Nick Aldis carries his status as NWA World Champion around with him where ever he goes, giving him a confidence about him as he represents the history of the National Wrestling Alliance. He has been through adversity, underutilization, and injury, learning lessons to help him proceed with the 10 Pounds Of Gold.
"Part of the reason I'm sitting here now in this position is because I had to take a moment where I said, 'you've either got to get out of this business, or you've got to slap yourself around a bit and hold yourself accountable,'" Aldis said on Busted Open Radio.
Aldis tore his bicep tendon in November 2015 while wrestling for Konnan in Mexico and after surgery on December 1st, the rehabbing needed to begin. This was a dark point for Aldis as he not only struggled through injury, but also with the feeling that his catalog of work in TNA Wrestling was forgotten due the company's poor reputation.
"I tore my bicep at the end of 2015 and that was a really rough surgery and a really rough recovery and stuff like that. Obviously, I have always held a lot of my personal value in my physique and my fitness and stuff like that and there are pictures of me where I just look like death, I look horrible. I came back too soon because I had a kid to feed. I just looked at myself like, 'what are you doing? I had no imagination, no ideas, I felt like my body of work because of Impact and TNA and the ill-will that they had earned themselves -- which was completely out of my control -- I felt like my body of work had been somewhat forgotten.
"Like the fact that I submitted Sting on a pay-per-view. I mean I've beat Kurt Angle, Jeff Hardy, Samoa Joe, AJ Style, Bobby Roode -- all these guys that have had all this success. I went, 'what's going on here?' I felt like I'd been pushed to the side and I have, so what? Who cares? Tomorrow's another day."
Aldis was part of one of the most loaded rosters in Impact Wrestling's history. Aldis stated that he could have gone to WWE developmental, but he stayed with TNA. He said that he knew people who decided to take WWE up on their offer and weren't happy with the manual labor involved with WWE's developmental territory as they started from the bottom with no recognition of their previous accomplishments in the business.
"I think it's unfair how people never stood back and appreciated how much that company achieved in such a short period of time," Aldis said of his days in TNA Wrestling. "It gave me everything, I think I feel comfortable saying this, I'm 99% certain that I could have gone to developmental in WWE and I chose to stay in TNA because I looked at the landscape.
"I had friends in [WWE] developmental who were miserable, you know this was before NXT and the Performance Center, because they were all wrestling each other in little spot shows in Tampa and stuff and being made to do all these sort of remedial jobs and stuff. They were kind of like, 'I've paid my dues." Like why am I being made to do this again? Like they hadn't paid any dues and it left a sour taste in a lot of guys' mouths.
"I went, I'm sitting here getting to work with Bully and D-Von, I'm working with Beer Money, I get to sit under the learning tree of Sting and Kevin Nash, Kurt Angle, Booker T. I'm working with AJ Styles, Samoa Joe... Doug Williams is my tag team partner like I'm getting such an education [in TNA]."
Aldis said the national exposure of TNA's television show worked for the good and bad because he was exposed to a greater audience before being full prepared for it.
"I was the s--ts, like I shouldn't have been on TV that much," he said. Then he acknowledged the fact that few people would turn down a chance to wrestling on national television even if they weren't ready.
Aldis is defending the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against Cody Rhodes at All In, an event Rhodes and The Young Bucks are putting together. The Jackson Brothers and Aldis spent time together in the TNA locker room when Nick and Matt were known as Generation Me. This connection is a driving reason why they continue to do business with one another. Along with Kazuchika Okada, Aldis and The Young Bucks were playing games in the TNA locker room while others on the roster were involved in televised stories.
"You talk about The Young Bucks," Aldis continued, "one of the reasons why we've stayed close and they've been happy to extend opportunities to me when they can and stuff like that and work with us, is because we were all in that forgotten locker room.
"Me, The Young Bucks, Okada. I mean, New Japan told TNA this guys's going to be our franchise player, not is probably going to be, is going to be and they still [didn't use him well.] We were all there playing Gator Golf in the dressing room because we weren't booked."
If you use any portion of the quotes in this article please credit Busted Open Radio with a H/T to Wrestling Inc for the transcription