Pat Kenney details his new role with the National Wrestling Alliance and how they’re trying to give fans an escape by putting out a show with an old-school feel.
Kenney (aka Simon Diamond) recently spoke with WrestleZone about his return to wrestling as in Talent Relations for the National Wrestling Alliance. Kenney, who previously worked as an agent for IMPACT in addition to his in-ring career, explained how he came back to work for the NWA and how it balances with his other career outside of the business.
Kenney not only works in sanitation for Woodbridge Township (New Jersey), but he’s also a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway. Kenney explained that he’d had other offers since he’d left TNA in 2018, but they weren’t a good fit for him. He initially went in to work as an agent for NWA in December 2019 and Billy Corgan wanted to expand the role, but they found a compromise that allowed him to stay involved without giving up his other career.
“I had spoken to other groups about coming in an agent role but it’s just that number one, I didn’t believe in their products and number two, it wasn’t a fit. I had begun this other career that I enjoyed and that also gave me this security,” Kenney said, “so Billy and I were able to reach an agreement where I can still do the other jobs but my focus would be Talent Relations and work from home. What does it entail? It entails everything that involves talent. I just spent weeks doing payroll, and luckily my wife is a teacher and she’s very very adept at Google and stuff like that so she’s able to teach me. I was at the tapings recently in March and everyday is an adventure. Every single day.”
Kenney used an example of getting emails from talent about coming in for tapings, and he’ll take time to vet them and wants to do things the right way, fixing some of the same things he’d complain about when he was an active wrestler.
“I get tons of emails everyday from young wrestlers, middle aged wrestlers, older wrestlers, everyone looking to come in and I’m just trying to take the time to vet them and look at them and give them an opportunity. I’m trying to run it the way—I think of all the things that upset me as a performer and I’m trying to do the opposite and it’s hard. It’s very hard, because my first obligation is to the betterment of the group, the NWA and Billy as the owner,” he explained, “but then I also have to be a mediator with talent too. It’s interesting, it definitely applies my sales skills from real estate and my ability to take order and direction from sanitation and I can combined the two and I think it helps.”
The National Wrestling Alliance had an up-and-down year in 2020 like many other promotions, but returned with new content and a new home in FITE. When asked about how NWA stands out and can bring in a new audience on FITE TV, Kenney said they aim to offer a more character-driven experience than some of the ‘glitz and glimmer’ you might see on another night of the week.
“So, if you turn on wrestling on Monday night, or Tuesday night or Wednesday night, you’ll see what I call a glitz and glimmer show. Big production value and stuff like that. [NWA] is an old-school throwback program emanating from a studio with what I’d call a more physical style of wrestling. Instead of two guys standing in the ring across from each other arguing, there’s a guy at a podium telling everybody who he is or there’s a woman standing at a podium telling everybody who she is. That’s what old-school wrestling was about. It was a character-driven industry where the focus was on the wrestling and the characters. So, that’s what we’re trying to bring back. As soon as you turn the show on you look at it, you go ‘ok, this is different.’ Because it’s from a studio, no one else is doing that, everyone else is running—with COVID it’s different—but in the grand scheme of things everyone’s running the big arenas with the pyro and the big entrances and everything,” Kenney said, “and we’re scaling it down to a simplistic version of professional wrestling just like they used to do, that’s the difference.”
Kenney also quoted Bill Maher, who said Hollywood isn’t about escapism anymore, and it’s more about making a movie that talks about an issue that makes the people in Hollywood feel good about themselves. Kenney said escapism is such a simple idea, but it’s one that’s missing and they hope the NWA can provide that to fans as a simple, yet easily digested message.
“Whatever happened to escapism and watching something and losing that reality of your own life and escaping into [the movie]. Recently, I just saw Godzilla vs. Kong. Well, that’s not going to win any Academy Awards,” he noted, “but I thoroughly enjoyed it and it was really simple to understand. At the end, they teamed up to defeat the villain. As simplistic as that sounds, it is so needed in today’s society because we’ve become so critical, we have become so overbearingly opinionated and I have a saying, the ‘simplistic simplicity of simple’ and I think in the wrestling world, that can work. That old school vibe that you’ve talked about and that I’ve talked about, it’s simple and it’s easy to understand.”