Aron Stevens (aka Damien Sandow) joined Wrestling Inc. Managing Editor Nick Hausman recently on The Wrestling Inc. Daily podcast to discuss his new experience as head booker of Championship Wrestling from Hollywood. The news was announced last month when CWFH returned after filming a set of tapings, but Stevens explained that the decision came earlier than that.
“I was out of pro wrestling all together, completely out of it,” Stevens recalled. “I got a call about a year ago from Billy Corgan from the NWA, and I was actually in Hawaii filming a TV series. And I’m like, ‘I really don’t want to wrestle,’ and he goes, ‘no, this is what we’re doing. You’re going to want to be here. And I said, ‘fine.’ He was always great to me when we were with Impact and everything like that.
“So I got on a plane, went to Atlanta and when I got there, they flew me in a day early, and I just looked at the set, and I just went, ‘oh, yes. OK, I get it. You’re doing it right.’ Did that and I’ve known Dave Marquez for years, but we reconnected and started talking and everything like that. And then early this year, he was like, ‘hey, would you be interested in being the booker for Championship from Hollywood?’ OK, yeah, I’ll check it out. So the pandemic happened, couple months went by obviously and then here we are.”
Stevens said that NWA and CWFH helped him realize his love for wrestling. He noted that he had always just been focused on his own segments and was not too concerned about other aspects of the show.
“I think it was a year ago now, I was in Hawaii just filming my TV showing was happy, and now, things are different,” Stevens stated. “And it’s funny because acting has all but slowed down. Only in the last two weeks or maybe three weeks, auditions are starting to happen now and you start reading more and stuff like that. But this has been keeping me busy, and it’s been a lot of fun.
“I didn’t realize I love the business as much as I did because I’ve always been so, lackadaisical is not the right adjective, but I worry about my stuff. Make my segment the best it can be, go out there, rock the people and then don’t care about anything else and obviously, I say that in the context of my segment in terms of the show.
“I mean, I’m not going to be trying to hurt anybody else on the show or anything like that, but from my contribution, whatever I have in the parameters I’m given, go make it the best you can and leave. And that detachment, I want to say, from the business side of things has always kind of served me well, but now that I’m on this side of it, it’s given me a whole new perspective.”
Stevens continued saying that Marquez has been a big help for him and that he is fortunate to work with great talent. He said as head booker, he sits down with talent to discuss their plans even as far as three years from now.
“But I’ve been very lucky because there’s been a lot of good talent I’ve gotten to work with, and Dave has been so good to me in terms of just letting me do what I want,” Stevens revealed. “‘This is your show. This is your show,’ and I go, ‘it really isn’t.’ I try to involve the talent as much as I can in terms of what they would like to do, where they see their characters [and] where they would like to be a year to three years from now.
“So my goal is I want to sit down with everyone and I have pretty much, individually, in terms of going, ‘OK, what do you want to do? Where do you see yourself? Why are you doing this?’ And as a booker, that gives me kind of an idea of how to use them.”
Stevens admitted that this is the first time he has served as head booker. He said the position has made him realize the great minds of wrestling that he has been able to work with.
“Yeah, first time ever, and it’s weird,” Stevens revealed. “I’ve been very very lucky, and I didn’t realize this, in that for years, I was around some of the smartest people in the business, Jim Cornette, Paul Heyman, Danny Davis, Tom Prichard, Rip Rogers [and] Dutch Mantell, who’s just brilliant.
“And so I again, I don’t want to sound braggadocios, but I didn’t realize I knew as much about the booking end of it as I did because to me, it was always common sense, only because that’s the only business I was exposed to.
“I trained with [Killer] Kowalski at 16, so I was always under his umbrella and then right to OVW with Cornette and then Paul Heyman, Al Snow and people who have been there [and] know what they’re doing. So I never experienced that, no direction, craziness or anything like that, unless of course, until I got to WWE.”
On his booking style, Stevens said he tries to treat talent with respect recalling his time in WWE. He said that he does not place blame on WWE pointing out that they are a big corporation, so it is impossible for them to speak to everyone individually all the time. He said that is why only a few talent are spotlighted because that is the plan for a few individuals and fan response is rarely in consideration.
“I try to treat talent with respect, number one, first and foremost because I know what I didn’t like,” Stevens noted. “WWE is a very big company, so you can’t fault them for this. They cannot give every single talent individual attention. They can’t.
“They have to focus on the guys that they want to be the top guys because whoever is the top guy there is someone that they want to be, and by ‘they’, I mean one person or two or three people. And it’s that simple, and it does work like that regardless of fan response or anything else, but as a wrestler, I was always like, ‘oh, fan response wise, I’m here.’ And maybe in a corporate boardroom, they didn’t see it like that.
“Maybe they had, from a the business end of things, they wanted to go with somebody for marketing purposes or whatever. That’s just that machine, and it doesn’t make it right or wrong, which is why I’ve never really buried them because you know what? WWE’s a certain kind of machine, and I played in that sandbox and then I did try to make the most of my time.”
Support Aron Stevens by watching Championship Wrestling From Hollywood every week as part of the United Wrestling Network. You can also follow him on Twitter @AronsThoughts. Stevens’ full interview aired as part of a recent episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.