EXCLUSIVE: Nick Aldis thinks Rusev would fit great with the NWA, talks scrapped title matches, ALL IN

POST Wrestling's Andrew Thompson interviewed NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis. Aldis spoke about the NWA Title matches that were pulled from G1 Supercard and ROH's Summer Supercard events. Aldis shared some of the details behind he and Cody's match at ALL IN and also speculated on how Rusev would fit within the National Wrestling Alliance.

 

The current NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis is in the midst of his second reign with the title. He first lost the belt in September of 2018 at The Young Bucks and Cody Rhodes’ ALL IN show. A few months after that event, Nick Aldis won back the NWA Worlds Title by defeating Cody Rhodes at the NWA 70th Anniversary show. Since that date in November of 2018, Aldis has reigned on as world champion of the National Wrestling Alliance and also led the organization into another resurgence as the face of their NWA Powerrr series that airs on the NWA YouTube channel.

Since the NWA Powerrr series began, Nick Aldis has defended the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title on several different occasions with the latest being against Flip Gordon at the ‘Hard Times’ pay-per-view. The National Wrestling Alliance like many other wrestling organizations and promotions around the globe are awaiting the end of the COVID-19 pandemic so they can resume shows with fans. Within the midst of the pandemic, there are many wrestlers who are beginning to discover hobbies and other realms of life that they enjoy and would consider doing as a career after their wrestling careers. That is also the case for Nick Aldis and when I had the opportunity to chat with Aldis, he stated that his passion is pro wrestling but he is beginning to plant the seeds for his life after the in-ring portion of his career.

“I like being multifaceted. My passion is absolutely pro wrestling, but at the same time, I’m 33 years old. Do I want to be wrestling another ten years? I don’t know. I feel right now I could, but I also want to be making sure I’m planting the seeds for what comes next and I always think that in some way, shape or form I will be involved in the wrestling business, because it’s the only industry at this point that I’ve dedicated my 10,000 hours to. I’m a big Malcolm Gladwell guy so I believe in the 10,000 hours, and so far, this is the only thing. But, fitness and nutrition, writing. There’s a lot of other things I’m sort of moving into.”

Going back to Nick Aldis’ first reign as NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion, he was defeated by Cody Rhodes at ALL IN. The match was built up through a number of Nick Aldis appearances at Ring of Honor shows which Cody was a part of at the time. NWA Vice President David Lagana detailed the Rhodes/Aldis showdown with the NWA’s signature Ten Pounds Of Gold series.

With the atmosphere and the crowd reaction from those inside the Sears Centre on the night of ALL IN, Nick Aldis feels that it is the biggest moment of his 16-year career in pro wrestling. He took pride in saying that the NWA Worlds Title, which is one of the more historic titles in pro wrestling was able to be a focal point on a stacked card.

“The NWA Title gets the premiere spotlight on this show that was supposed to be about glorifying all the new stuff, the new wave, the new style, the sort of modern wrestling, and yet the NWA Championship, the oldest championship in the world with the longest amount of legacy and history and tradition and lineage was the focal point, and was the thing that made everybody sit up and go, ‘Oh sh*t, this is the thing. This is the thing I care about.’ You heard it when we got a standing ovation at the bell. That’s the biggest moment of my career and rightfully so, and even in that moment, the commentator says, ‘This is the match I believe that the majority of the fans came to see.’ That moment in time is like defining what I was able to do once I was in control of my own destiny, as opposed to, ‘Hey John Gaburick’ [Former TNA writer/WWE writer] or whoever, ‘What am I supposed to be doing today? Or could I try this? No? Okay. I guess I’ll do this then,’ and then, when I was finally able to go, ‘I’m gonna try this,’ we had that. 11,000 people standing, going crazy before we even touched.”

While further conversing about the ALL IN match, Aldis shared that there was little-to-no communication between the NWA and the powers that be for ALL IN in regard to who was winning the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title. Aldis said that all parties involved knew the right decision was to put the title on Cody.

“We never had a single conversation, ever, none of us ever had a conversation about who’s gonna win and who’s gonna lose. There was a never a moment where any one person sat me down and said, ‘Hey, would you be willing to do the honors for Cody at ALL IN?’ There was never a discussion about that, because we all just knew what the right piece of business was. There was never a negotiation about like, ‘Well okay, what if we do this? What if we do that?’ And I remember certain people [were] trying to stir me up. I remember Bubba Ray Dudley and people [were] like, ‘I think you should go over.’ I was just like, ‘It’s business.’”

Seven months after ALL IN and at the time, what was several months after the announcement of All Elite Wrestling and The Elite (Cody, The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega & Hangman Page’s) departure from Ring of Honor, ROH teamed up with New Japan Pro-Wrestling to present G1 Supercard from Madison Square Garden. The show featured the likes of Will Ospreay, Jeff Cobb, The Great Muta, Jushin Thunder Liger, Zack Sabre Jr., Jay Lethal, Kota Ibushi, Marty Scurll and the event was headlined by Kazuchika Okada defeating Jay White to become IWGP Heavyweight Champion.

The NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title was supposed to be defended on that show by Nick Aldis. Aldis said that-that moment could’ve been huge for the NWA but believes that because of what happened at ALL IN and the possibility of the NWA Title match outshining other bouts on the card, it was pulled. Aldis said it didn’t matter where he was placed on the card, he just wanted that moment for the organization he represents. He said that the aforementioned sequence of events was the beginning of the end for the initial partnership between ROH and the NWA.

“There was a Ring of Honor Title match at ALL IN and it wasn’t… not particularly memorable, right? Well I’d been told that I would defend the NWA Title at the Madison Square Garden show which would’ve been a huge feather in my cap and then it didn’t happen, and who’s to say why, but to me I always felt like there was this concern that once again, it would eclipse and outshine… and that’s sad because ultimately, it’s their show. They’re still gonna get the credit. Again, if you think about building the business around moments rather than sort of brands and bragging rights and things like that, in the grand scheme of things, it still would’ve been a huge thing for them but…

They could’ve put me on first. I wouldn’t have cared. For us, which would’ve been a huge thing for us to say for the first time since Harley Race, the Ten Pounds Of Gold is gonna be defended at Madison Square Garden, and again because look, before that show, if you didn’t wrestle for WWE, Madison Square Garden was out of the question so it was like, I wrestled at Wembley Arena which is in a lot of ways is like Madison Square Garden to us in Britain, but it’s the Garden, right? And it would’ve been a huge moment and I was disappointed and honestly, there was a part of me at that point when I said, ‘You know, I don’t feel like this relationship — they’re getting a lot from us and we’re not getting a lot from them now,’ and that’s when we kind of decided, ‘Okay, maybe it’s time for us to just go ahead and prove who we are’ and that’s when Powerrr came to be. We gotta make our own thing here.”

In the Summer of 2019, Nick Aldis was also announced to be defending the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title at Ring Of Honor’s Summer Supercard event in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Aldis was pulled from that event. It was around that time that the NWA and Ring of Honor officially put their partnership on halt for the time being. Soon after, the NWA launched the Powerrr series and then began to reform their relationship with Ring of Honor with Marty Scurll as a co-booker of the company. Nick credited Marty while speaking about the differences between ROH during the Summer Supercard situation and where Ring of Honor is as of this writing.

“There were agendas there and there’s a few guys there and I don’t think I’m gonna… I mean, other than the people I’m referring to, I don’t think I’m gonna upset anyone at Ring of Honor if I say this but there were a few guys at Ring of Honor who were too comfortable. They’re too comfortable. They think that their spot is their spot and that’s… it’s their sandbox and they should always be allowed to be the main event and they — and it was a lot of resentment towards Cody and The Young Bucks and Hangman and all those guys when they were there too for the same reasons that they just completely flipped the script and they were the biggest stars, and there was a lot of guys at Ring of Honor who had sorta got too comfortable, like the anointed ones and they didn’t like it and I think it was some of that same sentiment but now, Marty [Scurll] is in the position he’s in. First thing he does is say, ‘We need you,’ and because he understands it’s really about big moments and big matches.”

One individual that’s constantly shown in a non-spotlighted role on NWA Powerrr is former TNA World Tag Team Champion Anthony Mayweather, also known as “Crimson”. Aldis told POST Wrestling about Crimson’s role in the National Wrestling Alliance. He’s normally seen in the break-up brawl segments but behind the scenes, he works as a producer for the organization. He is currently rehabbing a shoulder injury and fit the qualifications to fill the position that the NWA needs. Aldis also praised Crimson’s Tennessee-based wrestling promotion and Crimson’s skills as a promoter.

“So, well Anthony, he’s working as a producer in NWA Powerrr, because he is proven to be very, very good. He runs a promotion in Tennessee called Tried N True promotions and he’s done a really good job of — he’s proven himself to be a really good organizer, they draw really well, they have very good production, good sponsors. He’s a very good organizer. But he had shoulder surgery, so he wasn’t cleared to wrestle for a while so that is why he was brought into — basically because he could serve in that role until he’s healthy, but he’s another guy like me. We’re about the same age and we both have aspirations to sort of go beyond just wrestling in the ring. So, I dare say you’ll see him around more, but he’s very much a part of the team in a backstage role while he’s been healing from his shoulder surgery.”

Following the mass WWE releases/furloughs, many names began to be tossed around regarding who would do well in certain promotions and companies. One of several names from that list of talents that have caught Aldis’ eyes is former multi-time WWE United States Champion Rusev. Aldis stated that Rusev would fit great in the NWA.

Aldis recalled when he would text David Lagana and tell him how ‘money’ Rusev is, to which Lagana would agree. Aldis said if he was in a high ranking position in All Elite Wrestling and had the resources to do so, he would bring Rusev in. Nick reiterated that he would love to have Rusev in the NWA but doesn’t expect Rusev to be a free agent for long.

“Absolutely. I mean look, you won’t find a bigger Rusev fan than me. I remember pretty much from the beginning, I would be like, ‘God, Rusev is money.’ I would text him [David Lagana] all the time, ‘God, Rusev is money,’ and he’d be like, ‘I know,’ and I remember when he first showed up on TV and they were doing kind of the Ivan Drago kind of stuff with him and Lana was very much playing that role. I was like, ‘This is money. This is perfect,’ and he worked with [John] Cena at WrestleMania so I go, ‘Okay great. They’re getting this one right. This one’s ready-made. This is a star,’ and for… whatever. It wasn’t him. It wasn’t his fault, and I think he’s a great example of, unfortunately, it’s over-engineered sometimes. There’s 50 people that are all paid to have ideas. It’s like now you have 50 ideas to sift through.

Sometimes the obvious thing is right in front of you. I felt like with Rusev it was there. Like okay, this guy, totally unique look, he’s a horse, unbelievable athlete, he can work, charisma, whole thing is ready to go. I dare say that he would be… if I were AEW and I had the resources to pay for it, I think he would probably be [at the] top of my list. I think he would probably end back up at WWE, but I’m not sure how confident I’ll be that he’ll be on the open market for very long, but hell yeah. If we could get him at the NWA, even for a short period run, it would be huge.”

Going back to his experiences in Ring of Honor, Nick Aldis told a story which dates back to the lead-up to he and Cody’s match at ALL IN. Aldis said he was preparing to confront Cody after a match that Cody had on ROH’s UK tour. While looking for a microphone, Aldis came across two mics that were sitting on a case. An employee of ROH, who Aldis mentioned is no longer with the company, purposely guided him to a dead microphone and it wasn’t until Aldis went to do his segment with Cody that he realized what had happened.

“This is a true story: I was backstage and I was about to go out, and it was a lot of tension that day. You could feel like a lot of the Ring of Honor guys were just very… they were just so salty about this, and there was a girl backstage who no longer works for Ring of Honor but did at the time, and there were two microphones on this Anvil Case and I’m getting ready to walk out. It’s about two or three minutes before I’m set to walk out, and I said, ‘Does anybody know which of these mics — does it matter which mic I take? One or the other,’ because obviously the last thing you want is for your microphone not to work. So I’m trying to get this information and this girl comes running over, ‘Oh no, no! It’s definitely this one,’ and she picks up this one and [goes], ‘This is the one, it’s this one.’ I said, ‘Okay great. Thanks.’ I walk out, mic doesn’t work.

Well you know what’s interesting? It actually created this really cool, human moment between Cody and I because one of the things I decided to do before that interaction was I knew Cody just had a match, so I took a bottle of water out, because I know I get super dry mouth when I would wrestle.

So, I handed him the bottle of water which had this nice moment to it, then I go to speak on this dud microphone, no noise. So everyone’s like, womp, womp, womp. So then, Cody has a working mic and he hands me his working mic. So it ended up being sort of this nice olive branch kind of moment, thank God. But I remember just coming back and just looking at that person and being like, ‘F*ck you. You know what you did.’ But, it didn’t matter anyway. But that’s what I’m talking about. That’s the level of bullsh*t you have to deal with sometimes. Like what good did that do anyone? You’re willing to sacrifice your audience, you’re willing to sacrifice the enjoyment of the show to your audience who paid for their tickets, just because you’re salty — because you think this is your sandbox and no one else should be playing it in? And that person no longer works for Ring of Honor.”

 

The National Wrestling Alliance streamed their ‘Super Powerrr’ show this past Tuesday and it was meant to air on the lead-up to the Crockett Cup event. The organization also announced a new series entitled ‘Carnyland’ and to read more about that series, click this link. Nick Aldis can be found on Twitter @RealNickAldis and on Instagram @nickaldis. The video version of this interview can be watched via the video at the top of the article or on the Andrew Thompson Interviews YouTube channel.

About Andrew Thompson 459 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.