After stepping away from the squared circle, Aron Stevens found himself craving that cinematic and athletic spotlight that wrestling once provided him with. During a recent interview on Chasing Glory, Stevens mentioned how happy he is to be part of the NWA roster, as well as how his time there has helped him reflect on his past self in the WWE as Damien Sandow.
"Personally, I did not leave on the note that I would've liked to," Stevens said regarding his WWE departure. "But, what NWA did made me - especially with the locker room too - feel ok to wrestle again. I guess I didn't feel like I was out here in L.A. trying to put the past behind me. Now, I've become open to even things like the past like wrestling, which was part of my past. I'm open to letting that evolve and be what it may."
Stevens adds that in the wake of his WWE release, the silver lining for him was learning how to be more self-aware.
"To me, it was again, self-analysis because I didn't have a lot of time for that. Especially, during the last part of my WWE career, where I was the person I wanted to be personally, professionally or anything like that," Stevens stated. "This allowed me the luxury to really look inward, and to get to where I wanted to get. I was someone who is solely focused. When anything deviates from my goal, I knew what I wanted to do and how to get there. I could say yeah, whatever they gave me, I'd knock it out of the park, then it's going to be over and I'll fight again.
"Now, I've become more trusting in the universe; more like I'm allowing things to happen. I'm not so linear in my thinking to where if opportunities were to come, if it's not what I thought, you know, take the role, take the meeting, have the audition, at least have a conversation about it. It's about being comfortable outside of your comfort zone. So, if I could go back to the WWE [and change things] I would've been more patient, and handled things better. But, if I didn't leave the WWE, I don't think I would've had that luxury to have that self-realization."
Stevens admits that during his 13-year career in the WWE, he did have self-doubt as to whether this was supposed to be his fate or not. Stevens expands on his internal struggle at the time.
"Self-doubt was something that, you know, crept into me," Stevens said. "It was strange. You could hit my music, 'Hallelujah,' and then there's no doubt at all. That's what I think allowed me to have the career that I've had. Because when I'm out there [in the ring], I don't make a wrong decision, I don't. As a performer, you listen to the crowd and you start making adjustments. I am fine with that. But, it's something that a lot of people struggle with. That's why we have agents and things. No, when I'm out there, let me have my time, and we're going to be fine. It was such a break and such a relief. But then, when you go back [you ask yourself], 'Why aren't they doing this with me?' Like my t-shirts. They weren't the highest-selling t-shirts at live events, and I let that get to me and other little things.
"Eventually, that self-doubt creeps into where you think 'I'm not good enough.' I'm just the type where if I have a conversation with the boss, ok good, that's the way it is. I'm not going to bother him every week and become someone who is an annoyance. I talked to creative and to Road Dogg, and I wasn't getting anything. I had to look at this from a realistic perspective. Again, me leaving, I was surrounded by people that were of that same mentality. I do believe that sometimes or a lot of times, the people you surround yourself with rubs off. So, I had to hit the reset button in life... It wasn't an easy thing for me."
Since his arrival on NWA, Stevens has been on a roll. Back in December, during the Into The Fire pay-per-view, Stevens won the NWA National Championship by defeating both Colt Cabana and Ricky Starks in a triple threat match. His career has been on the up and up ever since. When concluding his interview, Lilian Garcia asked Stevens if he would ever think about re-signing with the WWE in the future.
"You know, with the schedule that we have right now, no," Stevens admitted. "I would want to talk about creative handlings shall we say. But, you never say never. There's certainly no ill-will. Again, I don't take anything personally there, but again, I don't know if I would fit into what they're doing. Plus, I don't know if they would fit into what I'm doing too. So, again, I'm grateful for my time there. You never rule out any possible futures, but there's no willing desire."
You can view Stevens' full interview above. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chasing Glory- Lilian Garcia with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.