Aleister Black recently spoke with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated for an in-depth interview about his WWE career.
During the discussion, Black spoke about shifting from his NXT persona to the new character he has developed into today on the WWE main roster, his thoughts on Roman Reigns' heel turn, the new-and-improved Drew McIntyre and more.
Featured below are some of the highlights of the new SI interview with Aleister Black.
On getting away from his NXT persona and shifting to the new character he has developed into today on the WWE main roster: "I think the reason for that is we moved so far away from what Aleister Black was in NXT that people started getting confused about what exactly Aleister Black was supposed to be. After a few conversations, I said, ‘I need a different direction.’ That led to the creation of this new Aleister Black, where he is a little more human and people can latch on to him quicker. Being human doesn’t mean you necessarily have to be a good guy. It also can mean that it is a villain, and you can better understand the motives of where the character comes from. You don’t have to agree with the motives to understand them, but the motive had got lost for Aleister Black on the main roster."
"The opportunities presented on Raw and SmackDown are this great chessboard. Aleister Black, he feels that he has never had the opportunity to do what he needs to do. If he doesn’t get those opportunities, he’s going to burn the whole chessboard. If that means he’s sent to purgatory, that’s fine, because he’s been in purgatory. If you want to take it one step further and send him to hell, that’s fine, too. He’s accustomed to hell, his whole childhood was spent there.
"If Aleister Black doesn’t get his opportunity, then no one does. That is a much more relatable antagonistic way of looking at things. Before, that motive wasn’t as clear. A few months ago, what did he stand for? He was fighting for himself, then he got entangled with Rey Mysterio, and that left himself open to vicious beatings each week. It seemed like he never learned from his mistakes, which is strange for Aleister, because he seems so calculated. That got shuffled away a little bit."
On his goals for the new Aleister Black character: "Initially, I want to establish this character. I want to establish this entrance, I want to establish this aesthetic. I want people to understand this character to the fullest extent. My character has always been designed to generate a response. I want this character to be a fundamental piece within the WWE universe that is understood and can move forward on this chessboard, and eventually get to the point where we have title matches. If those title matches somehow fail, then what is the consequence? Then what happens? I don’t want to do this for a while, then do that for a while. I want there to be multiple outros and intros for any type of storyline where I get involved."
On his thoughts on the new version of Roman Reigns aligned with Paul Heyman as a heel character: "I feel like this is the best work he’s ever done. Roman is in that super rare spot where he is so comfortable in the role that his confidence is Level 1000. Everything is presented in a way that is super organic, it makes you think he’s not even playing a character. To be honest, I don’t think he is playing a character. I think this is playing to every strength of Roman Reigns, of which there are a lot.
"I’d love to be entangled with Roman and Paul, and I’ve spoken with Paul about this before. There are a lot of things that move the different pieces on that chessboard, getting me to checkmates, and that’s one of them."
On his thoughts on the new version of Drew McIntyre as WWE Champion: "When it comes to Drew, he is a true competitor. Drew is a goliath, a behemoth of a man, but he is also a giant in his dedication to this sport. Rarely do we see a redemption story the size of Drew McIntyre. He came in as the next big promise, then completely fell off, only to build himself back up and rise to the top. He’s carrying the WWE and the entire country of Scotland on his shoulders, and he’s not only good at it—he’s knocking it out of the park. Drew belongs in the position he’s in. He’s worked so hard for it and sacrificed so much.
"If I were working with Drew, expect some of the hardest-hitting matches you’ve ever seen. There is no pulling punches with Drew, but there is also no pulling punches with me. As Europeans, we have more to prove that we belong on the American market, and this would be two hard-headed, hard-hitting Europeans going at it."
Check out the complete Aleister Black interview at SI.com.
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