Aleister Black’s final appearance for WWE took place on the May 21 episode of SmackDown, when he showed up in the main event segment to help Apollo Crews retain the Intercontinental championship over Big E. Many pro wrestling fans naturally assumed this was the start of a feud between Black and Big E. Instead, WWE released Aleister Black less than two weeks later, quickly dropping whatever story was planned between these two wrestlers. As a result, Big E was awkwardly left in limbo.
It turns out that Big E can’t shed any light on what the plans were for him and Black. In an interview with Give Me Sport, he basically threw his hands up in the air and said he had no idea what was going on:
“I don’t know the plans. I had no idea. Obviously we’d seen the vignettes for weeks and weeks, then he comes out at the end of the main event and kicks me in the face so I think ‘alright, it’s him and I. We’re going to run for a bit’. So I definitely was surprised [by his release]...I think people were excited to see us, you know because there’s such a difference in the way that we carry ourselves, in our characters, in many ways polar opposites. I think it could have made for a lot of fun. I’m not entirely sure why things went the way they did...”
“But yeah man, I didn’t know the plan, I didn’t know where we were going. I had been married to Apollo...He’s so so good and I think we have great chemistry, but it’s been a long time with him and I. The Aleister thing was an opportunity to do something different, a nice break from that, and it just ended up fizzling.”
With Aleister Black suddenly released by WWE, Big E’s next four matches on SmackDown all included Apollo Crews as an opponent.
Big E now holds the Money in the Bank contract and can theoretically start a program with WWE champion Bobby Lashley or Universal champion Roman Reigns at any point. Would he have even qualified for or won the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match if he was instead in the midst of a feud with Aleister Black? Who knows. Based on Big E’s words, it doesn’t sound like WWE had anything specific mapped out for him and Black beyond Aleister’s initial attack.