Malakai Black has reportedly been granted a conditional release from AEW.
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. It was then revealed via PWInsider that there was talk of Black taking an extended break from pro wrestling, perhaps permanent, to deal with the issues that have been weighing heavily on him.
In an update, a new report from Fightful Select notes that numerous AEW talents are saying they’ve heard Black is done with the company for the foreseeable future as his release was granted.
It was noted that the release is highly conditional, which isn’t usually the case for AEW. AEW usually doesn’t even release talent outside of disciplinary reasons, and requests for releases are done on a case-by-case basis.
It’s believed that there are heavy restrictions on Black, and there may be more to the agreement, including conditions that would prevent Black from wrestling elsewhere any time soon. AEW sources are under the belief that the door is not closed on a potential return for Black as far as they’ve heard. It was previously reported that Black still had 4 years left on his 5 year contract.
AEW President Tony Khan reportedly wanted to specifically retain Black, and hoped to have him as a part of the brand “for years to come.” There were efforts to have conversations to salvage the working relationship that AEW saw as fruitful, however word is that a meeting took place sometime recently, and it was decided that if Black wanted out, they should probably allow it. Khan was asked about Black’s status during the All Out media scrum but he offered no comment.
“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 when asked about the post-match bow to the crowd, which included Black blowing a kiss to the fans.
It was reported earlier this week that Black was scheduled to face Impact World Tag Team Champion Matt Taven at the NEW event in Niles, OH this coming Friday, but he pulled himself from the booking.
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. After the match at ringside, Black, Brody King, Buddy Matthews and Julia Hart were seen hugging, and a fan in attendance noted that all four seemed emotional.
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 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. He and King are also the current PWG World Tag Team Champions.
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.
Stay tuned to WrestlingHeadlines.com for more on Black.