Interview - Dan Wilson

Interview: Dan "The Dragon" Wilson, Broadcaster - Co-Host & Play by Play Announcer, NWA Wildside -
18th June 2003

What is your background, and that of NWA Wildside?

Hello Greg, thanks for having me on. My background is that of a wrestling announcer. I've been around wrestling mostly my entire life and got into actually working in it around the age of 18. I've been with NWA-Wildside since September of 2000. Currently I co-host the nationally syndicated Wildside TV show along with my broadcast partner, Steven Prazak. I typically handle the play-by-play aspect of things while Steven would be considered the "colour analyst".

The background of NWA-Wildside is that of two small indy promotions in the state of GA and a dream doing what was best for their business by combining their efforts and resources in creating what myself and many others consider "The Nation's #1 Pro Wrestling Alternative." It was in October of 1999 that Steve Martin and Ray Rawl's National Championship Wrestling merged with Bill Behrens' NWA Georgia.

Behrens had been well known within the industry as one of the top TV syndicators that had ever been associated with wrestling having done syndication work for the WWE, WCW, Smokey Mountain Wrestling, The USWA and many other promotions. His most recent project had been Music City Wrestling out of Nashville, TN co-promoted by Bert Prentice. For some reason or another MCW stopped producing TV and Behrens needed a show to fill their national time slots. That was coincidentally when the merger with NCW and NWA GA took place, becoming a syndicated TV product known as NWA Wildside. Wildside later became the developmental territory for WCW while they were still in business. There we housed guys like The Hurricane, Sean O'Haire, Shannon Moore, David Flair, Bob Sapp, Tank Abbott, Jamie Noble, Chuck Palumbo, Johnny The Bull and others that are currently enjoying success elsewhere.

What are your aims and objectives?

My aims and objectives are simply to continue doing wrestling and continue enjoying it. I've been a fan my entire life and wrestling is all I know. I just want to be the very best I can be both in the booth and on the creative end. I want to continue to grow and mature and keep learning about wrestling because you can never know it all. I want to continue to see Wildside grow and further the name we've made for ourselves.

The goals of the company are similar. Bill Behrens had a vision from the beginning of making this company work. And from nothing Bill and our entire crew, guys like Rick Michaels, Andrew Thomas, Jeff G. Bailey and myself have busted our asses behind the scenes to scrape this company together and make it work and it is very rewarding to see others appreciate it. We've all learned from trial and error and continue to do so on improving the product. We're a team and we are only as great as every member's contribution. But a company can't survive on the creative end alone, you have to have the talent to back it up. What we do is NOTHING, not even a tenth of what those boys in the back do busting their ass night in and night out and putting their bodies and souls on the line for the fans and the company. And even then certain wrestlers had pave a way for the guys we have now. Guys like A.J. Styles, Rick Michaels,Onyx, David Young, Scottie Wrenn and J.C. Dazz were there from the beginning showing what they could do. They paved the way for the Jason Cross's, the Jimmy Rave's, The Rainman's the Murder One's the Hotstuff Hernandez' and Slim J's and all the other great talent that is currently setting Wildside on fire.

What are the best attributes of your promotion?

As a fan watching the show. (Which I do often, as does Bill Behrens and the other people in creative) I try to critique it. It try to find out what is bad and needs to be improved upon. I realize we aren't the WWE and don't hold us to those standards. However, I do hold us to the standards of say on old Memphis TV broadcast, or a Georgia Championship Wrestling show and I think on that level we're one of the most all around entertaining wrestling shows on TV.

The best attributes of the show are it's originality. Most indy promotions in the U.S. revolve heavily around what the current "trend" is. We use popular concepts, but we're not "strong style" or, "lucharesu" or "ultra-violent". We book things with a specific tried and true wrestling formula that has worked for the last 100 years. We're not trying to be intelligent,or revolutionary or some high art form, we're just trying to fill the gap that the loss of traditional wrestling in the United States has presented. We've been described as the child of Smokey Mountain Wrestling and ECW. We combine traditional old school wrestling booking and angles, without denying the modern evolution of the in ring product. It's old school wrestling, with a modern twist.

Who are the most talented and bright prospects?

Oh we've got so many. To see how bright the future of the current Wildside stars is, just look at some of the people who have competed in Wildside previously and what they are doing now. Matt Hardy was the NCW Heavyweight Champion back in the oldest days of Wildside's history. Ron "The Truth" Killings was the top heel in the company for a year and our TV Champion. The NWA World Heavyweight Champion A.J. Styles was trained in the Wildside wrestling school. Look at the NWA-TNA roster and all of the "showcase" indy promotions in the U.S., Jason Cross, David Young, Jimmy Rave, Slim J, and many more that you'll see are all alumi and all currently competing in Wildside. As far as their future goes, Jimmy Rave is really starting to get a huge fan following nationwide as is Slim J. Iceberg has a huge cult following, and Jason Cross has already been pegged by many insiders as a future phenom. Guys that you may not have heard of that will make a big impact in the future would be guys like Rainman, Jeremy V, Hotstuff Hernandez, Tank, Murder One and Salvatore Rinaurro. Also expect to hear more from Azrael, Masada, Todd Sexton, Gabriel, Altar Boy Luke and Kid Kool. They haven't been around for very long and are really on that next wave of guys that should catapult to outside superstardom.

Where do you promote?

We promote throughout the state of Georgia. Wildside or it's sanctioned affiliate in GA, NAWA are currently promoting in Cornelia (for our TV tapings), Athens, and Rome, GA and Cleveland, TN. Bill Behrens is the NWA affiliate for Alabama and Florida is well and sanctions the NWA's Florida and Alabama promotions that are currently running.

Who are your biggest supporters?

Wildside has a very big family. Outside the company guys like Dory Funk, Scott Hudson, Chris Kanyon and New Jack have tried to help us all they can . Rudy Boy Gonzalez has become a big part of the backstage area, helping with Agent work and bringing a great crew of guys from Texas to every show, including Hotstuff Hernandez who may be the most over guy in the company right now. The WWE has been very friendly to us as far as booking our talent and giving them all fair shakes.

Websites like the Pro Wrestling Torch, The Wrestling Observer and always post our results and news and help keep us visible. Bill Apter's new Total Wrestling magazine should also have quite a bit of info on Wildside as he has gone out of his way to help us. Brandi from Pro Wrestling Illustrated always helps keep us visible in the PWI 500 every year as well. And we'd be nothing without our great fanbase that spans from the homebase in GA, all across the country and especially in Philadelphia, PA. They have so much wrestling to choose from up there but we still have a huge following and that makes me very happy.

What motivates you?

My love for wrestling motivates me. I don't miss shows, I don't slack. I get burnt out sometimes sure, but that happens to everyone. I must constantly strive to improve myself, my work behind the mic and the company. I study tapes all week long from all eras of history. The best is just never good enough for me. It could always be better. I realize that my job isn't to be in the spotlight, it is to put the talent over and I'll keep working as hard as I possibly can to do that to the best of my ability.

What is the relationship between NWA Wildside and NWA TNA, and the traditional NWA which enjoys a rich history?

Wildside works with NWA-TNA on many levels. Some people have called us their developmental territory but that is not the case. We are two different and separate entities working together in a business sense and under the same sanctioning body (The National Wrestling Alliance). Bill Behrens, our owner, works for TNA as a backstage coordinator in the Gorilla position at the PPV's as well and we share a lot of the same talent.

The traditional NWA is still alive and kicking, and they are the sanctioning and governing body through which we promote all our shows. As a group they have gotten alot of negative press recently due to petty disputes from eternally confused Board Of Directors. It is really a shame. NWA President Richard Arpin and VP Fred Rubenstein are both involved in legal disputes and have just come off looking like total goofs. It is really an embarrassment to the group. I used to be of the mentality that said "Screw the NWA", we can just do things on our own. But as I've grown older and wiser (I'm only 22, I've got a LONG way to go.) I've realized that we can do some successful ventures within the NWA and while we could exist just fine on our own, we do enjoy the tradition and history associated with the group and have the utmost respect for the forefathers of the group. We've experienced alot of cooperation from the VA affiliate Rick O'Brian, our FL affiliate Joe Price, and our affiliates in MS and other areas. We figure if we can work together with them in a controlled enviorment and do positive things, we can overshadow the childish, markish stupidity of our "officials" that can't seem to stay out of trouble. If nothing else the NWA gives us an outlet to be cooperative with many of the existing regional wrestling promotions.

What are some of your success stories?

It just still amazes me to this day, that the wild eyed kid that drove his mom crazy with his obsession with wrestling is actually doing something he loves and befriending people he thought were larger than life as a child. Although I'm not currently I have done wrestling full time for an extended period. That's just about all I could hope for.

What is a funny story from the road or locker room?

Oh good grief there are so many. I don't want to incriminate anyone. Well, I'll talk about Sal Rinaurro. He's the current Jr. Heavyweight Champion and just an all around jackass. Well the story goes like this: My wife usually travels with me, but she wasn't feeling well so I decided to ride down to the show with Sal and Gabriel from the Lost Boys. We're almost to the arena when we see the Tex Express Van captained by Rudy Boy Gonzalez. Sal thinks it wil be funny to throw soda on them and does so, which leads to a war of trash and plastic bottles flying between two vehicles across I-985 in Northeast Georgia. Sal decides he's going to scare them off the road so he finds an old Taco Bell burrito in the floor. Sal then proceeds to pull his pants down and place the burrito firmly between his ass cheeks. He then proceeds to take said burrito filled cheeks and press them up against the window, much to the horror of Rudy and the Texas Wrestling Acadamy. That was almost the end of Rudy, he swerved and almost went off the road. Sal celebrated the victory, but it was far from over even though Rudy thought it was. Sal then took the burrito and autographed it "To Rudy, love HBK" and placed it in the seat of his van while Rudy was in the building. I never saw his reaction but it had to be gold.

What are your current projects?

Well right now I'm heavily involved with upgrading With the help of Webmaster Dave up in Maryland we've really busted some major ass to improve the site and keep it updated. Lots of new features and I'd certainly recommend that readers go and check it out. There is even a new "Ask A Superstar" feature where you can send questions to your favorite Wildside wrestlers. Other than that I work a fulltime job, am a husband and a father and basically do wrestling during every spare minute I have. I'd like to get involved in music again. I played in various metal bands in high school and afterward, but my wrestling schedule just became to much to juggle. It remains that way but I still have a love of music I'd like to have fun with, time permitting. Wrestling is definately the #1 priority.

How has the internet helped you, and what websites do you work in with?

Well Greg, I will include you! We have several: yourself, Wildside fan sites like The Tribute Page by Jenn and Janice, The Wildside Yahoo Fanzone by the Wild Guy as well as Pamela's Wildside page. There is a website called that has given us some positive reviews and is very unique. Also Thomas Green and Patrick McGovern have given us several plugs on

What other important information should our audience know about you and NWA Wildside?

I'd urge anyone that hasn't to get your hands on NWA-Wildside. We're also available on the internet via the World Wrestling Network ( on a pay per episode basis. If you've never heard of us at least give us a shot. We hope you'll find a wrestling program that is formatted much like the ones you grew up on, but contains action like you've never seen. We run TV Tapings the 1st and 3rd Saturdays of every month at our studio and home arena, the NWA arena in Cornelia, GA. We run 4 quarterly "big shows", the most current of which will be ocurring Saturday June 28th at the NWA Arena, entitled Freedom Fight 2003. It will feature an 8 man War Games match with alot at stake, as well as a ladder match for the Wildside Jr. Heavyweight Championship.

You can find more info about us again at, or you can always email me directly at

Dan, thanks again for this great opportunity.

Thank you for your support of NWA-Wildside Greg, and I hope you enjoy what you get to see! Thank you also for the chance to come on your site and promote our product.

Say hi to all the boyz from Greg Tingle in Australia.

Will do! I'll also be glad to get you in touch with any of the wrestlers that you may be interested in interviewing. Just let me know whom. Thanks Again!,
Dan "The Dragon" Wilson


Editors comments: An impressive wrestling promotion. A solid history of success and the right attitude. What an interview! Australian wrestling fans wish you well, and we look forward to watching your promotion expand.


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