“What if the NWA’s old studio shows stayed the same and kept going into 2019?” – the answer, was this glorious throwback.
No, this isn’t a show we’re going to be adding to our weekly review docket, but it sure as hell is going to be on our watch-every-week slide. We open at the GPB Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, with Joe Galli and Jim Cornette at ringside and on commentary. Yeah, the crowd’s obviously dubbed in and stops abruptly, but this is an altogether different feel.
We then pitch to David Marquez at a podium as Nick Aldis comes out for an interview. Aldis is the NWA champion, and man, this feels a LOT like what a TV show in 2019 would do to portray a 1970s TV show. There’s a lot of canned whooping and applause for promos as Aldis says the NWA’s gone from being a punchline to a headline, before putting over all of the promotion’s champions.
This was a hell of an opening salvo as the champion showed himself as the flag bearer for the promotion, before turning the spotlight onto Tim Storm ahead of their main event, which has the added stipulation of Storm never getting another shot if he loses. This felt VERY much like old-school NWA, in a damn good way too.
Billy Buck & Sal Rinauro vs. The Dawsons (Dave Dawson & Zane Dawson)
We cut straight to action, with an old-school text match graphic.
Sal Rinauro’s bodied by the Dawsons early on, taken down with a stalling double-team suplex. Zane Dawson pulls up Sal after that. Rinauro tags out, but Billy Buck runs into a clothesline before he tried to fight back on Dave Dawson, only to get squashed with a sidewalk slam/elbow combo. Sal tries to run in again, but he’s swatted away before a Trash Compactor Slam got the win. VERY SQUASHY. VERY MUCH MY GRAPS. **
A note about the presentation here: the classic blue-and-yellow ring with just the letters NWA on the apron. Less is more.
The crowd boos the Dawsons as they tell the crowd they “own this place”. This show isn’t even 15 minutes old, and it’s very clear that if you can’t talk, you’re gonna sink here.
They air an advert for Austin Idol’s training school, which is suitably wacky in that it’s got modern day production values but feels like something out of 80s public access TV.
We’re back with an Eli Drake promo. He’s a good guy here, going by the crowd and the dubbing. There’s a nice touch as Drake hangs around Joe Galli at the interview area, as he says that the NWA is run by and full of grown men, not children. Shots fired? There’s more bigging up of the champions here by Eli, because he’s coming for a belt, and then heads into the ring for his match.
Caleb Konley vs. Eli Drake
Konley tries to restrain Drake early, but he’s shot into the ropes for a shoulder tackle… then tried his luck with some roll-ups.
Chops from Konley led to a monkey flip, as we get a shot of some flags in the studio – another throwback to the old days – before Drake sidesteps a charge in the corner and hit a neckbreaker for good measure. Jim Cornette moans about cosplay wrestlers on commentary as another neckbreaker got Drake a two-count, before a drop toe hold took Konley into the rope for a running knee.
A slingshot shoulder tackle in from the apron follows for a two-count, before Konley made a comeback, knocking Drake down before he telegraphed a back body drop. Konley’s enziguiri on the apron led to a slingshot tornillo for a near-fall, before a push-down stomp out of the corner left Drake down. Konley’s up top for a double-jump moonsault, but he lands in Konley’s feet before a neckbreaker slam from Drake got the win. A hell of a fun TV match, with Konley showing a lot before falling short against the big TV star. ***
They replay footage from Championship Wrestling from Hollywood of Nick Aldis challenging Tim Storm to a title shot – but it’d be his last shot. Jim Cornette’s rubbing his hands with glee at that, before we’re interrupted by a beardy man demanding “Storm”. It turns out it’s Jocephus, who’s had his run ins with Tim Storm before we go to a break.
We’re back as Jocephus is still running around as Cornette cracks a funny. Eventually he gets Storm… James Storm. He’s given a mic as commentary steps aside so they could shoot James Storm taking shots at Jocephus. I’m getting strong “Rock pokes fun at Baron Corbin” vibes at this burial, as the NWA National champion told Jocephus to “quit playing star” before calling him a joke. Cue a pullapart, and an abrupt break to plug some DVDs.
Danny White & Mims vs. The Wild Cards (Royce Isaacs & Thomas Latimer)
Isaacs and Latimer are the NWA tag team champions, having won the belts at a ROH pre-show not too long ago. You may know Latimer under another name: Bram.
Isaacs boots White from the off, before landing a neckbreaker ahead of Latimer’s elbow drop. Mims tags in, but he’s jumped before he can get in, as the champions pepper him with elbows and a spear. White’s back, but takes a pop-up powerbomb and a Dragon suplex… and that’s all. Another squash! **
The Wild Cards go to Dave Marquez for an interview, but we’ve already had a bad guy tag team… so who’s going to stop them? Oh hey, Eddie Kingston! Eddie’s dripping with sarcasm as he called Latimer under his old name, before things descended into a staredown as Latimer spun away the interview podium… right as Homicide came out to join the party. Meanwhile, James Storm and Jocephus brawl out from the back, and after we see Crimson in a suit, we crash to a break.
Another ad future TV tapings digs up It’s Still Real To Me guy. In 2019.
Jocephus is in the ring after the break… and after a Benny Hill chase around the set and into the crowd. Things calm down as Jocephus mimes that he wants a match, but only if Storm has his hands behind his back. Okay…
James Storm vs. Jocephus
Superkick. Pin. Splat. Thanks for coming Jocephus.
Storm continues to hit knees on Jocephus afterwards, before leaving him on the mat sucking his thumb. Aww.
A video package recaps Tim Storm’s recent career, sneakily filmed at his desk in a school. They bring that up, going full boat on him being a wholesome family man, before we pitch to Joe Galli at ringside interviewing Tim Storm, to hammer home the “one last shot” stipulation. Tim’s here to bring us full circle on the NWA nostalgia, before he told the crowd that his 94-year old mom doesn’t know he’s wrestling because he didn’t want to scare her. Storm puts over how important the NWA World’s Heavyweight Championship is to him, and turned it into a speech that was half pep-talk and half Eminem recital… and God damn, I want him to win now!
Next week: Allysin Kay is in action.
NWA World’s Heavyweight Championship: Nick Aldis (c) vs. Tim Storm
Storm’s in line to be the oldest NWA champion if he wins here, and he started by shoving away Aldis out of the corner before he peppered Aldis with a bunch of forearms until the ref separated them.
Aldis blocks a hiptoss but couldn’t avoid a clothesline as the champion was sent outside. Storm eventually gives chase but he got whipped into the ring post, before Aldis returned to the ring to start wearing down Storm. A slam and an elbow drop gets a two-count, so Aldis proceeds to ground Storm with a chinlock in the search for a submission.
Storm gets up and charges into the corner to break the hold, before mounting a comeback with clotheslines and a big boot. A King’s Lynn Cloverleaf’s attempted, before Storm caught Aldis with a roll-up… a Figure Four follows from Storm, which almost pins Aldis, before he rolled into the ropes for a break.
Aldis rolls outside, but uncharacteristically goes up top… and got caught with a superplex as Storm was breaking out the big guns. Storm has more luck, landing a crossbody off the top for a near-fall, before a damned flip senton off the middle rope a la Tanahashi misses. Just like that, Aldis is back on top, landing an elbow drop before it was back to the King’s Lynn Cloverleaf… rolling over the former champion in the middle of the ring.
We’ve got a ref bump as Storm low blows Aldis, which gets some boos as the Perfect Storm (Black Hole Slam) got a near-fall – Tim tried a shortcut but couldn’t win! From there, Storm looks to go airborne again, but he’s caught before a headbutt sent both men down to the floor. On the outside, Aldis goes for a clothesline, but Storm ducks – meaning Aldis’ valet Kamille took the brunt of it – before they returned to the ring, where Aldis snatched the win with a small package. Pretty good stuff, telling a nice story with Storm desperately trying to win, only for it to not work in the end. Where they go with Storm from here will be interesting… ***¼
The crowd applauds Aldis and Storm, before Joe Galli interviewed Aldis at the countertop. There’s a wonky acronym that Aldis used to put over Storm, before saying “if this is the last time he fights for the ten pounds of gold”. Erm, wasn’t that the stipulation? Galli asks Kamille about the clothesline she took, but Aldis repeatedly talks for her, which turns the crowd on him as Aldis called this “clickbait” and walked away.
So, a good first show from NWA Powerrr (3 Rs), that ended abruptly… I don’t know how long this format can last, but NWA Powerrr is one of the early success stories of the new “wrestling war”. While AEW and NXT rival each other with a show of similar styles, NWA’s call to go back to the vintage studio wrestling format that was big in the 70s and 80s was a breath of fresh air. Heck, even the studio itself was ripped straight out of the 80s, with the design and layout extremely evocative of days gone by. What’s old is new again.
Granted, an hour-long show full of squashes and a feature match – without any feature events announced (as of yet) – could well fall quickly into the trap that NXT UK has fallen into. Still, as an hour-long novelty, this is a really easy hour’s viewing that you can easily dip in and out of if you want a quick fix of wrestling.