Malakai Black released a lengthy statement on his social media explaining why he told the Prestige Wrestling crowd in California on Sept. 17 that he was taking time off to “recalibrate.” This, however, did not end the rumors and speculation about his future. So Black took to Instagram Live early this morning (September 27) to address his status again – something which apparently led to threats against his life.
“You know, there’s nothing I want to do less right now than go live – especially at a time when I’m supposed to take care of myself and take care of a lot of stuff in my private life. But some people just can’t shut their mouths and create things that don’t exist, so I have to come back here and, well, have a chat with you guys.
“Guys, how many times do I have to tell people… if you can’t even figure out the years of my contract, which is a tiny detail, then how do people expect that? that these guys know very intimate and private details regarding my private business? Our contracts are not for five years. Our contracts have never been for five years. Like again, this is all bullshit These are all lies.
“So I posted a statement, and even though you – and of course all of you read my statement – because even if you read my statement, it clearly says that even ‘release’ is in quotes. Now, if you don’t know what the quotes mean, it means the author doesn’t agree with said quotes or said choice of words. Or, it also means it’s not his wording. Then it’s followed by a bunch of multiple things regarding my matrimonial affairs but he even says these things about my parole – it’s wrong so how do you still think why do people still write that I have my parole …like, why do you trust these people to tell you the truth? Because it’s not true.
“In a time when I’m supposed to take care of myself and relax, I have to deal with this kind of stupid bullshit from people who aren’t in the business pretending they’re in the business with all their sources And you know, the worst thing is that for three days, nothing but bizarre hateful comments, and today even two death threats. Death threats? Death threats? You wish death on a nobody because of what someone else said, and then you say it’s confirmed? It’s not confirmed. It’s clearly not confirmed. None of this is confirmed. It’s not there is no confirmation because I did not leave.
“Fortunately, and that’s what it’s all about, Tony gave me time off to take care of a lot of stuff. This was all cleared up a few weeks ago. All that was weeks ago. And I posted this statement in summary form so you can understand why I’m taking time off. Again, it’s in the statement! It’s in the statement. It’s mind-boggling that – if that’s not enough of an incentive for you to stop believing these people, then I don’t know what is. Because if you were part of this whole mob that… like I said, sends me a bunch of hateful comments based on someone else’s words? So sorry but you are stupid. You are stupid.
“And of course, again, does anyone understand that in the time that I’m going through this stuff and dealing with a bunch of stuff – very productively – that it doesn’t exactly help not? What I hate about it is that none of these dirty sheets are going to take responsibility, none of these guys are going to take responsibility and say, ‘Oh shit, we screwed up, I’m sorry. We probably shouldn’t have said that. He goes through stuff. Maybe we shouldn’t make all these baseless assumptions,” because again, it turns out not to be true. None of this is true. Not a single thing is true…
“Again, if you were part of that mob that felt the need to send me death threats…stop believing those things. It’s amazing to me. Anyway, I’ll see you in a few weeks, maybe a few months. Like I said, I only take time off. That’s it. I’m just taking a little time. That’s it. There’s no conspiracy there. I’m just taking a little time. Very well? I will see you soon. Take care of yourself, stop believing any other story. Now that I’ve debunked it, nothing happens. Don’t believe these people, huh? I’m doing well. I’m doing well. Everything is fine. You’ll see me again soon with AEW. I’m just going to take a little time. That’s it.
“And guys, last thing before I go. Don’t make me an instrument for all this tribalism, us versus them, because I don’t do that stuff. I don’t do the whole “Team AEW vs. Team WWE” thing. I don’t play that.
There’s a lot to unpack here, and overall, it sucks that it’s causing Malakai so much stress. Obviously, the death threats are coming from people who are either really malicious trolls, unable to keep their fandom in perspective, or both. You could just tell Black to stay offline and out of the comments, but interacting with fans on the web is integral to how he and his wife Zelina Vega make money. They should be able to do this without being exposed to extreme levels of toxicity. Unfortunately, that’s not the world we live in.
Interacting with fans who read reports and listen to talk about Black’s future makes it difficult to come to terms with those reports. But (as you might expect, I suppose, given my job), I disagree with Malakai’s assertion that everything said is a lie, or that there isn’t there is no place for these reports in business and the community. He is an interpreter in a national television program, in a competitive field. Getting the media to report on the status of his contract or possible future career plans is part of the job. It’s normal for NBA players. Actors from popular shows like Grey’s Anatomy Go with it. Professional wrestlers have to do it too.
Black’s “I’m telling you, so believe it and stop considering other possibilities” stance is also hard to take. For better or for worse, professional wrestling is an industry built on the misdirection of the public. There are countless examples of wrestlers being vague or misleading fans as a business tactic and storytelling device. It seems fairly unlikely that Black will do that here, but it’s hard for fans and industry watchers to turn off our learned one-person skepticism.
(There’s also nothing anyone in any field or business can say in 2022 that everyone will accept without question, but that’s a much broader discussion.)
Even the “minor detail” Malakai refers to – the length of his contract – isn’t something the Dave Meltzers and Sean Ross Sapps of the world have gotten wrong. It came from Tony Khan himself in one of AEW owner’s regulars Exploded open radio appearances. This proves that it is difficult to analyze all the available information. Misinterpretations are going to happen even when everyone has the best intentions.
That said, I hope Black’s time off allows him to handle all the private business he needs and that he returns to AEW for an amazing run. Anyone who talks about these issues deserves the vitriol that comes their way. And he’s absolutely right about the uselessness of tribalism, especially those that push it to death threats.
But it’s still not unreasonable to cover up the business dealings of a public figure.