Aleister Black recently spoke with Iain Chambers during Download Festival; you can read a few transcribed highlights and watch the full interview below:
(Transcription credit to Bill Pritchard for Wrestlezone.com)
Was WWE always his goal?
No. So when I started back in 2000, which is 18 years ago, obviously WWE at that time was a ‘land of the giants.’ I am by no way, shape or size, a giant. I’m six feet, 250 pounds—now—back in the day when I started I was barely 140 pounds, and I wanted to do what was obtainable. Was I a fan of WWE? Yeah, of course, but I also knew that it was not going to be a thing for me, up until the point where NXT came to the foreground. A lot of my friends that I was competing against on the independent scene were getting signed, and I was like ‘wait a minute, something’s changing’ and the landscape of professional wrestling really changed when NXT was brought in. NXT brought something to professional wrestling that wasn’t done at the time. It brought so many characters and so many different styles to the light, and it became more accessible to me. All of the sudden, there’s an email in my inbox, and the thing that I thought was once unobtainable was now obtainable.
Does he focus on living up to the standard of past NXT Champions?
You look at the Shinsuke Nakamuras, the Bobby Roodes, the Samoa Joes, even traveling back to Seth Rollins and Big E, the heritage that this belt has is endless. It’s heavy, so I have a big responsibility to do right by this belt. I want to do right by WWE and NXT as the brand holder and title holder of this company.
Coming up with his Fade To Black finishing move:
It just comes from my background in martial arts. Back in 2005-6, I started going back to kickboxing, and I just felt like I needed something in my style that wasn’t seen. I’m not going to stand here and say I invented the knee strike, because I didn’t, but the way I did them with the switching knee strike and the spinning heel kick the way I did it—I’d never seen it come up to someone’s face. I’d seen it where they came up to the calf and the chest, but I’d never seen it where they came with their heel and the tip of their toes and connecting with someone. I’ve seen leaping knee strikes where people would jump with their knee, but I never saw people doing it from a Muay Thai [position], which is a big part of my background. I just started to figure out ways where I could implement that into professional wrestling and make it mine. That’s the two techniques that I chose, and the spinning heel kick stood out so much that it was something that stuck with me and even in NXT that’s what we went for.
What does Black make of Shawn Michaels’ recent comment about possibly coming back for a one-off match?
I read that and I was very intrigued. I think as a wrestler, as a performer, that bug, that never dies. I truly hope he will come back for one more. In the back of my head I have a few things that I would like to see, obviously I’ve connected myself to those things as well. We’re going to find out if he does, and it’s going to be fantastic.
Would Black want to see Shawn face Daniel Bryan or AJ Styles?
So, you’re asking me to pick the two guys that are arguably the best in their game, the best in the game. Each opponent, each competitor has their own thing that makes ranked in the top of the world. I think I would like to see AJ more, only because Shawn had a big hand in training Daniel, and Bryan would have an advantage. However, then you could work with a student versus teacher aspect of it, but I think I’d like it to be AJ. Sorry, Daniel.