Originally published at Billy Corgan: LA Knight was being set up to be NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion
Billy Corgan chats all things NWA ahead of their two-night pay-per-view.
The 75th anniversary of the National Wrestling Alliance is being celebrated via the organization running a two-night pay-per-view on August 26th and 27th in St. Louis, Missouri. With a week left to go before the show, NWA owner Billy Corgan was interviewed by Chris Van Vliet to promote the event(s).
Corgan commented on talents that have made their way through the revived version of NWA and one of those names is WWE’s L.A. Knight. Knight, going by ‘Eli Drake’, won the World Tag Team Titles with James Storm in NWA.
Billy shared that Knight was being positioned to be Worlds Heavyweight Champion. He added that they always did good business, but it was obvious Knight needed to chase other opportunities and he didn’t want to hold him back. Corgan said once Nick Aldis was going to drop the title, it was clear Knight was next in line to hold the gold.
Yes, one of the great promos of all time (Corgan said about L.A. Knight). And that’s not to take away anything from his wrestling. He has a main event-level ability in the ring. But we all know that if you can walk and talk, that you hit that other echelon. It’s great to see him hitting that now. You know, we booked him, he was being set up to be NWA Heavyweight Champion. And that’s right around, I think the time of the pandemic. He was under an NWA contract, and it got to the point where it was like, you know, I can’t remember what it was. But me and him always did good business so no heat there. But it was obvious that it was like, he needed to go pursue other opportunities. And where I was standing at the time was just going to hold him back. There was something there. But it was clearly understood that, obviously, was built around (Nick) Aldis for a while. But once Aldis was going to drop the title, it was going to clearly go to him. So it’s a shame that it never happened because we would have had a lot of fun. Always great to work with him. And somewhere there’s a picture of my 50th birthday. And it’s me, Aron Stevens, Eli Drake, EC3 and I can’t remember, another person from wrestling was there. So yeah, I’ve always gotten on with him. And I’m very happy for him and he deserves every bit of success that’s coming his way because he’s fought and clawed his way to get there.
Corgan touched on the criticisms of NWA and feels some of those takes have been fair. Adding on to that note, Corgan feels those doing the critiquing don’t know the full story and he’s not the type to always run out and defend himself.
He thinks he’s moving away from the ‘lazy take’ of old school and modernizing the NWA product. Corgan said they have a lot of key young talent under contract.
So that’s what I’m saying is, you know, sometimes you get frustrated, you think, I really wish I got the TV deal. But we may be in a worse position now. Because maybe we wouldn’t have been able to fulfill the thing that we would have obligated ourselves to if we entered into a deal that we weren’t ready to make. Now I feel, so for doing a report card assessment, you know, about six years into me owning the company, I think the wrestling is at the highest quality that it’s been in the six years. I’m very, very happy with where the wrestling is and it is getting better. And we’re getting younger, which I think is the key. We have a lot of key young talents under contract. So very happy about that. And so the future looks bright there. And I think moving away from this kind of lazy take of old school and modernizing the product. And now we’re about ready to flip the switch into a much more modern style of production. And I think honestly, to be fair, past clickbait, I think a lot of the criticisms have been fair. I think the only thing I would say in defense is a lot of the criticisms that are fair, they don’t know the whole story. And I’m not a person who’s always gonna run out and try to defend myself. When I was getting a lot of heat about Tyrus-related stuff, let’s call it round one and round two of Tyrus-related issues, some of my friends in wrestling who aren’t in the company, let’s just say people around the biz, who know me and sort of don’t understand why I’m doing what I’m doing would call and say, ‘Why aren’t you out there defending yourself more?’ Because there is this other kind of aspect of these stories, not just Tyrus, other stuff involved. And I’m like, ‘I have a different game I’m playing because the band is very successful. I can’t be fencing with dirt sheet writer number seven over some point that makes a lot of sense in the wrestling bubble. I got bigger fish to fry and I got a company to run that’s called the NWA.’ Yeah, so my focus has been getting the NWA culture right. So one of the things I’ve said through the years is, ‘Don’t sleep on the NWA.’ There are a lot of people in the wrestling bubble who sleep on the NWA. Because they don’t understand what I’m doing. And because I’m not sort of fellating them every day, and feeding them dirt sheet information, they sort of see me as sort of a curiosity in the corner. They don’t understand I’m running a real business here that has a real opportunity to succeed.
Headlining night two of NWA 75 is Tyrus defending the Worlds Heavyweight Championship against EC3 in a Bull Rope match. If Tyrus loses, he’ll retire from in-ring competition.