrestling Podcast, which is co-hosted by former WWE writer Chris Dunn, pushed out their interview with Black that was recorded earlier this week. They spoke extensively about Black’s time in WWE and while discussing the closing portion of that run, he heaped praise onto Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins.
Malakai said when times were confusing in WWE and he was frustrated, Rollins would be there to offer suggestions and he added that Owens checked in every week because he felt that Malakai’s positioning was unfair.
I have to give a special thanks to both Seth [Rollins] and Kevin [Owens] because they held my head up high during those times of complete confusion. Seth was also someone who was there for me with a lot of advice and a lot of knowledge and a lot of, ‘Try this angle. Try that. So if you think about your character, what would you do this way?’ And he really made me think. You know, because Seth is a lot smarter than what people realize he is in this business. People don’t understand how long he’s been on top because I don’t care what people think, that guy’s been a top player for them for almost like a decade almost? He’s been a high-profile guy, even from his NXT days, he was a high-profile player there to being a high-profile player on the — he’s so smart too and the same goes for Kevin, right? Kevin, in those last few matches, right before I rang the door and basically said, boss, we need to have a conversation because what the hell is happening? Kevin would check on me every single week because he knew what was going on and he knew that it wasn’t right and he knew that, you know, what was being presented and what I was promised was what I was given would flip flop literally every Monday and it drove me insane. Like it drove me insane because I was just like, what is going on? But again, reflection of the pandemic and Kevin would check on me every single week after TV or basically going like, ‘Hey man, penny for your thoughts and I understand that this is not the easy part. I understand this is the frustrating part’ but you know, really trying to keep my morale high, you [Chris Dunn] tried to keep my morale high but prominently so, I think we all tried to keep each other’s morale high because yeah, it was a pretty grim kind of phase in the whole — in the WWE universe.
At the age of 36, Malakai has tallied up 20 years in the wrestling business. He guesses that he has about five-to-eight years left in wrestling if his physique holds up. He said there is miles on his body but he hopes he’s able to do some of the things he wants to in AEW such as mixing it up with the likes of Keith Lee, Swerve Strickland and AEW World Champion Hangman Adam Page.
I’d say I have a good five-to-eight years left, hopefully, you know? If my physique holds up in terms of pain management and stuff because I’m pretty beaten up but not to the point of like, I can’t compete anymore. But, there’s definitely some miles on the wheels. But you know, time will tell and let’s hope I get to do all the stuff that I wanted to do and you know, see myself against Hangman [Adam] Page at some point relatively soon but I’ve never tangled with Keith Lee, Swerve [Strickland], one of my kids that I’ve mentored for a long time. I still do to this day.
Malakai dove into the current iteration of his on-screen character and shared that this is what was supposed to debut in NXT, but Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque wanted him to be a good guy. Malakai then spoke about his thought process when it came to bringing something different but similar to the table for AEW.
If you look at what I do in AEW now, my style is much more ground-based because the character’s different. I didn’t wanna waltz into AEW and do an Aleister [Black] character, you know what I mean? I wanted to do something that was in the line of what people were used to seeing. I didn’t wanna alienate my pre-existing fan base from the days of ‘Tommy End’ going into WWE, from NXT to the main roster and then going into AEW, I didn’t wanna alienate anyone but I did feel highly that I needed a different idea, different identity that was still threading the same lore’s that you previously — and funny enough, I always kind of considered this installment of who I am to be a mesh of, you know, the years on the independents and then the years in WWE NXT predominantly and then kind of blend it together and that’s what Malakai basically became and even more funny though, this was actually the character that I was supposed to debut with in NXT but then Hunter wanted the character to be a good guy, and this is the same character that I got picked up on from the independents because if you go back ten, 12 years and you look at the Sumerian Death Squad and the tag team stuff that I used to do, the symbolism that we used and the promos we did and these vignette-type promos that we used to make for PROGRESS and ICW, it all stems from that and then obviously, all everything that I learned in NXT and in the main roster and talking and learning from people like Shawn Michaels and Terry Taylor and Triple H and you know, Robbie Brookside and Norman Smiley and even Vince [McMahon]. Just listening to him talk and even Pat Patterson sometimes taking me to the side and verbalizing with me.
Black, King and Matthews exited the ring on 5/4 when Death Triangle (PAC, Penta Oscuro & Rey Fenix) came down to make the save. Fenix returned from injury on last week’s Dynamite.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit The Universal Wrestling Podcast with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.