Wrestling and the occult have gone hand-in-hand for years. The two worlds started crossing over through Kevin Sullivan’s devil-worshipping gimmick in the 1980’s before The Undertaker’s rise popularised such themes in WWE. Bray Wyatt’s act has evolved over the years, but he keeps the flag flying for occult-influenced wrestlers in WWE today, and Aleister Black is about to join him.
Black is a practicing Satanist, but not of the cartoonish, devil-worshipping variety. He believes in good and evil, but doesn’t believe in God or the devil, and made his reputation by incorporating dark themes and imagery into his work, particularly as part of the Sumerian Death Squad tag team. Black’s darkest work came alongside partner Michael Dante, and the duo regularly delved into the type of subject matter that would make Aleister Crowley (after whom Black takes his forename) blush.
Much of this influence comes from his father, who grew up as a member of a religious cult. An unacknowledged form of religion, Black has described his father’s old belief system as “heavy, really dark, and bleak,” adding that those who practised it did so through fear of burning in eternal hellfire. Instead of running from it, Black accepted this as part of his upbringing, and used much of it as inspiration for the Sumerian Death Squad’s cultish act.