Malakai Black has opened up about one of the last conversations he shared with the late Brodie Lee and how that conversation helped drive Black to AEW.
Black was released from his WWE contract on the 2nd of June alongside former WWE Universal Champion Braun Strowman, Ruby Riott, Lana, Santana Garrett, and Buddy Murphy. A reported “clerical error” allowed Black to shock the wrestling world and turn up in All Elite Wrestling at AEW Road Rager in early July. Malakai Black appeared from the darkness and floored both Arn Anderson and Cody Rhodes with his Black Mass spin kick. Black and Rhodes will go one on one in Malakai Black’s first AEW bout at AEW Dynamite Homecoming on the 4th of August.
Speaking on an episode of The Wrestling Perspective Podcast, the former NXT Champion admitted that AEW was an instant thought after he received his WWE release and recalled that being down to one of the last conversations he shared with Brodie Lee. Lee himself had made the jump from WWE to AEW where he found success as The Exalted One at the head of The Dark Order before his untimely passing in December 2020 at the age of 41.
“I’ll be completely honest with you. The day I got released, AEW popped into my head. I had so many friends there. One of the last conversations I had with Jon (Brodie Lee), rest in peace, he said ‘you’d love it here. You would have so much fun here.’ So that kind of always stuck with me. Him and me, every once in a while, would talk, and there’s definitely been moments where I was very frustrated. And I know he went through similar stuff, so I spoke to him about it a couple of times. And he’d tell me how great he felt and how much relief he felt. So that conversation stuck with me a lot. And then I got released and from day one that was the thought process.”
According to Malakai Black, there was one other company in contention for his signature, and Black says it is still somewhere he wants to go:
“There were multiple offers, conversations happening from different companies. One of the companies that I still want to do some stuff for, hopefully in the future, is New Japan. Because that would make my circle complete. That’s what I was kind of raised on, I always wanted to go to Japan, I always wanted to go to New Japan. That’s always been one of my ultimate goals. One of the last few things on my checklist is New Japan. So let’s hope in due time, someway somehow, we can make that happen in the future.”
With the Forbidden Door in wrestling wide open, the chances of seeing Malakai Black in an NJPW ring should not be written off. The Dutchman also named the NJPW star he’d want to face in a match now they are both outwith the confines of WWE.