The subject of this article is indie sensation and mysterious NXT superstar, Aleister Black. The Dutch Destroyer is still new to the scene in NXT, but has proven he should not be underestimated. He is already on quite the undefeated streak since his arrival, but he has a decade and a half of experience to prove it. He is a dark and dangerous competitor, but is he dangerous enough to continue his rampage on NXT towards a main roster debut?
Black isn't quite a household name like Hideo Itami and Eric Young, but the name Tommy End has some history to it. He has competed all over the world with promotions such as Insane Championship Wrestling, Progress Wrestling, Evolve, Big Japan Pro, and Westside Xtreme Wrestling. Real name Tom Budgen and born May 19, 1985 in the Netherlands, he has an extensive background in martial art and trains in kickboxing, which influences his in-ring style. He was dominant in xWx, winning the Unified World Wrestling Championship, World Lightweight Championship, and World Tag Team Championship. With Michael Dante, the two of them were a force in the tag team division in several promotions, winning the tag team titles in six different promotions. WWE saw him as an opportunity to steal one of the best indie tag team competitors to bright their own company.
The Last 12 Months...
Black has been with the company for just over a year now, although he has accomplished the most with WWE more recently.
In June 2016, he signed with WWE and reported to the WWE Performance Center in October. In November, he made his in-ring debut and was victorious. To start the new year in 2017, Budgen showcased his new persona Aleister Black to the world. One week later, he made a surprise appearance in the WWE UK Championship Tournament and lost to Neville in a non-tournament match.
Vignettes began to air on NXT in March 2017 for Black to debut at NXT Takeover: Orlando. At the NXT event, Aleister won his first NXT match and pay-per-view match against Andrade "Cien" Almas.
In May 2017, Black made a main roster appearance sooner than any other recent NXT superstar. On WWE Main Event on the European Tour, he defeated Curt Hawkins. Most recently, he has been locked in a rivalry with Hideo Itami, who he defeated at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn III.
He is still a fresh face to the WWE Universe, but he has already made an impact bigger than most NXT stars. He has been the fastest wrestler to make their main roster debut, having just appeared in one Takeover event and only being on the NXT roster for two months. He seems to be fast-tracked to be a NXT Championship winner and/or a permanent place on either Raw or Smackdown.
Win-Loss Record (NXT TV tapings and TakeOver events since April 1, 2017 debut)
9 Wins — 0 Loss — 0 Draws
NXT TakeOver Results:
NXT TakeOver: Orlando - defeated Andrade "Cien" Almas (Pin, 3.25*)
NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III - defeated Hideo Itami (Pin, 4.5*)
Gimmick Potential & Look:
In the ring, Black's style is heavily influenced by his passion for kickboxing and martial arts in real life. His striking is among the best in NXT and seems to be a fan-favorite with the crowd. He has a hardcore gimmick, which is a mix of rock n' roll, heavy metal, and The Undertaker. His entrance is dark and smoky like the legend and he also has a quiet and dark personality. He is undefeated on NXT tapings and Takeover events and he doesn't look like he is going to lose anytime soon.
Signature Moves & Ring Work:
No undefeated streak is without a moveset and skills to back it up. He could be a Cruiserweight Champion in WWE, having the size and skills to compete with the likes of Neville and Akira Tozawa. He has the speed and agility, but also the power and strength. His kicks and knees are his signature, again having the history of kickboxing. He uses the ropes to his advantage, flying off the top rope and middle rope for high-flying action. Black Mass seems like a simple move, but his kicks deliver such power that his finisher is a very dangerous move in NXT. His wrestling IQ is amazing and he tends to recenter himself throughout his matches to keep a clear head.
Mic Skills & Charisma:
We haven't seen much from Aleister on the mic since his debut, but this isn't a disadvantage for him. He is quiet during his promos and even during his entrance, he is nothing but focused. His charisma is off the charts and his confidence is one of his strengths. Whenever Black sits in the middle of the ring, his opponent better watch out, as this is his sign for gathering his thoughts and planning the victory to his match. In the midst of a match with Kassius Ohno, Black sat in the middle of the ring as Ohno moved in to attack. Without being touched and in one swift motion, Black was to his feet and getting the upper hand. What is even more impressive is that Black isn't a heel or a face right now and being neutral is working for him.
He has only wrestled in nine live matches in NXT and two Takeover events, but a championship reign is in his near future. He has held many titles during his career, including several world championships and tag team championships. There isn't someone on Black's level to pair with him well enough for a tag team title run, but a singles title is in his sights. With Roode now on the main roster, Black could be the next contender for Drew McIntyre's NXT Championship. However, he won't need a NXT Championship reign to boost him to the main roster. He could bypass the usual path for NXT stars and just go to Raw or SmackDown and win the US title or Intercontinental title.
TakeOver: Brooklyn III- (8/19/2017)- Defeats Hideo Itami
This was Black's first feud in NXT and it was against a very popular Hideo Itami, fresh on his run as a heel. In a hard-fought match, Black was victorious and pinned one of the best performers in NXT. Even after being busted open and beaten down, he hit a Black Mass out of nowhere for the win. This will likely be his launch pad for a NXT Championship feud.
Yet To Be Seen
Black has only had nine live matches, all of which he won, and all that were impressive. He has yet to have a dull moment in WWE and he most likely won't for the foreseeable future.
- Over well with WWE Universe, as neither a heel or babyface
- International presence
- Master of the dark and quiet demeanor
- Excellent in-ring skills
- Championship History
- Minimal work with promos
- Needs matches against more top tier talents
The conclusion is that Aleister Black is just starting his path to the main event in WWE. The WWE Universe is clearly behind him and he has not had a negative moment. He will likely have a title around his waist by the end of the year, but he needs to have more promos to help give him that final edge. Whenever his streak does end and he suffers his first loss, it will only make Black work harder and make him more dangerous. Buy into Black, as he is going to be a future world champion.
Stock Advisement: Future world champion. He will be a champion and could headline a pay-per-view by the end of the year. Black can bring a new presence to WWE and can be more of a mystery than Bray Wyatt.
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