It’s easy to forget this ever happened, but it looked like Aleister Black and Big E were set to feud in WWE starting in May 2021. That’s because Black returned to WWE on the May 21 episode of SmackDown (after a lengthy hiatus) in the show-closing angle to screw Large Epsilon over in an Intercontinental title match against Apollo Crews.
That turned out to be Aleister’s final appearance in WWE; he was released less than two weeks later. Big E was left in limbo after plans changed and admitted WWE told him nothing about whatever the original plans were for him and Black.
In an interview with talkSPORTS’s Alex McCarthy, Black echoed a similar sentiment that he was mostly left in the dark about the direction for a feud with Big E. However, he was led to believe there would be a match at SummerSlam 2021:
“The only note that I ever got was that it was going to lead to me and him at SummerSlam. That’s all I know and after that, it was whatever it was going to be.”
“He won the title exactly two months after I got released and he was kind of in limbo but very quickly they were building him up to, rightfully so, be the champion.”
“So I messaged him and he gave me the best message back. We were like man, what a difference two months can make for two individuals that were basically lost in the shuffle who were set out to do great things, but then kind of muffled down.”
“In two months, everything changed for the both of us. I have a lot of love and appreciation for Big E, and respect.”
For what it’s worth, Big E went on to wrestle against sad Baron Corbin in a SummerSlam pre-show match.
Months later, Big E is the current WWE champion and Malakai Black is now thriving in AEW. So yeah, things have worked out quite well for both wrestlers.