Malakai Black has revealed that he originally wanted to debut in NXT using his newly revealed, Cody Rhodes terrorising character.
Known as Aleister Black, the demonic Dutchman arrived on WWE television in early 2017 to much fanfare. Black who had earned something of a cult following on the independent circuit, debuted at NXT TakeOver: Orlando, later going on to claim the NXT Championship at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans.
Despite being linked with the occult, possessed by some sort of demon and often appearing sadistic, Black emerged into WWE as a stoic babyface. However, AEW’s latest star-signing has revealed that he had a different vision for his character.
Speaking on Twitch, Black explained that it was Triple H who wanted him to be a babyface, adding that what we see now, was also his vision for his WWE self.
“It’s funny. The reason I did this is because this is actually how I wanted the WWE version to be,” shared Black. “When I started, I wanted to come in as a heel and Hunter [Triple H] wanted me face. If anyone has ever seen any work of me on the independents, you would know that the gimmick I was portraying in the WWE was an amplified version of what I did on the indies. That’s why they wanted me. But I wanted to be a heel because I was coming off a heel run on the independents. But then Hunter had this idea of making me face, a stoic face character.
“So, I had to switch the character from being this obnoxious, sadistic, possessed by a demon guy, to the same possessed by a demon/devil guy, but then having remorse, and I have to find the middle ground with that. And I had to find the middle ground in that and how would someone who is [like] that [could] find remorse and show remorse by being stoic and having a problem expressing his emotions.”
Black later lifted the lid on the origin of his new ‘Malakai Black’ ring name. The former NXT Champion said that he found the name while looking through a Bible.
“I was looking for an Old Testament name and I found one that had a double-meaning,” said Black. “I was a big fan of Children of the Corn when I grew up and I felt that, with the character, [the name] kind of fit.”
The former WWE Superstar also reserved praise for the working environment at AEW, revealing that he is revelling in the creative freedom he is now being afforded.
“It feels really good… It feels really good that I’m in a place now where my creative mind can be utilized versus stopped, and controlled, and being presented in things that I know are not gonna work. Because, no offense, I knew a lot of the stuff wasn’t going to work, and I said that to them as well back in the day. Lo and behold it didn’t work.”
On the most recent episode of AEW Dynamite, Black continued his attacks on Cody Rhodes. Following a series of promos between the pair, Black arrived in the ring under cover of darkness, throwing himself at Rhodes as the lights returned. The resulting brawl, consumed numerous referees as they fought to restore order.
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.