Malakai Black recalls not being liked by some because he was viewed as the 'chosen one' in NXT

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A look back at Black’s time in NXT. 

From 2016-2019, Malakai Black was a member of WWE’s NXT brand as ‘Aleister Black’. Along that stretch, Black became NXT Champion and won the 2019 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic with Ricochet

His time in NXT was reflected on when he was speaking with Bobby Fish on The Undisputed Podcast. Malakai mentioned that there was a time when he was viewed as ‘the chosen one’ on the brand and there were people who were not big on that. 

I remember when I was the quote-unquote, like, chosen one in NXT and I did not have a lot of friends because everybody wanted to be the chosen one, you know what I mean? I had a lot of people that did not like me because of that and I was just going like, ‘I’m sorry guys.’ I didn’t do anything on purpose. But it was just the way that the industry was at the time and what the quote-unquote machine picked at that time.

One of Black’s NXT Title defenses was against Lars Sullivan at TakeOver: Chicago II in 2018. The finish of the match was supposed to be Black giving Sullivan his spinning heel kick a.k.a. ‘Black Mass’. There was a timing issue and the finish did not turn out as envisioned. 

Black stated that on house shows, they had been working together but having different finishes that did not involve ‘Black Mass’. He added that before the TakeOver match, WWE Performance Center coach Terry Taylor told Lars to watch his timing as far was walking into the kick. Sullivan was apologetic towards Malakai afterwards. 

There’s a few ones (spinning heel kick) that I’ve very horribly missed. It happens with everything… There’s one in particular that’s always like, you know, it’s the one that I always refer to and it’s kind of funny because it relies on a lot of the body control and technique that one becomes being an in-ring competitor, how both people have to be in tune with the right footwork and stuff and even then, like the example I’m about to give you is a moment where there was a disconnect and thousands of proper attempts, thousands of successful attempts and then only one thing tweaks and it just crumbles, right? That’s how delicate it is. So it’s myself as NXT Champion against Lars Sullivan and I think you guys already know what I’m talking about… And I hit that stomp on his back, we get up and he’s supposed to feed into me and take the heel kick and back when we were in NXT, we used to have the live events a lot of times, we would run the match on the live events but we would not run the actual finishes, right? So every night, me and Lars are having a fantastic match. It’s a lot of fun and obviously, the only thing we tweak is the finish so instead of hitting the spinning heel kick, I’d use a regular knee, follow up with something else. So, when the time of the pay-per-view comes, that same, exact same thing, I hit him and I remember Terry, Terry Taylor, right before we go out, Terry said to Lars, ‘Make you sure that you come in correctly. Time it right’ because it was delicate. It was very delicate but you know, we wanted to pull it out and I hit him, I roll through. He gets up, I get up but there was something and… every single time I’ve ever seen him afterwards, he’s always apologized for this. But it’s just about the delicacy of it, right? Because I’m expecting him because I’m gone because we ran this same type of body language and timing every single night and we were successful. We just exchanged the technique and now because it’s distinct and for some reason, as he turns, he takes an extra step for a sell and then he feeds in so you see my kick go because I’m anticipating his body language because we’re clocked in, right? He took an extra step and he didn’t know why and it completely, obviously, it misses and there’s a timing issue and again, these things happen, these things happen. 

And especially that thing with Lars is like, that shows you how delicate that turning my back for a second is because it was one timing issue, one split second of him taking that extra step and it threw everything off and it’s a house of cards man. 

Present day, Black is a member of House of Black in AEW and they are the reigning World Trios Champions. 

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit The Undisputed Podcast w/ Bobby Fish with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.