Updated: Mar 29
What does it feel like to climb to the very pinnacle of your profession? What lies behind the timeless appeal of professional wrestling? What personal obstacles must be overcome on the journey to becoming a world champion?
Nick Aldis has been on quite some journey in his life so far. A globally-recognised wrestler, broadcaster, author, former Gladiator and now co-owner of a purpose-driven business, Legacy Sports Nutrition alongside wife Mickie James, Nick will forever have his name written in the history books as the first British-born world wrestling heavyweight champion.
A highly passionate and determined individual who sets lofty goals for himself, Nick joins Second Mountain Comms' Ben Veal as the special guest for episode three of the #GoodJourneysPod, the podcast series that explores the lives of inspired people and their inspiring stories.
Episode three of the Good Journeys with Second Mountain podcast is out now.
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FITNESS, NUTRITION AND BODYBUILDING
"Improving your body is a never-ending process"
Nick's long and winding road to become a world champion in, first, TNA Impact Wrestling and later the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), began with developing a personal passion for fitness and nutrition from a young age: "The great thing about starting young is that you see results so quickly," says Aldis. "Your hormones are shooting up anyway and then your recovery is incredible, because your body's producing tons of growth hormone - so you're just able to recover at such a great rate."
The life-long commitment to bodybuilding and wellbeing manifested itself, during the COVID-19 pandemic, in the launch of Legacy alongside wife and fellow wrester Mickie James: a business dedicated to supporting continuous improvement in all forms of performance and wellbeing.
"We've now served customers in 11 or 12 different countries and had some good growth ... now the real work begins, because scaling is the real challenge. I used to think that starting a business was tough, but actually starting a business is relatively easy; scaling it is hard."
AUDITIONING FOR GLADIATORS
"One of the best gigs I ever had"
Aldis' first big break came with landing the role of the villainous Oblivion character in Sky1's reboot of hit TV show Gladiators in 2008. Speaking candidly about his time on the programme, Aldis recollects his experiences as a Gladiator - and how honing his craft on the British wrestling scene enabled him to first earn his position and then become the break-out star on the show.
"I went into that [Gladiators] audition with no expectations; I was only 21 ... but my cardio was through the roof, because I was wrestling every day." Aldis adds: "With no warning, they said: 'everyone line up' and they made a little makeshift tunnel, an entrance way. They started playing music and said, okay, make an entrance ... I saw a bottle of water on the floor, I grabbed it, poured some on my head, put some in my mouth, spat it out and did something I would do as a wrestler, because I do this every day. Right away, I saw a couple of producers write something down and they then asked me to come over and talk to the camera. Pro wrestling got me that gig."
Aldis' time on Gladiators would directly lead to him landing a position in TNA Impact Wrestling - then, the number-two professional wrestling business in the United States - after a piece of coverage in British publication FSM piqued the interest of Olympic Gold medallist Kurt Angle and then-TNA owner Dixie Carter.
Aldis' ascent within the promotion, not without its obstacles and hurdles to overcome, was relatively swift, culminating in becoming the first Brit to ever win the World heavyweight championship in a US promotion in 2013.
a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with Cody Rhodes
"The most validating moment of my career"
The tenure at IMPACT Wrestling would ultimately come to an end, but Aldis would channel the brand exposure and experience he gained while in that company to help to reprise the NWA, the US' oldest wrestling promotion that had recently been purchased by Smashing Pumpkins frontman and ardent wrestling fan Billy Corgan.
Aldis would win the prestigious world heavyweight championship - a title steeped in rich history - and would famously collide in a hotly-contested singles bout with now-WWE-star Cody Rhodes, in front of a sell-out crowd of almost 11,000 spectators in Chicago.
"It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to capitalise on all the right things in that moment," reflects Nick; "it's my best achievement in my career, solely because of where things had been for me less than a year prior.
"A year before that, nobody was talking about me and nobody was talking about the NWA title. If you'd told anybody that one of the most talked about matches in the entire industry is going to be between Nick Aldis and Cody Rhodes, they'd have been like, 'what?' ... The sell-out crowd was at a fever pitch before we'd even touched; that happens very rarely in our business, and Cody and I will forever have respect for each other because we did this."
Episode 3 of the Good Journeys with Second Mountain podcast is out now.
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