Fade to Black: Why Fans Need To Walk Into The Light With WWE’s NXT Champion Aleister Black

Aleister Black
Photo: WWE

In most cases, the end is a culmination of everything that came before, leading to a point where one has reached their greatest achievement. However, it isn’t that way in one particular instance. When Tom Budgen began to actively compete, it was just the beginning of something quite poetic. His real name isn’t how fans first came to know him, rather he used an adopted pseudonym while on the independent circuit when he first acquired a following that pseudonym being Tommy End. Budgen was born and raised in the Netherlands, and competed for nearly fourteen years in the United Kingdom as well as traveling elsewhere in Europe. He has captured championships in various promotions and was just as successful on his own as he was as part of a tag team. Championships in Progress and Insane Championship Wrestling are among his many accomplishments.

Fans Need To Walk Into The Light With WWE’s NXT Champion Aleister Black

Considering his career has spanned over fourteen years, one has to wonder why it took so long for him to come to North America, at least on an ongoing basis. Such a move has to come at the right time and be the right fit. In the case of Budgen, perhaps there were aspirations to come to North America, but the need had to be mutual. He wasn’t going to move just to compete for any promotion but wanted to have the greatest opportunity to succeed and be put in a position to excel.

What has remained consistent throughout his career has been his presentation of an enigmatic persona, with names such as the anti-hero and the ominous man from Amsterdam. He has continued to improve regardless of where he has been, and today he has transitioned from being Tommy End to becoming Aleister Black. As Black, Budgen has continued to welcome challenge after challenge regardless of whom it is, and in doing so has built a new following among fans that didn’t know who he was or where he came from. However, the more he competes and more he reveals himself, fans slowly become aware of the persona that resides behind the tattooed exterior.

Budgen demonstrates such a refined knowledge of the martial arts that perhaps does not seem to correlate with his look, but as the saying goes one shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. He made his debut in NXT against Andrade “Cien” Almas and almost immediately made an impact with the NXT Takeover crowd. With lightning-like strikes and kicks, he delivered a furious attack on Almas. However, would then balance that with moments of complete peace and tranquility by sitting cross-legged in the ring. Any doubts fans may have had about the debuting Black were quickly silenced as he knocked out Almas with his finishing move, the ‘Black Mass,’ a standing spin heel kick to the jaw of his opponent that shows he is as flexible as he is strong.

During his time in NXT, he hasn’t had many rivalries or feuds yet, but simply faces challenges that act as barriers for him, keeping him from pursuing something more. During Bobby Roode‘s time as the NXT champion, he and Black never crossed paths. At this point, Drew McIntyre was now in the role of champion, but it appears that Black is destined for other rivalries. Rather than a program of a face versus face engage for NXT’s greatest prize, Black would face an array of talent. Still, his character does allow for interesting feuds with the various personalities on the roster. For example, Budgen‘s feud with Hideo Itami was a battle between two men that can hit and hit hard, with the greatest difference being that one screams for respect while the other quietly commands it.

With every action, he continues to present a rather menacing nature that in some ways resembles another dark and mysterious figure that created a special aura that being The Undertaker. We aren’t comparing Budgen’s nature, impact or overall influence to The Undertaker, but he certainly has left an impression with anyone that has come in to contact with him. His next feud, against The Velveteen Dream, will feature two characteristics that are a perfect contradiction to one another. Their feud wasn’t just successful but helped to thrust both men to new heights. One had to wonder what the future holds for Budgen, and if, during his time in NXT, any critics or doubters will be silenced and ultimately fade to black. Any doubt was eradicated as he once again defeated Andrade “Cien” Almas for the NXT championship. As the NXT champion, Black has shown that he is capable of dominating the division and knock out anyone that stands in his way. It doesn’t seem to matter who they are both big or small each match will likely face the same fate.


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