Since its revival in 2017, the National Wrestling Alliance has been synonymous with Nick Aldis. The 35-year-old star quickly cemented himself as the flag bearer of the NWA, first capturing the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title in 2017 and defending it in various promotions across the world. While he would drop the ten pounds of gold to Cody Rhodes briefly in fall 2018, Aldis's second reign put him in illustrious company. The National Treasure held the NWA Worlds Title for 1,043 days, making him the longest reigning champion of the 21st century.
That reign came to an end at last year's NWA 73rd Anniversary Show as Aldis was dethroned by Trevor Murdoch. The British born wrestler has since gone on to have singles feuds with the likes of Chris Adonis, Thom Latimer, Matt Cardona and others, but has never strayed more than an arm's length away from the world title scene.
In fact, Aldis was once scheduled to get a one-on-one NWA Worlds Title shot at NWA 74th Anniversary Show, but was replaced by Tyrus due to what NWA Owner Billy Corgan described as "politics." Whatever issues existed between Aldis and the NWA have appeared to be somewhat smoothed over, as Aldis is kicking off NWA 74 weekend with an open forum and will wrestle Flip Gordon on Night 2.
"The open forum I found out the same time as everyone else. Look, I've got no problem. I've got no problem on the mic. I don't think anyone who's watched me over the last few years would deny that," Aldis told ComicBook.com's Liam Crowley. "Now what I choose to do at that time, that's a different story. I don't know. I'm going to see how I feel. The Chase is a special venue for me because I had a very significant hand in getting wrestling back to the Chase after 30 years, whatever it was. And I take a lot of pride in my role in being able to get wrestling back in there. So I'm going to take all that in. And then when I get to the event on Saturday, I will speak from the heart. That's all I can do. That's all I know how to do."
That open forum should give fans an idea of what Aldis's future plans are. The former champion emphasized that he has plenty of boxes within the NWA that he has yet to check.
"I feel like there's a hell of a lot left unsaid and unaccomplished for me. I've run into problems having this sort of hypothetical discussion before," Aldis said. "So I'll qualify it by saying when I choose to sign a contract somewhere, that's me making my full commitment to that organization for the time that I'm under contract. To me, that's what being a professional is."
That aside, Aldis did allude to still having aspirations of going to that "one major level."
"So having said that, it's always difficult to talk about having aspirations to move on and to conquer the last big... For me, there's one major level that I haven't accomplished in the game and everyone knows what that is. I'm not going to deny that that's still something that I think about all the time," Aldis said. "I think the difference is that I sort made peace with the idea that it'll happen or it won't. And some of that will be out of my control. I'll do everything I can to maximize any opportunity that is presented to me. I think I've proven that by taking the NWA, which was on life support, and now we're sitting here today discussing an annual pay-per-view. So I don't feel like I'm speaking out of school by saying I know how to get the most out of the least.
"I've been blessed with some opportunities and I've had quite a decorated career in terms of championships and people I've been able to share the ring with and stuff like that. But yeah, there's a lot left for me to accomplish. And all I can do is keep delivering with whatever is presented to me. Whatever stage I'm given, I try to make it the most valuable stage I can. And I'll keep delivering. So on Saturday night when I go out and speak, I'll try to make sure that it's the most compelling promo I can make it. And then the match with Flip on Sunday, I'll try to make sure that it's the best match on the whole weekend. So that's all I can do as a performer. And as for what comes next, time will tell."
Aldis's return to the NWA comes on the same night as Matt Cardona's comeback. The former NWA Worlds Champion was forced to vacate the title at his self-branded NWA pay-per-view, NWA Alwayz Ready, in June. Just as NWA 74's main event changed, Alwayz Ready was originally set to be headlined by Aldis challenging Cardona for his title. This would've been a rematch for the two, as Cardona defeated Aldis by disqualification in March.
Regardless of how things transpired, Aldis noted he's in no rush to get back in the ring with Cardona.
"I didn't lose any sleep over not running it back with Cardona because in my mind anyone who saw the match in Nashville knows that I had him beat and the circumstances were what they were. But I don't particularly care for guys who go into business for themselves and try to increase their value by diminishing yours. That's not good business to me," Aldis said. "I don't need to go and bury my opponent in order to make myself. The only way that you can create value in a wrestling property is to increase the value and the perception of everybody involved. So if you're just going to come in and be like, 'I used to be in WWE, this sucks, this guy sucks, this guy's never been in WWE. He's not cool.' I don't really see the business in that. Especially when I can wrestle circles around him and tie him up in knots. To me, I don't see where the money is in that. I don't see where the business is in that. And to be honest, neither do any of the people that broke me into the business.
"The validation that I get from guys like Ricky Morton, Austin Idol, Jeff and Jerry Jarrett Jerry 'The King' Lawler, different guys who tell me, 'Here's why I respect you.' And keep in mind, I've never been to WWE. And I haven't been on cable television for years. And yet somehow I have still been able to maintain this sort of level of perception. I've done that by elevating everybody around me, not by taking cheap shots and s--tting on people for the sake of trending on Twitter."
Aldis kicks off NWA 74 tonight with an open forum.