Saudi Arabia’s murderous theocracy took pains recently to drive Lilith out of their kingdom–in the unlikely form of professional wrestler Aleister Black, making Black and Lilith the most unexpected wrestling pairing since that time Jeff Hardy fought a kangaroo.

(Wrestling is weird okay, presumably we’re not breaking that news to anybody here…)

Context: Tom Budgen is a Dutch wrestler who works a Satanist gimmick under the ring name Aleister Black. Black never actually references Satanism on TV–in fact his employers at World Wrestling Entertainment are anxiously careful never to utter the S-word.

But at the same time his signature move is called the “Black Mass,” so who’s fooling who here?

I have no idea whether Budgen is actually a Satanist, but the many, many occult tattoos adorning his body suggest this is not his first Sabbat. If this guy had any more ink on him he’d start looking redacted.


aleister black Saudi lilith

That design is known as the “champ stamp.”


Further context: In 2018, Aleister Black’s WWE employers forged a deal with the ruling House of Saud in Saudi Arabia, united by their mutual love of evil.

Human Rights Watch reports that in Saudi Arabia “authorities arbitrarily detain peaceful activists and dissidents without trial for long periods and systematically discriminate against women and religious minorities. In 2018, Saudi Arabia carried out 148 executions, 59 for non-violent drug crimes.”

The Saudis are some of the world’s leading exporters of terrorism and oil and also terrorism. Amnesty International notes that the country’s theocratic Muslim monarchy routinely executes religious minorities, LGBT citizens, and human rights agitators on grounds of their simply having not been executed yet.

In short, if the House of Saud ever calls, you should hang up, then fake your own death. Presumably by first posing as a Shia activist in Saudi Arabia, a scenario that makes your pending death a much, much more plausible prospect pretty much every time.

Despite all of this, WWE routinely stages elaborate propaganda shows in Saudi Arabia, part of a shadowy deal between the international wrestling promotion and the murderous theocracy in which one party pays a lot of money and the other pays every shred of integrity it might have had.

(That’s the standard exchange rate in the kingdom, btw.)

Not every performer works the Saudi dates, though. For example, per sports news site Bleacher Report, Saudi pay masters insist that wrestler Sami Zayn never step foot in the county on account of he’s Syrian.

Actually Sami Zayn was born in Quebec and lives in fucking Florida. But his family is Syrian, so the company decided to accommodate its new patron’s, um, virulent racist vendetta. As you do.

And that brings us back to Aleister Black. In May, news site Wrestling Observer reported that Black would also not appear at any Saudi shows in the future. The problem was his Satanic tattoos–specifically, his giant honking back tattoo of Lilith.

As we discussed on a recent episode of Black Mass Appeal, the myth of Lilith as mysterious night demon probably dates back thousands of years to ancient Mesopotamia. In one of the earliest extant references, a tablet from the seventh century BCE found at Arslan Tash, Syria contains the inscription: “O flyer in a dark chamber, go away at once, O Lili!


aleister black Saudi lilith

Also a pioneer in early early early early early early herpetology.


The Alphabet of Ben Sirah, an anonymous, probably satirical work published around 700 to 1000 CE, appropriated Lilith’s name for an oddball fable imagining a first, unsuccessful marriage for Adam, pre-Eve:

“After god created Adam, who was alone, He said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone.’ he then created a woman for Adam, from the earth, as he had created Adam himself, and called her Lilith. Adam and Lilith immediately began to fight. She said, ‘I will not lie below,’ and he said, ‘I will not lie beneath you.’

‘”Lilith responded, ‘We are equal to each other inasmuch as we were both created from the earth.’ But they would not listen to one another. When Lilith saw this, she pronounced the Ineffable Name and flew away into the air.”  

So she’s not the “never go to bed angry” type.

The Ben Sirah story caught on, and ever since Lilith maintained her identity as both demon and runaway wife. Rabbi Jill Hammer writes, “Lilith embodies the emotional and spiritual aspects of darkness: terror, sensuality, and unbridled freedom.”

Sure enough, asked to explicate his back piece in a 2017 Daily Star interview, Aleister Black said, “Lilith is the first woman to ever rebel. The reason she is there [is] equality for every man and woman.”

Since equality is actually a felony in Saudi domains, WWE leaves Black at home during those shows. Where we choose to believe he spent the weekend roosting upside down and avoiding natural light.

So why are we bringing all of this up? Well, reason number one, fuck the House of Saud anyway. Preferably, fuck them in a position that would incur the death penalty in that jurisdiction.

Number two, there’s a lot of power plays going on in this story: A $7 billion international company in bed with the White House on one hand, a terrorist regime that murders reporters with impunity working alongside them, etc.

And yet, all it takes to make both of them blink is the mere suggestion of the devil. It’s not as if Aleister Black has “equality for all” tattooed on his back. If he performed in Saudi Arabia, hardly anyone in the crowd would know what his bloody tattoos mean. (Actually hardly any of them would be paying attention to the match anyway…)

But the despots know what it means. And that’s enough to make them feel threatened. Once again, Lilith ends up cast out of the tyrants’ domain–and all she had to do was show her face.


aleister black Saudi lilith

Dinner with the ex has always been a dicy proposition, it seems.