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Wrestling / Aleister Black

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Allow yourself to fade to black.

"No man is ever truly good!
No man is ever truly evil!
I do the things you never could!
And we will never be equal!"
— "Root of All Evil", his former WWE theme music

Aleister Black (real name Thomas Budgen, born May 19, 1985) is a former kickboxer turned professional wrestler hailing from Alkmaar, North Holland, The Netherlands, who is currently signed with All Elite Wrestling after being released by WWE on June 2, 2021. He has performed all over the world, most recently on the WWE Raw brand. He was trained by Chris Hero, Bob Schrijber, Johnny Kidd, Mike Quackenbush and Nigel McGuinness.

He fought in Pro Wrestling Holland, Wrestling/Insane Championship Wrestling, PROGRESS Wrestling, Westside Xtreme Wrestling, Over the Top Wrestling, Revolution Pro Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Showdown among others. He also worked for international promotions, such as CZW, EVOLVE, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and Big Japan Pro Wrestling. He held a plethora of titles including the wXw World Lightweight Championship (2x), ICWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship, CWN Mittelgewichtsmeisterschaft Championship, FWG Lightweight Championship, PWS Heavyweight Championship, wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship, SWE Tag Team Championship, FCP Championship and ICWA Heavyweight Champion as Tommy End, and the WWE NXT Champion as Aleister Black. He also held the wXw World Tag Team Championship (2x), ICWA European Tag Team Championship, ICW Tag Team Championship, PROGRESS Tag Team Championship and PWH Tag Team Championship as part of The Sumerian Death Squad.

After being released from WWE, he showed up on the 7th of July episode of AEW Dynamite now going under the name Malakai Black.note  Alongside his work in AEW, he has also made many appearances in Pro Wrestling Guerilla, becoming PWG World Tag Team Champions alongside Brody King. King and Buddy Matthews would later join Black in AEW as the House of Black.

No trope is ever truly good, no trope is ever truly evil

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    In General 
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Despite being a dark, brooding character who incorporates a lot of occult symbols into his appearance, he describes himself as being neither saint nor sinner, just someone who maintains the balance. Tommy End was even part of "The Sumerian Death Squad", a team with The Gimmick of being Illuminati hitmen while still presented as faces. Thoroughly averted in AEW however, where Malakai Black is strongly implied to be possesed by the Devil himself.
  • Extremity Extremist: He has a ton of kicks and knees in his arsenal.
  • Finishing Move: A Diving Double Foot Stomp called "Owari Death Stomp/Blood Moon Stomp", a modified Dragon Sleeper called "Owari Death Clutch/Dragon Slayer/Dark Ritual", and a Spin Kick called "Black Mass"/"The End."
  • Happily Married: to Zelina Vega.
  • I Know Karate: Kickboxing. He's a trained martial artist who incorporates a lot of kickboxing moves into his arsenal.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: He and Zelina have six cats in total (they have three each).
  • Knuckle Tattoos: Has "Anti Hero" tattooed across his knuckles.
  • Tattoo as Character Type: His body is covered with various religious and occult symbols, indicating his interest in the supernatural.
  • The Mentor: Trained plenty of wrestlers as well, among them Isla Dawn, his long time Tag Team partner Michael Dante, and his kayfabe cousin Marc End. A more abarcative list can be found here.
  • Signature Move: A Modified Octopus Stretch called "Anti Cross", an Exploder Suplex, an O'Connor Roll, a Roundhouse Kick, a Running Knee Strike, a Saito Suplex, a Spinning Heel Kick, a Springboard Moonsault and a Springboard Moonsault Plancha.

    As Tommy End 
  • Badass Boast: While in The Sumerian Death Squad, in a promo for a match against The London Riots, whilst pointing towards Michael Dante:
    "I am the Devil and I've brought hell with me!"
  • Bash Brothers: With Chris Hero.
  • Combat Commentator: Took part on the booth on BJW World Triangle Night In Osaka, a crossover between BJW, CZW and wXw.
  • Crowd Chant: "Tommy, Tommy, Tommy Fucking End" and "You're going to get your fucking head kicked in".
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Very seldom you would see Dante and Tommy separated.
  • Power Stable:
    • Legion, with Chris Renfrew, Michael Dante and Mikey Whiplash.
    • The Mind, with Adam Polak, WALTER, Michael Dante and Karsten Beck.
  • Red Baron: "The Anti-Hero" and "The End".
  • Tag Team:
    • "Chocolate City Saga", with Andrew Patterson.
    • "Crimson City Saga", with Zack Sabre Jr..
    • "Heroes Eventually Die" with Chris Hero in EVOLVE.
    • "Next Generation Superstars" with Steve Douglas.
    • "The Sumerian Death Squad", with Michael Dante/Anthony Zeus.
  • Tournament Arc: Won several tournaments: wXw World Lightweight Tournament 2006, FWG Lightweight Title Tournament, wXw Chase the Mahamla, wXw 16 Carat Gold Tournament 2013, Super 8 Cup 2, wXw 16 Carat Gold Tournament 2015 and Super Strong Style 16 2016.
  • Unrelated Brothers: Has a kayfabe cousin, Marc End.

    As Aleister/Malakai Black 
  • Aborted Arc: He was released from WWE right after he was given a new storyteller gimmick where he would talk about the "Dark Father", which was introduced in a series of intricate vignettes. His final appearance on SmackDown set up a feud with Big E, attacking him during a four-way match for the Intercontinental Championship and allowing champion Apollo Crews to pin him for the win, but where it would've gone from there remains a mystery.
  • All Just a Dream: The Instagram vignette which introduced Malakai Black reveals that Aleister Black was actually the result of visions Tommy End had while incarcerated in a mental hospital over the past five years. Maybe, as Tommy End denies this, and upon becoming Malakai Black he regains the facial bruising that Seth Rollins and Murphy gave him in WWE.
  • Anti-Hero: Cast this way in NXT. Brutal, brooding, and frankly scary looking — yet pushed, at least nominally, as a babyface. (For bonus points, he has "Anti Hero" tattooed on his knuckles.)
  • Arch-Enemy:
    • Johnny Gargano, who was the one who put Black out of action prior to TakeOver: Brooklyn IV.
    • Buddy Murphy, Black's most prominent and best-received main roster rival. After a feud which would see Murphy disrespect Black even when he tried to acknowledge Murphy's skill and throw literally everything in his arsenal at the Dutch Destroyer, Black ultimately emerged with an utterly lopsided 3-0 win-loss record against his rival, a humiliation which would drive Murphy to align himself with Seth Rollins' new faction.
  • Blood Knight: On the main roster, especially. Half his promos are him literally begging someone to come "pick a fight" with him.
  • Boring, but Practical: His Black Mass finisher isn't the most visually impressive thing you'll see in a wrestling ring. But as one might expect, if someone eats a spinning heel kick to the face they tend not to get up for a while.
  • Canon Welding: As Malakai Black, he keeps damaged right eye that Seth Rollins and Murphy gave him in WWE.
  • Catchphrase: Took him a while to get one, as he just didn't talk often enough. Nowadays, if you're an enemy of his, he will promise to make you "fade to black."
  • Death Glare: Black is fond of giving them to the camera.
  • Demonic Possession: The debut vignette for Malakai Black, "The Devil Made Me Do It" ends with the implication that Black is either possessed by the Devil, or at least is insane enough to wholeheartedly believe he is. The conveniently-timed blackout that facilitiates his brutal escape suggests that the former is quite possible.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Black's signature taunt, just sitting down and waiting. He's capable of sliding into it from just about anything and once he starts he won't stop until his opponent bites the bait. The speed at which he can pull it off makes him feel like a snake, coiled and ready to strike.
  • Draw Aggro: His first match on NXT's television proper was him sitting in the middle of the ring...and catching the poor fool that took the bait with the Black Mass kick.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: His in-ring debut on NXT was actually in an exhibition match during the UK Championship Tournament, where he wrestled as Tommy End against Neville.
  • Eye Scream: A secondary victim in 2020 of Seth Rollins and his "Monday Night Messiah" obsession with eye-gouging (although in Black's case it was at the hands of old rival Murphy on Rollins' orders). The attack left Black with mismatched eyes, one of his irises darkened from a light blue to black, and seems to have had an effect on his mental state as well.
  • Face–Heel Turn: On the August 24 episode of Raw, Black return in The Kevin Owens Show and attacked Kevin Owens and turned heel first time in WWE.
  • Hell-Bent for Leather: Aleister's entrance gear invariably includes a black leather vest, often decorated with tarot designs and sometimes incorporating Spikes of Villainy.
  • Hollywood Satanism: Averted. Black isn't your usual screaming fanatic and takes Satanism very seriously.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: As fitting for his name, his coolly menacing demeanor and seemingly complete disinterest in engaging friends or fans evokes this compared to his more arrogant and hostile heel rivals.
  • Mythology Gag: In AEW, his spinning heel kick finisher was renamed "The End," which was his Red Baron in the independent circuit.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: "Aleister Black" definitely has some foreboding feeling to it.
  • One-Hit Kill: The Black Mass is insanely well-protected in an era where finisher kickouts have become a hallmark of great matches. Generally speaking, one good kick from Black is enough to put away a solid 98% of his opponents.
  • Perky Female Minion: Had one in Nikki Cross for a while, after she let it slip that she knew who had attacked him. Nikki would pop up in Aleister's wake to troll anyone in the vicinity.
  • Pivotal Wake Up: The literal "tilting-to-upright-by-their-feet", albeit with the aid of lying on a platform.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Delivered an amazing wrestling version of one right at the end of his match at NXT TakeOver: WarGames II.
    Black: I absolve you of all your sins.
    [immediately annihilates Gargano with the Black Mass]
  • Put on a Bus: Attacked in the parking lot on NXT in August 2018, resulting in his withdrawal from an upcoming championship match, his disappearance from NXT for a couple of months, and an entire "whodunit?" angle where Regal and other onscreen NXT officials try to figure out who attacked him. On the October 24th taping, as Black already knew who the perpetrator was on the previous episode and was actively looking for him, the audience got their answer in the form of a superkick from Johnny Gargano.
  • The Quiet One: He's not very talkative, as it took several months after his debut to finally speak.
  • Red Baron: Two of them, to be precise: "The Anti-Hero" and "The Dutch Destroyer".
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: If Malakai appears with his damaged right eye is bright red instead of white, it's an omen of an important event taking place imminently, for instance his eye was red before the debut of Buddy Matthews.
  • Religious Bruiser: Very apparent, although the specifics of his 'faith' are skated around somewhat.
  • Tarot Motifs: His jackets have certain Tarot motifs sewn on them, aptly describing his opponents and the situation they're in.
  • Unstoppable Rage: After he was informed of the perpetrator of the sneak attack that put him on the shelf for several months. Black was not happy.
  • Wrestling Monster: A rare tweener variation. His One-Hit Kill finisher has beaten countless wrestlers flat, while Black himself has very rarely been pinned or submitted, and every time it happened was the result of some kind of interference, screwjob, or other assorted shenanigans. He's protected like a top face but with a more imposing character that better fits that type of booking.

Alternative Title(s): Tommy End, Malakai Black