Baron Black‘s year so far has been something special and rewarding but it also has been something quite scary.
“The Empbruh” told WrestleZone’s Dominic DeAngelo that he contracted the Coronavirus back in June. It was quite the turn of events for him as it was back in April when he felt the squared circle high of wrestling Shawn Spears on an episode of AEW Dynamite.
“I was actually one of those people who actually got COVID-19. And I didn’t talk about it at first because I didn’t anybody to be stressed out, you know what I mean? I kept it close to myself for a while. For a few days, I kept it really to myself. Just because I didn’t want anybody to freak out, especially my immediate family so I didn’t even tell my mom. I didn’t even tell my mom until six days later I told her. I didn’t tell nobody because I was in absolute shock. I was one of those people who were asymptomatic and I had no clue where it came from.”
“I had taken every precaution that there was so you know what I mean? That’s the thing that also shocks people, is like ‘take all the precautions that the CDC or The World Health Organization everything on the news tells you to take’ and then you still end up coming in contact with it. So it’s kind of weird, and that’s the thing that made me want to talk about it today is that there is still so much uncertainty about this virus that we still don’t know because I’m not the only person that took every precaution. I’m talking about wearing masks, sanitizing, staying at home, not going anywhere and they still kind of end up getting it.”
“I really don’t know where it came from, but I did get it and I had some projects coming up and I actually needed to get COVID tested for my project that was coming up (and I got some stuff coming in the future that I can’t talk about now, but soon enough hopefully I can) and they came back positive. I got through a few days, perfectly fine and normal and then I think around day six, I hit a wall. I tell you when I hit a wall, when I see The Rock talk about his experience and seeing other NBA players talk about their experience and they’re talking about it’s rough. I’m telling you now, this shit is rough.”
“It’s crazy, man. You feel fine for awhile. Like I’m asymptomatic and one day I just hit a wall and it was the worst thing I ever experienced in my life. I had two rough days. It was pretty, pretty bad. It was symptoms galore after not having symptoms for so long, you know what I mean? It was really rough and that’s kind of like the only word you can describe it. It really kicks your ass to the point you just literally lay around for 24 hours. You can’t really eat anything. I still had my sense of taste and sense of smell though. I never lost that, that’s what’s kind of interesting. You really can’t do nothing. Fatigue, any other movement it extra three times work of breath than usual. It was a rough two days man. I started wondering, ‘Man, is this it for me?’ I’m laughing out of nervousness right now, but that crossed my mind. I was like ‘Oh my God,’ I was like, ‘I hope this gets better,’ but for 48 hours I was wondering, ‘Man, this is what a lot of people go through and people go through this for weeks and end up in the hospital.’”
Even though he took precautions before contracting the virus, Black’s two days of hell made him know that COVID-19 is nothing to take lightly.
“This is real, this is not a facade, it’s not fake, it’s not something you want. It’s not something you want to experience,” he said.
Baron notes that he didn’t have to go to the hospital and believes that his switch to a vegan diet at the beginning of 2020 helped him recover through the ordeal quicker. Black did happen to find a lot of similarities to The Rock’s experience of going through COVID.
“He said, ‘I’m healthier and I’m stronger than ever before. And that was the weird thing about it once I cleared the whole virus. Your conditioning is absolutely shit after it’s over with. You have to build your conditioning back up, but once I built my conditioning back up, I feel healthier than ever before.”
“When he said that I was like, ‘Wow, I thought I was being delusional, but here’s somebody else feeling the same way after they get COVID. It seems like your body just turns on like Super Saiyan mode after something that can be fatal. I really feel that way. It’s kind of amazing.”
The only silver lining at contracting the virus was the timing. Since he wasn’t working with AEW at the time, Black felt fortunate that COVID didn’t contest his aspirations.
“I didn’t know when I was going to return yet. I had no clue so when that happened, I was like, ‘Damn. I hope they don’t call me back right now.’ I was like, ‘Knowing my luck and history, something like that would happen.”
But serendipity did kick in and Black was cued to come down to Daily’s Place in Jacksonville for some episodes of AEW Dark where he took on The Gunn Club and Santana & Ortiz in two different bouts.
“Around the time when I was cleared, I got the call,” he said. “I feel invigorated, but during that whole time and that experience on Dynamite, my Dynamite appearance and my Dark matches just recently, I was still planning like I was going to come back, even though I really did not get the call yet. I debuted, had new threads on. I was in better shape than before so it was a real treat. It was really rewarding to be able to come back after going through this.”
Baron’s return to All Elite Wrestling was all the more comforting to see the company go above and beyond in being extra careful with its talent and staff at Daily’s Place.
“What I did like about coming back to AEW is how serious they took their COVID protocols. They have a great system in place to combat COVID. You get tested, everything is socially distanced, you have to wear a mask. And they take care of everything that needs to be taken care of. So as for me, for a guy that already got it and you don’t know if you can get it again, that’s a welcome thing to come through. I can speak for everybody in the business, you don’t want that shit. Never again.”
“You get tested before you even head into the building, to Daily’s Place. So testing takes place at a different location. You can’t go to the venue before you’re tested and then you have temperature checks once you get there and that’s already after you passed the test,” Baron said. “Everybody inside has already been tested, already passed everything so it’s like, and you still have to wear a mask. Every precaution is taken over there so people have nothing to worry about that.”
Baron had plenty more to share about the dynamic of AEW and his love for gaming but closed the conversation out with a plea to his colleagues in the industry.
“Please, take the COVID thing seriously. Wear your mask, have your fans come in and wear a mask if they come into a show if you having an indoor show. Even on your outdoor shows. I’ve seen outdoor shows have fans wear masks as well. Don’t run any shows without fans wearing no masks. I think I’ve seen that and I was kind of really pissed when I seen that. That’s really not something I want to see especially, coming from a guy who actually works the indies. So protect yourself, protect your talents, protect your fans. Everybody wants to get back to wrestling. We all do.”
(Transcription credit should go to @DominicDeAngelo of WrestleZone)
You can listen to the entire conversation between DeAngelo & Black at the top of this post.