Aron Stevens, formerly known as Damian Sandow, recently spoke with Gary Horne from NWA Extra about all things industry-related, and how he believes wrestlers of today are taught a “perverted system” of pro-wrestling, and how he finds the National Wrestling Alliance to be a suitable training ground for future stars. Highlights from the interview can be found below.
How some people are taught a perverted system of wrestling:
“People are teaching a perverted system of professional wrestling, or a perverted version of what pro wrestling is, in my opinion. There’s, in some many positive ways, the athleticism is through the roof, and there are so many talented people. You can’t debate, like this era there are more athletic men and women in the industry than at any other time, and things are great. But I think with society, our attention span collectively is getting shorter. 20 years ago, you had to sit and watch Monday Night Raw and watch Nitro. Now, you see things on a little 15-second Instagram clip, like someone going and falling down the stairs on a skateboard and lighting themselves on fire, or a wrestling thing where a guy goes through a table or does a cool move and stuff. What’s missing in my opinion is the investment in the characters. At a wrestling school, you can learn how to bump, you can learn the moves, and that’s great. But to truly be good at this in my opinion, and when I say good, I mean, look, if you get a push, it’s one thing. If you are friends with the right people or the right person likes you, you’ll get a push, and a push is great. But when the push goes away, a lot of talent do not know how to sustain themselves.”
On the importance of being versatile:
“People have criticized me like, ‘Oh, you’ve gone comedy and this and that.’ Well yeah, because you know what? When you’re in the spot you’re in, sometimes you have to do what you have to do to stay relevant. I would have much rather had the career I’ve had and be a featured performer, and one of the things about me that you can never say, the office never had to repackage me. If you look at me, like my last run in the WWE, from the time I came in to the time I left, my character followed a linear pattern. They never had to repackage me or do vignettes because something wasn’t working. I went from being a smart guy to wrestling the invisible man to dressing as Randy Savage and all the other crazy stuff, but what it was was a belief in myself that no matter what, I can come out of any situation and get the crowd to be emotionally invested. All kinds of people do it, right. Like Santino was comedy, I was comedy. I was serious in the beginning. I went through the whole spectrum. Brock Lesnar does it by being Brock Lesnar. The top guys, they do that, and it shows. I think no better example, Paul Heyman, who has continually kept himself relevant. That in my opinion is what’s missing. Some of the kids we talk to today, they don’t know what this is. They have no idea.”
On the next generation of wrestlers:
“That’s why, as someone who’s been doing this for a minute, I’m not gonna come back and go, ‘Ah, everyone sucks today.’ Well no, and I think a lot of people do suck today, but my problem, and I’m trying to figure it out, like no one’s taught then how to not suck. I think the great thing about NWA is there’s no better learning environment. We have live TV, there’s pay-per-views but then there’s the TV tapings where you’re working with camera angles and all this crazy stuff, and the finer points of pro wrestling, you will learn here. There’s been so many people that have had, within a year here, like let’s say Jordan Clearwater, perfect example. He went from a boy to a man on NWA TV. He was brought in, he was a kid, he had potential. He was out with the right people, was put in situations, and he got on-base every time, and a lot of times, he hit home runs with what he was given. How he’s moving to the card now, that is how it should he because that’s how you season people and you get that sweet spot.”
(H/T and transcribed by Fightful)