I recently had the distinct pleasure of speaking with NWA superstar and current world champion Nick Aldis, where the National Treasure and I discussed a variety of topics including his appearance in the soon to be released RetroMania Wrestling video game, building up the premiere of NWA Powerrr around himself and Tim Storm, and how the folklore of the traveling world champion was re-established thanks to his collaboration with Billy Corgan and Dave Lagana. Highlights, including the full video interview, are below.
How he feels about being a playable character and having his own game mode in the upcoming RetroMania video game:
It’s very flattering. It feels like a lifetime ago now that Mike and the team at Retrosoft reached out. Right from the first conversation I was thrilled when they described the concept. I totally understood why they were approaching me, and smartly on their part they got me on board first, then helped leverage that to a wider deal with the NWA, a license deal with them for the set, and the brand, and the Ten Pounds of Gold mode.
It’s been a blast. We are a start-up organization. We totally appreciate and want to help the growth of other ambitious start-ups who are approaching things in a different way. So with Retromania…the concept and the way they were going about it… they were focusing on a niche, but they were approaching their marketing in a fun way. I felt like they had a really good degree of self-awareness and authenticity, and I thought that it aligned perfectly with the message that we were trying to get across in the branding and marketing of the NWA. The whole process has been great.
Says anything he lends his name to won’t be subpar, and reveals he may start a Twitch account once the game is released:
I don’t want anything I lend my name to to be subpar. I want it to be…even if it’s not the biggest thing in the world…I want the people that do see it or do experience it to say “wow that was really good.” I’m excited about it. It will probably lead to me finally getting on Twitch because once there’s a game that has a whole mode dedicated to me and what I’ve done…seems like a no-brainer.
On the NWA brand being rebuilt around himself and Tim Storm, and how it came back around for their world title showdown on the debut of Powerrr:
Maybe 6 or 7 weeks out from the first set of TV tapings it was sort of pitched to me that “we’re gonna do you and Tim to start.” We felt like it was a full circle situation. We kicked off the entire brand of NWA in the lightning one era with just building, “let’s see what we can do with two guys. Let’s see if we can get people invested and interested in these two guys.” Credit to Billy Corgan and Dave Lagana for identifying something in Tim Storm and selling me on it. To really sell me on this idea that, “I think you guys can really tell an interesting story here.” Going back to the embryonic days of the brand…it was sort of a collaborative effort between the three of us. How are we going to present this? I had been the one really pushing to take inspiration from HBO boxing, and Showtime all-access, and UFC… in the sense of we don’t need volume. We don’t need loads of matches. There’s too many matches happening now, it’s sort of why the business is so diluted. Why is this match happening? I guess it’ll be a good match but there’s nothing to care about. So I go, “if we go completely the other way and give multiple pieces of content that are all feeding one match.” To the point where people are then going, “okay I can get involved in this one match. I’ve given you an hour of my time over the last five weeks now I need to see this match.”
Right away…Tim Storm’s natural personality, his likable nature, his authenticity, and just how he stood out in comparison to a lot of talent that is being showcased today…he’s so just such a grown man. You respect a man like that. It was such a stark contrast to people. It was enough to get people talking which is half the battle. Once the title had switched to me…without patting myself on the back too hard…We’d really made some big strides in terms of building this brand awareness and sort of creating something out of nothing.
When it came back around and we debuted Powerrr. I feel like the way we set that up with the stipulation of, “If you don’t win you can never challenge for it (title) again.” It created just enough doubt..just like in court…just enough reasonable belief of maybe he’ll win it.
On re-establishing the folklore of the traveling world champion:
A lot of those early bookings that I had with the title in the first run…were existing bookings. You could tell that the momentum was there because right away all of those promoters were contacting me and going, “Can we make it an NWA title match?” There was some debate in the beginning about how we are going to do that. Were we going to be judicious? I said look, if I show up to all these shows with the belt and it’s not a title match…it’s bad juju. It’s bad juju on the brand…people are gonna go, “what the hell?” We have a unique opportunity here because just as luck would have it I happened to have bookings in Europe, Australia, and across the states. We have a unique opportunity here to re-establish the folklore of the traveling world champion. The real world champion. With all that Tim had kind of gone out of focus. We kept seeing, even when Cody latched on to what we were doing, even then we were seeing from our base, “what about Tim Storm? I fell in love with Tim Storm.” I took pride in that. To take a guy with not much profile and to have people going, “I see him as the same level as Nick and Cody,” I took great pride in that. I’m business. I want people to work with who generate interest and sell tickets for a pay per view. I don’t like the fact that I haven’t defended the title much lately. I don’t need to be champion forever…I just wanna be in the most important thing.