Nick Aldis is embracing his more villainous side on NWA programming, but he still takes tremendous pride in knowing that the company has a great amount of faith in him as their World’s Champion.
Aldis, the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion, recently spoke with WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard about the state of the National Wrestling Alliance and his continued reign as champion. Aldis’ reign currently sits at 921 days, only five days short of tying Harley Race for sixth all-time. He says he’s not much of a stats guy so he doesn’t focus on the number too much, but he does take pride in knowing that he’s still considered as the best representative of the NWA and the right man to hold the famed “Ten Pounds Of Gold.”
“I’m definitely not a stats guy but there’s a group of guys who do the official NWA post-show on the YouTube channel, they’re a group called ‘This Is Pro Wrestling‘. They started as ‘This Is The NWA’ and one of the guys in that group by the name of Robert Stinson, he’s my stats guy. He updates me on how many days it’s been,” Aldis explained, “they do a whole bunch of cool things on their channel where they do historical pieces and Doc’s really great of reminding me like ‘oh today’s the anniversary of this’ or ‘today would’ve been so and so’s birthday’ and things like that. But yeah, it gets brought up and I tend to get a bunch of heat for it from the people that are like ‘what about the pandemic, it doesn’t count!’ and I’ll go ‘well, I didn’t bring it up’, you know?”
“It’s just an unusual situation in the modern era for someone to hold a championship for this long. So, I’m just kind of like… sorry if you’re upset about the lack of wrestling matches that happen during a global pandemic, but aside from that, it’s a cool feeling to know that historically you’ll be up there with some all-time greats. That’s more of a novelty thing for me, but on a professional side,” Aldis said, “it’s more rewarding to know that I’m still considered to be the best guy for the job at this point in time after two years.”
Aldis has successfully defended his title four times since the start of the pandemic, and will likely defend it several more times as the NWA starts a new era on FITE. He knows how social media can amplify a small group’s voices and he’s no stranger to criticism of his reign, but he’s quick to point out that some people that want to spread bad news are more vocal than others.
“I always liken it to if you own a bar or a pub and you got your locals that that sit at the bar every night, like it’s cool that they’re there but if you’re gonna decide that you’re gonna do a quiz night once a week or you’re gonna have food or a band and stuff and they go ‘ugh, I can’t believe you’re bringing a band in, this is terrible, I’m not coming in’. You go ‘cool, don’t come in then.’ You’ll come back tomorrow, like it’s not just for you, it’s for everyone, so I just tend to—when it gets into too much of that—I just sort of disconnect from it all and go ‘OK, well enjoy yourselves, I’m just trying to be a good pro wrestler and ya know, make some money.”
Despite the real-life disconnect from what can be a toxic environment, Aldis has been tapping into that for the evolution of his on-air persona. Aldis has shown more of an edge recently on NWA Powerrr, a contrast from the babyface-esque position he took at the beginning of the NWA’s revival. He says he never set out to be one or the other, especially not the “good guy” character people positioned him as, but he doesn’t mind being the villain everyone wants to hate right now.
“I never intentionally sort of positioned myself as that sort of pseudo-babyface character in the beginning. It really just stemmed from the appreciation that the audience had for the work I had done, I think. I’m not trying to be pretentious when I say that and you can never get anyone to agree on anything, but I think that overall I feel like I’ve always had a pretty good sense of what the underlying kind of opinion is,” Aldis explained, “and it felt to me that particularly when we debuted the show it would’ve been very difficult right off the bat to be the guy that people loved to hate because there was such a genuine sort of affection for the brand and for the fact that we got the show going.”
— NWA (@nwa) April 28, 2021
Aldis explained that he had people thank him for giving them an opportunity with NWA by touring the world as champion, setting the stage for Powerrr and their brand. He pointed out that Cody Rhodes, Marty Scurll and others also deserved credit too, because they helped him re-establish the NWA’s mission and the credibility of the title, so it was easy to paint him as the good guy in the beginning. Now, he says he felt like it was time to start using what critics are already saying about him and go with the flow and embrace it, an approach that’s leading to good television.
“There’s only so much business you can do in being the proud world champion, and ultimately the money is in the people wanting to see you get beat. So in my mind, once we had the pandemic and once we realized that through necessity as much as anything else—I’ve been the champion for a hell of a long time—I figured that it was time to start rubbing that in people’s faces a little bit because one way or another, people love to knock you down a peg or two.”
“So, my feeling on booking or creative is—there’s no point of me swimming upstream. The chances are, and that’s where social media can be very useful,” Aldis noted, “because obviously, you can sort of take a cross-section of sentiment and get a general idea of where people’s heads are at. Then I just sort of take it and lean that way with it and go, ‘OK naturally there’s some resentment starting to emerge, so let’s go with it.’ Let’s embrace it, let’s go into it. It’s business, and look, I like being the guy people love to hate. It’s a good place to be.”