Indie Watch: Aiden Prince Takes Flight in Prince City

Indie Watch is an ongoing profile series, with interviews and/or retrospective looks at emerging indie talent or unique veterans in the indie scene. Today’s feature is Aiden Prince, a product of the famous Can-Am Wrestling School in Windsor, Ontario, the school run by Impact Wrestling‘s Scott D’Amore, who also owns and operates Border City Wrestling (BCW) in Prince’s home town of Windsor. We talked to Aiden Prince about his burgeoning career in pro wrestling, how he nearly lost his focus, but rebounded to greater heights than he imagined. If you saw the Impact tapings from Windsor, you may have noticed the shirts in the crowd that said “PRINCE CITY” – those were for Aiden Prince.

Photo: Andrea Kellaway

Windsor, Ontario is Prince City. At least, it is when emerging indie wrestler Aiden Prince is wrestling. The homegrown star with BCW, trained at Can-Am Wrestling School by the likes of Tyson Dux, John E. Bravo and Scott D’Amore himself, has seen his stock rise in the past year. He’s made his debut with Smash Wrestling and he’s appeared for Impact Wrestling on Xplosion and two different One Night Only PPVs (March Breakdown and Zero Fear). In the past year he’s fought the likes of Impact World Champion Austin Aries (for the belt on a recent Xplosion) and WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne. We recently talked to Aiden Prince about his recent turnarounds and his path to how he got there.

It’s a cliche question, but it almost has to be asked cause everyone has a unique story about it. Do you remember what it was that first caught your attention to pro wrestling? What got you hooked as a kid?

Aiden Prince: Totally remember. When I was in diapers, my grandparents would babysit me quite a bit and both of them were huge fans. So my first memories are watching ‘Best of The Road Warriors in AWA‘ on a VHS tape (which I still have). They’d watch and I’d wrestle a My Pet Monster in front of the TV. The Road Warriors being so badass in that era caught my attention. But I can’t really explain it, something made me obsessed at that age.

Photo: Aiden Prince’s collection

I think every kid wrestling fan dreams of becoming a wrestler “super hero” as a kid – when did you start to consider it as something to actually do?

Honestly man, from the time I could talk I would go around telling everyone I was going to be a wrestler. The “What do you want to do when you’re older” question was alway answered with “Wrestler” and I was super proud of that, haha – all through grade school and high school.

“I got the old “that’s cute” when I was younger and then as I got older it turned into a “he’ll grow out if it” and I just never let it go.”

You’re style is a lot more aerial than the Road Warriors every did. What were some of your earlier influences or inspirations, guys who did things that made your brain go “I want to do THAT”

I used to go crazy for the Doomsday Device! I think that was the first “holy shit!” type move that made me climb my dresser and jump off, haha! Shawn Michaels was my hero, seeing almost everything he did made me want to be just like him. (Former WCW Superstar) Alex Wright was another guy…

Photo: WWE

Whoa. You don’t hear too many North American wrestlers cite Alex Wright as an influence…

Alex Wright vs. Brian Pillman is a match I’ll never forget as well, because it was the first match that made me study pro wrestling in a different way. Them at WCW Great American Bash ’95 (If you haven’t watched check it out). He also did a backflip entrance that blew my mind as a kid.

You started off in the backyard indie scene, correct?
I did.
Photo: Aiden Prince
What were some of the pros and cons of starting out in such an unregulated style?

I’d say the pros were I had a crazy cool child hood! I met a group of friends that all loved wresting when I was like 16/17 years old and we all had a mutual love for what was really going on. And we all learned together over the years. I’d say the cons are it was risky…we were a bunch of kids in a backyard with a real ring, and we all had flipping/ROH (Ring of Honor) addictions.

What finally made you decide to move on from the backyard to ending up at one of the best schools in the world, Scott D’Amore’s Can-Am Wrestling School?

It got to a point where I felt silly doing it, and I knew I couldn’t just stop wrestling…

How did you get in touch with Scott and Can-Am to get that going?

I’ve always known about Can-Am because our group used to go to BCW shows all the time growing up. I also knew (BCW star Phil) Atlas because he used to hang out with us and we’d always talk about it. But one day working at the mall I ran into Scott…told him i knew who he was and I’ve always wanted to check out the school. He told me to get in touch with (then Can-Am trainer Tyson) Dux and off I went!

What was it like during training? Was it what you expected? Was it tougher?

I used to look up videos of training and stuff, so i knew it was going to be rough…which it definitely was, but I was kind of in on the fact that this is gonna be hard…I may have hated it, but all of my heroes have been in this same spit

So if i stick it out, it’s gonna be worth it. I’m not gonna lie, there was times I didn’t think I had it in me…

What kept you going?

No matter how hard it was, it felt so good, that I was doing it. And I came up with a really strong group, so we all went through it together. I’ve also had three or so friends go to the school and not make it through. So I think a bit of it was showing myself that I was different than everyone else, that I wasn’t gonna quit. That and I’ve talked my whole life about being this. It was like I had no option in my head. I knew if I walked out and didn’t come back, I’d regret it forever.

After working your way through BCW over the years, it really feels like the last 2 years has seen an exponential growth for you, as a worker, as a character. What changed?

I went through a period where I lost track of the love of pro wrestling and started focusing too much on trying to be what others wanted me to be, which led to me really pulling back and feeling like I didn’t even know who I was wrestler wise anymore. So I went through a bit of depression to be honest. I reached a point where i had nothing to lose.

And then, right around the time of Abe’s heel turn (Editor’s Note: Aiden Prince was former tag partner with Idris Abrahim, he worked for Impact in 2017) things started to change.

To be 100 percent honest, the reaction of the WWC group (Ed’s Note: WWC is a group of BCW supporters), and the Windsor crowd in general, made me wake up. It gave me confidence again..and showed me that even if vets or others don’t think I’m doing things the right way, the important ones (the people), do. Which put a bit of a chip on my shoulder and made me wanna get in shape, work harder, do more and I think that showed to Scott and those around me.

We recently interviewed Impact referee John E. Bravo about his lengthy career and he mentioned you as one of his highlight opponents. What kind of affect has Bravo had on your career, both as a trainer at Can-Am and as an opponent?

Bravo is a special guy. From day one, he was super hard on me. Sometimes more than others, but i have him to thank for being stronger – not just in wrestling, but in life. The matches that we had together are why I got some attention. As you said, he had a lengthy career and he wrestled me in so many pre-show matches without complaining.

John E. Bravo and a young Aiden Prince

He’s been there for me when he probably shouldn’t have been – he’s stuck up for me, he’s the reason I won my first belt. We have a crazy chemistry that I don’t know if i’ll ever match with anyone.

John E. Bravo: Aiden Prince had a lot of doubters, including myself. With all his missteps, questionable career choices and personal demons, he’s been able to completely turn his career around. He still has a long way to go to obtain all of his goals, but he arguably has the greatest career turn around that I’ve seen and is off to a great start. Out of all my opponents in 22 years, he and I have the best chemistry I’ve ever had with anyone in the ring. We pull the best performance out of each other.

You’ve been getting more bookings outside of BCW in Ontario of late, working with the likes of Smash Wrestling and Destiny World Wrestling (DWW). How is working for new promotions after being ingrained in one for so long?

It’s been great, man. Trying to build that same love that I get here (in Windsor) elsewhere has been really cool. As you know, every town is different, as well as promotions, so I’m learning a lot. Sometimes it can be a bit scary because the reaction isn’t always the same at first, but it’s cool growing as I go.

Aiden Prince facing Pete Dunne at BCW Excellence 2017

You’ve had some high profile match ups in the past year as well. Last year, you faced WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunne. What was that experience like?

It’s crazy, man! It’s such a hard question to answer, I can’t explain it…I felt like the TV sucked me into a video game! It was also a awesome feeling because I knew Scott had faith in me. I’m also a huge PROGRESS fan…

Is it crazy to wrestle someone that talented who is so young?

It blew my mind how good he was/is! One thing that was really cool is how he treated me. Super nice guy and was down to do anything…he didn’t big time me at all.

That was one of the hands down best matches I watched live last year. You guys went full tilt from bell to bell. It felt “Big Time”.

Thanks man. That match was another confidence builder as well. It made me wanna show I can hang.

And then you recently got an unexpected title shot against Austin Aries on an episode of Impact Xplosion (which can be seen on the GWN App). When did you find out you’d be getting a chance against the champ?

I found out about a week before about the match and then the night before that it was for the belt.

Jeff Kavanaugh, Border City Wrestling: I was very proud when I heard that he would be getting the title opportunity. He’s worked very hard this year not only on his craft, but his conditioning, and being invaluable to us backstage in a hundred different capacities. I wish we had a locker room full of Aiden Princes.

Photo: BCW / Impact Wrestling

Got to be another highlight working with someone of his calibre…

It’s wild, man. It still doesn’t feel real, the whole thing, from Windsor, to Impact, to Aries. It was a insane emotional experience for sure.

You’re now working more Ontario and Michigan indies, working Xplosion matches for Impact Wrestling. What’s next for Aiden Prince? What have you got coming up on the horizon?

I’m at a point where I just wanna take every opportunity I can get and make the best of it, big or small! There was a lot of little things I could have been a part of when I wasn’t in the right place and I regret not taking those chances. I never wanna feel that way again. So just more bookings, more interviews like this, I have my clothing line/design business going as well! Just keep the brand/person Aiden Prince growing.

Photo: Aiden Prince