Pro Wrestling 24/7 Interview with NWA World Champion Nick Aldis, Recap
Nick Anthony: Of course Aldis is defending the title in Chicago on September 1st at @ALL_IN_2018 against Cody and unless you’ve been living under a rock you know about All In, the ground-breaking event being promoted by The Young Bucks & Cody. The event is sold out, completely sold out and it’s remarkable Nick, here we have 3 guys, not a promotion, just 3 ‘indy guys’ which I don’t even like using, but it’s whatever. How important is this for guys in the industry, both your peers and those coming up, those who have put the time in. How important is it?
Aldis: It’s huge for our business and when you look at the card, certainly the credit does belong to Cody and The Bucks, but I think also it was a statement made by fans that they want the business to thrive and not just in the realm of WWE. They have a monopoly and it is always likely for it to stay that way. Some people are going to refer to it as a protest, I don’t think that’s really accurate, I think anyone that buys The Network or are buying WWE ppvs or their buying tickets to see WWE events when they come to their area. BUT what it is, it’s hunger for the business to thrive and to be part of something unique. To be part of a moment and I think that’s what All In is. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that people will look at All In not necessarily on the same scale depending on what happens next, but in the same way they look at the first WrestleMania, like it will be the event that people said no way this can’t happen, it can’t be done and then it was, it was done in a big way and now it’s on us to deliver. When you look at the guys on that card some are under contract sure, but really the reason it’s called All In is because it’s a bunch of guys that bet on themselves and that’s why I’m there and why the NWA Title is there and why we’re represented there, it’s a bunch of guys that bet on themselves.
Anthony: With WWE being in that top rung or the pinnacle of the industry it seems that unlike in the past there are more opportunities like you brought up with All In. You mentioned some guys are under contract, some aren’t. Is it fair to say that some of the guys coming up and even some that have put the time in, they can establish themselves without the WWE? WWE doesn’t have to be that pinnacle or that top rung anymore.
Aldis: No. Sure and obviously it’s going to be from a financial standpoint and from a worldwide standpoint in terms of eyeballs. We’re certainly not to the point yet where TV isn’t important or anything like that it’s just less important. The availability to everyone to create their own content and then put it out and then create their audience and monetize them this is really what its proof of. If you can build a fan base it’s out there for everyone, YouTube and that’s really what it’s built off of, Being the Elite is really the driving force of this in the same way Ten Pounds of Gold is getting us to the dance and although they are completely different shows they represent the same ideals in that we’re going to put out a style of content in our own way in a way that I think is going to resonate with the audience and create an audience and get those people galvanized and make them believe in the brand. That’s why it took to get them over the table because they got Cody’s attention, Marty Scurll is one of my best friends, I’ve known Nick and Matt since they were in TNA with me. So there was already a mutual respect and I respected what they were doing & it’s funny in the business a lot of the fans kind of have you pegged for a lot of the time and I think they had me pegged as a guy that didn’t like that kind of style stuff, that’s not true at all I love that style, I can’t do it, but I’m a fan of it. I believe good pro wrestling is like the circus: you get a little bit of everything. The same way that The Bucks and Marty have created a tremendous amount of income for themselves almost by rallying against or perceived to be rallying against traditions and people that buried them for not being traditional when in fact they’re very traditional. If you’ve watched them all they’re doing is the same principles that have always worked in the business, but just with a modern delivery and they in the same token they enjoy the art form, I think if you were to ask them they may have been a little sceptical at first not so much because of me, but just wondering about their fan base. They were a little hesitant at first for the reasons I’m describing about me and Cody being a featured attraction at the event because they weren’t sure how it would be.
Anthony: For example like you guys being more mainstream?
Aldis: Because it’s the NWA Title and the way I’m perceived by, I think they were nervous about the way that I would be perceived by that fan base and then very quickly they saw the reaction to it and thought this was perfect because we’re appealing to a different type of audience, but at the same time also appealing to theirs. I think there’s a certain misconception that wrestling fans that like a certain type of wrestling has to dislike all these other types. What All In has done and we’re slowly destroying that myth. I’ll be the first to say that I don’t like that fans go & boo Roman Reigns, not because I don’t think they should have the right to boo & cheer whoever they want, but because ok you made your point, but now you’re ruining the experience for kids, for the parents that paid their money and I’ve said this many times I’m a father, if you’re a dad and you work hard to get the money for a living to get some tickets, hot dogs, parking and everything else you’re shelling out a few hundred dollars to take the kids to go see Roman Reigns and are surrounded by a bunch of adults who shouts he sucks and heckling him and such. It’s not good for the business because the likelihood is you’re turning those fans off and you’re not going to generate a new audience, but that’s a different story for a different day. What I’m getting at is, what All In represent is a bunch of different people that believe in themselves and are committed to what they do. They may not necessarily love the type of wrestling I do, or the type of wrestling I represent in the same way there are people who follow the NWA for example that are against The Bucks at first were met with resistance and can’t believe you’re aligning yourself with these guys. What are talking about? These guys are brilliant performers and great workers because they make you react that’s what a great worker does. They draw money, we’re drawing interest in what we’re doing. The idea of Cody and I for the Title got people interested more than interested. So we’re proving that it can be done. I believed for a long time that the prize fight model can work and no one had the courage to execute it except us. If you watch WWE now and watch the way with what they’re building stuff, when was the last time you heard the phrase ‘Ten Pounds of Gold’ before we were popularizing it, now you hear it, I heard it on Smackdown the other day, used in UFC. It’s Flair’s phrase, but we’re the ones who brought it back because of the series and people liked it they appreciated what we’re doing. We were tipping our hats to the traditions of the past, but with a modern delivery.
Anthony: So do you see a change coming with All In? We have the Chris Jericho Cruise with ROH, Impact, Lucha Underground and everything in between. Let’s not forget what happened in New Orleans with Impact vs Lucha and obviously NWA and all the promotions under your banner. Do you see change coming?
Aldis: I think change is happening now, it’s happening in front of our faces. A year ago, what was the NWA a year ago you know? Go back and read the stuff people were writing, ‘the experts’ were writing about Billy purchasing the NWA. Like oh god what is he doing now, this is a bad idea and it’s a dead brand and it’s been on crappy Indies yada yada yada. Oh, and they’re going with Nick Aldis oh god, well he’s ok I guess, but he’s just cookie cutter rah rah rah and now everyone’s like suddenly oh my god all because of Cody what a great move and they’re trying to intellectualize the reason it’s working. It’s working we’re the right guys and we believe in it & we’ve committed to it again.
Anthony: Let’s stay with NWA. On a poll, they asked the question the most prestigious Championship in all of wrestling. What would you say that would be?
Aldis: What would I say?
Aldis: I think that’s subjective point to be fair, but I will say that I believe the Championship is as prestigious as any other now given the fact that within one year we’ve made it to the headline attraction of the most talked about wrestling show of the year. I mean pretty good progress for one year and for me that just shows what we’re doing is right and if we’ve made it this far in one year imagine where we can be in five.
Anthony: To be representing NWA at All In, do you see a possible change in the way NWA is going for and signifying a possible resurgence of that brand?
Aldis: I think that what people gravitated to is the fact that it’s an old brand. You can’t buy history, well Billy can, but no one else can. Unless someone buys the WWE or TNA video library. You can’t buy the depths of history that’s represented by the NWA & the NWA Title and I think what people didn’t take into account when Billy bought the organization and the rights because really what he bought was intellectual property, he didn’t buy a promotion, he didn’t buy a ring or a roster of wrestlers that were under contract he didn’t buy anything like that. He bought an IP, but what he got was a brand that has a rich legacy and in getting the rights to the Houston library he was able to remind people the lineage of the Championship going back to 1905 all the way to Hackenschmidt and then Lou Thesz, Pat O’Connor, Dory Funk Jr, Jack Brisco, Terry Funk, Harley Race, Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair & in a way I think the time was right. Jim Cornette’s fond of a saying ‘How can I miss you, if you don’t go away’ That was the thing with the NWA because it never really went away until recently, in the broad scheme of things it never went away and now for it to come back with this renewed approach. I think what’s got people interested is it’s the oldest wrestling brand with the newest approach to pro wrestling content. You’ve got the perfect mix of something new that has people interested and has them talking mixed with the prestige of a really historic Championship. No one else besides the WWE who everyone is already watching anyway can really do what we’re doing because no other Championship has that prestige attached to it.
Anthony: So in the poll you were listed, NWA World Heavyweight Championship as the leader as the most prestigious as you mentioned and singling you out for carrying the Championship and people compared you to the names that you brought up: Flair, Brisco, Funk they compared you to this. What’s your thoughts and opinions on that?
Aldis: Well it’s very flattering. I’m not there yet, but I intend to be and certainly All In. It’s time to go make the moments boys. This is it. These are the nights that guys like me and guys like Cody, we set around and we visualize. These are the moments. The business is built on moments, it’s not built on amazing matches as much as that might be the rhetoric that exists a lot, it’s really not, it’s built on moments. As great and incredible as 35-40 minute match with 100 false finishes and all these incredible athletic moves and put your body through hell people can’t remember them can they. They remember moments and that’s what we intend to give them. We’ve given them plenty already and I think that this is just the beginning.
Anthony: All right real quick before I let you go NWA World Champion Nick Aldis facing Cody Rhodes on September 1st at All In in Chicago. Real quick Nick the way that All In has been promoted was completely opposite of anything we’ve ever seen before and I’ve been saying this for the longest time and you guys have embraced it well at All In. The Internet Wrestling Community, Social Media, Wrestling Talk Shows and Podcasts believe it or not we all have voices and a lot of times the big company WWE they look down on the wrestling podcasts and don’t want anything to do with them, but you guys did the complete opposite of that and I think it’s paying off. Everybody wants in, everybody wants to see this and like you said before you went after the hardcore fans and the kids or whatnot. I think the way it was promoted was the best thing that could have happened for All In, Cody, The Bucks and you guys.
Aldis: Well we, I played a very small part in that, but what I think it represents more then that the business is done right when everybody’s opinion is heard and the decision is made that works for everyone. The business loses its way when you have only a small number of people controlling the visions of a bunch of very intelligent and talented people. I’m not taking a shot at WWE they’re a multi-billion dollar company and are doing it all right. What I’m saying is you get magic when take Cody & I for example. We have this vision of what this can be & we realize very quickly that we have the same vision so then it was easy as we all set down at a table like a prize fight: myself the champion, Dave Lagana the VP of NWA, Billy’s around when he’s available, Cody he’s under contract to ROH so ROH has a seat at the table & we’re all saying ok what do we want to happen. Here’s what we want, we want Cody & Nick for the Title, ok here’s what we want, we want eyeballs, we want prestige, we want this, we want that & we realized very quickly that we all wanted the same thing which is to get the big fight feel and the legacy of the title. The opportunity to tell a story that can only be told once. This is the first time the son of the American Dream gets to challenge for the Title that used to set on his dad’s desk. So I get it and I want the opportunity to prove what I told everyone that I was going to bring this Title back, I told Billy I promised him when he gave me the opportunity I’m going to make the Title mean something again because I thought the time was right and I saw the Flair 30 for 30 on ESPN, I was the way it was received and I said the time is right, people are ready for this belt and it just got better from there. We announced today that the 70th Anniversary of the NWA our first standalone show is going to be in Nashville on October 21st. You would not believe how many people contacted the NWA trying to get booked on that show, everybody wants in because of the energy is flowing in our direction and we’re going to keep going
Anthony: It’s time, it’s time for the NWA and I can see it, I can feel it. It is a big fight feel. Nick Aldis/Cody Rhodes September 1st Chicago I’m ready for it man
Aldis: Me too.
Anthony: Thanks a lot for coming on the show with us at NBC Sports Radio Pro Wrestling 24/7
Aldis: Thank you for having me.
Anthony: He sounds ready, he sounds ready.