AEW's Malakai Black Explains Choosing WWE NXT Over NJPW

During the 2010s, it seemed as if WWE was sweeping up any exciting free agents that had made a name for themselves. One person who got a reputation for being one of the deadliest men in Europe was Tommy End, who AEW fans will know now as Malakai Black and WWE fans will remember as Aleister Black. However, Black did have a choice to make before joining WWE. 

During a recent interview on the "Developmentally Speaking" podcast, Black revealed that he had two options — "WWE NXT" and New Japan Pro Wrestling. 

"At the time, New Japan just started to wXw about possibly bringing me in," Black said. "At the same time, I had NXT offers as well. So I was kind of like, 'What am I going to do?' I thought to myself, 'Okay, so your NXT contract is three to five years guaranteed. New Japan might get you over and go well that was a fun three weeks, see you.'"

Black explained that when he was younger, he thought that once he hit 30 years old fewer opportunities would come his way, believing that if he turned down the offer to join "NXT," it wouldn't present itself again.

"I was like, 'If I'm 30 now, I sign with WWE, I have a three, maybe five-year run, hopefully it's pretty decent. But at least whatever happens, I will have better financial stability and I will be a bigger star than I am now and it will help me in every asset, and who knows what can come with it.' So, for me, it was the logical choice." 

Black has appeared for New Japan Pro Wrestling since leaving WWE as he was featured on the first-ever Forbidden Door pay-per-view held between AEW and NJPW in June 2022.

Please credit "Developmentally Speaking" when using quotes from this article, and give a H/T to Rllegends for the transcription.