Dave Lagana recently spoke with Wrestlezone’s Kevin Kellam ahead of Sunday’s NWA 70th Anniversary event in Nashville. You can read a few transcribed highlights and listen to the full interview below:
(Transcription credit to Bill Pritchard for Wrestlezone.com)
Dave Lagana comments on the design of the new NWA National Championship:
The actual title—and I posted it as I was packing my bag, I haven’t read any feedback—the title is a legitimate throwback to the NWA United States title, and there’s not a belt like it on the market right now. It’s retro for retro; Billy [Corgan] loves anything that sort of ties to the past, so obviously there’s a United States Championship in the world in WWE, there’s a North American [Championship], but when we made the decision to add another championship, the National title, we always loved the name. The most famous design of the National title was the one that Tully [Blanchard] had, it looked very much like the NWA TV title; we kicked around a few designs but kept coming back to this ‘US’ one that represents our nation. We thought ‘why not?’ and the couple of people we let in—it was very interesting—the design is polarizing.
What I’ve learned in the past six months is a lot of people really like title belts. I get Tweets every day about bringing back the territories’ Brass Knuckles Heavyweight Championship. I think everybody has a large affinity for what some call a ‘secondary title.’ I don’t like calling it that, but the fact that we have Magnum TA doing us a huge favor, coming up the last minute, him and Jeff Jarrett—who was a very famous Intercontinental Champion—will be the men involved in the segment in presenting the title. These titles are important, and as we saw last year with ‘Ten Pounds Of Gold,’ we made [the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship] very important. It’s real to a lot of people, so my goal with this one was to create a design where it’s an open field.
Lagana comments on shaping the card for NWA 70:
We wanted this card to look different on an independent level than what I’d call the ‘super indy’ standard card. I love those cards, but it seems like everything is built around the dream match that happens every weekend in various promotions. That’s fine, but there’s no story, no narrative tying those together. Everyone that is on this card is there for a purpose. They either contributed this year or earned a spot this show, or we hope it will moving forward.
Barrett Brown was the last recognized NWA Junior Heavyweight Champion. I know this because he was the only one—minus Jazz and Tim Storm—who honored our request when we took over the company, and basically followed through that they would do business the right way. Everybody else held us up for money—either spots or six-figure salaries, which was my favorite request to drop the belt—or stole a belt. So, Barrett made a commitment that he would go to bat for us whenever we started running. All I asked was for them to be helpful in the transition, so Barrett deserves a chance. He’s been around while, he’s an interesting talent. He’s going to have a chance around Laredo Kid who AAA sent to us as a sort of way to open that door. Jazz is somebody that I’ve known since 2002; tough as nails and in reality, when I talked to her about the belt, it was ‘you keep it!’ I was afraid to ask for it back from her, because she scares me, and if you watch the [Ten Pounds Of Gold videos], she’s not f*ckin’ around. [laughs]
A few girls passed on fighting her, and I don’t know if they were afraid or what, but Penelope [Ford, Jazz’s challenger on Sunday] stepped right up. I don’t know her very well, but after the ass kicking she took at All In, and a lot of the other stuff I’ve seen her do with Beyond and other places, she’s got something to prove. She’s very athletic, completely different, and it’s almost like a clash of eras. I’m not saying Penelope is of the ‘Divas’ era, but she definitely fits a lot closer to a certain genre than Jazz, and it’s going to be real physical. I don’t know if it’s going to go very long; they both have something to prove and they are going to be throwing bombs.
Crimson and Jax Dane have been very involved in this first year on an infrastructure level. Road Warrior Animal—hello—one of the most famous NWA tag teams in history. I think there’s been a lot of scuttlebutt because the story of the match is Jocephus is leading two women into battle. Obviously people have some hot takes on that; I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the end result of all that and I think people will enjoy it, as opposed to creating some dream tag team match that we can’t deliver. That’s the undercard, but these people all believed in Billy and I when nobody did.
Lagana on bringing back the prestige to the NWA Worlds Championship, what is the feeling surrounding Cody vs Aldis II?
It’s interesting that you’re bringing up ‘prestigious’ at All In; it wouldn’t have felt that way without the commitment and work of Nick Aldis. A guy that legitimately about a year ago was completely out of the business. He was a father, he basically stopped wrestling, and we pitched him the idea of coming in to create with us. Nothing more, nothing less, but we talked concept with him and he helped shape this concept and he helped—in this original incarnation got Tim Storm over—and we set a course moving forward. None of this was planned; it’s not like we twirled our mustaches evilly last year and said ‘we’re going to do Cody Rhodes versus Nick Aldis in August.’
There was no plan, but what I think we got out of it was develop a strong concept / media idea that would attract a lot of people. Nick Aldis brought the title to China, Nick Aldis defended the title I think it was 30 times in three months. We believe a classic, real Worlds Champion—Nick Aldis now belongs on that list on that list of world champions with Harley Race, with Ric Flair, Ron Garvin, Ricky Steamboat—he deserves to be on that list with Dusty Rhodes, with the Funks. He has earned his spot by the work he put in, and your appreciation of that moment, as much as it was Cody was also Nick Aldis. And that’s what is real about this, the fact that these guys that are uber competitive on every level of this story, and it is far more real than people will ever know—or, hopefully they will know based on the work we put in with the documentaries. This event on Sunday is going to be monumental to the change of this business. It’s laying the groundwork that you don’t necessarily need a full-time wrestling contract to get attention on yourself. You don’t need all of this on top of you if you are smart and know how to execute inside this new genre of content creation.