For the past few months, Aleister Black has not been utilized on Friday Night SmackDown, and rumors have suggested that WWE officials do not have anything planned for him. However, the latest update on the former NXT Champion suggests that the company's creative team might have something big in store for him after all.
On Friday, Heel by Nature cited a members' only audio clip from PWInsider Elite, noting that Black's purported return is supposed to be a big deal. However, it remains unclear when the promotion plans to bring the Dutchman back to television after his extended absence, or whether or not he will receive a new gimmick.
"I was told he was purposely pulled from television so he [can come back] and have a big dramatic [re-debut] for SmackDown, and it just hasn't happened. My feeling is maybe the stuff with his wife Zelina [Vega], might have led to them saying 'hey, let's wait a bit, let's the waters kind of calm."Prior to getting taken off television, Black's last three matches were on Monday Night Raw and were all against his rival at that time, Kevin Owens, with the last one taking place on the October 12 edition of the red brand's show. These bouts came weeks after Black turned heel for the first time since he joined WWE — a move that was reportedly carried out in order to give Owens a villainous rival after he was removed from the feud between Seth Rollins and Rey Mysterio.
During the October 2020 draft, Black was drafted to SmackDown, though the issues regarding Vega's firing in November led to rumors that he is not being used on the blue brand as punishment for his wife's opposition to WWE's policy against the use of third-party platforms. However, there have also been reports claiming that his lack of exposure is a result of executive director Bruce Prichard's preference for established veterans over young and/or promising newcomers. This is in contrast to how Paul Heyman -- while serving in the same capacity for Raw -- supposedly wanted to give Black a better push.
While Black, despite the apparent plans for his return, remains in limbo, that doesn't appear to be the case with Apollo Crews, who was also mentioned as another SmackDown mid-carder whose push has suffered due to Prichard's preference for longtime mainstays. As reported earlier this week by 411 Mania, Heyman has recently been teasing the possibility of the former United States Champion joining his and Roman Reigns' heel stable.