Earlier this month, AEW’s Malakai Black posted a response to a fan on social media who claimed he refused “to take a pin or put anyone over”. Black denied he had an issue with losing matches, and the wrestling world moved on.
But then Black and his faction mates Brody King & Buddy Matthews were booked in a cage match on the Jan. 27 episode of AEW Collision. The bout against FTR & Daniel Garcia was announced a week in advance, as the show would be going against WWE’s Royal Rumble event and needed all the hype help it could get. It also was initially promoted as a elimination tag match in a steel cage.
Closer to the date of the show, AEW began referring to Collision’s main event as an “Escape The Cage” elimination match. There was some question about the rules and how it would work that we really didn’t get official answers to until Saturday night, but it still turned out to be a fun match won by the babyfaces when Mark Briscoe helped ensure Garcia beat Black to be the last man out of the cage.
That would have been that... had not Dave Meltzer implied on Wrestling Observer Radio that the “Escape” stipulation came about because no one in House of Black wanted to do the job:
“When they first announced the match, it was a cage match elimination match. When they first announced it was Escape The Cage, when I heard it was Escape The Cage, I thought it was like ‘Okay we got all these guys here, but somebody complained about doing a job.’ Essentially in this match, five guys have to do a job.
”Of the guys, I know Daniel Garcia will do a job in a match like that. And I know FTR will do a job because you know, Dax Harwood does a million jobs when the circumstances are right, and Cash Wheeler’s not adverse to it. So, you know, and Malakai Black never does jobs, and when this was going on and I’m watching this, one of the things I was thinking watching this is like, these freaking House of Black guys never do jobs...”
Malakai hasn’t responded this time, but both his teammates have — as has AEW’s Wrestling Administration Coordinator Will Washington. You probably don’t need me to tell you that weren’t agreeing with Meltzer’s assessment of the situation, something they made clear by responding to Twitter/X accounts aggregating quotes from Observer Radio & further speculating on what Dave said.
For a “Reporter” he doesn’t know much of do ANY research! lol pic.twitter.com/ZF9N3LY1AS— Buddy Matthews (@SNM_Buddy) January 29, 2024
Funny how someone’s opinion just becomes fact because they’ve been watching wrestling a long time. The format and stipulation of the cage match was always what it was going to be. It’s not our fault the wording on the graphic changed. https://t.co/zGuNP61TxN— Big Bad Brody King (@Brodyxking) January 29, 2024
I usually don't comment on stuff like this, but before this idea spreads or gets out of hand, the wording change was just for clarity.— Will Washington (@WillWashington) January 29, 2024
It was absolutely escape rules when the first match graphic dropped. https://t.co/3nubqqtQNL
Feel free to judge this round of “wrestlers & wrestling companies vs. dirt sheets” in the comments below.