It takes someone special to be a real bastard in the ring.

That would be Thom Latimer.

He has made it work for some time whether he was Bram in hardcore matches, a Wild Card tag team specialist or in the stable Strictly Business.  The moniker “King of All Evil” was earned not chosen.

Of course, like anything else, there is far more to Latimer than what fans see in the squared circle.

In conversation with from his Orlando, Florida, home, Latimer was anything but evil. Instead, he was reflective and honest.

It all began with his early days growing up in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, England. “Probably very stereotypical to most kids growing up in England. You know, we didn’t have cable TV when I was a kid growing up. So, we have four TV channels, I think in ’97 [then] we got five so that was like a big deal,” Latimer recalled. “And so, when it came to being influenced by things I was massively brought up on The Simpsons, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and wrestling and things like that. Most things that I watched as a kid, they were American, and so I instantly fell in love with Americans and the whole idea of it because it’s so different.”

Latimer grew into a big boy, now 6-foot-2, and 230 pounds. Pro wrestling called.

From 2002 to 2010, Latimer spent his time wrestling the English countryside, but one promotion was the most memorable. “It was wrestling for Brian Dixon‘s All-Star Wrestling. That was the big dog,” he remembered. “I was trained by some of the guys from the World of Sport era, but definitely getting involved with Brian Dixon. Brian was the best promoter in the UK. He was the guy that you tried to get in with. Not only would you be wrestling the best that Britain had to offer at the time like Frankie Sloane, Mikey Whiplash, James Mason, Robbie Brookside; the list is endless.”

It was while on tour with Dixon that Latimer befriended Nick Aldis, now seen on WWE TV as an authority figure. “We actually met doing Brian Dixon’s camps together. So yeah, that’s how we ended up becoming really close friends,” Latimer said. “We had a really long drive together one night after one of the shows but then we just became inseparable after that. You know, like six hours in the car, you figure out a lot about somebody. It’s funny you see because I know that Nick, too, he holds that experience at that time in his heart, just like I do.”

Since Aldis shared his experiences with Dixon for SlamWrestling (see Nick Aldis was ‘fortunate’ and ‘spoiled’ to work for Brian Dixon), Latimer wanted to as well.

“There was one time I actually rode with Brian from show to show, and it’s pretty rare that any of the boys would drive with him. I think he ended up being forced to take me to have breakfast or something because he was eating too,” Latimer chuckled. “It was just one of those nice times that for Brian… you didn’t get to spend all that much time with him because he’s the boss. You also want to be on his good side. And as a young man, you end up blurting a lot of things that you probably shouldn’t, but just the stuff like that; like having that kind of time with Brian, looking back now. I’m sure there are lots of other funnier things, but just a time like that where I got to spend a full day with the guy, you know? It was a real, real honor.”

“Today’s a crazy day… I make my return to Brian Dixon’s @ASWuk1 after about 9 years… The last time I worked for him was just before I left for America and WWE… Brian pretty much gave me my start and helped me gain experience in the U.K. Boy how I’ve aged” From X/Twitter @Thomas_Latimer_

Then Latimer made his way over to the United States and signed on with Florida Championship Wrestling under the ring moniker, “Kenneth Cameron.”

“It was just turning into NXT,” said Latimer. “I think we’d have about six months doing this stuff at Full Sail when they first started in the new version of NXT — the one that wasn’t a game show,” Latimer cheekily added. “I just got fired just before they ended up moving to Orlando and just before NXT became really a big epic deal.”

But he noted that the time he spent there was invaluable. “To be able to learn TV wrestling, because in England, there weren’t such things as promos, and especially for the wrestling and the shows I was on it wasn’t for TV, it was for a live crowd; it’s for the kids,” Latimer explained. “So, it’s a completely different style of wrestling and entertainment. It’s still similar but it’s still very different.”

Soon, Latimer found an audience in TNA Wrestling as the hardcore bruiser known as Bram from 2012 to 2017. Those are good memories. “It was a blast,” he recalled, “especially at first when I got there because we were still doing house shows. So, we’d spend a couple of days a week on the road and then we’d get back and do TV.”

It was in TNA that he started doing more hardcore matches. “I think that they came up with this idea for me, and I think maybe I kind of looked more of a hardcore wrestler, or I fit that mold a little bit, and they had this angle where they want Nick’s best friend to come out and sort of turn him into a buddy.”

A violent buddy, to be sure, and one that has seen him and Aldis partner up and put to fisticuffs over the years in the squared circle. Like tea and cream or bangers and mash, Aldis and Latimer have seemingly always been connected — including through the TNA gig.

“It was a really fast process and [I] tried out the day before. The very next day, I was on TV. So, it was pretty cool. And it was actually Nick that helped me get my foot in the door there,” said Latimer.

While at TNA/Impact, Latimer befriended a certain rock star. “While I was at Impact Wrestling, Billy Corgan had come in, spent some time with us and helped out, and then eventually Billy got involved in the some of the DCC stuff [with Eddie Kingston and James Storm] and things like that,” he said.

“We struck up a friendship outside of the room too. I was very honest when I talked to him. Not that I’m not now, but I’m just saying but then when we would talk, I tell him a lot of things that, probably knowing that he was gonna be my boss down the road, I probably wouldn’t have told him that obviously,” Latimer said, snickering at the memory. “And you can see that somewhere deep down inside there was a star there and I just needed to sort of get out of my own way. And I knew I knew that he could realize and see that, especially now looking back.”

The current NWA National Champion, Thom Latimer

“I was very lucky in building that rapport and relationship with Billy,” Latimer explained. “Billy seeing something in me and also taking a chance on me because, you know, I had a lot of rebuilding to do, and the fact that he put his faith in me and we’ve gotten to where we are now is a testament to him and myself. I needed him to sort of help me show the world you can change and you can be married and get clean. You can get sober and you can still chase after your dreams.”

* * *

Many wrestlers have their “demons” to conquer, and some can be open to talking about their battles with addiction or be very coy about the subject. Latimer is in the former camp, and while he has spoken about his sobriety journey in other places, it is eye-opening to hear him directly talk about his struggles and what he had to do to arrive at his current state of well-being.

“Getting sober should have been something that I did a long time ago, like you never… it’s everyone else’s problem, and the fault isn’t mine is generally the way that I went about my career and my personal life,” he revealed. “Probably from the time I got to developmental, so I think I was probably drunk for, you know, the last ten years solid. There were points where I remember being, for example, at TNA and I’d get to work and I’d be shaking so hard that I’d have to go to the 7-Eleven and chug a few Four Loko [a caffeinated alcoholic drink] just to be able to be normal, to be able to then go into work. That’s the problem, but at the time, it’s fine. There’s no problems.”

He recalled a time when he was fired from FCW/NXT when he went through his emails and came across one from then Head of WWE Talent Relations, John Laurinaitis. “He basically said, ‘I think you need to go away and one day we can open communications and talk again,'” he remembered. “And even that [I] blew off, because looking back [I should have thought], ‘Oh wow. Like that was a that was a really nice message from him.’ Basically saying, ‘Go get yourself sorted, the doors are still open.’ And of course, again, I didn’t think I had a problem and I thought everyone else was the problem except for me. And that was 2012.”

It’s only in the last few years that Latimer became sober, and part of that work he credits to his wife, Kamille. “She actually quit alcohol for the first year when I got sober. I think that she knew that she wanted to make sure she was going to go along for the ride with me,” said Latimer. “I really needed her support when it came to that because I had to learn how to do everything again that everything that I did involved alcohol.

“If I was going to go eat, if I was going to go see friends or family, if I was gonna go to the movies, if I was going to do pretty much anything would involve drink,” he confessed. “And so I had to really learn how to have fun again how to do normal things and be okay with that. For example, every time I walk into a gas station pretty much all my life, I’ve always gone straight to the beer cooler. It was like getting used to walking into the 7-Eleven and not turning to go to the beer cooler or walking into a bar to, say, cover a meal and not go straight to the bar for a bit; like I had to retrain everything.

“So again, not to harp on about it but it was the best thing that I that I ever did. I just wish I did it ten years before,” Latimer said. “I don’t think there’s any coincidences and I think things happen for a reason. Like I said, I’d love to be able to go back in time and redo a lot of things but you can’t. I just have to be grateful and thankful, which I ultimately am for my wife and my friends who supported me, [like] Billy [Corgan] for example, and everybody giving me another chance because a lot of people who should have written me off didn’t, and that’s a real testament to them. It was a long, long journey. I’m still on it now but it’s definitely a lot easier.”

* * *

Latimer and Kamille met up through wrestling, naturally. “We actually met [at a] pop-up NWA show, Tried N’ True pro wrestling promotion, that used to be run by one of my friends, Crimson,” he said, referring to Anthony Mayweather. “And so, we actually met there on the second day that I moved back to America from England. I moved to Nashville, and she recently moved there too. And so, we just so happened to be there at the same time and then pretty much never left each other’s side from that point on.”

We know Kamille’s side from when Latimer proposed after she had won a bodybuilding competition, but this was the first time Latimer told his side of it to “I was absolutely bricking my pants. So, I tell you I was incredibly nervous,” he laughed. “I mean, I knew what the answer was going to be, but I was still scared.”

Add to that the extra pressure of the competition and her family in attendance. “So luckily, she won because if she hadn’t won first place… But luckily, I could sort of ride the high of her winning whatever categories,” he said. “It was good but [I] definitely had felt the pressure especially because the parents were there. I was like, ‘Well, I can’t back down now.'”

Kamille and Thom Latimer on their wedding day.

* * *

Latimer has not backed down in the NWA, as he has collected tag gold with Royce Isaacs at The Wild Cards, singles gold with the NWA Television title, and currently is the NWA National Championship. He even recently defended his belt at The Crockett Cup against Zyon, which you can see on recent episodes on The CW app. Whether it is singles or tag matches, Latimer doesn’t care. “I would say that as long as there is a good storyline, then that’s all that matters regarding a tag or singles [match],” he said. “Anything that I can sink my teeth into, anything that I can believe is real and I can have actual emotion about this. That’s what I want.”

Latimer has had those chances, especially teaming with, and then fighting his friend Nick Aldis, who he was alongside in the Strictly Business stable. “It’s funny that I’m a terrible friend. I stabbed him in the back twice. It’s either that or he’s an idiot or one of the two,” he said with a laugh. “Anytime you get to wrestle a friend like Nick is my best friend, it’s got that extra… I know about his kids. I know about Mickie [James] and so there’s this extra level of really being able to make it feel real because there’s all these layers of the onion that we know about each other and we can dip into.

“We always have good matches, but it’s just extra special because the storyline that we can have, even if it’s just in our heads,” he added, “it’s going to help betray the emotion that we need at the time for whatever the angle is.”

One of the angles Latimer participated in was at the hands of the current NWA Heavyweight Champion, EC3, and how he used his demons to draw out “The King of All Evil” and if that was a bitter pill to swallow as he worked on his sobriety. “Maybe If I still hadn’t taken control or if I was still pretending I was a victim, then maybe. But now, no, and that helps make it more real for all of us,” Latimer answered. “When it comes to EC3, like me and him always have a belter. He’s a very creative guy, always reinventing himself. In promos [he] has great verbiage and ways of delivering things and EC3’s wrestling from outside the box.

“We’ve pretty much been having a feud since he got there. He’s a guy that I spent a lot of time within developmental, in TNA. We’ve basically mirrored each of these sorts of journeys,” he explained. “He’s a top guy, and I want to be a top guy there, too. I want to be where he is right now. And so that for me, that’s the plan that I eventually want to face essentially and I want to fight him because ultimately, he’s the best in the company.”

Thom Latimer wants to restore the National Title – & Himself – to past glory. Courtesy of the NWA Official Magazine, June/July 2024 issue.

As for what the future holds now, Latimer is making the most of it. “There have been a lot of changes since me and the wife moved to Orlando. I’m spending a little bit of time to be at home more and to concentrate on that and I’m pretty sure that my schedule and her schedule soon is going to really pick up,” he said. (Kamille is expected to debut in AEW.) “So, we’re just kind of making the most of it right now when it comes to the time that we spend together. We’ll go fishing or we’ll go to the theme park or whatever.”

Thom Latimer seems truly at peace with everything of late, and he is becoming more than The King of All Evil.

“I need to change that moniker,” he laughed. “It’s something that I had on the independents in like 2016-17 or maybe earlier, and Pope actually at TNA came up with a lot of catchphrases for me when I was Bram, but I was more of an insane lunatic.”

“So, if you have any thoughts on what my new moniker could be, because every time I come out to that I’m thinking, ‘I should retire that,’ because I’m a bit of a big babyface now.”

Given everything Latimer has achieved inside and outside the squared circle, “The King of Redemption” seems a fitting title to bestow upon the Englishman.

TOP PHOTO: Thom Latimer flexes in the NWA. Credit: Daniel Moore