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Nick Aldis on why he’s ‘kind of embarrassed’ by the current NWA product

NWA Powerrr

The National Wrestling Alliance has a PPV tomorrow, but the discussion around the promotion all week has been the public beef between owner Billy Corgan and the man who’s been his top star, Nick Aldis.

After Aldis publicly announced he’d be parting ways with the NWA — along with some criticisms of the company’s direction, especially as it relates to women’s wrestling, the company pulled its former Worlds champ from his match on Nov. 12’s Hard Times 3 event. Corgan then did an interview where he alleged Aldis is “working an angle” to try and get himself out of his contract before it expires in a couple months.

Now, Aldis has done his own tell-all* interview. The National Treasure sat down with Sam Roberts to discuss the whole kerfuffle.

Aldis told Roberts his decision to publicly announce his decision to leave the NWA came after he’d given the company the required 60 day notice he’d be leaving when his one year contract was up. He meant it to be a bonus for fans who bought paid subscribers to his Instagram feed, and deleted it after it quickly became apparent it was being shared well outside that group.

“I gave my notice and I sort of alluded to why. It certainly wasn’t intended to be this sort of, you know, burial of the NWA or anything like that. Why would I do that? I would just be burying myself. It’s the thing that I’m most heavily associated with for the last five years.”

The 36 year old from Norfolk, England talks about how he committed completely to the NWA, partly as a way to get the “stink” of TNA off his career, but also because he believed what they were doing in the first few years of Corgan’s time as owner was delivering something other wrestling companies weren’t, and that the current NWA isn’t either.

“I wanted to do an alternative wrestling brand that represented all those things about the NWA that people missed in the current product, whether it be from sort of overproduction or from, you know, a different mentality or a different style. Like, let’s give them all those things because I felt like there was a good portion of the audience, particularly in the south, who missed rasslin. That was it. Like I wanted it to be burgers and fries, red, white and blue rasslin because I love that stuff.

“But it wasn’t because it was like I hate high spots and I hate sports entertainment. No, it wasn’t that. It was more like looking at it from a business point of view. Hey, there’s a gap in the market I think for this type of product. When I had the influence to sort of make that happen, like you said, we steered everything toward that vision and it worked...

“When people come up to me and say, ‘You brought back wrestling that I love. I used to watch this with my grandpa and it brings back these memories of my grandpa and makes me so happy. He would love this and I wish he was around to see this.’ That means something to me. When I saw it get betrayed, I felt betrayed too.”

That “betrayal” started around 2021’s NWA 73 PPV, which happened to be when Aldis dropped the Worlds title to Trevor Murdoch.

“Fast forward. We get to the new year and they can’t sell tickets. So it comes back to me, like, ‘What should we do? Like, you’re the only person I trust.’ I get put in this really awkward position because I’m like, well now you’re forcing me to sort of advocate for myself, which I knew could be twisted and manipulated against me at any point.

“I was presented with the question, ‘What’s different now?’ You’re forcing me to give you an answer that paints me in this awful light. The difference is you had a world title angle that people were interested in and now you don’t I don’t know how else to tell you that.”

Aldis says that’s exactly what happened, something he found out partly because Billy mentioned it to his wife, Mickie James, in late September of this year:

“He and Mickie had a private conversation that he didn’t realize that I was privy to and he goes, ‘Your husband is pressuring me to put the belt back on him,’ and you know, for me, that day I went, ‘This isn’t going to work.’”

A big issue, it seems, was Corgan’s increased involvement in booking and creative.

“Look, the sad truth is and I don’t want to spend the whole time talking about this, but basically, things got harder when he became more hands-on because at first, he was quite hands-off, quite remote, and was just sort of lending ideas and sort of notes here and there. Suddenly, it turned into something else and I’ll try to be as nice as I can about this, he’s not very good at it.

“I wish it wasn’t the case but again, it’s not really for me to say, it’s for the audience to say and my decision to leave has come from the fact that the audience has left in droves. It’s just not a good decision to be there anymore, it’s not a viable option.”

A Corgan-booked NWA was not only something Aldis didn’t want to be a part of, it was something he didn’t think he could defend to the legendary names that built the brand during the territory days:

“I can’t get around it. I’m not saying all of it, but there was enough of it that for me didn’t pass the Harley Race test. I started looking at stuff like Gaagz The Gymp, you know, a social distancing match where the two wrestlers can’t touch each other — ha ha ha.

“And, you know, on and on it went with different wacky, silly comedy, you know, nonsensical stuff, and I said, ‘How would I have justified this to Harley Race, like if Harley Race had been here today? Imagine if I’d have stood there with Harley Race. What would Harley Race say watching this? Or Dory Funk? Or Ric Flair?’

“I thought if I stood here with those guys right now, I’d be kind of embarrassed. You know what I mean? Because they would look at me and go, ‘This is your thing?’ I have to go, ‘No’, and I didn’t want to be in a position where I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s not me.’”

Creative weren’t his only issues with the Smashing Pumpkins frontman, either. Aldis stresses that he didn’t have any issues with his contract, calling it “one of the fairest agreements, probably the fairest agreement that I’d ever signed in wrestling.” But he found himself being tasked with things that weren’t spelled out in the deal, like producing the Ten Pounds of Gold YouTube show, and handling talent relations.

“I made the Ten Pounds of Gold pieces for me and [Matt] Cardona, and a few other packages and stuff. Again, when that came up, I just kind of said, ‘Hey, I’m wearing a lot of hats here, and I’m not getting any extra for it.’ All that I’m really doing is running the risk of putting heat myself. When you start wearing those hats, suddenly it’s like you’re office.

“I got put into a position once, for example, when Billy’s relationship with Thunder Rosa kind of went sour, he asked me to call her and intervene and stuff like that. I kind of went, ‘Dude, this is not my job. You have to understand the position you’re putting me in.’

“It was very uncomfortable, and it was little things like that just started to show the cracks where I was like you have to know what position that puts me in, but you’re basically putting me in it because you’d rather it be me than you.”

As for what’s next, Aldis talked about the honor of having Bret Hart book him to win the Stu Hart Heritage title for Dungeon Wrestling in Calgary, and what that says about how he’s viewed in the industry. He also admitted to thinking about his options when he did a signing in the United Kingdom with his wife & Bret the day before Clash at the Castle.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t sit there and go, ‘You don’t think that me and Drew McIntyre but with the right promotional build in the UK, like England vs. Scotland, people kind of care about that.’”

* Missing from the Notsam Wrestling interview is discussion of the Mickie James-produced Empowerrr, an all-womens card PPV the NWA put on last year. Aldis had indicated Corgan and current Murdoch’s public statements about a sequel, as well as how the owner dealt with James behind-the-scenes while she was putting together the first one, played a big factor in his decision to leave and criticize the NWA.

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