Upon my return to actively watching professional wrestling content in 2018, there were many new superstars who caught my eye. One of my favorites was Aleister Black. His wrestling captivated me as he reminded me of a heavy hitting fighter but had the agility of a high flyer. Not only that, but the mystical aspect of his character was always intriguing to me, whereas, other characters featuring these traits usually make it the main focus of their act, Black made it a balance alongside his pure strength. I always questioned why WWE did not do more with him as he really could have been an upper card talent.
Following the second wave of mass releases from WWE this year, I had a rough idea on where most of the talent would go. Black, however, was the one I did not really have an idea on. However, following his appearance on AEW: Road Rager on July 7th, I was excited to see what AEW would do with him as he appears to be starting off with a feud against Cody Rhodes and Arn Anderson. Yet, after taking a few days to think about it, my excitement has turned to concern.
While I have no doubt Rhodes and Black will put on spectacular matches soon, I am concerned with how well Black’s character will be received in AEW. The company has seemed to steer away from mystical, fantasy elements for the most part with their organization, excluding The Dark Order, which at this point is barely even fantasy. Judging by Black’s debut on Wednesday, I feel that he will be keeping the mystical elements from his previous incarnation in WWE. While this worked with WWE as they frequent these kinds of characters, I am not sure how this will translate into the grit-focused AEW.
To avoid sounding overly negative, I do have hope that AEW can and will keep this balance. Black in WWE kept that balance of realism and hint of a mystical side to create a captivating character, so it should not be hard for AEW to do the same thing. Though, I do question how the fans will receive this. So far it seems like they are all for Black and the return of his hard-hitting status from WWE. It will be interesting to see how the fans react to his character though once we see him start cutting promos for the company. That will be the moment where his character either thrives or thrashes before it even has a chance to begin.