Interview: Nigel McGuinness (Former TNA/ROH star)

Nigel McGuinness is a former English wrestler currently working as a producer in LA. He has worked all around the world having great success as Desmond Wolfe in TNA, as well as being the Ring of Honour (ROH) World Champion. McGuinness currently has a Kickstarter running as he is looking to produce a’ A complex, powerful, and highly entertaining, six-episode series completely reinventing the professional wrestling genre.’

Hey Nigel, thanks speaking with us. We’ve just launched our new wrestling section so it’s great timing that you’re looking to launch LA Fights. How’s it going?

Smashing. Just busy.

Are you just focusing on LA Fights or do you have some other projects on the go?

I am an assistant editor on the Carbonaro Effect on Tru TV and I’m filing my taxes.

I’ll try not to keep you long then! As we speak there’s 24 days to go on your Kickstarter campaign. You’ve asked for $370,000 and have $43,693. How optimistic are you of reaching the goal?

Ha ha, it’s a steep hill to climb if we’re going to get there, but I know there are some people out there who would love the idea and want to invest. The key is to get the word out so they know about it and the more people that back the more people it encourages to do so.

Did you consider ever looking for funding to produce a pilot episode to shop to networks, rather than seeking the entire budget through Kickstarter?

Of course. But there are so many pilots made every year that never get picked up that I didn’t want to get lost in the mix, plus if I’d funded that through Kickstarter I’d have given away the entire blue print for at best someone else to make the show, at worst someone put out a poor version and further sour the market.

I was going to ask if you’re going to write it all alone or go the team of writers route? I guess doing it this way gives you total control.

The script is already written. Jimmy Jacobs was the script consultant for storylines, I didn’t have personal experience with.

If you get past the pilot?

All six episodes fully written and budgeted yes. I have put many hundreds of hours into the project already to be at this stage where I just need the money to make it a reality.

You’ve said you hope to reinvent pro wrestling for modern television audiences who are used to the complexity of Breaking Bad. From a storytelling perspective, does this mean more of a focus on promos or will that narrative still be told in the ring? A lot of people excited to see how it pans out.

There will be different stories in ring, but I mean the storylines outside of the ring that make people care about what happens to the characters when they get in the ring. And there’ll be little or no promos, other than those showing how the traditional notion of a promo can often not work. There is a lot of interest in this, but there are still tons of people who haven’t heard of it. Plenty of people who have that haven’t backed it yet. But we really need their support if this is going to happen. 

Can you give us an example of how an angle might work?

An angle is something used to get people to pay to watch a live show so there aren’t angles in the traditional sense since it will all be taped before anyone sees it. For examples of storylines watch any documentary about wrestlers’ personal issues behind the scenes, but imagine they actually play into what happens in the matches too.

I hope this helps. To be honest, however, like any idea or concept, at some point you have to just have faith in the person putting the project together that they have both the talent and determination to make an awesome product that will appeal to and fulfil their expectations.

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Some people aren’t getting the ‘fight’ aspect? Can you clear it up. Will this be wrestling, staged MMA or simply a filmed fight?

The fights will be filmed live to tape like any other wrestling show. It’s important I stay true to the live aspect of pro wrestling or it loses the connection. The in ring will of course be predetermined and somewhat choreographed, but will be closer to a UWFI style from the nineties with significant modifications to make it both more exciting and more digestible to the casual fan.

If it’s not just filmed like a drama’s fight scene will there be an audience?

Again, there will be a live audience just like any show.

Do you think it could bring in an audience outside the typical wrestling hardcore?

100%, way beyond even the casual pro wrestling audience. I don’t think I can fully explain how much of a positive impact this could have on the industry if funded.

Do you have any wrestlers booked? What type of faces can we expect?

I have people in mind but no one cast. Casting will be a process in itself if it gets funded. If there was anyone committed with a huge name value I would of course release that but I do not. It is a show that we built off concept not name value. I think we’ve seen in wrestling long enough now that having big names in and of itself is not enough to make a good show.

What do you make of WWE Network? Room for non-WWE content?

Sure, but I don’t think they’d be interested in this.

If they came knocking though you wouldn’t say no?

I’d obviously entertain a discussion with anyone. Certainly that has the resources to do something with it.

What promotions do you keep up with, if any?

ROH, through my work there. PWG when I can find time to watch a show and everything else only through what people post on social media.

Ok, we got some questions on Twitter, so if you’re sitting comfortably we have a few toughies!

What will you do if the Kickstarter doesn’t raise enough money? Will you continue to pursue the project through other means or is that it?

I don’t want to give up on something that I’ve put so much work into and that so many people have supported me with. I will weight up my options if that happens, like making a pilot or getting private investors, but right now I’m focusing on plan A since that is the only way to make this a reality with my vision. So if people truly want to see something different on a mainstream level this is the way to make it happen.

Why no WWE run?

Who me?

Yes, why didn’t you have a WWE run? Ever close?

Watch my documentary, it’s all explained in there.

What’s the documentary called for our new readers to the wrestling section?

The Last of McGuinness – Nigelwrestling.com

Let’s move on from Twitter now. Back to your career, who are the best people you’ve worked with?

Dragon (Daniel Bryan), Angle, Joe, Aries, the list goes on.

A strong list. Anyone you see now who you’d like to have wrestled given the chance?

Nigel McGuinness. Sure, again  a long list. Cole, Ciampa, Orton, Moxley.

I’m sure you’ve got many more to come but what have been your highlights so far?

[Kurt] Angle was a highlight. A couple of matches with Dragon.

Japan Ariake Coliseum. Going to Australia

Headlining a PPV for ROH in New York City.

How long have you been in LA for now?

It’ll be three years in March.

Get to come home at all? Don’t miss the cold and rain?

Nope. Don’t get back any more now I’m not wrestling.

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We’re originally a music magazine, do you have any recommendations for our readers?

Still love Travis. Had a lot of talented musicians let me use their music for the documentary.

Thanks for answering the questions, before we leave you is there anything you want to say to your supporters?

Just a huge thanks. Without them I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where or who I am. It was the support of all the backers for the documentary that enabled me to come to LA and to make a living as an editor now. I have been blessed in my life, and irrespective of what happens with LA Fights that won’t change.

Thanks Nigel. Good luck with the Kickstarter.

If you’d like to contribute to LA Fights or just find out more please go to – www.kickstarter.com/projects/nigelmcguinness/la-fights

Questions from David Garlick / Dominic Griffin.