On Wednesday July 7th, on AEW Dynamite’s Road Rager, AEW Owner Tony Khan once again shocked the wrestling world. Former WWE superstar Aleister Black made his AEW Debut under the moniker Malakai Black. Black would debut after the lights cut out during an Arn Anderson promo. The broadcast team initially played it off as a technical issue. Moments later, the lights would cut back on and a familiar face would be standing in the ring, accompanied by an eruption of cheers from the roaring crowd.
Black would drop Anderson with his patented Black Mass round house kick. Cody Rhodes would hit the ring and stare down Black momentarily. Before Cody could get revenge for the assault on Anderson, Black dropped Cody with the same roundhouse kick. As the camera zoomed in on his face, Black showed signs of injury or distortion with some purple discoloration near his right eye. This was something fans appreciated as a callback to a worked injury he sustained while in WWE.
He looked like a man possessed as the fans began to chant for Tommy End, the character many assumed was standing in the ring. Commentary was quick to help answer some questions. Excalibur explained that fifteen years ago he wrestled the man in the ring named Tommy End. He continued that this however, was not Tommy End, this was Malakai Black.
The crowd would erupt due to the shocking debut of a superstar many didn’t expect this soon. Black took a moment to analyze the results of his attack and unveil a sick smile. While the crowd was pleased to see Black, he was pleased to see the result of his violent assault on a legend and a former TNT Champion. It was a successful debut that was unexpected and captivating.
Immediately following the debut, a number of fans were excited but some had their issues. Many took issue with Excalibur quickly announcing the name of Malakai Black. Brian Heffron (formerly known as The Blue Meanie) made a tweet criticizing the call from Excalibur. He wondered, if this was a surprise, how could he know of Malakai’s new name? While this may make sense to those who are not following Malakai Black on social media, those who follow Black know he’s already telling this story. Its fair to say Excalibur could be aware of this.
On Wednesday morning, Black released a vignette to his Instagram that briefly introduced fans to Malakai Black. The vignette explains that he is Tommy End, but he believes himself to be Malakai. It’s not a traditional promo where he is talking into a camera and explaining his story. Instead, it’s like a scene from a movie. The quality is high level and the story telling is captivating with multiple layers.
It opens with a psychiatric doctor reading over a patient’s six month review. The patient’s name is barely visible on the paperwork, but you can make out Tommy End. The doctors have crossed his alias out and have a variety of personal facts listed. His check in date is listed as April 1st 2017, the day he debuted in NXT against Andrade, who made his in ring debut for AEW Dynamite’s Road Rager. An interesting note listed on this paperwork is with regard to an eye injury. The same injury Black was showing signs of during his debut. The paperwork notes the injury took place during a fight with a patient. That fight took place on July 27th 2020, the same date Black’s eye was attacked by Buddy Murphy on WWE Raw.
The patient summary indicates End is a manipulator, that he is aggressive, violent, and fights with other patients. It also notes that he suffers from delusions and bouts of manic episodes caused by childhood trauma. The review makes note of the concern that he has attacked three wards so far. His colleague Josh joined the distressed Doctor. Josh questions the doctors negative attitude and Dr. David explains he’s stressed about the six month patient reviews. He tells Josh he isn’t worried for himself but for Josh. Josh is one of the wards that End has attacked during his time there and it was within the last six months. Josh is reluctant to conduct the review, but the board and Dr. David say it’s necessary for Josh to face this head on. Josh is reluctant even though End will be wearing handcuffs.
The doctors inspect End’s injury at the beginning of his review. The doctor removes End’s eye patch upon inspection saying its healing well. Dr. David explains to End that he shouldn’t fight with the other patients, ‘Especially Matthew’. This is in reference once again to Buddy Murphy whose real name is Matthew Adams. End claims Matthew attacked him first and shoved him into the stairs. Another reference to Murphy’s attack on End in 2020.
The doctor explains that is not how things occurred and it’s all in his head. End stares at Josh and asks how his neck is doing. This sets Josh off as he starts yelling at End to get on the right path. Josh slams his hand on the table and explains Tom has been there for five years with no improvements.
Dr. David says he has to agree with Josh that Tom has not made any improvements. End claims his name is not Tom, and Josh once again screams at him stating his name is Tom before calling him delusional. We get audio and visual representation of the voices in End’s head that send him into a rage. He closes his eyes and sees an evil satanic character of himself wearing glasses. The doctors sense an issue with him and ask ‘Tom can you hear us right now’ he looks up and sees an evil all black hooded character behind the doctors.
They agree he isn’t doing too well, and as he begins to fade, the lights start flickering. The doctors show concern for the lights as we see a clock on the wall reading the time 6:02. A callback to End’s release from his WWE contract on June 2nd, 2021. The lights continue to flicker as Dr. David asks “Tommy, do you think you’re ok?” and he grabs for End’s hand.
End says he’s fine but ‘You won’t be’ as he grabs onto the doctors wrist. End gets to his feet and cuts the doctors throat but no weapon is visible. Blood is covering the walls and all over his hands. End has broken free from the handcuffs and looks at the blood on his hands. Josh falls to the ground in complete shock. Meanwhile, End rubs the blood of Dr. David on his face, pleased with his results.
He lifts Josh from the ground by his throat and asks him how, after all the years of analyzing End’s brain, he didn’t believe any of it could be real. Josh looks at him and says “Tom I’m sorry”. Black laughs to himself and says, “My name isn’t Tom, my name is Malakai”. The screen goes black as we hear the screams of Josh. The next scene shows Black in a well dressed black suit, similar to the one he made his AEW debut in.
He makes his way down a hallway, lit only by the moonlight shining through an open door. Blacks sings to himself “The Devil made me do it, it was the axe of a man possessed now.” This may be in reference to The Conjuring 3. A character in the film, Ed Warren, is possessed and attacks his family. Maybe the reason Black was placed in a mental institute in the first place relates to an attack on his family. The vignette closed with the words “The Devil Made/Make me do it” on the screen. This could be indicating this is not the last action the Devil will make him do. Less than 12 hours after this vignette appears on Black’s social media account, he would make his debut on AEW TV attacking one of their top stars.
This would be one of the most exciting moments in some time. Many were not expecting Black in AEW for months, due to the common 90 Day Non-Compete Clause in WWE’s main roster contracts. With this shocking debut, the layers of Black’s story begin to be unveiled in a tapestry of violence, psychosis, and brutal aggression. As viewers get to know Malakai, they now have the opportunity to go back and watch an incredible vignette that explains just the surface level of Malakai Black’s story, and how it ties into Aleister Black and Tommy End.
In an interview with Johnny Christ of Avenged Sevenfold, Black explains that for the last four years Tommy End has been in a mental institution. During this time his run as Aleister Black was simply a manic episode End was going through. Now, he has created this new character and filmed an impressive introduction for that character.
There is still so much yet to come for Black in AEW. The vignette is amazing and has a number of classic references to possession movies. The long hallway shots are reminiscent of scenes in horror films with the same subject matter. While this four minute vignette explains a lot, it is definitely just a brief introduction to a very deep character. Now that Black has this creative freedom and ability to really dive into creating his own character it’s exciting to see what he plans to do with Malakai Black.