While injuries inside the ring might be somewhat par for the course as a professional wrestler, no one can prepare for the miscue that landed Malakai Black in surgery.
Speaking on Pro Wrestling 4 Life with Sean “X-Pac” Waltman, Black revealed that a simple accident in a match while he was in NXT left him with a “shattered testicle.”
The AEW star explained that the injury occurred during a match with Tomasso Ciampa. During the bout there was a spot in the corner where Black would be knocked onto the turnbuckle by his rival. However, with the move being slightly mistimed, Black landed on the ring post at full speed.
“Me and Tomasso were in this feud. This is the reason why I wasn’t on TV for 3 months. We were supposed to get into an angle with me, Johnny, and Tomasso that was going to be a TakeOver match. It was already announced. A week later, we went on the road. Tomasso had just won the belt from me. We were on the road. We were in Las Vegas. We had this thing where I jump on the top rope, he comes running and crutches me. He came in with so much force that as I’m going down, his head collides with my nether region. Because of that flinch, I couldn’t catch myself from falling on the post. So I hit the post full speed, and it shattered my testicle into 7 pieces. I fell in the ring. I remember telling the referee, ‘Can you give me a second. I just got hit in the nuts.’ I wrestled the full 22 minutes. I cut a promo after the match.”
After the match, Black revealed that he collapsed backstage. But worse still, initially people didn’t believe that he was really hurt.
“I came backstage and I just knew something was wrong. I collapsed. I was crawling on the floor. I was in agony. My down there was swollen and protruding through my trunks. I had to grab a towel. I said, ‘I think I need to go to the hospital.’ They picked me up and took me to my locker room. I collapsed again. Everybody started laughing because they thought I was joking. Chris Hero said, ‘You’re not ok, are you?’ I said, ‘No. I think something happened.’ I explained what happened and he said, ‘We have to take you to the hospital.’ He put me in the ambulance with Christian, the NXT doctor. They drove me to the Las Vegas hospital. I had to wait quite a while to actually get surgery. I had to wait like 6 or 7 hours before I got the surgery.”
During the conversation the former NXT Champion also recalled that he suffered with depression during his time with WWE. Black said that when he was pulled off TV in 2020, he got depressed and “let himself go.”
“The last 8 months, when I got pulled off TV at WWE, I wanted to change a few things because I was pretty depressed at the time because everything did not go the way that I was promised it would go. I really started not caring again. I went to the point where I didn’t really care. I let myself go because I was depressed. I remember very vividly going, ‘All right. C’mon. Get out of it. Stop it.’”
“I asked Pepper Parks who his nutritionist was. I signed up with him. That’s been the biggest change. Now I have someone who holds me accountable which is really good. I’ve always enjoyed the process of training. I’ve never been the biggest weight trainer in the world, but I like powerlifting because it makes me train towards a goal. I will say the last 8 months, that has changed a little bit towards bodybuilding and stuff. It will never be fully my thing. I need a focused goal that I can see where I can be able to lift 10 extra pounds in the deadlift, or be able to push a little more weight on the bench press. I like that stuff because it feels like I’m actively doing something. I think that right now we’re doing pretty good. I feel good.”
“I lost a lot of unwanted body fat because I was 217 when I got off TV. I was not a good 217. I was a very miserable 217. I got all the way back to 191. Then I started building back up. I’m about 210 now again, but I’m a very different 210 than when I was 217 or even when I was 210. It’s a very different 210. It’s just interesting to see what your body does when handled correctly. I have a feeling that’s what we’re doing currently.”
After arriving in AEW, Malakai Black immediately set his sights on Cody Rhodes.
At AEW Homecoming the pair finally met in the ring but it was far from a good night for Rhodes. Cody failed to gain any momentum as Black struck swiftly and accurately. After falling through a table, the American Nightmare just about beat the count to get back in the ring. However, a bemused and beaten Rhodes was greeted by a Black Mass spinning kick which gave Malakai Black the win.
After the match it appeared as though Cody was about to announce his retirement before Black returned to hand out more punishment.
H/t to Wrestling News.Co for the transcription.