Aldis on Cornette: “he can go back to his podcast and say whatever the hell he wants”

Dec 12, 2019 - by James Walsh

In an interview with VOC Nation, Nick Aldis spoke about Jim Cornette’s exit from the NWA, and the negative reaction the company received online for parting ways with him. Here are highlights:

On fan interest in the upcoming PPV: “We’ve been blown away with the pre-sale and the numbers and the interest and everything. It’s an indication that business is still on the up…Everyone is focused on that one thing, growth; we need to keep building brick by brick.”

On building back credibility for the NWA: “It doesn’t surprise me…it’s nice when the plan works. I don’t think it’s any secret that I’ve been quite heavily involved from the beginning. Billy Corgan bought the company in 2017. It began with Billy, Dave Lagana, myself, and James Storm… There were obviously things that we didn’t plan for like the opportunity at All In with Cody that we had to create awareness for us… There was the opportunity to build my credibility, which then in turn built the NWA credibility, and the championship’s (credibility) again… In order for the brand to mean something, I had to mean something and vice versa…Under promise and over deliver; I think that’s why we’ve sort of built credibility with the audience and momentum.”

On utilizing YouTube as a primary means of television distribution: “We knew that it would be foolish to spend loads of money on advertising and things like that just to jump into the pool with everyone else. We knew that over time we could get people to appreciate the quality of the product and we could make sure that all of our stuff was available for people to consume at their leisure. We value the audience’s time; look, this is how I watch stuff now, we have to make it easy for people.”

On timing the delivery of content: “I’m looking for moments where all of the oxygen isn’t going to WWE or AEW. There are going to be certain times of the year where all of the attention is directed to WWE; Wrestlemania and Royal Rumble and things like that. There are other moments where typically WWE is less of the conversation. AEW is now the new kid in town. That’s one of the reasons that we have a small team, and a very modern delivery system and stuff like that because it means we can be ready (to deliver content)…when there is a lull in between (big) things (with WWE and AEW). Ultimately our strategy long term is to build our own audience with lots of fans.”

On the style of the product: “We’re not saying we want just old fashion fans…that’s where some of Cornette’s fans got off on the wrong exit with us, and they started trying to turn us into this sort of old fashioned for the sake of being old fashioned and that’s not what we are at all. We’re providing a true alternative. Other shows have claimed to be an alternative, but I don’t really see a whole lot of difference…we try to pay attention to the things that (people) miss about wrestling… All these people that stopped watching wrestling – – they didn’t stop watching because they suddenly decided that they didn’t like it anymore; they just weren’t being satisfied by what was being put out (by WWE or others)….that’s where we want to remind people of their childhood…It’s a platform for professional wrestlers to show professional wrestling skills, not sports entertainment skills.”

On James Storm: “When we talk about (someone) who embodies the spirit what we are trying to achieve with the NWA, James is right at the top of the list in many ways. You’re talking about a guy who knows how to tell stories in the ring, have great matches, and whether you like him or not, he’s a guy who has 100% conviction and believes in who he is. He’s as brash, outgoing, and gregarious as a wrestler should be in many ways…He’s wrestled a who’s who of the industry, and is a who’s who of the industry in many ways himself. He’s a seasoned professional.”

On Jim Cornette’s abrupt departure: “Jim has unbelievable passion for the business…He was a little bit involved as far as (behind the scenes), but really more from a consulting point of view. He certainly had no official capacity. I’ll be real: My take on it was that his podcast persona, for lack of a better term, was bleeding into and influencing our show and our audience. That was a problem. I am more than happy for any one in our audience to have an opinion on anything. What I don’t want, and again this is just me, is so early on in (our growth) to very quickly establish that we are this opinionated promotion with opinionated fans. This is not about Jim’s fans, or AEW fans, or WWE fans. I’m personally really over this divisive culture that we’re in now. There’s more information and opinion available than ever, so people should be more open to opposing views or new information. Instead, we sort of live in the opposite. Everyone is emboldened because they live in echo chambers on social media where you choose to follow people who agree with you and vice versa, and so then your so emboldened by all these people going ‘you’re right, F everybody else.’…If something is stupid I’ll say it’s stupid, and many times I agreed with Jim on many of his takes on some of the other stuff in the business. We didn’t want the show and the talent to be constantly overshadowed by a controversial commentator… Here’s the problem that I’m seeing; that episode had Trevor Murdoch completely stepping into the light after several years of being away from the spotlight. It was Trevor Murdoch’s coming out party so to speak… and then it’s Melina’s debut, but none of that mattered and no one remembered it because everyone was talking about something else which was totally unnecessary… I want the NWA to be trending for the right reasons.”

On Jim Cornette’s controversial commentary: “I have defended Jim (in the past) for stuff that was in my opinion recreational outrage…it doesn’t come down to that; what it comes down to is being a distraction. We’ve got an hour to make an impression and get everyone talking and wanting to tune in next week. If all everyone is talking about is arguing and wanting a different commentator, it puts us in a difficult spot….we thank Jim for everything he did; ultimately he can go back to his podcast and say whatever the hell he wants, and we don’t have to worry about it anymore.”

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