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Tom Budgen[4] (born May 19, 1985)[5] is a Dutch professional wrestler better known under the ring name Aleister Black. He is currently signed to WWE performing on the SmackDown brand. During his time in NXT he became a one-time NXT Champion. Prior to signing with WWE, Budgen worked for promotions across Europe, the United States, and Japan under the ring name Tommy End. As Tommy End he most notably wrestled for Insane Championship Wrestling, Progress Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Guerilla and Westside Xtreme Wrestling. In promotions he held numerous championships including, the wXw Unified World Heavyweight Championship, wXw World Lightweight Championship, wXw World Tag Team Championship, ICW Tag Team Championship, and the Progress Tag Team Championship. He then signed to WWE in June 2016.

Aleister Black
Aleister Black 2017 WWE.jpg
Black in May 2017
Birth nameTom Budgen
Born (1985-05-19) May 19, 1985 (age 34)
Alkmaar, Netherlands
Spouse(s)
Zelina Vega (m. 2018)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Aleister Black
Tommy End
Billed height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)[1]
Billed weight215 lb (98 kg)[2]
Billed from"The Lodge in Amsterdam"[3]
Amsterdam, Holland[2]
Trained byBob Schrijber[4]
Chris Hero[4][5]
Johnny Kidd[5]
Mike Quackenbush[5]
Nigel McGuinness[4]
DebutJune 18, 2002[6]

He debuted for WWE's NXT at 2017's NXT TakeOver: Orlando. At NXT TakeOver: New Orleans in April 2018, Black defeated Andrade Cien Almas to win the NXT Championship. He held the title until July 2018 when he lost it to Tommaso Ciampa, due to interference by Johnny Gargano. He then feuded with Ciampa and Gargano for majority of 2018, into the beginning of 2019. In February 2019, Black was promoted to the main roster, making appearances on Raw and SmackDown Live. This led to him teaming with Ricochet and challenging for the Raw Tag Team Championship at Fastlane and the SmackDown Tag Team Championship at WrestleMania 35.

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Budgen is known for having an extended background in martial arts,[citation needed] and has competed in various martial arts such as kickboxing and Maan Karate from ages 9 to 15.[citation needed] He still trains kickboxing to this day.[citation needed] He has adapted most of his background into his style, giving him a unique striking ability, and is known for utilizing devastating striking combinations to finish opponents.[citation needed] Kickboxing remains the biggest influence on his style.[citation needed]

In an interview with Colt Cabana, Budgen revealed that his father grew up in a religious cult. In the same conversation, he credited this as the inspiration for a lot of his dark and occult-driven personas in professional wrestling.[7]

Professional wrestling careerEdit

Independent circuit (2002–2016)Edit

 
Tommy End in 2016

Budgen wrestled extensively on the independent circuit in the United Kingdom and Europe under the ring name Tommy End, working for promotions like Pro Wrestling Holland, Insane Championship Wrestling, Progress Wrestling, Westside Xtreme Wrestling, Over the Top Wrestling, Revolution Pro Wrestling and Pro Wrestling Showdown among others.[5][8][9][10] He also worked for international promotions, such as North America's Combat Zone Wrestling, Evolve and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla as well as the Japanese promotion Big Japan Pro Wrestling.[11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18]

End held numerous championships, among other accolades he is a former: wXw Unified World Heavyweight Champion, wXw World Light Heavyweight Champion, wXw World Tag Team Champion, ICW Tag Team Champion, Progress Tag Team Champion.[19]

WWEEdit

NXT debut (2016–2017)Edit

In June 2016, it was reported that Budgen had signed with WWE.[20] He reported to the WWE Performance Center on 19 October.[4] On November 3, End appeared on a house show at Ft. Pierce, Florida and cut a promo saying that he came to NXT to "burn" it down. On 11 November, at a house show in St. Augustine, Florida, End made his in-ring debut, defeating Lince Dorado. On 7 January 2017, Budgen debuted the new ring name "Aleister Black".[21] On January 15, Budgen made a surprise appearance at the WWE UK Championship Tournament finals as Tommy End, losing to Neville in a non-tournament match.[22]

 
Black performing his in-ring pose in May 2017

Vignettes began to air from the 8 March episode of NXT promoting Black's television debut at NXT TakeOver: Orlando. At NXT TakeOver: Orlando, Black made his televised in-ring debut as a face, defeating Andrade "Cien" Almas.[23] In May, Black made his main roster debut on WWE Main Event while on the European Tour, defeating Curt Hawkins.[24] On the June 21 edition of NXT, he defeated Kassius Ohno.[25]

On the August 2 edition of NXT, prior to Black's match against the debuting Kyle O'Reilly, Hideo Itami cut a promo in the ring, demanding respect. Black interrupted Itami, resulting in a stand-off between the two. Black performed Black Mass on Itami, and defeated O'Reilly.[26] Itami attempted to attack Black afterwards, but the two were eventually separated.[27] At NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III, Black defeated Itami.[28] Black began a feud with Velveteen Dream, where Dream constantly stalked and harassed Black in order for him to say his name. This led to a match at NXT TakeOver: WarGames, which Black won. After the match, Black sat next to a dazed Velveteen Dream, before ultimately saying his name.[29]

On the December 13 episode of NXT, Black defeated Adam Cole to qualify for a number one contender's fatal-four way match for the NXT Championship, which also involved Johnny Gargano, Killian Dain and Lars Sullivan on the December 27 episode of NXT, which Gargano won by pinning Black (marking his first pinfall defeat on NXT) after interference from The Undisputed Era. At the NXT Year-End Awards, Black won three awards for Rivalry of the Year (with Velveteen Dream), Breakout Star of the Year, and Male Competitor of the Year.

NXT Champion (2018–2019)Edit

Black defeated Cole in an Extreme Rules match at NXT TakeOver: Philadelphia. On the February 14, 2018 episode of NXT, he said that he had "a devil on [his] back", which was the NXT Championship. He was then interrupted by Killian Dain, whom he defeated on the March 7 edition of NXT to become the number one contender for the NXT Championship.[30] He received his title opportunity against Andrade "Cien" Almas at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans on April 7, where he won to become the new NXT Champion.[31] On the May 30 episode of NXT, Black was interrupted by Lars Sullivan, who wanted a shot at the NXT Championship. On that same episode, it was revealed that Sullivan would face Black for the NXT Championship at NXT TakeOver: Chicago II, where Black successfully retained his title.

Black lost the NXT Championship to Tommaso Ciampa at the July 18 NXT TV tapings for the July 25 episode after Johnny Gargano interfered and accidentally hit Black with the title belt. The following week, during Ciampa’s address to the NXT Universe, he approached the ring, only for Gargano to run out ahead of him to attack Ciampa, after which he attacked Gargano with a Black Mass before indicating that his NXT Championship loss was Gargano’s fault.[32]

On the August 8 episode of NXT, Black faced Gargano in a singles match, only for Ciampa to interfere. The three would ultimately brawl until NXT General Manager William Regal would appear and turn Black and Ciampa's singles bout for the NXT Championship at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 into the first-ever triple threat match for the title, involving Gargano. However, after the show, Black was found unconscious by referees and Regal himself in the parking lot outside the arena after being attacked by an unseen and unknown assailant.[33]

It was later reported that Black was sent to a local medical facility, and was announced as being unable to compete, both due to the on-screen incident and Black suffering a legitimate groin injury at an NXT Live event in Las Vegas. After being out of action for two months, Black returned on the October 17 episode of NXT, confronting Nikki Cross, who revealed that Gargano was the one who had attacked him. A match between Black and Gargano was scheduled for NXT TakeOver: WarGames, in which Black was victorious. On January 26, 2019 he competed at NXT TakeOver: Phoenix for the NXT championship but he was defeated by Tommaso Ciampa. The next night on January 27, 2019, he entered the Men's Royal Rumble match at Number 21, lasting 6:09 before being eliminated by Baron Corbin.

Main roster debut and teaming with Ricochet (2019–present)Edit

Black made his official main roster debut on the February 18 episode of Raw, defeating Elias.[34] The next night on SmackDown, he defeated Andrade. Over the next few weeks, Black formed a tag team with Ricochet and entered NXT's Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic while also earning a Raw Tag Team Championship match at Fastlane. At Fastlane, Black and Ricochet lost in a triple threat match to The Revival and the team of Bobby Roode and Chad Gable.[35] After winning the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic on March 27, 2019, they earned themselves an opportunity to compete for the NXT Tag Team Championship against War Raiders at NXT TakeOver: New York, which they would subsequently lose.[36]

The next day, Black and Ricochet would compete at WrestleMania 35 in a fatal four-way tag team match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship against The Usos, Rusev and Shinsuke Nakamura, and The Bar. The Usos would go on to retain their titles in the match.[37] Black and Ricochet were then drafted to Raw in the 2019 WWE Superstar Shake-up. However, on April 22, Black was re-drafted to the SmackDown brand, due to his real-life wife Zelina Vega being drafted there, therefore splitting him from Ricochet.[38]

Black then began appearing in ominous backstage promos in a dark room, awaiting a challenger. His challenge was eventually accepted,[39] with the mystery opponent to be revealed as Cesaro on the July 9 episode of SmackDown, who will be Black's opponent at Extreme Rules in Black's first singles pay-per-view match since joining the main roster.[40] At the event, Black defeated Cesaro.

Personal lifeEdit

Budgen married fellow professional wrestler Zelina Vega in 2018.[41]

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit

 
Black is a one-time NXT Champion

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit