10 Things You Need To Know About NXT's Aleister Black

9. Martial Arts Background

Tommy End

From amateur wrestlers and NFL castoffs to fitness models and bodybuilders, WWE’s current cast of characters come from a diverse set of backgrounds. Black certainly adds to that, and while the likes of Alberto Del Rio and Rob Van Dam have brought legitimate martial arts skills to wrestling in the past, Black’s training runs deeper than anybody’s.

Black has trained a number of different martial arts for most of his life. It’s possible to obtain a competitive license at just nine years old in Black’s native Netherlands, and that’s exactly when he started training. Beginning with kung fu, karate, judo, and even some capoeira, Black eventually found his calling in kickboxing - a discipline his country is renowned for, with the likes of Peter Aerts, Ernesto Hoost, and the UFC’s Alistair Overeem standing out as notable practitioners.

Black has never competed professionally, however. His goal was always to become a professional wrestler, not a kickboxer, and he used his background in traditional martial arts to ease his transition into his new profession. Black might not be the first wrestler to do this, but aside from coming to the ring in a goofy karate gi with a coloured belt, his background couldn't be more apparent.

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Andy has been with WhatCulture for six years and is currently WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter. A writer, presenter, and editor with 10+ years of experience in online media, he has been a sponge for all wrestling knowledge since playing an old Royal Rumble 1992 VHS to ruin in his childhood. Having previously worked for Bleacher Report, Andy specialises in short and long-form writing, video presenting, voiceover acting, and editing, all characterised by expert wrestling knowledge and commentary. Andy is as much a fan of 1985 Jim Crockett Promotions as he is present-day AEW and WWE - just don't make him choose between the two.