“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil.” – Psalms 23:4
When the world witnessed Aleister Black make his debut at NXT Takeover: Orlando, he plunged the WWE Universe into darkness. Who would thought in one night he would make an impression that left wrestling fans wanting for more? His entrance, both dark and bizarre. The ambiance created caught every fan’s attention. We had never seen anything like this before. Aleister came across as very cold, calculating and above all, mysterious. This begged the question; who is Aleister Black?
“Aleister Black,” born Tom Budgen, with an average height and stature at 6″0′, 205 lbs, may come across as a small wrestler in theory. Do not let this fool you. He is deadly in the ring and can easily take down any wrestler when given the open opportunity. He hails from Holland, Amsterdam. Budgen was trained by Chris Hero (Kassius Ohno), Johnny Kidd, Nigel McGuinness, among others. He made his independent wrestling debut in 2002 under the alias, “Tommy End”.
As Tommy End, he would wrestle exclusively in Europe, touring through the United Kingdom between 2002-2016. Tommy trained extensively in both Martial Arts and Kickboxing, starting at the age of nine. He would adapt kickboxing into his arsenal throughout his wrestling career. Tommy’s style of wrestling, combined with his kickboxing and martial arts background, created a deadly arsenal of strikes, moves and holds that mold and shape him into the fierce competitor we see today.
When not competing and touring the U.K., Tommy wrestled in multiple well-known Indy feds across the globe, such as: Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG), Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) and Revolution Pro Wrestling (RPW). He would also go on to have a tour in Japan, wrestling for Big Japan Pro. Tommy would go on to win multiple world and tag team championships during this time. Through these federations, Tommy would begin grow and mature into a fighting machine. Carefully developing and crafting his style to prepare for the bright future that lied ahead.
Tommy End headlining an ICW Fight Club even with Damo, who would go on to become SAnity’s Killian Dane in NXT.
Tommy End would earn his big break in June 2016, as he would sign a contract with the WWE. He was immediately placed on the NXT roster and would begin training at WWE’s Performance Center. After months of training and sharpening his skills as a performer, Tommy began performing at house shows starting on November 3rd, where he would cut a promo by telling the WWE Universe he would “burn NXT to the ground”. A week later, on November 10th, he would make his in-ring debut by wrestling and defeating Lince Dorado in St. Augustine, Florida.
January 2016, exclusively on the WWE Network, Tommy End made a special appearance wrestling a non tournament match against Neville prior to the United Kingdom Championship Tournament. Tommy would lose the match, but enjoyed the homecoming reception he had received. This would foreshadow what was to come in the months ahead.
Tommy End answers Neville’s challenge.
NXT begins to fade to black.
During the March 8th episode of NXT, vignettes began to air showcasing the arrival of “Aleister Black”, the rechristened Tommy End. Over the next several weeks, the promo’s began to grow more dark, more mysterious. The build-up continued to rise, as the WWE Universe became excited with anticipation. The hype continued to grow, until March 22nd, when it was announced that Aleister Black would make his in-ring debut against Andrade “Cien” Almas at NXT Takeover: Orlando.
Aleister Black made his dark, mysterious and incredible debut, defeating Adrade “Chen” Almas in a compelling debut that rocked the WWE Universe to its core. Aleister instantly became a household name in the eyes of wrestling fans all over the world; especially over social media. Aleister Black would also challenge Curt Hawkins on an episode of WWE Main Event in winning fashion.
The future is looking very bright (or black) for Aleister Black. He is a truly amazing and gifted performer. We, as wrestling fans and journalists, can only hope to continue seeing Aleister rise to the occasion in becoming one of WWE’s most polarizing and mystique figures we have seen in a long time.
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