In an era where most Superstars have over the top personalities and often boast or brag about what they can do, Aleister Black is an outlier. He has a calm and mysterious persona that can then transform into rage inside the ring at the flip of a switch.
Some would say that Black's character even more resembles that of rock icons more so than wrestling greats. He discussed his WWE character being akin to a rock musician when he joined Table Talk w/ DVon.
"Yes, I love theatrics; I think theatrics in wrestling go hand and hand. I love to create a dramatic presence, and I think, for instance, Alice Cooper was a king of that. His whole stature, his presentation and all of it, it was a lot of theatrics. If you look at bands like Iron Maiden, if you look at bands like Cradle of Filth, they have such a presence. It's like theatrics, and I wanted that with the Aleister Black character," revealed Black.
"There are people that are generally convinced that I embody evil in a certain way, and that I am not a good person as a human being because of small things that I did. Little symbols that I put on my gear, certain sentences that I would say during my promos or interviews, and all of that, because I wanted the audience to perceive me in a certain way for it to go hand and hand with the character, and so that theatrics comes into play. My whole presentation, I want you to have an experience."
Part of that presentation and experience is Black's entrance to the ring. His theme music fits in perfectly with his gimmick, and he uses a lift board that erects him into a standing position before making his way to the ring.
Black revealed how that idea came about and who the lift board was originally intended for.
"I wanted my entrance to be experienced. I wanted people to immediately, when you hear that first note of my music -- 'Oh, here we go. This is the dude.' I wanted to create something. And luckily, when we did, Hunter was so on board that him and me started bouncing off ideas. And then he texted me one morning with this idea for this lift that actually was supposed to go to The Undertaker initially," revealed Black. "But they couldn't use it for Undertaker, so they asked if I wanted to use it, and I kind of felt that this is the finishing part that this character needs, is to have this entrance this way. And funny enough, a lot of people always think that, 'Oh, he's a vampire.' I'm not a vampire. There's nothing vampiric about my entrance. It's more of Aleister Black materializes from nothing and he rises up from that."
The worst thing that could happen for a wrestler is if they do or say something and the crowd gives them no reaction whatsoever. That isn't the case with Black, who has made it a point to elicit a response with everything he does in the ring.
"I wanted Aleister Black to evoke a reaction, and it didn't matter what reaction that was because I feel that the character Aleister Black evokes a reaction that tells something about people. That got me anything from edgy to poser and wannabe," stated Black. "That's the guy I would want my trust in –- best wrester, worst wrestler, terrible human being, most awesome human being. I want a reaction.
"I want the reaction because I feel the reactions that people give us, especially this day and age, will tell you a lot about the type of person reacting to you. It teaches you about the people that are watching you, and it's almost like what I had in the back of my head, like Aleister Black grabs a mirror and puts that mirror in front of your face and whatever reaction you're giving is almost like a reflection of how you feel on the inside, 'Why is this reaction coming out of you when looking at this character?' I wanted people to think, and I don't want my character to be -- even in the stages we're in now, I wanted my character to be something more.
"Even 20 [years] down the line, 30 years down the line, you're going to go sit and think, 'Why did I react to him this way? What is it that he said?' I always said Aleister Black is a conspiracy theory because there are so many layers to what I want Aleister Black to be. And even now, there are so many things that people haven't picked up on and things in my gear, things in my entrance, things in my promo, things that I would say."
Black is seeking out more than just an in-the-moment reaction from his character, as he wants something long-lasting. He wants people to continue thinking about Aleister Black and continue questioning what he was all about.
"I wanted Aleister Black's bodywork to be able to be discovered 50 years down the line. I didn't want it to be a flash in a pan kind of thing. I didn't want it to be, 'Oh yeah, once there was this character named Aleister Black.' I want people to go back after 50 years and is like, 'Hey, I saw this thing in his entrance. What do you think that meant?' It's fun for me to create these things, and I think for all of us -- and again D-Von, as you did with the Dudleys, is you wanted to evoke a reaction from the audience. That reaction would tell you exactly what those people were thinking and it brings forth a layer within our society that is so telling," said Black.
"And the way people are reacting to me now is not how people would have reacted to me 20 years ago. For instance, 20 years ago, let's say the year 2000, if I were to walk for a job interview with all these tattoos and stuff on my face, people would look me and go, 'What correctional facility you just came out of?' The shift in society is so quick, and I always thought it was interesting to put something like that inside a wrestling character."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Table Talk w/ DVon with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.