Wrestling fans were left stunned as Malakai Black arrived in AEW at Road Rager attacking Hall of Famer Arn Anderson and Cody Rhodes.
Not only was it shocking to see the former WWE Superstar arrive in such a way, many fans wondered how Black could be appearing in AEW so quickly after leaving WWE. Traditionally upon leaving WWE talents have been subject to non-compete clauses which usually last for 90 days. However, this differs for NXT Superstars whose clauses are only for 30 days.
After Black was released by WWE it was revealed that a clerical error meant that his NXT contract wasn’t updated when he arrived on the main roster. This meant that he was able to join a new company just a month after being released.
Appearing on a recent episode of Talk Is Jericho, Black recalled finding out about the mishap.
“I got my notice and it read that I had a 30-day out versus a 90-day out, and that gave me a ton of ideas. Those ideas were received very well by a certain Mr. Khan. The rest is history. I made that move because I wanted to make that move and I wanted to make that move for a little bit. I’m glad I did it because, even though it’s only been a month, it’s been a great month. I feel this was the right step and the right move for me. It makes a lot of sense on a personal level.”
Black continued, explaining that he quickly got his agent to check whether what he understood was correct. As soon as he received confirmation the former NXT Champion said that he approached AEW. Something he believes Tony Khan appreciated.
“I think they forgot to update it. I remember seeing it, I took a picture and sent it to my agent like, ‘Do you see what I’m seeing?’ ‘Does that mean 30 days?’ I contacted someone within the company and they said I was reading it correctly, ‘You have 30 days.’ Between my agent and other people — I couldn’t be involved, I had to stay away from that — when the contract was over, I said, ‘This is my idea, what do you think?’ I think Tony (Khan) appreciated the urgency and the ‘act now’ and he made a good call.”
At AEW Homecoming Malakai Black made his in-ring debut in destructive fashion. Black saw off the challenge of Cody Rhodes with minimum fuss, leaving the former TNT Champion a broken man.
After the match it appeared as though Rhodes was about to announce his retirement before Black returned to the ring. The demonic Dutchman assaulted Rhodes with a crutch that had been placed into the ring to leave him laying.
H/t to Fightful for the transcription.