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“What would Ric Flair say? Or Harley Race?” – Former World Champion On The Current NWA Product

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During a recent interview on the ‘Not Sam Wrestling’ podcast, former NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis (fka Brutus Magnus in TNA) addressed his decision of quitting the National Wrestling Alliance and explained his reasons.

Here’s what Aldis said:

“I was planning to let my fans know that I had given my notice, but not in a nefarious way and certainly not in a negative way. I was just gonna let people know, ‘Hey, I’ve decided to move on. I’ve given my notice so that my final shows with the NWA, people would know that this is it. I thought, ‘hey, this is a good opportunity to give something exclusive to my subscribers, and then a couple days from now, I’ll then let everyone else know’.

Then those people will go, hey, this was worth it, hopefully. The whole thing about paywall content, it’s gotta be stuff that people feel is worth the money. It was my first time. I thought I had done everything right. I had clicked the little button that said ‘Subscribers only,’ but I guess, maybe because it’s real… I don’t know. I still don’t know. This is exactly how it happened. I was on the terrace on the condo. I decide, screw it, let’s do that. Just very candid. That’s how I built my fanbase is authenticity. Then, when that was done, we had dinner reservations, and I was like oh, I got enough time to go get a little 30-minute cardio in at the fitness center.

I go do 30 minutes of cardio, and by the time I come back, I see people going like, ‘Man, that was really great what you said.’ I’m going, wait a minute. I don’t think he’s a subscriber. That’s my friend. I don’t think my friends are paying to see my (content) [laughs]. I went, ‘Ugh, damn it.’ I deleted it. I probably shouldn’t have even bothered. I should have just left it, but whatever. But look, I gave my notice. I said I gave my notice, and I sort of alluded to why. It certainly wasn’t intended to be this sort of burial of the NWA or anything like that. Why would I do that? That would bury myself. The thing that I’ve been most heavily associated with for the last five years, and then I would turn around and go, ‘No, it sucks.’ No.

Then he agreed, not only to be back associated with it. [He] asked me to come to Missouri to defend the title, agreed to appear on-camera, talking to me about being NWA Champion, and that ended up being the last interview he ever gave on-camera before he passed away. That means a lot to me. It was because of how we had presented pro wrestling consistently for three years at that point, or whatever it was. We had consistently presented pro wrestling in a serious and dignified way. I know people will hear dignified and pro wrestling in the same sentence and say it’s an oxymoron, you know what I’m saying.

I just found myself, again, this isn’t me trying to do scorched earth. I’m just saying this is what factored into my decision to give my notice. I started looking at stuff like Gaagz the Gymp, a social distancing match where the two wrestlers can’t touch each other. [fake laugh] On and on it went with different wacky, silly comedy nonsensical stuff, and I said, ‘How would I have justified this to Harley Race, if Harley Race had been here today?’ Imagine if I’d have been stood there with Harley Race, and what would Harley Race say watching this, or Dory Funk? Or Ric Flair?

I thought, if I was stood here with those guys right now, I’d be kind of embarrassed. Because they would look at me and go, ‘This is you? This is your company?’ I’d have to go, ‘No.’ I didn’t want to be in a position where I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s not me.’ Because if I’m in, I’m in. When we first talked, I was doing the Ten Pounds of Gold Series. I got paid zero for those. I know that [Corgan] spent a lot time talking about, ‘I gave him this money.’ Well, we exchanged money for services.

I gave you pro wrestling services in exchange for money. You didn’t give me money. Also, for the first year that we were doing business together, my money came from third-party independent promoters, it didn’t come from you at all. So I made all that content. I wasn’t getting paid for that. I was benefiting from it. I’m not upset about it, but I just think it provides a bit of context. I was very invested in building this thing.

The NWA, at first, it was me and Tim Storm. The success of that approach and the effort I put in, it’s not easy to wear a suit and carry yourself and present yourself in a certain way when you know you’re about to work a rec center in front of 100 people. That takes a different level of courage, ‘I’m the man.’ You don’t think there were times when I didn’t feel like a complete buffoon.

This is 100 million miles away from WrestleMania. It starts [in your heart]. If you believe, they believe it. My career wasn’t doing shit. I had to bootstrap that whole thing. I had a run in TNA, but by the time I left TNA, they had a stink. You would think, coming off a show that was doing 2 million viewers on SpikeTV on primetime, ‘I’ve got to get an opportunity somewhere.’ I was left holding the bag. I had to start from scratch.

If I’m going to do it and commit, then I’m going to commit. When I see guys stroll into NWA Powerrr, march up to catering, stuff their faces, make another box to go, and me and Trevor aren’t getting any food, do I start to get a chip on my shoulder? Yeah. ‘You guys have no clue what it took to get to this point’.

By the same token, I know what it’s like to resonate with the audience and to pound the pavement. 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. The irony is, I’m sure he feels betrayed too. He believes in the product he’s putting out now, and I don’t. I’m sure, for him, it’s a difficult pill to swallow. That’s the business part of it. This isn’t good for my business anymore, so I’m going to move on and see if I can do business some other way.

Yeah, I signed a one-year contract. Truthfully, they made me a nice offer with very favorable terms, one of which being that when it was time for the deal to come to an end, after the one year, if I wanted to exit the deal, which would continue on a month-go-month basis if not, I had to give 60 days notice.

If they wanted to end the agreement, they would have to give me 90 days notice, so it was an advantage for me. They put that in, not me. I was like, great, that’s nice, I appreciate that. It was very amicable. As far as deals go in pro wrestling, obviously money-wise, it’s not anything compared to WWE or AEW, but in terms of structure, it was one of the fairest agreements, probably the fairest agreement that I’d ever signed in wrestling.

One year, it had bonuses factored in for the production stuff because I started doing Ten Pounds of Gold. I took on that load after (Dave) Lagana left. So I’d been doing all that the year prior for no extra money. I made the Ten Pounds of Gold pieces for me and 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.

Yes, that was the earliest time that I would have been able to do that. It’s not a release situation. It was a situation where, okay, we agreed for one year, but whenever I wish to end the agreement, I have to give 60 days notice. The earliest possible time that I contractually could do that was November 2.

So that’s the day I did it. I was just trying to be professional about it. I typed up a letter and sent it, and copied my agent on it. As far as I was concerned, that was that. When I decided to let my fans know, it was not in a pipe bomb sort of situation. It was just, ‘Hey, here’s what’s coming up next. I don’t know where I’m gonna be next but I’m excited for the future.’ I’m not sure why I would need to get out of my contract early. Considering how patient I’ve been up to this point, I can hold on a few weeks. I don’t know what to say to that. It just speaks to his level of understanding.

I guess it shouldn’t really be alarming. It probably wouldn’t be alarming for people who had been following the product for the last [few years]. I’m sure for them, it couldn’t have come as much of a surprise.

I understand what you’re saying and appreciate it. I tried to avoid saying anything like this because there’s no way to say it without sounding like you’re sort of self-promoting and being egotistical. Yes, I was the sort of the perennial face of the brand. I heard an interview, the interview that Triple H did with Ariel Helwani, and Ariel asked him about NXT and how it had changed.

To me, his answers sort of mirror how I feel in a lot of ways about the NWA. It moved away from what I had wanted it to be. Again, much in the same way I suppose, not now, obviously because he’s running the place now, but at that time, he kind of had this, it seemed to me, he had this mentality of well hey, there’s nothing I can do about it. That’s sort of where I got to, with the NWA.

I sort of went, what it’s become now is not what I envisioned it to be and it certainly isn’t what I was laying the groundwork for it to be. It didn’t have the core values that I had tried to sort of maintain. Again, this was not a knock. It was just me going, ‘This isn’t for me anymore.’ 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 over-production or a different mentality or a different style.

Let’s give them all their things because I felt like there was a good portion of the audience, particularly in the south, who missed ‘rassling. That was it. I wanted it to be burgers and fries, red-white-and-blue ‘rassling because I loved that stuff. It wasn’t because I hate high spots and I hate these other types, 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, and when I had the influence to sort of make that happen, like you said, we steered everything toward that vision, and it worked.”

Nick Aldis first appeared in Dixie Carter’s Total Nonstop Action! (TNA) in 2008 as Brutus Magnus and later went just by ‘Magnus’, even managing to win the TNA World Heavyweight Championship in December 2013.

Magnus was released in June 2015 and joined Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling (GFW) the next day, where he eventually became the inaugural GFW Global Champion in October 2015.

In September 2017, Aldis joined the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), that had been purchased by Billy Corgan a few months earlier, and ended up becoming the longest reigning NWA World Heavyweight Champion of the modern era, when he held the title from October 21st 2018 until August 29th 2021 (after already holding the belt from 2017 till 2018).

Also Read: Booker T Says Nick Aldis Is Past His Prime

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