Guest: Nick Aldis on Reviving the NWA Championship with X-Pac!
Release Date: May 2nd, 2018
Recap by: Sean McGraw
X-Pac is joined by Christy, Jimbo, and Denise. This week’s guests will be NWA Worlds Champion Nick Aldis and Writer Dave Lagana.
All Charges against Davey Boy Smith have been dropped
Davey and Jake the Snake have spoken and everything has been smoothed over. X-Pac says he’s really happy that it’s done. It’s always really sad to see people in the industry go at each other like that. Egos and pride get involved and X-Pac understands why Jake was upset. X-Pac says that Harry reached out to him and Pac helped facilitate this through DDP.
NXT has signed Danny Burch
He had been signed to developmental but was released in 2014. He has been working NXT TV Tapings, but he’ll be there full time. X-Pac says that it’s good news. Pac says it looks like he lost some weight and that may have been a reason he was let go in the first place. Denise brings up that WWE might be trying to add some more British talent now that World of Sport has been picked up for British TV. They may also be trying to bolster the roster for the long talked about WWE UK weekly TV show.
WWE Greatest Royal Rumble
The General Sport Authority apologized for the “indecency” of Sasha Banks and Carmella being shown in their gear on screen during the event in Saudi Arabia. X-Pac doesn’t think it will affect their return scheduled for November.
Jerry Lawler talked about the GRR on his own podcast for 30 minutes and it had to inexplicably be cut out. Lawler also mentioned that the women were going to be getting paid even though they weren’t allowed to be at the GRR. X-Pac says that may or may not be true but says that they should.
X-Pac liked the show. The match placement made sense to X-Pac. So what if it was a “glorified house show?” X-Pac says that it was interesting to see what the crowd was reacting to and what it wasn’t. He says that the test of strength between Cena and Triple H was over huge because the crowd was a virgin crowd. They haven’t been overly exposed to the business. X-Pac says that the people want to see what they have been watching on the TV. Less is more – just give them the basics.
Cauliflower Alley Club
They are an organization that gives money to help wrestlers in need. Most recently they helped an old AWA wrestler Brickhouse Brown with his cancer treatments. X-Pac fondly remembers Brickhouse from his time watching the AWA. X-Pac will be at the Cauliflower Alley Club reunion along with Scott Hall and Kevin Nash to present Shawn Michaels with the Lou Thesz award.
Interview with Nick Aldis and Dave Lagana
Nick just wrestled at Championship Wrestling from Hollywood. It’s a bit of a challenge because the ring is so small. You have to adjust the style of wrestling. Nick says he’s used to smaller rings because the rings in the UK are small – that’s why the UK guys have such good footwork – but it’s really difficult to deliver the high octane type of match that he wants to.
How has it been doing the “Ten Pounds of Gold” YouTube series? It’s been an exploratory process that Dave has wanted to do for a long time. When Billy Corgan bought the NWA they had two things they wanted to protect: The Shield and The Title and those are the two things they do every week on the show.
How has it been working with everybody and telling the wrestlers’ stories in the YouTube series? Dave says he took everything they didn’t like about experiences working other places and tried to work with talent. He says he wants to find out what motivates talent to want to be a part of something like this. It’s their real stories. Lagana has done the production where talent doesn’t want to say things that have been written for them and it sucks. He wants to go the opposite route.
X-Pac wants to know if they had everything written and conceptualized before the first Ten Pounds of Gold video or do they just feel it out as they go? Dave says before every episode he says he’s got nothing and that the story comes together as he starts to dig through sound bites and things. It’s the opposite of how wrestling works these days – everybody has everything all planned out already.
X-Pac praises the NWA for taking Aldis on the road and having him compete in other places as opposed to building a “brick and mortar” NWA promotion. Pac says nobody thought of doing it that way and that its genius. Lagana says the establishment is breaking down. There will always be WWE, but the opportunity to create for yourself is available now. Aldis says the cost of doing weekly television is astronomical. You can’t compete with WWE’s production value so there is very little to make you stand out. You always have to get to what’s next. Aldis thinks that’s where TNA went wrong – they saw they were doing well and ended up over-extending themselves to the point where they couldn’t keep it up any longer.
Aldis and Lagana say the NWA has always traditionally been a travelling champion. There wasn’t a weekly NWA Monday night show and nobody can name who the promoters were – the only thing that mattered was who the champion was. X-Pac says that Aldis is traveling all around in all of these different promotions and not all of them are affiliated with the NWA. Lagana says that none of them are. When they were first starting Lagana says he talked to all of the indie promoters and it was “carny-land central.” They tried to hold them up with the belts and all wanted a spot. Tim Storm was offered money to drop the belt to somebody against Billy and Dave’s wishes, but he didn’t because he’s a quality human being.
X-Pac says it’s not all small time promotions that are working with Aldis and the NWA. He mentions House of Hardcore and asks Aldis how that’s working out. Aldis says that he was working with Tommy Dreamer since before the NWA thing came about. He says Dreamer called him and told him that he sees Aldis as his top heel that he can build around. He says that along with the NWA thing coming everything worked well when they merged them.
X-Pac wants to know if they are trying to model the way that they have Aldis traveling around like they used to back in the day. Is Aldis the heel everywhere he goes? Aldis says he is the champion. It’s an interesting dynamic because sometimes he can be 100% heel or not as much depending on the crowd sensibility. Sometimes they will show a little more respect depending on their feelings about the challenger. Aldis says the rules have changed and things don’t HAVE to be one way or the other.
Aldis talks about introducing little details to make things different such as referee instructions during the ring introduction. The presentation is the key. If you are presented like a champion people will respond to you in that way. Lagana says that that is important to the fact that they are able to rebrand something that everybody said was dead.
Lagana says that everything they do they have an idea of where they are going and that each story is a phase of time. The Aldis Crusade ended up being a story to get them through the spring. It came about organically based on Aldis’ bookings that he had on his schedule already. X-Pac wants to know if there have been any difficulties in The Aldis Crusade in making the challenger look good while also walking away as the champion. Aldis says it can be challenging, but it’s his favorite thing to do. Aldis says that it’s his responsibility to shine up the challenger.
X-Pac wants to know if Aldis has a wish list of guys that he wants to defend the championship against. Aldis says that he has some guys but it has to be the right context. Some promoters like to hot-shot “dream-matches” without a build or when it doesn’t make sense. He recently defended against Matt Cross and says the match was so interesting because of the drastically different styles. It was like a cat and mouse game or a chess match. Aldis says that he is creating content that is compelling and makes the audience feel something. He says that’s half the battle. X-Pac says that there is nothing more important than making the people feel something. Lagana agrees and says they are selling an experience.
Lagana says that the first year of a character on TV is the most important because that builds the foundation for how people perceive that character for the rest of their lives. He compares it to the first year of what they are doing in the NWA. People have their impressions from the past and they need to take their time to remake the NWA. Lagana says that being independent is very important because they are good at their own speed and they are not letting the money dictate what’s happening. Lagana says that they are further along at this point than they thought they’d be. They take every day one step at a time.
Who else’s story do they want to tell on Ten Pounds of Gold? Anybody’s story. If the story is interesting they want to find it and tell it. Eventually they want to expand the NWA. They want to do a women’s division eventually, but they want it to be different. They have no idea how yet, but that’s something that they want to figure out.
Lagana says a key difference with the NWA is that when you work for another company you are telling their story. The NWA wants to tell YOUR story, but within the world of the NWA.
Aldis brings up that the NWA is all about collaboration. He stresses the important part of promotions working together to make money. X-Pac says that the old way of thinking – the “we have to crush them and run them out of business” mentality – has to die. Aldis says the NWA is slowly chipping away at that mentality. The volume of content that is being put out is going to force the issue. You can only see two guys square off against each other so many times before you want to see something else.
Denise says that Aldis was at the ROH show in New Orleans. She says he was eyeing up Marty Scurll and Dalton Castle and she asks him straight up if he’s going to be “All-in” vs. Marty Scurll. Her boldness gets a big laugh from X-Pac. Lagana says to look at the situation organically. Aldis and Scurll are friends and Lagana used to work for ROH so all it took was a phone call asking if they could cover Aldis watching his friend’s match. He then posits the question “Why, not?” There was no downside.
X-Pac says he would love to see that match and says he’s a big fan of Scurll. Aldis agrees and says he tried to get TNA to sign Scurll for years. X-Pac says it’s a good thing they didn’t because he was able to cultivate his own deal and everything about his game is on point right now. Aldis says Scurll can go anywhere he wants now. He’s Roddy Piper. He doesn’t need a title or specific matchup; people just want to see him.
X-Pac asks how it is being a parent when both parents are in the pro wrestling industry. It’s a challenge, because it’s like a rubik’s cube. It’s a choice you have to make. You have to be flexible and pragmatic about it. If he wants to be a wrestler when he grows up its fine Aldis isn’t going to push the issue one way or the other. When you think about it, who’s in a better position to get into the industry than somebody that has access within the wrestling industry?
0:00 – 30:24 Intros and News Discussion
31:15 – 1:25:30 Interview with Nick Aldis and Dave Lagana
1:25:31 – 1:26:49 Show Wrap up
This was a great show to listen to. I find this DIY aspect of the wrestling industry very fascinating. This episode gives a great insight into how this new version of the NWA is operating. It’s such a compelling story because it’s so different from everything else that the mainstream wrestling industry is presenting. As I’ve said before, the best episodes of the show are ones that make you excited about being a fan and eager to watch what comes next. This episode made me really care about what Aldis and the NWA are up to. The stories and the presentation are so different while also maintaining the tradition of the NWA. The Ten Pounds of Gold YouTube series is highly recommended. One thing that got my attention in a negative way this episode is that X-Pac at times seems to shy away from being critical of the WWE in certain situations. The Greatest Royal Rumble is a controversial show for MANY reasons and he barely touched on them. That being said I understand and appreciate his position and his relationship with the company. This is a case where I see his friendships hindering the conversation as opposed to helping. However, this is me being REALLY nitpicky and the subject has been talked to death so it’s not really a huge deal that he focused more on the actual show itself than the underlying issues that the show has called negative attention to. Great episode.
Sean is a media professional from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Sean’s earliest memory of wrestling is seeing Kane on WWF television in 1998. Sean watched primarily WWF in the Attitude Era and dropped off just before the initial brand split. Seeing recap promos of the Undertaker building up to WrestleMania 20, he became hooked and has been an avid fan ever since. Sean’s wrestling preferences currently lean more towards NJPW/ROH/NXT but he remains a fan of it all. In his spare time Sean enjoys cooking, baking, and going to the gym. You can follow Sean via Twitter @stmcgraw and Instagram @stmcgraw09.