As the NWA Worlds Champion, Nick Aldis' career has been through an interesting journey. From even before his time in Impact Wrestling to now, he has had to prove himself wherever he has gone. Now the centerpiece of the pro wrestling world, Aldis believes this is a great time to be a fan of the sport.
Speaking to Wrestling Inc.'s Michael Wiseman at WrestleCade this past weekend, Aldis laid it all out there. One of the most impressive things he was able to accomplish in his career was at the All In PPV, where he defended his title against Cody Rhodes. Although he lost, he knew the hard work he put in before the match paid off.
"To have 11,000 people standing before you even touched, that was based on two guys who believed in their heart and presented in a way that carried themselves that they believe they are the main event," Aldis stated. "They proved it. That's the hardest skill to learn than wrestling moves, high spots and everything else."
One thing that was noticed was that Cody was signed with Ring of Honor at the time. This has become a common theme in Aldis' title defenses; the NWA Worlds Champion is willing to work deals to fight whoever is up for the challenge. The process to grab Cody's attention was actually easier than some may think.
"One of the things we say is we are open for business," Aldis continued. "I believe that fans today will no longer tolerate the explanation of, 'oh he's under contract there.' If they want to see this guy wrestle this guy, we've set a precedent now, it can happen. Cody was under contract with Ring of Honor. Billy, Dave, Joe Koff, Greg Gilleland, Cody and I sat down like Mayweather and McGregor would, or whoever. We said, 'OK what do you want, what do we want?' We played around, molded it and shaped it and eventually we get to that. The result was something where everybody went 'Wow.'"
The NWA has worked with stars from Impact, Lucha Underground and promotions in Japan and Mexico. One company that hasn't been easy to work with is WWE. Aldis was intrigued that nothing has happened, and managed to call out one of the premier wrestlers and businessmen of the company. "The Game" may have a replica of the title, but he can't actually call himself the champion.
"We can have championship matches with anyone, anywhere," said Aldis. "I've put it out there on Busted Open that Hunter has a replica of the Ten Pounds of Gold on his wall, supposedly. If he wants a shot at the real one all he has to do is pick up the phone. I'm not a hard guy to find. That's just one option, there is no reason why that can't happen. They are not taking us up on it, but if he did, we would be there."
It wasn't an easy road for Aldis or the NWA to get to where they are today. A lot of work went into presenting the promotion as a force to be reckoned with. Everything seemed to have clicked when Aldis beat Tim Storm for the title at CZW's Cage of Death 19. From there, everything has been progressing so quickly.
"We are just scratching the surface here", said Aldis. "We're almost a year to the day where I won the title from Tim in CZW in front of 500 d------ds in New Jersey, who were saying all kinds of horrible sh*t to me. Now, we've had our own standalone PPV which grossed six figures, headlined All In, which was a historic event in the history of our business that people will talk about for years to come, and set up a rivalry that you could argue is the rivalry of the year in pro wrestling. I'm feeling the momentum and I'm feeling the love from everybody, and we are just getting started."
Speaking of momentum, Aldis has plenty of challengers ahead of him. He may even have a third bout against Cody down the line. Out of all the challengers he has faced and will the future, there is one man who Nick would love to face. He is hoping to get the opportunity inside Madison Square Garden during WrestleMania weekend. Who could it possibly be against?
"There are a lot of guys. For me, there is no doubt in my mind that at some point, somewhere, somehow, Marty Scurll and I need to square off for the NWA Worlds Championship," stated Aldis. "It is 15 years in the making; two kids who came from the middle of nowhere in England that people laughed at the idea of us being wrestlers. With parents who thought this was all a phase, that we would grow out of it. For him to have done what he's done, the DIY way, everywhere I've went I've told people they have to take a look at this guy. For him to be where he is, one of the most successful guys, he's like the "Rowdy" Roddy Piper of the modern era; he can do anything and go anywhere, he doesn't need a belt. But, when the time is right, to tell that story, 15 years back with all of that history, to the point now of us both reaching our primes, that is the one I want.
The full audio from Wrestling Inc's exclusive interview with Nick Aldis can also be heard as part of the latest edition of our WINCLY podcast:
Michael Wiseman contributed to this article.