Malakai Black is reportedly taking an extended break from pro wrestling.
As we’ve noted, going into AEW All Out Weekend there were conflicting reports on if Black had asked for his AEW release, with some saying the company denied the request. It was also reported that Black has been dealing with some mental health issues related to his personal and professional life. Black was said to be unhappy and frustrated creatively, but one source claimed things were smoothed over to some degree. One report, from Raj Giri, said Black has repeatedly shown concerns about his mental health due to his personal life, and demoralization due to the creative booking and handling of his AEW character. The Black situation made “#FreeMalakaiBlack” a trending topic going into All Out.
In an update, a new report from PWInsider notes that Black is believed to be taking time away from wrestling. Black was scheduled to face Impact World Tag Team Champion Matt Taven at the NEW event in Niles, OH this coming Friday, but Black has pulled himself from the booking. NEW is still advertising Black for the show as of this writing, but an update should be issued soon.
UPDATE: Black is now back on the AEW roster page.
A report from PWInsider confirms that Black has been dealing with a personal situation that were weighing heavily on him, and that he’s privately talked about taking a long, perhaps permanent, break from the business in order to deal with the issues.
Sunday’s AEW All Out pay-per-view saw The House of Black come up short against Sting, Miro and Darby Allin. It was noted how Black bowed and blew a kiss to the crowd after the loss. Now a fan photo has made the rounds showing Black, Brody King, Buddy Matthews and Julia Hart hugging at ringside after the match and after the kiss to the crowd. It was noted that all four seemed emotional and the crow was cheering for Black while this moment was happening. The fan photo can be seen below.
During the post-All Out media scrum, AEW President Tony Khan was asked about the post-match moment with Black, which did not air on the pay-per-view broadcast.
“I’m not sure, I can’t comment on that, though. That was for the live fans and it definitely got some people talking, so it is a thing that happened but no I can’t comment on that,” Khan responded.
As noted, Black revealed in early August that he had been dealing with a significant back injury, which at one point had him convinced he’d have to retire. Black also took to his official Tumblr page last week and made the following post:
2 years of this. Sometimes it feels like all of it will be to no end, nor have any real meaning when it’s all over and done. It’s strange to think certain things in your life will be a memory with no attachments anymore while they were once the most important thing in your life.
It truly feels like the entire journey happened for the sake of happening.
Black has not commented on his future as of this writing, and AEW has not confirmed the departure after removing him from the website roster.
It was reported last week that Black was still signed to his five-year contract, which still had four more years on it. AEW removing him from the roster could be a sign that they have granted the release, but that has not been confirmed as of now. Black debuted for AEW on the July 7, 2021 Road Rager edition of Dynamite, just over one month after WWE released him on June 2, 2021 along with other budget cuts. Black and King are the current PWG World Tag Team Champions.
Black has worked 24 matches for AEW since arriving in the company, and 19 of those have been wins, but only 10 have been singles bouts. His only singles loss came against Cody Rhodes. Black’s last singles match was a win over Penta Oscuro on the June 22 Dynamite, and before that his last singles bout was a win over Brian Pillman Jr. on the January 5 Dynamite.
Stay tuned to WrestlingHeadlines.com for more on Black. Below is the aforementioned fan photo from All Out:
— Christine (@ShiningPolaris) September 5, 2022