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Malakai Black’s statement validates CM Punk on AEW’s leak problem

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Malakai Black has been the focus on reports and rumors about his physical & mental health, and his status as a member of the AEW roster. Over the weekend, Black opened up to fans in a couple different ways — via a promo at an independent show he wrestled on, and an Instagram post.

The latter was much more detailed about some of the rumors. Black confirmed he did ask for his release from AEW. He also discussed a litany of personal and professional challenges over the past two years that led to his decision to take time off to recalibrate.


Firstly thank you all for your messages, know they are being read and appreciated. With all the turmoil going on in the landscape of Professional Wrestling I took the time to think of my words but also needed to wait until conversations between mine and AEW’s camp had come to a conclusion.

Firstly, I dislike reading parts of my private conversations between myself and AEW in regards to my mental well being on the internet. These conversations were private and not meant to be shared with the public. As by now most people realize I am a very private person and do not feel the need to have stuff like this out on the internet. If you’ve been following me longer than a cup of coffee you’re aware I’ve spoken about them prior but would like to be the one deciding when this finds it’s way to the public and not through someone else’s mouth, as with anything through the lips of someone else: that story gets distorted.

Secondly, to be in line with the above, they also need context:

I did indeed ask for my release, the last 2 years of my life have lended to a lot of set backs. Both me and my wife have been affected by uncontrollable actions from the outside that resulted in loss of life, medical set backs, career jeopardizing, the suicide of a close friend and a close family member almost losing their life, then experiencing an injury that I was sure was the end of my career. I spend every week going through several sessions of rehab, dry needling and therapy just to be able to walk and compete. Now this being the tip of the iceberg and with the combination of the promises in my professional field that were not upheld which resulted as a combination of all of these to a complete demoralization of life and career. This decision had been in my mind for the past six months.

It’s hard to really put a finger and say “this was the moment it all went wrong.” But I can tell vou after many years that I have learned from a rational point of view to see when I need to hit the breaks; which is what this is.

Perhaps once my mind settles on certain things and processes the last 2 years a bit better I will convey (via a different platform than written out) what the exacts were that happened, and have a more informed conversation about them.

For now know that I am good, and am taking, for the first time in 22 years, a few months to recalibrate the last 2 decades of my life.

Lastly, I have read a few narratives online in regards to my “release”, mental health and my personal life that I can summarize swiftly; if it didn’t come from me, it didn’t happen. Stuff about conditional releases, stuff in my marriage or using said mental health to leverage the other when as I said before that part wasn’t even going to be part of the public conversation are false. My marriage is fine, I am fine. It is just time to make sure those things stay that way.

Once again, I appreciate your support and we will see each other soon enough.


There’s already been speculation about Black’s future in the wake of his statements over the weekend. To my mind, reporting or opining about what’s next for Malakai Black the wrestler is mostly fair game. He’s public figure who openly shares information about his career, in a business/artform where all of that can and is used in the stories we see on-screen. Gossiping about the state of his marriage or his mental state, however, are not.

It’s in regards to that last bit where Black’s statement becomes the most troubling. In confirming that the reports we read about his mental health came from discussions he had internally at AEW, Black becomes the second high profile member of the locker room to raise the issue of people at All Elite leaking information to the media. In this case, it’s even more egregious than when CM Punk accused The Elite of doing it at the post-All Out media scrum. With Black, whoever is talking to journalists is breaching confidentiality that every patient or employee counts on from medical and human resources professionals.

Regardless of how you feel about the way Punk aired his grievances with AEW Executive Vice-Presidents Kenny Omega and Matt & Nick Jackson, it’s easy to see how having accusations about backstage dealings show up in online outlets would upset someone. We’ve also quickly heard a lot about what’s been said in talent-only meetings. There definitely seems to be a leak problem at AEW.

Where is it coming from? Both Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer and Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp say they didn’t hear anything about Punk’s stance on Colt Cabana’s employment from The Bucks, and journalists aren’t going to divulge their sources. But we don’t really need to know where they got their information from.

Tony Khan, on the other hand, does. And until he gets this situation sorted out, he’ll continue to have issues in his locker room.

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