When Billy Corgan purchased NWA 2 years and a half ago, he knew exactly where he wanted to go and started to think of a 20-year plan. He knew exactly what he wanted to do and how to do it. And most importantly with who. The first wrestler he signed was former Impact World Champion Nick Aldis. He entrusted him to become his Champion, but also someone he could rely on.
After defending the Ten Pounds of Gold belt at All In and on different promotions, Aldis emerged as the World Champion when NWA POWERRR, the company’s weekly show made its debut in early October. With a roster that would make any company blush and a nostalgic but modern vision, the show has received rave reviews from around the globe, as the show is available on YouTube for free.
A few days before Into The Fire, the first NWA’s PPV of this new “era”, SteelChair Mag had the chance to take part in a media call with the National Treasure, Nick Aldis. More than simply being a wrestler for the company, the Champion has become a master key to NWA’s success and way of working.
On his match against James Storm at Into The Fire
“Honestly, the 2 out of 3 Falls matches have been good to me. Many people remember that I regained the World Championship over a year ago at NWA 70, our first standalone pay-per-view event in a 2 out of 3 Falls match with Cody Rhodes. The great premise of the 2 out of 3 Falls is the fact that it eliminates excuses. It seems to me that, in the lead-up to this, James Storm has had a lot of excuses, he’s had a lot of conspiracies about how he’s been treated, and honestly, I don’t really see the validity in any of those arguments. I see a guy who had a run with the National title, lost that title to Colt Cabana and now he’s making noise about the World Championship. Anyone can get lucky with one fall and James is claiming that about different issues with our first match. Anyone who saw it saw what happened, it may have ended in a count-out but it didn’t. When Billy Corgan decided to make it to where there must be a winner, that was only benefiting the Challenger because, as it has always been in this business, the burden is on the challenger to beat the Champion, not the other way around, if he wants to take the title. So when it comes to this 2 out of 3 Falls, as I’ve proven over and over again, the best thing about being the World Champion is that you have a range of opponents at the top level. I’ve proven myself at every opportunity, every single challenger that’s come my way, hostile territory or not. I’ve proven why the NWA is where it’s at and you’re looking at it, me, the World Champion.”
On Being The National Treasure
“If you want people to part with their money to see me perform again, whether it be at the box office or whether it be on a pay-per-view, then I should be willing to go the extra mile to make the effort to present myself as somebody that’s worth paying for. I mean that’s really what it comes down to. It’s not about pretending to be rich or pretending to be a star or pretending to be something I’m not, it’s about conducting myself as a professional.”
On being the first wrestler signed by NWA and convince as the company’s leader
“I was fortunate in many ways because I got signed early. I got my foot in the door at TNA but I wasn’t really ready for the spot and I’ve said this before many times the most important thing, in my opinion, to have longevity in this business is to have self-awareness. I think that there was always a part of me that knew deep down that wasn’t necessarily ready to be on TV but it doesn’t work like that right like you have to take what you can get and I was starting at the deep end. Terry Taylor said to me you’re getting paid to go to college, which is true, I got paid to learn in the ring from everyone from AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Doug Williams and then sit under the learning tree of guys like Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner, Kurt Angle and Sting. Everything I am now is basically a product of that education. My education happened on TV so, for me, I’ve had to work very hard to sort of break a lot of the established opinion of long-time fans who only had seen me from my TNA run and just kind of written me off like ‘he’s whatever‘ because I was whatever then. You have to believe in your perception, you can’t sort of shy away from it. Once I understood that I embraced the idea that ‘look Magnus is dead’, that guy that you knew then is not this guy. I’ve spent 2 years with David Lagana’s help and Billy Corgan’s help to reintroduce the world to Nick Aldis.”
On the NWA roster and the atmosphere of it
“There really is a camaraderie. I’ve never been in a situation where you truly felt every single person, not just talent but every single individual involved in NWA POWERRR, was really on the same page and really wanted it to succeed. I don’t recall a single complaint, any gripes, everybody there was just plugged into this energy source. It’s very gratifying from a sort of professional level for me where a lot of my peers, many of whom were in the business before I was, were deferring to me as the top guy, like Ken Anderson or Trevor Murdoch coming to me and being like “what do you think Champ?” When you have the respect of your peers, that’s an indication that you’re on the right track. I have that, they have my respect, that’s the way the NWA is, seasoned professionals who respect one another, want everybody to succeed, and overall, want the company to succeed first and foremost.”
On the young talents and having “the gift of gab”
“Ricky Starks would be one of the first ones I would mention in that regard. I think people are going to be surprised when Thunder Rosa gets a chance to speak, certainly in that environment. Her presentation is so vastly different and she’s arrived on the scene with such ferocity based on her in-ring performances. But I wouldn’t sleep on her as far as her ability to deliver on the stick too. Allysin Kay is money on the mic. She, in many ways, has been as good a representation of the NWA as I have on the women’s side, in the way she carries herself. With the way she conducts herself, she really believes that she’s the champion and that’s really the most important thing. There’s also going to be some new faces. There’s going to be some new people coming up and by the time this weekend is finished, the conversation about the NWA will be about what you’ve just seen, or if you didn’t get the PPV, what you just missed. Who knows who you’re going to see on that podium? That’s an exciting prospect. Let’s not forget that people like to talk about the departure of Cornette. But the blessing in disguise we got from that is the addition of Stu Bennett who I think is going to absolutely crush it on the broadcast team.”
On British wrestlers he would like to see coming to NWA
“There are a lot of British talents that would be a great addition to the NWA. I think that, as far as the heavyweights, the sort of rugged style and the intensity that’s required for the NWA and the way that we like to present the world title, I think that Rampage Brown, Sha Samuels, Iestyn Rees would be great additions. Obviously, for me, I broke the glass ceiling for British wrestlers all over the world, whether they like to admit it or not because I witnessed firsthand conversations with top-level executives who said ‘British guys won’t be World champions” and we are. You take guys like Marty Scurll who’s become one of the hottest stars in the industry and super soon to be one of the hottest free agents. Stu Bennett, he’s got a sort of legendary status now in the business and he’s coming in as a broadcaster and he could punch his own ticket anywhere. Like I said we are spoiled for choice with British talent and those 3 names I just mentioned would probably be the first ones on my list but there are many more.”
On POWERRR being one hour and on YouTube
“We like to leave the audience wanting more. We value the audience’s time and we want to deliver quality, not quantity. One of the reasons that we’ve stayed on YouTube, for now, is that because we want to be able to have control over our concept and the best way to prove the concept is to put it out exactly how we want, then see the feedback, see people react to it. That way it puts us in a much stronger position if somebody wants to partner with us down the road as far as broadcasting. We know that there’s a lot of wrestling on television. I personally don’t have three hours to dedicate to watching wrestling and I believe that when I choose to watch wrestling, when I choose to consume the product, I’m typically going to YouTube or I’m going to an on-demand service. I’m picking and choosing what I want to see. I want to be able to trust that what I’m seeing is going to satisfy my needs, that’s what we’re trying to achieve with POWERRR, we’re trying to gain the trust of the audience. If they give us an hour at that time or if they buy a pay-per-view and they give us 3 hours at that time, they’re getting 3 solid hours of quality content that leaves them wanting more.”
On what to expect from POWERRR Season 2
“The first season really set the tone for who we are as a brand. As far as what how it went, we’re talking about a small team and I mean everybody there worked their tails off to get all of that all of those episodes done and to make sure that we brought the same level of intensity and energy on the last episode as we did on the first. Certain things happened during those tapings that made us pivot like Question Mark, regardless of how any person might feel about it, he got over, so things were adjusted. Ricky Starks showed up, he’s a guy that I’ve very strongly endorsed. After his first segment on that show, Billy was convinced and I think the audience did too.
That’s a testament to our professionalism because it’s a taped show and it’s not as easy to sort of work based on feedback, which is absolutely what we want to do because we believe in booking more than writing. That’s hard to do with the tape show but I think we did it pretty well. We’ve smashed our last pay-per-view records, we’re proving our concept and what’s most important is that to convert our audience to pay-per-view base and that’s really what we’re all about.
What you’ll see I think in the next season is a stronger emphasis on guys getting a chance to just go to the podium and cut a promo, make people care about them and the rest will fall into place, based on who the natural match-ups are because that’s my philosophy on booking. From the personalities, as they emerge, you see who matches up well with each other and then you go from there.”
From studio to PPV
“The pay-per-view is performing very well. We’ve already exceeded the total for NWA 70 which was headlined by me and Cody and we still have days to go. People who understand the history of the business know that prior to big-money TV rights deals, TV was a means to promoting live events and then, later on, to promoting PPV buys so YouTube is our TV, for now, we want to maximize the amount of eyeballs, build our fan base, cultivate it and then convert those to pay-per-view buys and to live events and to merchandise. We have seen very strong feedback from France, Germany, Israel. I got word the other day that so far of all the pay-per-view buys we’ve had PPV buys for Into The Fire from 41 different countries. That in itself should be enough to show that the new NWA while, yes, it is an iconic American brand and it is an iconic southern American brand in many ways in its new incarnation, but we are very much about being a worldwide brand. I think one of the reasons why it resonates so well with our international fans is because we’ve stripped it down to the bare bones. Wrestling is a universal language. One of the reasons why we’ve enjoyed such visibility around the world, overall in the genre, is because it breaks barriers of language. I think anyone can understand the good guy and the bad guy and “hey that guy’s cheating, hey this guy’s fighting back, this guy fighting back from underneath”. Everyone can understand and recognize that. I get asked every day when there’s going to be NWA live events in the UK. It’s coming. Our biggest challenge is just getting people to see it and, one by one, brick by brick, we’re winning them over, one fan at a time.”
NWA Into The Fire will live stream worldwide on Fite TV at 6.05 PM (11.05 PM GMT) on Saturday, December 14. Here is the card of the PPV:
- 2-OUT-OF-3 FALLS MATCH FOR THE NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP: Nick Aldis (c) vs. James Storm
- NWA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Colt Cabana (c) vs. Aron Stevens vs. Ricky Starks
- NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: Rock ‘N Roll Express (Robert Gibson & Ricky Morton) (c) vs. The Wildcards (Thomas Latimer and Royce Issacs)
- Question Mark vs. Trevor Murdoch
- NWA Women’s World Champion Allysin Kay & Ashley Vox vs. Melina & Marti Belle (
- Thunder Rosa vs Tasha Steelz
- Eli Drake vs. Ken Anderson
All pics, screencaps and videos courtesy of NWA