In the last year, NXT has returned to the glory days of stacked cards, fantastic matches, and the travesty of having an overabundance of top-tier, international talent. One of my dark horse favorites is Aleister Black. Some may find his otherworldly, occult-inspired persona hard to digest at first, but power of the unknown is part of his persona’s drawing power. There is so much more depth to Black than many realize, and this past weekend at NXT TakeOver, he cemented himself into the exceptionally difficult rotation of my wrestling t-shirt collection. It’s a rather funny story actually…
I’ve faded to black in New Orleans courtesy of our new NXT Champion!
“No man is ever truly good
No man is every truly evil
I do the things you never could
And we won’t ever be equal”
“Root of All Evil (Aleister Black Theme)” by INcenDIAry
About Aleister Black
Soft-spoken, hard hitting, and shrouded in mystery, Aleister Black is by far one of the most unique individuals to come into NXT in quite some time. Hailing from Amsterdam, Holland, his is character is heavily defined, entrance theme is thrilling to sing along with, and his performance is consistently breathtaking. At a quick glance, one would think he’s unapproachable with his fantastically colorful tattoos and quiet demeanor, but he’s sincerely one of the nicest Superstars I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Every picture I take with him just fades to black!
I have been fortunate to see him at numerous house shows throughout Florida and on NXT TV, often battling some of my other favorites regularly in the main even scene. One of my favorite matches of his involves another long-time strong-style favorite of mine, Hideo Itami, from NXT TakeOver Brooklyn III. He’s consistently been a Superstar whom I’ve cheered for, and without fail his matches are stellar. Hoever, often I watch his matches quietly, processing every calculated move he makes.
I was near implosion watching two of my favorite guys destroy one another at TOBIII.
Posting photos of Aleister in black and white is my favorite! (NXT Taping 2017)
TakeOver New Orleans
Last year, I missed witnessing Black’s NXT TakeOver debut and win against Almast at NXT TakeOver Orlando due to some poor show recommendations, so I was going to make certain it wouldn’t happen for a second Mania Weekend in a row!
Aleister always knows how to make an elegant entrance.
Outfit of the BIG Day
After confessing to my friends that I hadn’t packed my Johnny Gargano shirt in honor of his Unsanctioned Match to get his job back in NXT1, I was ‘heavily encouraged’ (made to do an arena walk of shame to the merchandise table, and buy an appropriate NXT-related shirt in honor of the event). Normally, I would refuse to pay the full price of the t-shirt plus the live event up charge, but it made for a fantastic memory with my friends. As I already owned a Gargano shirt, I decided to finally purchase a Black one. The reason I never bought an Aleister shirt is simple: he has too many excellent designs and I could never manage to make up my mind to pick one.
- Aleister Black “Fade to Black” t-shirt (unisex cut)
- Denim jacket
- black trousers
Although I didn’t have any black or white denim or black sneakers, I dressed comfortably for TakeOver because we elected to walk the 20 minutes to the Smoothie King Center. I would like to get some distressed jeans to match with the shirt in the future, but I haven’t managed to work my confidence up to that level. I’m also thinking about taking a pair of shears to the shirt, and making it a little more dynamic with some creative alterations.
Hard fought and undoubtedly earned. Congrats, Aleister!
Unsurprisingly, Black’s match with Alamas was another fantastic one with a couple of false finishes and Almas’ valet, Zelina interfering in the match. I was concerned for a moment because I have this running joke with my friends that if I wear the shirt of someone I want to win, I am a jinx, so the complete opposite result would occur. Subconsciously, this is probably why I left my Gargano shirt at home because I needed Johnny to get his job back as his story in NXT is far from over! When the three count finally happened, and Aleister was crowned the new NXT Champion, a couple of tears gathered in the corner of my eyes. With the volume of NXT shows I attend, I always forget how emotionally invested I get when it comes to seeing the Superstars succeed.
Meeting the Champ
The morning after TakeOver NOLA, my friends and I went to the final AXXESS fan convention session. Black had been announced for the 10AM batches of signings a week prior, and we’d hoped that he would be there… with some new hardware. Just over twelve hours after his championship victory, he was up bright and early meeting and greeting all the fans. Aleister has always been one of my favorite people in addition to favorite performers.
He may be an Anti-Hero, but he captured all of our hearts, especially for nerds like me.
On our drive home to Orlando from New Orleans, Aleister posted his thoughts on his victory to his fans in an unapologetically raw comment expressing his gratitude and radiating positivity. Often a man of few words on screen, this tearing back of the curtain made me respect and appreciate him even more. In a digital age where social media makes celebrities feel more accessible, often their perfectly curated lives can make it harder not to feel like one is living a sub-par lifestyle. Aleister’s humble appreciation paired with the moments we shared with him at AXXESS make him a champ that I will fight to the End of time for. He hasn’t forgotten where he came from, nor is he looking to leave those who supported him behind.
After our brief encounter with Black, I wished him a great rest of his trip and told him that we’d see him Wednesday because even though it’s Mania week, there’s an NXT taping on Wednesday, and there is no rest for the Champ!
- In storyline terms, Johnny Gargano had lost his job due to interference by his former tag team partner turned most bitter rival. Their match main evented the NOLA TakeOver. Johnny is one of my absolute favorites, but I didn’t get all ym laundry done in time for the trip.