Malakai Black has revealed the epiphany he experienced during one of Shawn Michaels’ classes at the WWE Performance Center.
Speaking with fellow AEW star Chris Jericho on the Talk Is Jericho podcast, Black disclosed how watching an angle between Jericho and HBK had opened his eyes to some of the more nuanced aspects of performance:
We’re in Shawn’s class, and Shawn is showing us the angle between you (Jericho) and Shawn with his wife involved. And you gave the shot and it hits his wife, and you do something with your facials that tells me, ‘I shouldn’t have done that, but I’m taking full advantage of it.’ But you didn’t say anything. It was a nonverbal cue, and I remember seeing that and going, ‘I have so much to learn,’ but that was one of the things where I was like, ‘See, I’m right. This is what wrestling is.’ Wrestling isn’t here’s the kick and the punch in the throat.
Black also noted how both Michaels and Terry Taylor had offered similar advice on operating as a smaller guy in the wrestling business:
Shawn was always considered a smaller guy, but he revolutionized the business. He used to tell me, a lot of times people would say, ‘Oh, he doesn’t know how to wrestle. He just does moves.’ Ironically, that’s what comes back now. That’s something that comes back nowadays in this modern era as well. ‘These guys can’t wrestle.’ Terry Taylor used to tell me that the guys in the locker room that he was with would tell him, ‘You guys know nothing about wrestling. You’re all a bunch of marks that just do moves.’ That was just funny to hear that guys like him and Michaels, guys from two different eras, would get the same criticism that a lot of us get now.
Black is clearly taking much of this information on-board, as seen during his recent performances on AEW Dynamite where his refreshed character has been a massive hit.