Whether it’s referencing his faction’s name or simply his mentality to professional wrestling, Nick Aldis is Strictly Business. The Real World’s Champion’s business acumen has served him incredibly well throughout his nearly twenty-year career, with his work both inside and outside of the squared circle earning the respect of wrestlers and business leaders alike.
Just over a month into the return of the National Wrestling Alliance, one major storyline playing out is the recruitment of a new member to Strictly Business’ ranks.
“Of course, you don’t need to give me too much, people need to tune into Powerrr as far as that goes,” I began when Aldis and I recently spoke for Love Wrestling. “But, what do you look for in a Strictly Business recruit? And, is there maybe anybody out there that’s caught your eye or you’re considering as a potential recruit?”
“Who’s Nick Aldis got his eye on?”
“Well, look, here’s the thing,” Aldis stated. “Strictly Business was a group that was kind of born out of my real-life friendship with Tom Latimer and, obviously, my association with Kamille. Then, they fell in love and developed their own real-life romance. So, I was like, ‘look at this! It’s worked out great!’ And so, it’s kind of like our whole – I said it makes sense for us to be a group because we all look out for each other’s back. We’re all going to be, and we all know, and I think this is one of the reasons why for the most part I kind of – I think I’d like to say I have the respect of most of the guys on the roster is that I am Strictly Business. If it’s good for the company, if it’s going to help move us along, I’m gonna do it. As long as it doesn’t hurt me, and that’s okay, too.”
The Real World’s Champion paused to smile before continuing.
“I was having this conversation yesterday with a friend of mine who’s in NXT,” Aldis explained. “I said, ‘you know, somewhere along the line, people have sort of manipulated this narrative that it’s wrong to sort of look out for yourself.’ And I’m like, ‘no, it’s absolutely necessary to look out for yourself. That’s why we’re independent contractors.’ I’m not saying you have to be difficult. I’m just saying you have to – of course, you’re thinking of yourself! You’re your business product.”
“I’m in the retail business,” Aldis stated, making the comparison to the wrestling business. “My sports nutrition company, my supplement company, LegacySupps.com, we’re in the process right now where we’re having some conversations with some major retailers. At some point, the conversation is going to shift to like, positioning on the shelves, and how you guys gonna put in, it’s like, no one’s sitting there going, like, ‘Oh, he’s not a team player! He’s not just happy to be in the store!’ I’m gonna go there [and say] ‘hey, why is my shit on the top shelf in the back corner? Put my shit in the middle!’ You know what I mean? It’s the same. It’s business! Everyone should be vying to be like, ‘I want to be in the main event. I want to be the world champion!’ I’m sitting there going, ‘hey, I want you to try to be in it because it helps make me better because I don’t want you to take over my spot.’ There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not a popularity contest based on like, ‘who’s the nicest to the fans on the internet?’ You know what I mean? Or, ‘who’s the one who deserves it the most?’ The guy who deserves it the most is the guy who’s going to help pull the wagon the best.”
I agreed. “Like you’ve said before, the guy that pulls that wagon eventually does pull everybody along with them, right? A rising tide raises all boats.”
“Right,” Aldis confirmed. “And so, in that respect, that’s how Strictly Business was formed, because it was like, you know, Tom Latimer is – we’re going back to that dreaded overrated and underrated term. Tom Latimer is, in my opinion, the most undervalued talent in the entire industry. This guy is – he’s got everything! He is the total package. He works circles around guys making 10 times the money he makes. For me, it’s like I want to take him and if I can help light that fire to him and be like, ‘you’re considered a top guy in this business,’ then I’m gonna do that. The business needs him. Whoever I recognize as, like, the best guy, some people look at it as like, ‘oh, that’s competition. Let’s eliminate him, let’s cut him off.’ Or, if you’re thinking about – if you’re confident in who you are, and you’re comfortable in yourself, you look at that guy and go, ‘we need to get this guy on a rocket ship, boys because it’s going to help the rest of us.'”
When it came to the subject of potential new Strictly Business recruits, the Real World’s Champion gave a pair of examples of two individuals he feels would be great fits for the faction.
“As far as other people? I’ve mentioned a few times that I think that Joe Hennig would be a good fit for NWA,” he stated emphatically. “I think he’s a guy that was presented in a way that was certainly not representative of what he offers [and] certainly not representative of his incredible lineage. But again, where we talk about our values [of] legacy, tradition, we more than respect our elders, we revere them. So, for a guy who’s part of one of the greatest wrestling lineages of all time? Hey, man, he could have a jacket. He could earn a jacket.”
“And like, look, let’s talk about Chris Adonis,” continued Aldis. “I’ve known Chris for a long time. I first booked him in India 10 years ago.”
“Oh, very cool!” I remarked.
Aldis laughed as he carried on. “I found him to be insufferable when I first met this guy! I was like, ‘who is this guy? He’s like a complete goof! He’s so aloof. He’s like a loudmouth jock, just not my cup of tea at all.’ I get to know the guy, and I just go ‘no, that’s just his nature.'”
Many, of course, are familiar with Adonis from his previous work with the WWE as Chris Masters. As Aldis continued through our conversation, the Real World’s Champion began to speak of how Adonis being pushed to the forefront as young as he was, relating it to his own career and early success.
“But, here’s another guy – and I can relate to this – he got a massive opportunity for WWE, got pushed so young, and just was not polished and was not finished yet. He didn’t have enough reps. It just was just, he just wasn’t ready. People had just sort of written him off, you know, like ‘oh, he’s ex-WWE.’ He was in his early 20’s when he was there! Are you kidding me? Look at the median age of the WWE roster now. Most of the champions are over 40, which is kind of funny when you consider, you know, Mickie’s release and all that. That’s another story for another day.”
“But, the point is, the maturity as a performer in this business comes [in your] late 30s, early 40s,” he continued. “Throughout history, the best – every now and then there’s an exception. There are major anomalies. The Rock, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton. There are others, Shawn Michaels. But, for the most part, the guys are doing their best work in their late 30s, early 40s, because they found themselves, they’ve got respect, they’ve got a gravitas to them, they’ve got a maturity to them, they look like grown men. They’re people that appeal across the board to children and adults alike. It’s the sweet spot for wrestling, and for whatever reason, people have sort of co-opted that and tried to compare it to real sports, like, ‘what’s the big problem? What’s the major problem with the young guys?’ They’re not getting a push, because they’re not ready. They’re not getting a push, because they’ve got three years’ experience. Do you have any idea how much experience you need to be fucking good at this? It’s a lot! I’ve worked with a who’s-who of wrestling, and I didn’t even begin to find myself until I hit 30. And, by the time I hit 30, I’d wrestled Sting, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, [and] Kurt Angle!”
Please credit Spencer Love/Love Wrestling with any of the above quotes.