Why Aleister Black Should Go Back To NXT

WWE, Aleister Black Photo Credit: WWE.com
WWE, Aleister Black Photo Credit: WWE.com /

In the aftermath of Zelina Vega’s shocking release from WWE, WrestleVotes reported her husband Aleister Black had requested to go back to NXT. The move was denied but given his main roster run, that decision should be strongly reconsidered.

One of the most common complaints of the modern era of professional wrestling is that very few wrestlers fit the mold of the larger-than-life characters that were major wrestling draws in previous times.

Those critics fail to take into account that in modern times, WWE goes out of its way to ensure no wrestler—at least the full time ones—comes across as bigger than the brand but if you had to name anyone on the current roster who had a different aura than the rest, Aleister Black would be the person picked more often than not.

Black’s strike-heavy attack, entrance theatrics, overall composed demeanor and ability to play mind games with his opponents had fans putting him in similar vein to The Undertaker, a competitor who would fall firmly in the larger-than-life category.

Ideally, Aleister Black would at least be in the midcard title picture if not challenging for the Universal or WWE Championship by now but since his main roster debut, Black has fallen short of all of the above.

From his debut on Raw last February, it started to become more clear that Black was the latest in a long list of NXT wrestlers that were brought over to Raw or SmackDown for the sake of being a new face, rather than having an actual long-term plan. His tag team with Ricochet was ill-fitting for his character but still worked for the time being until they were separated in the draft a few months later.

Black spent months on SmackDown waiting for someone to knock-on-my-door, a challenge answered by Cesaro. They put on good matches with Black sweeping Cesaro in the win column. After the feud ended, Black continued to get victories but didn’t have much of an actual story until the knock-on-my-door trope was repeated with Murphy on Raw.

Although they didn’t disappoint in the ring, one could argue they were pitted against each other one time too many. A pay-per-view victory over AJ Styles hinted that Black could be onto bigger things but since his win over Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania however, Black’s momentum clearly hasn’t been the same.

Black wound up playing a supporting role in the Mysterio family’s feud with Seth Rollins and Murphy, which resulted in even more matches against the latter. An eye injury at the hands of Rollins and Murphy led to Black turning on Kevin Owens. At the time, it was a much-needed change for Black but after losing decisively to Owens and being drafted back to SmackDown, Black has been largely absent.

With his recent runs on Raw and SmackDown not panning out the way it should’ve, Black should make his way back to NXT. NXT made Aleister Black a huge deal by creating mystique around him. Black mostly avoided alliances, rarely spoke and was protected on the few occasions he’d come out on the losing end of matches.

The Draft has cherry picked the biggest names from NXT to Raw or SmackDown in years past, leaving NXT to re-group and build new names. A few names made the jump from NXT ahead of this year’s Draft but the Draft itself left NXT’s current roster largely intact.

Many of NXT’s biggest names have had their time in the NXT Title picture. Black rejoining NXT could thrust him right back into a prominent role while giving the NXT Title scene a change of pace, especially in the midst of recent injuries to its champions. Black vs. current NXT Champion Finn Balor is a potential classic waiting to happen and his track record against Adam Cole, Johnny Gargano, and Tommaso Ciampa is already proven to produce good matches.

Black could even insert himself into the NXT North American Title picture with Damian Priest and the aforementioned Gargano or go after some mid-to-upper card roster members not currently in the title hunt.

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The mystique needs to come back for Black as WWE has made him come across as “normal” rather than the deadly enigma he was once known as in NXT. With NXT now running on a two-hour weekly timeslot and the increasing frequency of former household names returning to the show after subpar stints on other brands, there’s no reason why Black should be sitting on the sidelines unless there’s an actual plan for him.