Paul Lloyd Jr. (March 3, 1981) is a second-generation South African professional wrestler, currently working for Lucha Underground as PJ Black. He was previously signed with WWE, under the name Justin Gabriel. He was a contestant in the first season of WWE NXT, where he finished third, before joining The Nexus stable on Raw. He has held the WWE Tag Team Championship alongside Heath Slater for three reigns. He is also a former FCW Florida Heavyweight Champion.
Professional wrestling career
Lloyd made his professional wrestling debut at the age of 16 and was originally trained by his father Paul Lloyd, Sr., a promoter and wrestler in South Africa who also went by the ring name "The Pink Panther". His grandfather was a professional boxer and amateur wrestler. Lloyd grew up watching his father wrestle and in the early part of his training he used to practice in the backyard of his home, which had two rings positioned. Lloyd went by the ring name PJ Black. He formed a regular tag team with Ray Leppan (who went by the name Presley Jackson, now known as Dameon Duke) called Pure Juice. During Lloyd's final year in high school his father died and a year later he moved to the United Kingdom for five years.
United Kingdom and South Africa (2000–2008)
Lloyd spent five years in the United Kingdom, where he trained with the FWA Academy as well as acquiring diplomas in Graphic Web Design, Personal Training, Sports Nutrition and Body Massage. He was trained by Alex Shane and Mark Sloan. In 2003 he made his FWA debut. He also made an appearance in International Pro Wrestling: United Kingdom.
In 2006, he returned to South Africa and wrestled for World Wrestling Professionals (WWP), which is nationally televised on SABC 2 in South Africa and Colours TV in India with the shows WWP Thunderstrike and 100% De Dhana Dhan, respectively. His most notable feuds during his tenure in WWP were against Tornado, Dameon Duke, Mikey Whiplash and Joe E. Legend. On November 1, 2007, Black became the promotion's inaugural World Cruiserweight Champion, by defeating The Playa in a match to determine the inaugural champion. After holding the championship for 13 days, he lost it to The Lizard on November 14. He then declared his intentions to compete in WWP's heavyweight division.
Lloyd challenged unsuccessfully for the WWP World Heavyweight Championship against Joe E Legend on a WWP Thunderstrike episode that aired on January 10, 2009. During the match he suffered minor burns to the face after a fireball spot did not go as originally planned and he had to be treated at a local hospital. His final match in South Africa took place on November 8, 2008 at WWP's bi-annual Carnival City Casino show, where he was defeated by Terri Middoux in front of a record attendance.
World Wrestling Entertainment / WWE
Florida Championship Wrestling (2008–2010)
In 2008, Lloyd signed a three-year developmental deal with WWE, becoming the first South African person to do so. He was assigned to Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), WWE's developmental territory, where he made his debut under his real name on February 5, in a loss to Kawal. His first win in FCW came the following week, when he teamed with Caylen Croft and Trent Barreta to defeat Tyler Reks, Johnny Curtis, and DJ Gabriel in a six-man tag team match. The following month, he changed his ring name to 'Justin Angel'. He went on to wrestle against DH Smith, Barreta, Yoshitatsu, and Lance Hoyt over the next few months. In June, he formed a tag team with Kris Logan, with the pair defeating DJ Bariel and Vic Adams in their debut match as a team. They quickly began to feud with The Dudebusters of Barreta and Croft, losing to them in several championship matches over the next month. At the July 23, 2009 tapings of FCW's television show, Angel and Logan defeated Barreta and Croft to become the Florida Tag Team Champions. They lost the championship on the same night to The Rotundos (Bo and Duke).
Following the loss of the championship, Angel and Logan dissolved as a tag team, with Angel returning to singles competition. He went on a winning streak throughout August, defeating Alex Riley, Vance Archer, and Sheamus. Angel won the Florida Heavyweight Championship from Heath Slater in a two out of three falls match at the September 24, 2009 television tapings. He successfully defended the championship against Drew McIntyre, Eric Escobar, Slater, and Curt Hawkins throughout late 2009. In February 2010, he changed his ring name to 'Justin Gabriel' to conincide with his appearances on NXT. Further successful championship defenses occurred in early 2010, against competitors including Hawkins, Barreta, and Kaval. After a near six-month reign, Gabriel lost the championship at the March 18 television tapings, when Alex Riley won a three-way match, which also included Wade Barrett. Gabriel lost a rematch to Riley on March 31 and again on May 20. In May, he started a feud with fellow South African Leo Kruger over who was the better wrestler. On June 10, Gabriel beat Kruger, but Kruger reversed the result in a rematch at the July 1 television tapings, which was Gabriel's final appearance in FCW.
The Nexus and The Corre; teaming with Heath Slater (2010–2011)
On February 16, 2010, it was announced that Angel was going to be competing on the first season of WWE NXT, under the name Justin Gabriel, with Matt Hardy as his storyline mentor. He made his in-ring debut on the March 2 episode of NXT in a tag team match with his mentor Hardy, against the team of William Regal and Skip Sheffield. Gabriel and Hardy won the match when Gabriel pinned Regal, making him the first rookie to pin a pro on the show. He went on to defeat Wade Barrett the following week, before suffering his first defeat on the March 16 episode of NXT, when he and Hardy were defeated by CM Punk and Darren Young. On March 30, in the first Pros Poll, Gabriel was ranked third behind Daniel Bryan (first) and Wade Barrett (second). Before the first elimination, Gabriel won the Rookie Challenge earning immunity from elimination in the following Pros Poll. In that Poll, Gabriel remained in third place behind Wade Barrett (who was moved to first) and David Otunga (second). In the season finale on the June 1 episode of NXT, Gabriel was the first eliminated, finishing in third place overall in the competition.
On the June 7 episode of Raw, Gabriel and the other season one NXT rookies turned heel by interfering in the main event match between John Cena and CM Punk, attacking both competitors, the announcing team and Justin Roberts, the ring announcer, before dismantling the ring area and surrounding equipment. On the June 14 episode of Raw the rookies (excluding Daniel Bryan who had been released) attacked General Manager Bret Hart, when he refused to give them contracts. At the Fatal 4-Way pay-per-view, the seven rookies interfered in the WWE Championship match, as a result costing Cena the championship. The following week on Raw, Vince McMahon fired Hart and announced the hiring of a new General Manager, who had signed the seven season one NXT rookies to contracts. The following week, the group was named The Nexus. On the July 12 episode of Raw, The Nexus competed in their first match together, without Darren Young, a six–on–one handicap match against John Cena, which they won when Gabriel pinned Cena. The Nexus continued to feud with Cena and the Raw roster, resulting in a seven-on-seven elimination tag team match at SummerSlam. Gabriel was one of the final two Nexus members in the match, but Cena's team won when Cena eliminated Gabriel and then Barrett to win the match.
In October 2010, Cena was forced to join The Nexus as a result of losing to Barrett at Hell in a Cell, and at the following pay-per-view, Cena and Otunga won the WWE Tag Team Championship. On the October 25 episode of Raw, Barrett made a tag team match, with Gabriel and Heath Slater facing Otunga and Cena for the championship. Gabriel and Slater won when Barrett ordered Otunga to allow Slater to pin him, becoming the new Tag Team Champions. Gabriel and Slater held the championship for nearly two months, before losing it to Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov in a four-way elimination match also involving The Usos and Mark Henry and Yoshi Tatsu on the December 6 episode of Raw. Gabriel and Slater received a rematch for the championship at the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view on December 19, but lost by disqualification when Nexus member Michael McGillicutty interfered.
On the January 10, 2011, episode of Raw Gabriel and Slater refused to take part in new Nexus leader CM Punk's initiation and walked away from the group.
The following day, at the tapings of the January 14 eisode of SmackDown, Gabriel and Slater helped their former leader Wade Barrett and Ezekiel Jackson attack Big Show. The following week, Gabriel, Slater, Barrett, and Jackson announced they had formed the Corre, and later that night Gabriel defeated World Heavyweight Champion Edge in a non-title match, following interference from the other members of The Corre. After winning a non-title match against the champions Kozlov and Marella on the February 4 episode of SmackDown, Gabriel and Slater received a match for the WWE Tag Team Championship two weeks later, but lost via disqualification when the other members of The Corre interfered. They received a rematch at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view on February 20 and defeated Marella and Kozlov to win the WWE Tag Team Championship for the second time. The following night on Raw, Gabriel and Slater lost the championship to John Cena and The Miz, but won the championship back minutes later after Barrett invoked The Corre's rematch clause, and The Miz turned on Cena. During this time, The Corre had continued to feud with The Big Show, and at WrestleMania XXVII in April the team of The Big Show, Kane, Santino Marella, and Kofi Kingston defeated The Corre. At the April 19 taping of SmackDown, the duo of Gabriel and Slater lost the Tag Team Championship to the team of Kane and The Big Show. In a backstage segment following the match, Gabriel was attacked by Slater, who thought Gabriel blamed him for their loss. On the May 6 episode of SmackDown, Gabriel, Barrett, and Slater attacked Jackson, removing him from the group. On the June 10th edition of SmackDown, when Barrett walked out on Gabriel and Slater in a 6-man tag team match against Jackson and The Usos, Gabriel and Slater told Barrett later backstage that The Corre was over.
They would start a feud with The Usos. On the June 17th edition of SmackDown, Gabriel and Slater, with new music, were defeated by The Usos, later defeating them in a rematch on the June 24th edition. The next day he together with Slater were announced for the Smackdown Money in the Bank match in Chicago, Illinois. They were again defeated by The Usos on the July 8th edition, having a visible disagreement and argument in the ring following the match.
Singles competition (2011–2015)
The following week, Slater accused Gabriel of dropping the ball, thus ending the their team and Gabriel turning face. Gabriel ended up winning the match against Slater. At Money in the Bank, he participated in the SmackDown Money in the Bank ladder match, but was unsuccessful. The match was won by Daniel Bryan. Gabriel cemented his face status on the July 21, 2011 episode of WWE Superstars, when he faced Tyson Kidd in a one on one match in a winning effort after performing a 450° splash on Kidd, despite his (Kidd's) super hurricanrana. Gabriel would then go on a winning streak in either singles or tag team competition as the weeks go on, but his winning streak ended when Wade Barrett pinned Gabriel after a Wasteland. After his match against Barrett, Gabriel would be pushed as "The Superstar always looking for an adreneline rush" with Garbriel getting several wins over Tyson Kidd, Heath Slater and a win over Jinder Mahal. Gabriel would continue a winning streak on WWE Superstars and house shows defeating NXT Rookies, and he got his first high-profile win defeating Dolph Ziggler.
On January 24, 2015, it was reported that Justin Gabriel quit WWE the day before the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
International Airstrike (2012)
For a time, Gabriel teamed with Tyson Kidd as a tag team until breaking up around 2013.
Independent circuit (2015–present)
On 25 January 2015, it was announced that Lloyd would be making his first post-WWE appearance for Pro Wrestling Syndicate (PWS) on 31 January while resuming his PJ Black ring name. At the EVOLVE 38 iPPV event held on 8 March 2015, PJ defeated Caleb Konley following a springboard 450 splash. On March 26, Black unsuccessfully challenged Drew Galloway for the Evolve World Championship.
Global Force Wrestling (2015–present)
On 6 May 2015, Global Force Wrestling (GFW) announced PJ Black as part of their roster < He would compete the GFW NEX*GEN Championship Tournament. On October 23, 2015, he won the tournament to become the first ever NEX*GEN Champion.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2015)
On July 27, 2015, Black defeated Lashley, Chris Mordetzky, Eric Young and Robbie E in a King of the Mountain match to win the vacant TNA King of the Mountain Championship. That same day, Black faced TNA World Heavyweight Champion Ethan Carter III in a losing effort. On the September 2 episode of Impact, Black lost the King of the Mountain Championship to Bobby Roode.
Lucha Underground (2015–present)
On November 14, 2015, at the first set of Lucha Underground tapings for their second season, Black made his lucha debut for the organization and lost his first match against The Mack.
Monster Truck Racing
On January 27, 2012 at the Cumberland County Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville NC, Lloyd and 7 other wrestlers were signing up for a 16-truck event, with 8 wrestlers spliting the field in half. This event would be the wrestlers that signed up's only event. Lloyd would finish 13th due to his 2001 Cadillac LMP flipping within the first 45 seconds.
Lloyd has competed in numerous modeling contests as well. He placed first in the Male Fitness Model Search held by FAME SA, sixth in the 2008 Mr Body Classic contest held by Mr & Ms Body Beautiful SA, eighth in the 2007 Men's Model Search held by Mr & Ms Fitness SA, and reached the top five in the Mr Physique Division in the 2008 Men's Model Search. He is currently in a relationship with WWE Diva Kelly Kelly.
- Finishing moves
- 450° Splash sometimes while springboarding
- Signature Moves
- Blue ThunderBomb
- Corkscrew Plancha
- Discus Elbow Smash
- Inverted Facelock Elbow Drop
- Running, leaping or diving Shoulder block
- Gabriel Special (Tilt-a-whirl into an inverted headlock elbow drop),often used as a counter
- Headscissors armbar preceded by Russian Legsweep
- Heel Hook
- High-Angle Senton Bomb (WWP)
- Running Crossbody
- Hurricanrana, sometimes from second rope
- Multiple Kicks variations
- Koji Clutch preceded by Reverse STO or STO
- Overhead gutwrench backbreaker rack flipped sideways into an implant DDT
- Springboard crossbody
- Slingshot Somersault Senton
- Suicide Senton Bomb
- Tilt-a-whirl DDT
- Tornado DDT
- Top Rope Springboard Moonsault
- Tag Teams and Stables
- Entrance themes
- "What Love Is" by Jim Johnston (FCW)
- "Wild & Young" by American Bang (Used while with the other NXT rookies)
- "Live For The Moment" by Monster Magnet (used with Matt Hardy as his rookie on NXT)
- "We Are One" by 12 Stones (used as part of Nexus)
- "End of Days" by Shaman's Harvest (used as a part of The Corre)
- "All About The Power" by S-Preme
- "The Rising" by Jim Johnston
- "Fear Nothing" by CFO$
- "Voodoo People (Pendulum Remix)" by The Prodigy
Championships and accomplishments
- GFW NexGen Championship (1 time)
- International Wrestling Federation: South Africa
- IWF Cruiserweight Championship (1 time)
- SAWING Cruiserweight Championship (1 time)
- WWP Cruiserweight World Championship (1 time)