Malakai Black | The (Tommy) End To A Means

Throughout 2021, a litany of top names and popular stars have been released from World Wrestling Entertainment for a variety of reasons. However, one of the more shocking erasures from the WWE roster this year was “The Ominous Man From Amsterdam” Malakai Black (formerly known as Aleister Black). Recently, Black would make his debut in All Elite Wrestling. Join us today as we take a look back at the life and career of Mr. Black.

Malakai Black – Early Life & Career Beginnings

On May 19, 1985, Tom Büdgen was born in Alkmaar, Netherlands. Not much is known about Büdgen’s childhood; however, this just adds to the mystique of his wrestling character.

In 2002, Büdgen would begin training to begin his professional wrestling career under a multitude of different performers, including Bob Schrijber, Chris Hero, Johnny Kidd, Mike Quackenbush, and Nigel McGuinness. Wrestling extensively on the independent circuit under the name “Tommy End,” Büdgen made his professional wrestling debut on June 18, 2002. Interestingly enough, however, Cagematch.net reports that End’s earliest recorded match-up featured him wrestling under the name “Tommy The End.” In his earliest recorded match, Tommy The End faced off against Joey Fields at FCW Monthly Mayhem III on January 12, 2003. Tommy would win this match, beginning his monstrous run across the entirety of the European independent circuit.

End would continue to wrestle across the European scene before reinventing himself as simply “Tommy End” in wXw. He would find himself with a constant presence in wXw, eventually winning his first championship in the promotion! On September 16, 2006, Tommy End would win the wXw World Lightweight Tournament final match to become the new wXw World Light Heavyweight Champion. He would successfully defend the championship once in a Four Corners match against Jody Fleisch, Pac, and X-Dream. However, he would drop the belt to Pac at the wXw 6th Anniversary Show after an 84-day reign.

Dominating The Euro Scene

End would continue his hunt for championship gold throughout the rest of 2006 and into 2007. He would finally strike gold (literally) on September 22, 2007, where he competed at ICWA Revolution 4 against then-ICWA World Junior Heavyweight Champion Jonny Storm in a Ladder Match. In a shocking victory, End would manage to climb the ladder and retrieve the championship to claim it as his own.

As champion, End would manage to go on to have a historic reign! End would successfully defend his championship against Greg Fury, Tengkwa, and James Gallagher. For some, one belt would be enough to satiate the hunger for gold. However, it wasn’t enough for End. On February 23, 2008, Tommy End would defeat Michael Knight at CWN Live In Tangstedt 2 to become the first CWN Middleweight Champion. Then, he would defend the championship successfully against Pierre Le Prestee in one of two title defense attempts throughout a 357-day reign.

Of course, all good things must come to an end. At ICWA Revolution V (right after his successful defense against Tengkwa), Tommy End would attempt an ICWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship defense against rival Greg Fury, which he would lose. This loss would end his reign at 455 days. Two months later, at CWN Live In Tangstedt 3, End would defend the CWN Middleweight Championship in a match against Sean Maxer Brennan and Michael Knight – the latter of which would end up winning the contest. Thus, End would be left beltless and broken. It soon dawned on this young performer that redemption would be necessary for his planned launch to superstardom.

Reclaiming The End

On March 7, 2009, Tommy End would make a surprise return at wXw 16 Carat Gold 2009 in the wXw World Lightweight Championship Four-Way Elimination match. In this match, Tommy End would defeat Emil Sitoci, Chris Sabin, and Dan Paysan to win the wXw World Lightweight Championship for the second time. Soon afterward, End would pick up a second championship when he defeated former rival Jonny Storm to be crowned the first (and only) FWG Lightweight Champion. While the FWG Lightweight Championship may have been abandoned eventually, End was more than happy to focus on defending the wXw Lightweight Championship – and defend it he did.

End would defend the championship successfully against Tatsuhito Takaiwa, El Generico, Mark Haskins, Emil Sitoci, Thumbtack Jack, and Terry Frazier throughout his reign. However, just as he had won it, End would lose the belt at wXw Back To The Roots IX in a Four-Way Dance to Zack Sabre Jr. Thus, End’s championship reign was ended at 315 days. With his singles title reign halted, End decided it was time to go a different route with his career. Maybe, it was time for a transition into a new division.

Forming The Sumerian Death Squad

On July 30, 2010, Tommy End teamed alongside Anthony Zeus to form The Sumerian Death Squad at wXw Full Force XI. Originally intended to be a one-off team, fans quickly took to this tag team’s hard-hitting action and unique style. In their first match as a tandem, they would defeat the team of 2Face and Mark Haskins in 7:31 bout. After that, the team would tag on and off until late 2011 where things became a little more official.

At CZW Back In Germany, The Sumerian Death Squad managed to defeat The Wanderers (Jason Hendrix and Jay Skillet) to win the wXw World Tag Team Championship. This would mark End’s first of many tag team championship reigns alongside Zeus. One month after this victory, End would travel compete at PWS Pro Wrestling Showdown 6 in a six-way elimination match to become the first PWS World Champion.

Throughout his reign as wXw World Tag Team Champion, End and Zeus (now renamed “Michael Dante”) would successfully defend the titles against The Young Bucks, The Hunter Brothers, Shinobu & Yoshihito Sasaki, The Leaders Of The New School, Absolute Alliance, Jay Skillet & Jonathan Gresham, 2Face & Sami Callihan, and Walter & Robert Dreissker. With such an impressive cast of performers to have successfully defended these belts against, it is no surprise that End and Dante quickly established themselves as the premier tag team on the European independent scene. However, on August 12, 2012, at wXw Fans Appreciation Weekend 2012 (Night 2), The Sumerian Death Squad would drop the belts in a Best Two Out Of Three Falls match to RockSkillet (Jay Skillet and Jonathan Gresham). With dissension teased between the team, many wondered if the team would outlast the weight of this loss. Luckily for us fans, they did.

New Titles, New Foes

With one belt remaining in his possession, End would successfully defend the PWS World Championship against Tristan Archer and Emil Sitoci on multiple occasions. However, End and Dante couldn’t keep their hands off of tag team gold for long. In late 2012, The Sumerian Death Squad would engage in a feud with The French Connection (Dimitri Soliotopoulous and Pierre Fontaine) in ICWA. This would lead to Dante and End winning the ICWA European Tag Team Championship from the Frenchmen on November 9, 2012.

Continuing his upswing of success, End would also find himself on the winning end of the 2013 16 Carat Gold Tournament in wXw – earning him a guaranteed world championship match in the future. End would get his guaranteed title match at wXw Dead End XIII on June 1, 2013, where he would defeat Axel Tischer to win the wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship! With two world titles and one tag team title to his name at the time, End found himself busy defending the belts against a litany of opponents.

End would successfully defend the wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship against Paul Tracey, Zack Sabre Jr., John Klinger, and Ricky Marvin in his first 2 months as champion. However, nothing lasts forever. On September 21, 2013, End would drop the PWS Heavyweight Championship to Emil Sitoci at PWS Showdown 11. This would promptly end his 686-day reign. In a string of bad luck, End and Dante would lose their ICWA European Tag Team Championship to The French Connection the following month to end their 344-day reign.

Building a Resume

Still maintaining a firm grasp on the wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship, End would continue to defend his championship against Freddy Stahl and Jonathan Gresham successfully. However, things were not finished for The Sumerian Death Squad. On March 29, 2014, Dante and End would defeat The StarbuX (Mark Haskins and Robbie X) to win the SWE Tag Team Championships. They’d manage to pick up the ICW Tag Team Championships the next day in a three-way ladder match against The Bucky Boys and The New Age Kliq. Unfortunately, the latter title victory would be short-lived, ending after 35 days at ICW A Show In London when The Bucky Boys defeated The New Age Kliq and The Sumerian Death Squad in a three-way match.

It wouldn’t take long for End to pick up another singles championship. On May 2, 2014, End defeated Dave Mastiff for the FCP Championship. He would go on later that month to defeat Lucas Di Leo in a Title vs. Title match to add the ICWA Heavyweight Championship to his resume. Around this time, End would continue to expand into the North American independent circuit. He would officially drop the wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship to Big Daddy Walter at wXw Fans Appreciation Night 2014 to end a 421-day reign.

Two months later, he and Dante would also lose the SWE Tag Team Championships to The Hunter Brothers to end a 246-day reign. Finally, on May 8, 2015, End would lose his FCP Championship to MK McKinnan in a three-way match also involving Dave Mastiff. This would finally leave End with one title, but knowing this young superstar, it wouldn’t take long for that to change.

Malakai Black The Explosion of the UK Indie Scene

Eventually, the UK independent scene grew in popularity thanks to the innovations of social media. Thus, End and his tag team partner would find themselves competing for – and winning – even more, tag team gold. On May 25, 2015, The Sumerian Death Squad defeated The Origin (El Ligero and Nathan Cruz) to win the PROGRESS Tag Team Championships. The tandem would successfully defend the titles against The Hunter Brothers and Adam Cole & Roderick Strong. However, they would eventually drop the titles back to The Origin after 188 days. They would also manage to win the PWH Tag Team Championships from Mot van Kunder and Wesley Croton; however, the titles were mysteriously vacated.

Eventually, in a last-ditch effort to gain back the titles that made them, The Sumerian Death Squad faced off against wXw World Tag Team Champions Ilja Dragunov and Julian Nero at wXw Superstars of Wrestling III (Night 1). In this match, Dante and End would win the titles for the second time in their careers. They would successfully defend the belts against Axel Dieter Jr. & Da Mack. However, everything would soon fall apart for Tommy End.

On May 21, 2016, Tristan Archer would defeat Tommy End for the ICWA Heavyweight Championship to end one of the longest reigns in the title’s history at 768 days. Less than one week later, Dante and End would also lose the wXw World Tag Team Championships. For the first time in years, End was without a championship. However, the reasoning behind his sudden title losses became apparent when it was reported that End has signed with World Wrestling Entertainment.

Malakai Black – A Grander Stage

On January 7, 2017, Tommy End would debut a new ring name on social media – “Aleister Black.” He would make his WWE debut one week later at the 2017 WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament finals episode, where he would lose to Neville in a non-tournament match. Then, he would make his official in-ring television debut at NXT TakeOver: Orlando, where he would defeat Andrade “Cien” Almas. This would lead him into a feud with Hideo Itami, who had been “demanding respect” from the crowd and from all of the superstars in the locker room. As one could imagine, Black would defeat Itami at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn III.

In one of Black’s most iconic moments in WWE, Aleister Black would engage in a feud with the eccentric Velveteen Dream, who had stalked and harassed Black for weeks. All Dream wanted was for Black to “say [his] name.” Black would defeat Velveteen Dream at NXT TakeOver: War Games but would say Dream’s name as a sign of respect in an iconic post-match promo.

In February 2018, Black would engage in a feud with NXT Champion Andrade “Cien” Almas. This would lead to Black winning the NXT Championship at NXT TakeOver: New Orleans that year. He would go on to have subsequent defenses against Lars Sullivan and Johnny Gargano. He would lose the belt on the July 25, 2018, edition of NXT in a match against Tommaso Ciampa. This would end his reign at 108 days.

Malakai Black – Making The Jump

After multiple failed attempts to gain back the NXT Championship, Black decided to turn his attention once more to tag team competition. In March 2019, Black would form a tag team with Ricochet to compete in the 2019 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Tournament, which they would win. They would challenge The War Raiders (Hanson and Rowe) for the NXT Tag Team Championships that next month but would not win the titles. Having done everything he cared to do in NXT, Black was ready to face his next challenge – the WWE Creative Team.

On February 18, 2019, Black made his WWE Raw debut with a victory over Elias. He would continue to team alongside Ricochet, competing for the WWE Raw Tag Team Championships and WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championships on multiple pay-per-view events. However, they’d never manage to pick up the belts.

Black would find himself engaging in feuds with Buddy Murphy, Bobby Lashley, and AJ Styles during his time on Raw. However, nothing was deemed noteworthy enough to boost him into stardom. As a victim of start-and-stop booking in WWE, Black could not maintain a consistent momentum.

In April 2021, vignettes began to air on SmackDown, promoting the return of Aleister Black. He would return on May 21, 2021, attacking Big E in the midst of a fatal four-way match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. However, nothing would come of this attack. On June 2, 2021, Black was released from his WWE contract in a maneuver that rocked the wrestling world to its core.

Malakai Black – Greener Pastures In Jacksonville

Malakai Black would later make an appearance on his wife’s Twitch live stream to announce that he was shocked by the release. He was allegedly released due to budget cuts and stated that he and Vince McMahon were on good terms. With an assumed 90-day no-compete clause, many were excited to see Black make his return to in-ring competition. However, no one could have anticipated when and where he did.

In July 2021, All Elite Wrestling aired AEW Dynamite: Road Rager – a special edition of the weekly broadcast in celebration of a return to touring post-pandemic. At this show, Black would make his AEW debut under the new ring name “Malakai Black,” attacking Arn Anderson and Cody Rhodes in the process.

With many shocked about Black’s quick debut on AEW Dynamite, it was reported that Black’s 30-day no-compete clause in NXT was never extended when he made his transition to the main roster. With this in mind, AEW will surely be a product to keep your eye on! What will Malakai Black have in store for All Elite Wrestling and its fans? Please tune in to AEW Dynamite to find out about their newest addition Malakai Black.

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