Aleister Black’s main roster run remains the source of frustration for many fans.
Throughout Black’s time on WWE RAW, it was easy to see his promise as a main-event star, but Vince McMahon’s company never fully tapped into this potential.
During a recent appearance on Oral Sessions With Renee Paquette, Black looked back on his relationship with McMahon. He recalled how the chairman “wanted” him as early as some of his breakout moments in NXT, but Triple H was determined to stay true to the course of Black’s run on the black-and-gold brand.
Black then described his very first conversation with McMahon and stated that this initial meeting was quite encouraging, but the chairman’s vision never fully translated into the success anyone expected.
“It was a very positive conversation,” said Black. “And Vince was full of praise, and words were being said in terms of where he sees me, where he sees me going, what part of the card he sees me, and it was upper positions. And everything was super positive, and he repeated that over the course of my interactions with Vince. A lot of promises, a lot of like, ‘This is what I wanna do with you,’ but the translation was never there. So obviously at one point, you start doubting yourself. And to the point where I think it was after Money in the Bank, the Mysterio storyline, where I kept running out and getting beat up, and at one point I was kind of like, ‘Okay, what are we doing?'”
When Black’s main roster run started to stall in the summer of 2020, the writing was on the wall, and he reflected on how he tried everything he possibly could to impove the situation. He then confirmed that McMahon told him that while he liked Black’s look and style, he needed to “figure out” the former NXT Champion’s place on the main roster. Black acknowledged the concerning nature of that statement and pointed to his spontaneous appearance on RAW Underground as another red flag.
“Somehow in the pipeline, something changed, and Aleister Black, who was never seen in either a suit or his wrestling gear, was standing at RAW Underground in his shorts, in his Champions shorts because no one told me,” said Black. “I found out as I was, as the show was about to start, this is what we’re doing. And I remember going, w’What? This is not what we set out to do.’
“And I spoke to Vince and he was adamant on it, this is what we’re doing. I’m like okay, cool. And everything went downhill, and fans saw it. I saw it, creative saw it, writers saw it. It went to the point where I sat down with our VP and I said, ‘Look something’s gotta change, this is not going right. This is not going good.'”
Still determined to make the most of the situation, Black explained that he again sought out McMahon, and he had what seemed like a promising conversation with the chairman and Bruce Prichard.
“It was a long talk, but it was a good talk, a very good talk,” said Black. “Again, full of praise, complimented me on my ability to always be honest with them while being respectful. [Vince] also understood that there were things during my time in the main roster that did not go the way he wanted [them] to go. And he said, ‘I’m sorry for that, I apologize, but let’s do it this way. I’m gonna send you home for a bit, six weeks, eight weeks, we’re gonna get some separation between you and Kevin Owens. And then when you come back, we’re off to the races.'”
Unfortunately, plans changed, so Black’s stay at home stretched from the intended six weeks to seven months, and Black argued that this absence might have been the final nail in his coffin.
“I was supposed to come back [Royal] Rumble time, either on Rumble or right before Rumble,” said Black. “And obviously that never came to fruition. So I sat at home for seven months. And I think that necked me. I think that’s the part and I kept asking, ‘What are we doing?’ I don’t think I’ve ever been more frustrated in those seven months sitting at home than I’ve been in my life.”
Despite the frustrating journey that got him there, Black finally got a chance at redemption when he was repackaged with the “Dark Father” character. On the podcast, he recalled how, leading up to his return on WWE SmackDown, he met with McMahon and they had another positive dialogue. Black noted that at this point, McMahon was enthusiastic about this new gimmick. But once again, Black’s opportunity was squandered. After two weeks of consecutive vignettes that hyped his return, Black expressed how he knew one week without one of these promos was a cause for concern. Still, he stated that WWE assuaged his worries, though he was ultimately released shortly thereafter.
“And then I started to go, ‘What is going on?’ said Black. “Why are we not, because at that point, you’re also not really presenting the audience with the idea that you have a lot of trust in this because you’re already kind of breaking it up. Again, I was assured that nothing was wrong, nothing was going on. Two weeks of vignettes, last vignette, I kick Big E. And then a week later, obviously I wasn’t on TV.
“They were kind of like, ‘No we’re letting it breath because we feel we got a lot out of the kick with Big E. And then four days later, there we go.”
The full clip is available here: