Since moving to SmackDown Live, Aleister Black has been cutting promos in a dark room calling for challengers. Is it time for him to step out of the shadows and back into the ring?
Aleister Black is one of the finest prospects to come out of NXT. The Dutchman has amazing agility for a big man and his kickboxing background provides an even more lethal arsenal of moves. Black had some of the most memorable matches of the NXT brand. When he moved up to the main roster as part of a tag team with Ricochet, the two Superstars gelled together. But the team really didn’t make much sense as both are really better suited to be singles stars.
During the Superstar Shake-Up, things got a little weird. Originally Andrade and Zelina Vega were moved to the Raw brand. Being that Vega and Black are married in real-life, this worked in their favor. Then, for reasons unknown, Andrade and Vega were moved back to SmackDown. Because WWE makes every attempt not to split up real-life couples, this meant Black moved to the blue brand as well.
Since the transition, Black hasn’t been featured in-ring on television yet. Instead, he’s been a prominent fixture cutting weekly backstage promos begging for someone to challenge him. Randy Orton and Buddy Murphy (another Superstar moved to SmackDown Live who has yet to wrestle on TV) both accepted the challenge on Twitter. But what goes down on social media doesn’t always translate to the ring. Except in this case, it’s been said that Black has faced Orton on house shows and went over on him. That doesn’t happen with a veteran like Orton unless there are big plans in the works for Black.
So why isn’t Black wrestling on TV yet? The WWE roster is saturated with talent which is why they had to do a brand split in the first place. Now, as the deal with FOX taking on SmackDown Live is fast approaching it’s forcing that brand split to dissolve, which means the top tier of talent gets featured a lot more on both shows, not just one.
But Black isn’t being pushed to the bottom of the pile like some Superstars who don’t even get screen time. He’s visually on screen week after week to keep viewers intrigued. They did the same thing with Lacey Evans and now Bray Wyatt. Evans didn’t wrestle for months but she was a constant presence on both Raw and SmackDown Live, and when she finally did make her move it was a big one against Raw Women’s Champion Becky Lynch.
Wyatt has yet to return to the ring either but his Firefly Fun House segments are a huge weekly draw. Having the Superstars not jump into in-ring action right away is not a bad thing when they’re still featured heavily. It means creative is biding their time and trying to find the perfect fit for that Superstar so they don’t get lost in the shuffle.
According to Black himself, during an episode of Sheamus’ Celtic Warrior Workouts, his call-up was a last minute thing. There were no plans in place, but they knew they wanted to bring him up. Now it appears he’s being groomed for something big, we’re just not privy to what it is yet.
Or, they don’t have a clue what they want to do yet but they know it needs to be something big and they’re biding their time. Truth is we don’t know what goes on behind-the-scenes regardless of all the hearsay.
So let’s take a breath and not get bent out of shape just yet. There could be bigger things in the works and we just have to wait and see what it turns into. Think of it as the vignettes of old when they would show a guy like Razor Ramon for weeks on end before he ever stepped foot in the ring. It’s creating anticipation, so when Black does make his move it will be the right one.