NWA Worlds Champion Nick Aldis recently spoke to Graham Mirmina of Daily DDT. You can see the full interview at this link, and check out some submitted highlights below.
DDT: Talk a little about the Ten Pounds of Gold show the NWA has on its YouTube channel. How did that come about and what type of wrestling fan do you feel it caters to?
Aldis: When I first agreed and said, “Okay, I’m on board, let’s try to bring this brand back to prominence,” I sent them some of my favorite episodes of HBO 24/7, Showtime All Access, UFC Countdown and things like that, combat sports have taken pro wrestling and made it better. Nobody, not boxing, not MMA, nobody used to run packages. Nobody used to even run a two-minute hype package before an event, but wrestling always was.
Wrestling has been doing that for decades. And they would borrow from wrestling. Tell me the first thing you saw that had pyro that wasn’t pro wrestling. There were all these dramatic elements and hype elements that real sports borrowed from pro wrestling. They’ll never admit that they did, but they did.
They realized “Wow, people care so much more when they really feel a connection to the personalities.” I said, “Where did we go off base here with wrestling?” We went so far off course. Again, we concentrated so much on this very small niche portion of the audience that was only concerned with a pro wrestling match that had an opinion on every single thing. “Oh, that promo was a B+” and “This match was a 3.3 out of 5 stars.”
My argument is, I don’t care if they want to do that, but that’s up to them if they want to do that. My point was, those people clearly aren’t going anywhere because this is like a hobby to them. They’re never going to stop watching because they love doing this stuff. Even if every match on this show gets one star, they’re still going to want to do it because they like putting this stuff out, so why are we catering so much to them?
I care about the dollar, and this isn’t a knock on any of the people that do this stuff, but I don’t care about this guy who’s not paying my bills and what star rating he gives my match because he’s not paying my bills. The people who are going to read his stuff, whoever they may be, they’re going to keep watching for the most part. I’m not saying you should pay no attention to it, I’m just saying you should pay the proportionate amount to what it represents. In the meantime, you’ve got to keep doing things that keeps a wider audience engaged.
If you went by what that core online audience say about Roman Reigns, he wouldn’t even be on the show, which is ludicrous. I’m sure they’d have the numbers to show it. He draws a lot of women, the kids like him, he sells merchandise. There’s a need to make sure that you keep a breath of every potential customer.
Every set of eyeballs in the world is a potential dollar you can make. That’s sort of the mentality that we adopted, but we also said, “Okay, we know we have to start somewhere, so we’re going to start with the audience that we think we can get the most quickly is the slightly disenfranchised, old-school kind of fan and the discerning ones, the ones that will watch every type of wrestling out there.
We cultivated a good thing with a good base quite quickly, we did enough to generate buzz where people are saying, “Hey, have you seen this Ten Pounds of Gold show? It’s really interesting. It really makes me care about watching this match that I never thought I would care about.” When we got to the beginning of last year, we knew we had Cody’s attention, and obviously, that was a great opportunity for everyone involved, that was a win-win.
We went, “Okay, is All In going to be our first real ‘This is what we can do’?” And it was.
We used All In as our platform to show this is what we can do. Within the space of one year of buying a brand where everyone was saying, “Why are you buying this brand? What a dumb thing to do.” Even [Jim] Cornette, who is one of our biggest supporters, he said at the time, “Billy Corgan just bought the National Wrestling Alliance! What the hell is he thinking?”
Fast forward to a year later, Cody and I have 11,000 people standing up before we even touched with Earl Hebner holding up the NWA Championship. It’s proof of concept. We take our time and we wait for the right thing to come along. We don’t try to shoehorn it.
That’s the real beauty and benefit of only having a very small amount of people who pay, myself included, that’s only a handful of salaries to pay. We find where it works and say, “Okay, that’s a good time to run, let’s do that,” like a boxing promoter do. Boxing promoters don’t say, “Every week we’re going to have Monday Night Box and build to a show called Summer Box.”
It doesn’t work like that. They have to find the right matchup first, you have to find the rivalry and the undercard and everything else that’s going to support the main event and that’s how we approach it. It’s so funny to me because it doesn’t seem that difficult to explain, but some people have a real hard time understanding that.