Darius Lockhart reflects on his exit from NWA.
Before Lockhart made his NWA debut in December 2021, he made a name for himself by competing throughout the independent scene, and he also wrestled on AEW Dark. Among other companies, Lockhart competed for GCW. He wrestled at NWA USA tapings in December 2021, and he also competed in the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship at NWA Crockett Cup 2022. However, after Lockhart worked an NWA Powerrr taping in March 2022, he left the promotion.
Speaking with MuscleManMalcolm, Lockhart was asked to describe why he left NWA.
“So to make it short, I’ll try to give you guys the pins here. I tweeted what I tweeted. Everyone else tweeted what they tweeted, and I think the NWA social media team took notice, and it was getting more traction than some of the stuff they were posting already about. So they said, ‘Hey, we gotta talk to the office about this. We’re interested.’ So they talked to the office, and eventually they asked me to come out to Nashville. I came out to Nashville to talk to them, and I talked to Pat Kenney, and a couple days later, Nick Aldis called me on the phone and told me they would love to work with me. They wanted me to be a lynchpin of their new show they were launching. It’s very hard to launch a new show. You need lynchpins, you need people to build around, and they were looking for that, and I felt if I’m able to become someone, not only a new face here, but someone they can build around, and someone that can make something maybe it’s not what I came here for, but if I can turn it into a diamond, then it looks better on me. So I accepted the challenge. I was promised, well, not promised, but told that there was room for elevation, that if I were to put on the size, because they like their heavyweights to be heavyweights, and I was a little smaller at the time. I wasn’t really eating a lot. I was really going through a depressive episode, a lot of grief from my father passing a few months. So I understood where they were coming from. They like their heavyweights to be heavyweights. But putting on size is something I wasn’t not used to. I could do it. So if you put on the size in the future, maybe let’s talk about a little elevation of me doing what I came here to do. They were receptive to it at first, at least Pat Kenney was. We showed up for the tapings, I cut the NWA promo that people like to talk about to me a lot. I did the promo, it went viral, it went good. I thought, from all the DMs and the legends walking up to me and putting it over, I thought, ‘Well, we got something here. Now it’s kind of undeniable.’ But they tried to deny it [laughs]," Lockhart said.
Lockhart continued by describing how he tried to talk to company officials about his direction, and he didn't get any good answers. He stated that he had a sitdown with Billy Corgan, who told him that he wasn't interested in telling the story that Darius was there to tell. Lockhart noted that Corgan was adamant that he could not let the fans book the show, and he decided that it was best to amicably part ways.
"Basically, I was asking what direction we were going, and there was no really good answers. By the time we got to the pay-per-view, I asked for a sitdown with Billy Corgan, and he let me know that the story that I was there to tell, that everyone wanted to see me tell and everyone was interested in tuning into NWA to hear and watch, was not the story he wanted to tell. He just told me, he said, ‘I’m interested in that story.’ He saw me as a tag guy at best. He felt that I was undersized, and he said he can’t let the fans book the show, he books the show. That was the answer I got. I looked him in the face and I said, ‘Okay, good talk.’ I knew when I walked away that that was gonna be my last weekend trying to work with them because I wasn’t gonna spend time sitting there, trying to change Billy Corgan’s mind. I had better things to do with my time [laughs]. So it was just like, if you don’t want to make money, that’s your thing, but respectfully, we can part ways amicably, and that’s what I chose to do. I’m not above walking away from something that doesn’t serve me. It was kind of my personal choice. I’m not gonna sit here and spin wheels, trying to prove something wrong to you, so let’s just move on. Everyone’s got their opinion. Billy has his. Maybe Tyrus made a better world champion than I would have. Who’s to say? But we move on. At the end of the day, I’m not crying that I didn’t get to make Billy Corgan a million dollars. We can do that here, and we can do it in our own pockets. So let’s move on," Lockhart said.
At the ASÉ Wrestling event on December 1, Lockhart announced that he was returning to in-ring competition. He has not wrestled since April 1, 2022, when he lost to AJ Gray at GCW For The Culture.
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