With wrestling’s Forbidden Door seemingly blown off its hinges in recent weeks, AEW’s Malakai Black has named the New Japan Pro Wrestling star he’d love to face.
Black stunned the wrestling world when he made his All Elite Wrestling debut at AEW Road Rager at the beginning of July. Emerging from the darkness at the company’s first show back on the road he introduced himself by kicking Arn Anderson and Cody Rhodes squarely in the head. Since then Black and Rhodes have been on a collision course, brawling week after week with the two men set to go one on one at AEW Dynamite Homecoming on August 4th at Daily’s Place, Jacksonville.
However, in an appearance on the Wrestling Perspective podcast Malakai Black revealed someone else he’s keeping an eye on as he named a star of NJPW that he wants to face:
“One of the things I would really like is to compete against KENTA in Japan in his own setting. Not in a WWE-oriented setting. Not that there was anything bad about it. But I would like to see what him and me could do without that environment, without people giving us cues and direction and basically just go ‘what do we really want to do?’ And that’s something I really want to have answered at some point.”
“I think what he’s doing now, I think his work is phenomenal. I think he’s one of those dudes, he’s one of those once-in-a-generation type of guys. He’s inspired a bunch of us, and like I said, he definitely inspired me. I think the role of him, as an athlete and as a human being, he’s always been a great guy.”
Black and KENTA did meet while both went under different monikers in NXT. They faced off at several live shows and Black picked up a victory over the man then known as Hideo Itami at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III in August 2017.
KENTA has appeared in AEW himself as he set his sights on the IWGP United States Championship and then-champion Jon Moxley. KENTA teamed with former Bullet Club leader Kenny Omega on the 10th of February edition of AEW Dynamite defeating Moxley and Lance Archer. However when it came to his title shot two weeks later on a New Japan Of America show, KENTA came up short with Moxley retaining the gold.