AEW superstar Malakai Black recently spoke with 790 The Ticket about all aspects of his career, including how much time he gets to spend with his wife, WWE’s Zelina Vega, as well as the trajectory that made him want to become a pro-wrestler. Highlights from the interview are below.
How pro-wrestling is similar to the traveling circus:
“I sometimes say we’re a traveling circus…That’s the beauty about AEW, is that it captures the roots of professional wrestling where there’s a group of individuals that travel the United States, to put on, what is in my opinion, the best pro wrestling show in the world.”
On growing up in the Netherlands:
“I grew up in in the Netherlands, in Amsterdam, no wrestling. We had to create the wrestling. I overcame all these obstacles. Moved to an entire different country. This is a road for me for 21 years now. Yes, times get tough, but at the end of the day when the music hits and the lights go on and all that stuff, and you’re in the ring, you feel the crowd, you have your matches. There’s something about hopping in the car, driving through the next town that makes me propel. I love being on the road…there’s been moments in my career that I absolutely hated this, but I needed to hate it long enough to understand why I loved it.”
Says he has wanted to be a pro-wrestler since the age of 5:
“I saw one small clip, and I was hooked…I don’t know if it’s a Mandela Effect that I have a fake memory of wrestling, and Tony says this happened, but he can’t find the footage of it. I’m watching Yokozuna, and The Million Dollar Man in the ring. It’s that five-second clip that I saw with my dad on my couch that hooked me to wrestling…my mom and dad were not into wrestling. Professional wrestling is so integrated into the fabric of the United States. It’s such a U.S. thing. They never halted me from having interest in it.”
Talks finding time to spend with Zelina Vega:
“Do I see her as much as I want to? No, but we both made a conscious decision. The one we made years ago that we wanted to be professional athletes, and we know what comes with that. She’s no stranger to being on the road. She’s been doing this for 12 years, I’ve been doing this for 21 years. We made a commitment to each other, so yes, sometimes it gets tough, and yes, it requires extra travel and extra sacrifice, but at the end of the day you have to realize it’s temporary. It’s not going to last forever. I’m very aware of the mortality of being a professional wrestler or athlete…I say I have another five years on top, and another good five years left to help others get on top. So all in all if I can squeeze in a decade…this is what I will do until the day I die. I’m setting up a small performance center in the house that my wife and me are currently building close to Tampa. Our goal is to start training people, to get the next generation ready.”
Full interview can be found here.