It’s been one month since the WWE Draft took place, which means we have a decent sense of which wrestlers are being pushed, and which ones are left in creative limbo.
Aleister Black is one wrestler who unfortunately finds himself in the latter group. The warning signs jumped off the page when he was picked in the last round of the televised draft, in the same group as Titus O’Neil, Peyton Royce, Carmella, and Akira Tozawa. Aleister was placed in a draft round alongside several jobbers. What the heck was that all about?
It looked like his Raw feud with Kevin Owens was being moved over to Friday nights when they briefly exchanged blows as part of a full roster brawl on the season premiere of SmackDown. But that’s all the air time Black has found so far in his new home. He hasn’t wrestled in a single match since changing brands.
He’s not alone in purgatory, though. Apollo Crews received a decent push on Raw this summer, where he won the United States championship. But SmackDown has never been kind to him. He was also part of that big brawl on the season premiere episode of SmackDown; it ended with Crews and Shorty G being simultaneously tossed around with ease by Lars Sullivan. That’s a spot for low card babyfaces, which isn’t a good sign for Apollo. He has not wrestled a match on SmackDown since the draft, either.
One of the reasons that Black and Crews have not wrestled on Friday nights is because, unlike Raw, SmackDown is a two hour television show. There is a time crunch on Friday nights; even Dominik Mysterio and Intercontinental champion Sami Zayn have not received any match time on SmackDown since the draft took place. This is not a problem that is exclusive to WWE; AEW Dynamite is another two hour show that struggles to find time for everyone on a very large roster.
When a situation like this happens, it’s easy to look up and down the card at who is being featured, and wonder why one wrestler is pushed while another is ignored. In this case, Lars Sullivan sticks out like a sore thumb. He is getting a big push right now, and that’s television time that could be going to Aleister Black, Apollo Crews, Sami Zayn, or Kalisto.
Unlike Crews and Kalisto, Aleister Black has never been treated like a jobber before in WWE. In his case, it’s definitely better to be off television for a month instead of regularly losing matches each week. He can be inserted into the mix right away without having to undo a heap of creative damage. But he’s nowhere to be seen right now, and this is probably his most perilous moment on the main roster, where his push feels like it could finally be in jeopardy.
What do you think the future holds for Black on SmackDown?