Aleister Black On The Dark Origins Of His Character, Facing His Paralyzing Fears As A Kid, Feeling Disconnected From The World

Photo Credit: Thomas Gibson

Aleister Black was Lilian Garcia’s first ever NXT guest on today’s Chasing Glory podcast. The former NXT Champion opened up on a myriad of topics including the dark origins of the Aleister Black name and his thoughts on religion. 

On Why He Intrigues People & Being Approachable:

Obviously I have a certain look and if you’re not conventional looking (whatever that might mean actually) people want to know why you don’t fit the mold and I think sometimes people will go, ‘That’s not my cup of tea,’ and then there’s people who will go, ‘Why do you look the way you look?’ in a positive way. I’m also not as hard to approach as some people might think I am. I try to always make time for everyone, but I think that’s also one of the things that people think when they see you when you look a certain way, ‘This guy must be this or this guy must be that,’ and I am anything but.

On Judgmental People:

I also think that’s how society is formed. We’re very visual. We’re very into how something looks, how appealing certain things look or how not appealing. Everything goes through our eyes before they go through our minds.

On How Hardcore Black Metal Helped His Transformation From Tommy End To Aleister Black:

There is a considerable amount of content to what made Tommy End Tommy End and what makes Aleister Black Aleister Black, but there are a lot of similarities. I sometimes feel like Tommy End shed his skin and became Aleister Black. I truly feel that in WWE Tommy End could become Aleister Black. I needed that transition, so when I started out in wrestling – you’ve got to start somewhere – you either start by being the good guy or the bad guy. There’s a couple of cliches that follow that where you come out to the people and you wave your hands and make a strong fist like, ‘Let’s get this guys,’ and you’re automatically seen as the good guy because that’s the energy you resonate towards the audience and the flip side of that is that you look a certain way and ‘Argggh these people,’ and people automatically assume you’re the bad guy.

We can all do that to an extent and I think that in seven years I didn’t resonate with the crowd. I didn’t click and I started thinking, ‘It’s because it’s not authentic. It isn’t who you are. You’re not either the ‘yay’ guy or the ‘boo’ guy. This is not who you are. You come from a different background. You come from this tiny speck in the world called Amsterdam where there’s not a lot of wrestling at all. I was a big fan of hardcore music growing up, black metal. The hardcore scene is very much positive and very much, ‘OK, we might not look like you, but it doesn’t mean we can’t be successful.’ It’s what resonated with me because I never felt like them. I never felt the 9-5 mentality was me. I never felt like some of those norms are what make me me. The idea that I had to spend the rest of my life behind a desk and not being able to express myself the way I wanted to express myself, to me that’s torture. If people are out there that do love that, more power to them, but it just wasn’t for me. The hardcore scene was like, ‘You can express yourself and you can be you and there’s a message and it’s positivity. One for all and all for one.’ I loved that and throughout life I’ve had this actual cynicism about myself where I look at everything through a magnifying glass. I’m a bit skeptical. Skeptical doesn’t have to necessarily be a negative thing. I think if you allow yourself to second guess things and look at things from a distance you don’t immediately run into things blindfolded, so that’s a positive.

There’s a lot of layers to the Tommy character and I started putting all that stuff where, you’re not the average kid. You are not listening to regular stuff. You weren’t doing regular things, so why are you trying to be a regular person even in something that’s so so so strange and so dynamic as professional wrestling.’ I developed this character basically like an anti-hero (I call myself an anti-hero) Tommy End. From the moment I did that [snaps fingers] that’s it. Now I got it and people started to recognize it a little bit more because, at the time, professional wrestling was a little bit of a subculture. It’s not like it is in the United States….the people that were drawn to it were also drawn to subcultures. Hardcore is a subculture. Black metal is a subculture. Basically the alternative scene is kinda subculture-esque and [snaps fingers] that crowd immediately was like, ‘That’s our guy.’ It didn’t matter if I was trying to be a bad guy or a good guy. People just got it and because people got it, I started making a name for myself and promoters started to take notice and we went from Germany to the United Kingdom to Poland to Italy to France to Japan to North America. It just started getting bigger and bigger and bigger all because I made that change.

On Making The Character Darker:

I started implementing a little more darkness into the character and it became a little more cult leader type esque and it started resonating more and people were like, ‘Oh my God.’ This is what I need to be and I feel that everything I’ve done as Tommy End was setting myself up for Aleister Black.

On Who Came Up With The Aleister Black Name:

It was a collaboration between myself and Triple H. We started shooting names back and forth and I think he saw what I was trying to do and then he shot me a name and I was like, ‘I don’t hate that, but can we put it in these letterings. Can we put it this way?’ It came out to be Aleister Black and I was like [snaps fingers], ‘That’s it. BINGO.’

On His ‘Paralyzing’ Fears As A Child:

Yes, frightened, like a paralyzing fear of the dark. I think I was reading too much about stuff I shouldn’t have been reading about. I had an interest in the occult brought forth by things from my childhood and conversations with my grandfather. Sometimes when I have to put into words what made me me, I don’t even know where to begin sometimes. It was one of those things where like, ‘I have to stop reading about this stuff because it’s literally terrifying me to death.’ I was like 8 or 9 years old at the time and I’m reading about government conspiracies and I’m reading about experiments and I’m reading about hidden documents and cults and all these weird types of worship and devil worship and I’m like, ‘I’m terrifying the hell out of myself.’ As a 9 year old [that’s a lot to take in]. It just frightened me because it really opens you up to what the human mind is capable of and if this stuff came out to be true, what horrible beings human beings are and what they’re doing to one another. It was just frightening. A lot of it was frightening. I had a vast interest in ghosts and stuff and cryptozoology and every topic that was not normal….if you’re reading that stuff at 8 or 9 it has a big impact on you. I had paralyzing fear as a kid. I couldn’t watch horror movies, nothing.

The funny thing is I got so sick of being afraid that I started doing it deliberately. I started sitting up in bed at night and going, ‘Come on show yourself. Do it.’ I just started confronting stuff that wasn’t there, but for my own psyche. I’m proving to myself that there is nothing wrong with the world. I’m proving to myself that there is nothing to be afraid of and it works and at one point I had a conversation with myself and said, ‘You can do two things. You can be frightened for the rest of your life or you can just go out there as a brave 13 or 14 year old and face it head on.’ That’s what I did and after that my mind started calming down from everything and I started liking being in the dark more and I felt more energized at night. I think it’s also kind of where my reclusiveness comes from. I like being on my own all the time.

(Transcription Credit: Michael McClead, WrestleZone)