Commander Azeez
Born
Babatunde Łukasz Aiyegbusi

(1989-05-26) May 26, 1989 (age 33)
Ring name(s)Babatunde
Babatunde Aiyegbusi
Commander Azeez
Dabba-Kato
Billed height6 ft 9 in (206 cm)[1]
Billed weight350 lb (159 kg)[1]
Trained byWWE Performance Center
DebutSeptember 30, 2016[2]

Football career
No. 71, 69
Position:Offensive tackle
Personal information
Height:6 ft 9 in (2.06 m)
Weight:345 lb (156 kg)
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at NFL.com

Babatunde Łukasz Aiyegbusi (Yoruba: Babátúndé Łukasz Aiyégbùsì; born May 26, 1989) is a Polish-Nigerian professional wrestler and former football player. He is currently signed to WWE, where he performs on the NXT brand under the ring name Commander Azeez. He previously played for a number of teams in the Polish American Football League and German Football League, and had a stint with the Minnesota Vikings during the 2015 preseason.[3]

Early life and football career

Born in Oleśnica, Wrocław metropolitan area in the Lower Silesian Province of South-West Poland on May 26, 1989 to a Polish mother and an immigrant Nigerian father, Aiyegbusi began playing American football in 2005 as an offensive lineman. He played in the Polish American Football League for the Giants Wrocław (formerly known as The Crew Wrocław) and the Warsaw Eagles and in the German Football League for the Dresden Monarchs. In 2015, Aiyegbusi was signed by the Minnesota Vikings of the National Football League and he participated in their preseason program, playing three preseason games before being released as part of roster cuts prior to the 2015 NFL season.[4][5]

Professional wrestling career

WWE (2016–present)

On April 12, 2016, Aiyegbusi joined the WWE Performance Center as part of a new class of recruits.[3] He made his professional wrestling debut under his birth name, portraying a face, at a NXT house show in Orlando, Florida on September 30, 2016, competing in a battle royal.[6] In April 2018, Babatunde started to accompany Lio Rush to the ring at NXT live events until Rush was called up to the main roster as part of 205 Live. Babatunde made his televised debut on April 27 at the Greatest Royal Rumble, entering the match as the 37th entrant and being eliminated by Braun Strowman.[7]

On August 3, 2020, Babatunde would make his return to television and his Raw debut. He would debut as part of a Raw Underground segment under the ring name Dabba-Kato.[8] He would develop a winning streak on Raw Underground defeating several local wrestlers until he was defeated by Strowman on the September 21 episode of Raw.[9] As part of the 2020 Draft in October, Dabba-Kato was drafted to the Raw brand.[10] However following the draft, he would not make a single appearance on the brand.

On Night 2 of WrestleMania 37 on April 11, 2021, he returned to help Apollo Crews win the Intercontinental Championship from Big E.[11] Crews would then re-introduce him as Commander Azeez the following Friday on SmackDown, with no mention made of his previous time as Dabba-Kato on Raw, thus transferring to the SmackDown brand.[12] As part of the 2021 Draft, both Crews and Azeez were drafted to the Raw brand.[13] In June 2022, Crews and Azeez were sent to NXT.[14]

Evolve (2019)

On May 10, 2019, Babatunde made his debut for Evolve (a WWE affiliated promotion) at Evolve 127, defeating Adrian Alanis.[2] He would go on to feud with The Unwanted, led by Eddie Kingston. This came about at Evolve 130, when Kingston and Joe Gacy interfered in the title match between Babatunde and JD Drake, resulting in a no-contest. After a post-match beatdown, The Unwanted then ran to the back, while Babatunde chased after them. Later that night, Babutunde reappeared and was about to perform a double chokeslam on Kingston and Gacy, until Colby Corino and Sean Maluta came out to make the save, resulting in another beatdown.[15] In the coming months, Babatunde mostly faced members of The Unwanted. At Evolve 131, Babatunde defeated Corino in a squash match,[16] and at Evolve 132, he gained a disqualification win over Gacy.[17] He returned at Evolve 135 facing Austin Theory, which ended in a no-contest, after an attack by The Unwanted, continuing the feud.[18] At Evolve 137, the match between Babatunde and Kingston went to a no-contest,[19] and at Evolve 138, he defeated Maluta and allied himself with The Skulk.[20] At Evolve 139, he defeated Kingston in a relaxed rules match.[21] Babatunde's last interaction with The Unwanted was at Evolve 141, where he teamed with Anthony Gutierrez and Arturo Ruas in a losing effort.[22]

Babtunde's final appearance for the promotion came at Evolve 142, when a singles match between him and Anthony Greene was changed to a tag team match involving him and Josh Briggs and The In Crowd. This ended in a disqualification win for The In Crowd, when Briggs hit Greene with a kendo stick.[23]

Other media

Aiyegbusi, as Commander Azeez, made his video game debut in The Whole Dam Pack DLC for WWE 2K22.[24][25]

References

  1. ^ a b "Wrestlingdata.com – The World's Largest Wrestling Database". WrestlingData. Retrieved August 12, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Babatunde Aiyegbusi". Cagematch. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  3. ^ a b WWE.com Staff (April 12, 2016). "WWE Performance Center welcomes new class of recruits". WWE. Retrieved June 25, 2022.
  4. ^ "From the Line to the Ring: Former Viking Babatunde Aiyegbusi Joins WWE". Archived from the original on November 19, 2016. Retrieved November 19, 2016.
  5. ^ "Vikings Announce Roster Moves, Set 53-Man Roster". Vikings.com. September 5, 2015. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  6. ^ "WWE NXT Live". Cagematch. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  7. ^ Powell, Jason (April 27, 2018). "Powell's WWE Greatest Royal Rumble live review: 50-man Royal Rumble match, Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns in a cage match for the WWE Universal Championship, AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship, John Cena vs. Triple H, Undertaker vs. Rusev in a casket match". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved April 27, 2018.
  8. ^ "#RawUnderground is HERE ... and so is DABBA-KATO". Twitter. Retrieved August 4, 2020.
  9. ^ "WWE Raw 9/21/20 Results: Retribution Competes, Top Contenders Are Crowned & Randy Orton Returns!". Fightful.
  10. ^ WWE.com Staff (October 9, 2020). "See all the results from the 2020 Draft". WWE. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
  11. ^ Powell, Jason (April 11, 2021). "WrestleMania 37 results: Powell's live review of night two with Roman Reigns vs. Edge vs. Daniel Bryan in a Triple Threat for the WWE Universal Championship, Asuka vs. Rhea Ripley for the Raw Women's Championship, Big E vs. Apollo Crews in a Nigerian Drum Fight for the IC Title". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved April 11, 2021.
  12. ^ Powell, Jason (April 16, 2021). "4/16 WWE Friday Night Smackdown results: Powell's review of the WrestleMania 37 fallout show with champions Roman Reigns and Bianca Belair, Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler vs. The Street Profits for the Smackdown Tag Titles, Rey Mysterio vs. Otis". Pro Wrestling Dot Net. Retrieved April 17, 2021.
  13. ^ WWE.com Staff (October 1, 2021). "See all the results from the 2021 Draft". WWE. Retrieved June 25, 2022.
  14. ^ Johnson, Mike (June 8, 2022). "APOLLO CREWS' WWE STATUS GOING FORWARD, FUTURE FOR ANOTHER RAW STAR REVEALED". PWInsider.com. Retrieved June 25, 2022.
  15. ^ Pipkin, Landon (July 13, 2019). "Evolve 130 results: Pipkin's review of Roderick Strong vs. Austin Theory, Tyler Breeze vs. Anthony Greene, JD Drake vs. Babatunde for the WWN Championship, Curt Stallion vs. Sean Maluta, the final show before the WWE Network special". prowrestling.net. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  16. ^ Peeples, Jeremy (July 13, 2019). "EVOLVE 10th Anniversary live results: Adam Cole vs. Akira Tozawa". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  17. ^ Kreikenbohm, Philip. "EVOLVE 132". cagematch.net. Retrieved June 25, 2022.
  18. ^ Kreikenbohm, Philip. "EVOLVE 135". cagematch.net. Retrieved June 25, 2022.
  19. ^ Kreikenbohm, Philip. "EVOLVE 137". cagematch.net. Retrieved June 25, 2022.
  20. ^ Kreikenbohm, Philip. "EVOLVE 138". cagematch.net. Retrieved June 25, 2022.
  21. ^ Kreikenbohm, Philip. "EVOLVE 139". cagematch.net. Retrieved June 25, 2022.
  22. ^ Csonka, Larry (April 12, 2020). "Csonka's EVOLVE 141 Review". 411Mania.com. Retrieved June 25, 2022.
  23. ^ Csonka, Larry (April 18, 2020). "Csonka's EVOLVE 142 Review". 411Mania.com. Retrieved June 25, 2022.
  24. ^ "Star Studded WWE 2K22 The Whole Dam Pack Brings The Noise". 2K. Archived from the original on July 20, 2022. Retrieved July 23, 2022.
  25. ^ Wilson, Ben (July 6, 2022). "WWE 2K22 wrestlers list sorted by Raw, Smackdown, AEW and more". GamesRadar+. Archived from the original on July 20, 2022. Retrieved July 23, 2022.