“The life-blood of the business, in my opinion, has always been the fans,” says Aron Stevents, “That’s why you do what you do.”
But unfortunately, too often pro wrestling companies and wrestlers seem to forget that. During a recent The Wrestling Inc. Daily exclusive interview, the National Wrestling Alliance star encouraged others in the industry to “clean out their ears” and listen to what audiences want a bit more closely.
“To me, that’s what the show is for,” Stevens said of entertaining audiences, “I think what’s happened, and I’m not going to name company names or anything, but some people in other companies have let their own ‘vision’ highjack the product. That’s why a lot of different products are a little bit dry and need a little bit of pep.”
Being too fixated on an individual “vision” of a character, story or company does not allow for fan reaction to help guide the product, indicated Stevens. And not taking what fans respond to into consideration, he notes, can lead to becoming complacent.
“In wrestling, if you’re not listening, then you will become stagnant,” he warned.
“You have to not be afraid to try stuff,” said the former NWA National champion. “It’s like fishing. You throw it out there and see what they bite on.”
That could explain the seemingly constant evolution of Stevens’ persona during the course of his wrestling career. Over nearly two decades, audiences have watched — and sometimes unknowingly guided — his evolution from Michelle McCool’s “teacher’s pet”, to a WWE Money-in-the-Bank winner, to the wildly comedic run as The Miz’s “stunt double” and eventual WWE World Tag Team championship partner “Damien Mizdow.”
Now a staple in NWA, Stevens confirms reactions from their live audiences often significantly influence the direction of characters and the show as a whole. The presentation of and relationship shown between his adored partner, friend and “Sensai,” the late Question Mark, was a prime example — including creating an entire country and its related lore — to give audiences more of what they wanted. That’s how it should be, he seems to suggest.
“That’s my experience on how to have longevity in wrestling,” said Stevens of listening intently to audience reactions.
“There have been so many times when fans have reacted to something, I’ve gone, ‘Oh, really?! You like that?!?’” he shared, “Personally, it’s not exactly what I want to do. However….who am I to let my own individual wants and needs interfere with a good show?”
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