TNA wrestler films TV show in Belfast
Nick Aldis may be best know as Magnus to viewers of TNA Wrestling programming, however there is an awful lot more to him that simply being a professional wrestler. I caught up with Nick in Belfast as he filmed for Challenge TV (also home to TNA here in the UK) show UK''s Strongest Man. Series. Aldis and co-host Matt Bell were on hand to film links for the series, interview some of the competitors and much more over this August Bank Holiday Weekend event. Here are highlights from that chat.
Phil: Hi Nick first up let's chat about you presenting this show. How are you enjoying that experience?
Nick: Well Phil this is my second year now. So being asked back must mean I am doing OK (laughs). Honestly this is a great job, we have a small team really, our Producer, Matt and myself. I think it helps that Matt and I get on so well too. That gives us a rapport and something that comes across on screen.
Phil: Is presenting something you feel you would like to do more of?
Nick: Yes it is. I love getting to help produce our pieces (with the guys) and I am learning so much about the behind the scenes work that you need to know. After all I came from working holiday camps and Gladiators to wrestling in the US for TNA and now this. I'm always learning I guess and picking stuff up. If there are opportunities to do more jobs like this I am happy to do them.
Phil: Would you say that presenting something like UK's Strongest Man has helped you with your in-ring promos?
Nick: Yes and no. I have always had good responses to my promos and got praise from the guys in the back. It maybe has made me look at things in more detail perhaps and of course I have a lot more knowledge of what they are doing back there now as well.
Phil: May we ask you about life in TNA. For example how do you feel about the recent spate of roster cuts?
Nick: I love being a part of TNA and think a lot of times when there is bad publicity it is taken out of context or only partially explained (to suit others means). For example recently Jesse Sorenson (former TNA wrestler) made some comment about how the company treated him, but the truth is he was treated very well, they took care of insurance and even paid for bills. It was blown out of proportion.
Phil: Many say the cuts have been due to added costs created by taking the company on the road each week?
Nick: Well yes there are indeed costs in taking us on the road and that will have an affect on us as a roster. Honestly the way I see it is that we have only one two hour TV show and we all cannot be given time on it. I think what has happened has been necessary for the product and us a company. I mean how can you build up a storyline or character if you are barely getting any TV time. That also means many of the guys were getting basic wages. I'd call it streamlining and something that will help us.
Phil: The UK market has grown very steadily in recent years and Impact has become on of its top shows. How important is the UK to TNA?
Nick: It is very important to us and I would love to see us back here more often. I know the company have a lot of ideas for the UK/Irish fans as well. We always get a great response there. The UK Boot Camp series also highlighted some of the talented wrestlers we have here and we know there are a lot more. I think it helps UK wrestlers to see guys like myself, Robbie T, Doug (Williams) etc. on TV and makes them want to break the US too. Challenge TV have really embraced us and I guess you could say I am the UK face for us right now too.
Phil: You mentioned Boot Camp there, I feel that concept worked very well. You were involved in that were you not?
Nick: I worked as colour commentator on that and boy do I now have (even) more respect for guys like JB (Jeremy Borash) too. You really have to think on your feet and not panic. I liked doing that and hope to maybe do some more. The competitors really worked hard throughout as well. There are a lot of UK/Irish wrestlers who have real potential to be big stars.
Phil: You have already done so much in TNA. But how does it feel to be in the new Main Event Mafia line-up?
Nick: It is a real honour to be involved and what I must say it that guys like Sting and Kurt Angle have always been two of the main guys who have been pushing for me backstage too. They have done that genuinely and really helped me move along. To share the ring with them is amazing.
Phil: In relation to Kurt I for one thought it was a nice touch that (TNA President) Dixie Carter mentioned his entering rehab and his absence from storylines. Do you feel the same?
Nick: To be honest I can see the reasoning, but maybe would not have done it in the ring like that. I think it was really for Kurt's benefit to let him see how much support he has from the fans and us all on the roster.
Phil: Thanks so much for your time Nick I'll hopefully see you on the January 2014 UK/Irish tour.
Nick: Thanks Phil. I'll see you there.
Nick and his co-host Matt were recording their UK's Strongest Man show live from Belfast. This will be shown on Challenge TV very soon. In the meantime you can watch Nick (as Magnus) each week on the channel's Impact Wrestling show.
Ultimate (UK's) Strongest Man has been running for ten years now and was created by Northern Irish strongman Glenn Ross. Ross has won the event many times and represented Ireland and the UK at many others across the globe as well. Ross has also competed at the World's Strongest Man events and founded the UK Strength Council and Irish Strength Association. As well as organising the UK's Strongest Man events Ross also acts as a referee when needed.
Phil caught up with Glenn briefly, here are his responses.
'We have been doing this for ten years now and it has grown so much since then'.
'It is great to have Challenge recording this and supporting us too'.
'We started out on Channel 5 way back then and didn't know where we would end up. This is amazing to see'.
'This weekend we hope to see between 500-1000 people here outside the Odyssey Arena in Belfast'.
By Phil Allely