Former WWE NXT Champion Aleister Black was the guest on a recent episode of the Chasing Glory podcast to talk about various topics. During the interview, he talked about how hardcore metal music helped his transformation from Tommy End to Aleister Black. Here is what he had to say H/T to WrestleZone):
“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.”