WWE superstar Aleister Black spoke to Sports Illustrated ahead of tonight’s Money In The Bank pay per view, where the former NXT champion competes for the coveted briefcase. Highlights from the interview are below.
On getting tattoos:
My mom can vouch for this. I was nine when I told her, ‘When I grow up, I’m going to get a bunch of tattoos.’ And she said, ‘Sure you are.’ I came home with the quarter-sleeve when I was 19 and she said, ‘You weren’t kidding. I only thought I’d get one arm done at first. One arm turned into the other arm. Then I started tattooing my lower arms. I remember saying, ‘Mom, don’t worry, I’m never going to do anything on my neck.’ Then I went to my neck and my chest and my legs, and I kept on progressing from there. My mother will vouch for this, too. I was six years old when I first said, ‘I want to be a professional wrestler.’ And my mom said, ‘If that’s what you want, OK.’ 28 years later, here we are
Early wrestling influences:
I watched New Japan growing up, and later WCW. I loved the Japanese wrestlers. I was a big fan of the more Mexican-based wrestlers when I started watching WCW, and I saw guys like Silver King, Eddie Guerrero, and Rey Mysterio. And where I come from, we have this European heritage with World of Sport with guys like Johnny Saint, Johnny Kidd, ‘Rollerball’ Mark Rocco, Robbie Brookside. I was always intrigued by the ‘wrestler’ wrestlers.
His early childhood:
We grew up pretty poor. Dad worked his tail off to provide, Mom did the same. My dad would go to work at 6:30 in the morning, come home at 4:30 in the afternoon, then he would work side jobs. They always found a way to keep money coming in. Despite there not being a lot of money, they made sure there was food on the table, no matter what it took. That’s why I have that work ethic where I can’t stop. I have to keep going.
Building up his career:
Every year that I was doing professional wrestling and I would gain momentum, I would think, ‘Well, that’s about as good as it’s going to get,’” he explained. “I never wanted to get ahead of myself. I’d wrestle in four European countries one year, then the next year I wrestled in eight European countries. So I said, ‘It’s never going to get any bigger than this.’ Then I took off in the United Kingdom, and I thought the same thing. We wrestled on TV in France, and I thought that was the biggest thing I’d ever do. It kept building and building and building, but I kept telling myself that it would never get any bigger or better.
Calling himself Tommy End on the indie scene:
I started training wrestling in the pre-social media era and I was very cautious–I thought, ‘I can’t have people know my real last name,’” said Black. “So I changed my last name to End because I always called myself ‘The End.’ I thought that was cool. I thought I’d take my real first name and my ‘fake’ last name, and that’s how I came up with Tommy End.