Reason why WWE kept Aleister Black and Big E's off SmackDown this week

Aleister Black and Big E

A fresh rivalry has been brewing as of late on SmackDown with Aleister Black, after weeks of vignettes, returning on the Blue Brand last week to attack Big E.

The Dutch Superstar delivered his fourth chapter from "The Tales of the Dark Father," before attacking E during last week's Fatal-4-way Intercontinental Championship main event, hitting him with a devastating Black Mass.

The pair didn't appear on Friday however, but were backstage. This is according to PWInsider, who say the reason behind this decision is because the company doesn't want to rush the feud.

This is an interesting move considering the amount of times the company has gone full steam ahead with new rivalries in the past.

Black's absence from WWE programming before this was a lengthy one. The one-time NXT Champion was drafted to the brand last year and only had a brief showing in October 2020.

His distraction last week allowed Apollo Crews to retain the Intercontinental Title in a match that saw him face E, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens.

This week's episode of SmackDown saw Crews clash with Owens in a non-title match. The champion was about to lose the bout after Kevin hit him with a Stunner, but Commander Azeez stopped the count by hitting Owens with a Nigerian Nail.

As announced by WWE Official Adam Pearce, next week will see Owens have the chance to dethrone Crews and become a three-time Intercontinental Champion. The call could be in his court too, as this time there will be no Azeez at ringside.

Following the news that he will have to defend his title next week alone, Crews said in a backstage interview that he can beat Owens on his own.

"Next week, not only will I remain Intercontinental Champion, but I will hurt Kevin Owens," he said.

Azeez Nigerian Nail

"I'm going to show him and everybody else, I don't need anybody's help to win."

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