It has been teased for the last few weeks with a series of cryptic videos but during this week’s SmackDown main event, Aleister Black made his much-anticipated return to the ring.
The appearance happened at the conclusion of a fantastic Intercontinental title match pitting champion Apollo Crews against Big E, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens in a Fatal Four-way match.
After almost 25 minutes of action, Big E was in apparent control of the bout, neutralising Crews’ towering cornerman Commander Azeez.
As Big E reentered the ring, the arena lights dipped and a single spotlight illuminated Black standing on the stage in a swirl of mist. With Crews holding on to E’s leg, Black entered the ring and hit his Black Mass finisher on the former New Day member, allowing the champion the opportunity for the easy pin to retain his title.
As Crews celebrated we saw Black back at the top of the ramp with an evil smirk on his face to close the show.
It has felt a long way back for Black in WWE recently. Having thrived on Raw when the programme was under the control of Paul Heyman, the former NXT Champion seemingly lost his way after Heyman’s removal from power and he was drafted to SmackDown in October 2020’s draft.
He failed to make a single appearance on the blue brand though and it was rumoured he was on his way out of the promotion after his wife Thea Trinidad (Zelina Vega) was released in November after rows over the use of streaming platforms by WWE talent to make money independently of the company.
Black’s return opposite one of the brand’s top babyfaces bodes well for his immediate future and we look forward to seeing him back as a full time regular.