Pro Wrestling: NWA Hard Times 2

Eight Championship Matches on This Show, Big Ending Surprise and Nick Aldis?

NWA has a special place in my heart because of my grandmother (Granny) on my dad’s side. She loved their wrestling and told all of us grandkids stories. about Ric Flair and Harley Race. So Billy Corgan bringing this wrestling promotion back and me finding out how to get it weekly was a tremendous memory jolt for me. I love their stories. NWA doesn’t rush wrestlers or programs. They take what the audience wants and give it to them. I couldn’t wait for this pay-per-view. Not because of the main event, but because I wanted to see Nick Aldis vs. Thom Lattimer. This has been a long running friendship went bad and I want to root for Aldis to blow it all up.

The Pre-Show

I didn’t watch the Pre-Show, so I can’t really tell you anything about the matches other than the winners. I know that Mims beat Jax Dane because Mims was accompanied to the ring by Crimson. The announcers talked some about how now Crimson is going by Anthony Mayweather, but not why so I guess I’ll get to that soon as I catch up on NWA Powerrr. They said that Jax Dane was taunting Mayweather and Mims surprised Dane with a rollup. Also, The Hex beat Kylie Rae and Tootie Lynn, Missa Kate and Natalia Markova, and Jennacide and Paulo Blaze. I was glad this match was on the Pre-Show and I missed it. I don’t like any of them except Kylie Rae and Jennacide. 

As I was getting ready for the Main Card, I heard that there will be an upcoming Junior Heavyweight Tournament on a brand new online show called NWA USA. On the Pre-Show, they had a qualifying gauntlet match which Homicide won. Who knew that Homicide was going to be on this show? Not me. I might have watch for him. Plus they introduced Kerry Morton (Ricky Morton of the Rock ’N’ Roll Express’ son) to the NWA audience. Enough about all that. Let’s talk Main Card.

NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship Qualifying Match: Austin Aries beat Rhett Titus

Yes you read that one right. I was as shocked as you are with both wrestlers. I had no clue that Ring of Honor was already starting to release their wrestlers to show up in other promotions. Rhett Titus was introduced as a member of The Foundation. I like him and was interested in who he was taking on. Well, I was definitely floored seeing Austin Aries come out. Did any of you know that he was appearing on NWA? I sure didn’t. No one on the wrestling grapevine spilled this one unless I was too sick to realize it or my ears weren’t working. The announcers mentioned that Aries helped to train Titus about 15 years back. I didn’t know that one either. I know that Austin Aries has had numerous issues with different promotions and wrestlers, but I can’t help it. I like him as a wrestler. His X-Division matches and championship runs in TNA are very good. Aries was so smooth in this match and I can’t wait to watch him in the NWA Junior Heavyweight tournament now.

Ring of Honor Tag Team Championship Match: The OGK (Matt Taven and Mike Bennett) beat Aron Stevens and JR Kratos

Here was another surprise for me I knew these two teams were facing each other in this PPV, but didn’t realize it was for the tag team titles. Also, the winner was to face The Briscoes at Ring of Honor’s Final Battle later in the month. Now, this told me who was going to win, but I was interested in how Bennett and Taven would do it. They always look good together and seeing them always makes me ponder if Bennett never would have left Taven for money what could have been. He wasted a lot of years in the WWE system. Plus, any match with JR Kratos in it then I’m watching it. I still can’t get over how he moves the way he does. So compact and crisp. 

The story that NWA has been telling between Kratos and Steven s has been first rate. I didn’t like Stevens from his WWE days as Damien Sandow, so I automatically didn’t like him when he started in the NWA. However, this story has me feeling for him somewhat. He has gotten inside his own head thinking he’s not good enough. Kratos has been trying to rally him, but is getting tired of Stevens now. Finally, we get to see what Kratos has been trying to pull out of him. Stevens being aggressive and raking the eyes of Mike Bennett. Now, of course, they still can’t win. Stevens tried to roll up Matt Taven, but Bennett drilled him in the fact. So Taven got the pin. 

Colby Corino beat Doug Williams

If you’ve listened to me before or have read me before then you know I’m not a big fan of Colby Corino. I struggle to tell you why though. I just don’t like his style of wrestling, his character or even just him, period. As for Doug Williams, when I saw the name I didn’t know him. After he came out, he looked familiar, but I couldn’t place him. The announcers helped me out some with him being from Britain and being on TNA with Velvet Sky, but I’m still not 100% sure. 

Williams definitely held his own technically with Corino. I was impressed with that. The announcers kept mentioning how Corino would take shortcuts eventually or use The Fixers since they came out with him. Big foreshadowing there. Well of course, he did. I thought it was an ok match, but nothing to get real excited about for either wrestler. 

Impact Knockouts Championship Match: Mickie James beat Kiera Hogan

I can’t say enough great stuff about these two women. Mickie James is a legend but an unbelievable wrestler right now. Fans seem to want to talk about her in the past tense and they shouldn’t be. She can hold her own with anyone going now. Kiera Hogan in Impact Wrestling turned my head first by being part of the loudmouth, cocky duo of Fire ’N’ Flava, but kept me interested with her progress and high spots. Now Atlanta is Hogan’s hometown and she grew up idolizing Mickie James but it sure didn’t effect the match. 

This match didn’t get built up on the NWA show much because Mickie James has been a little busy with NWA Empowerrr and winning the Impact Wrestling Knockouts Championship against Deonna Purrazzo. These two women told the story in the ring which was a lesson for a lot of women wrestling in different promotions. Don’t blame creative for not giving you the TV time to build a story. Make your own story in the ring and show out, so they have to use you more. 

NWA TV Championship Match (NO Disqualification Match): Tyrus beat Cyon

I actually enjoy both of these wrestlers and was excited for this match. I didn’t like that it was no DQ though and that Da Pope was the special guest referee. The announcers may have said, but I guess I missed why he was the referee. Yes I know that Tyrus beat Da Pope, but that doesn’t make you a special guest referee for the next match. Of course, Tyrus came out with Austin Idol, BLK Jeez and Jordan Clearwater. Give me a break, do you really need your own audience? So Da Pope did the right thing and send Clearwater and Jeez packing before the bell saying they didn’t need to be out there and didn’t have a manager’s license. Good job.

Cyon’s aggressive and weapon filled offense took me a little by surprise, but you have to do that if it’s going to be no DQ. Then Tyrus took over after slamming Cyon on the concrete. Never thought that Tyrus wouldn’t because he wasn’t really selling a lot. Come to think of it, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen Tyrus sell. When he gets beat it is because of something backfiring or cheating, not because he gets beatdown. Eventually Cyon makes a small comeback, so that Austin Idol, BLK Jeez and Jordan Clearwater (you and I both knew that they were coming back out) attack Cyon. Da Pope was upset because he wasn’t controlling things, so he hit Tyrus with some chops and blows. He tried a spear, but ending up hitting Cyon instead. Tyrus finished Cyon off with the heart punch. The match was about average, but Tyrus promised to reveal Cyon. He didn’t even though he said he thought he may know who it was. Big letdown. 

Mick Foley

Mick Foley came out in a Santa hat. Why? I haven’t absolutely no clue. He was at a GCW show the other night too. I guess he’s there because he can now. Right?!?!? All he basically said was that he would be watching the monitors closely in the BACK to see who is being naughty and nice. Then secretly said something about this might not be the last time we see him? So is he going to interfere or join NWA? I’m betting on he’s coming out in the Murdoch match to help with Mike Knox. 

NWA National Championship Match: Chris Adonis beat Judais with Father James Mitchell

Judais was a surprise at NWA 73 and won the Battle Royal to take on Chris Adonis. I’ve always enjoyed whenever we’ve gotten Father James Mitchell at some promotion and this is the same. Judais even though I didn’t know him from before intrigued me at NWA 73, but here I wasn’t sure without Mitchell’s help or spell that there was any way he was defeating Adonis for his title. Chris Adonis came out with zero members of Strictly Business. So does this mean he’s on his own? I thought he had chosen Thom Lattimer’s side. Kamille didn’t want to leave Lattimer’s side? This whole match just wasn’t believable not even when he had Adonis in the sharpshooter. Adonis had a comeback and then put him in the Masterlock. Judais was down and out quickly. Not a great match or storytelling. 

NWA Tag Team Championship Match: La Rebelion vs The End

I’m not a big fan of either of these teams. I thought the ROH Tag Team Championship had better teams and a better storyline which equaled a way better match. Both teams isolated a member of the other team and got some of the team’s offense in, but the pace of this match seemed really off. I don’t know if these teams just don’t have chemistry, their amount of match time changed or something else happened, but things were off. It ended with Bestia tossing Odison into Parrow then Mecha Wolf hit a 450 Splash on Parrow for the win. Afterwards, we got to see JTG and Dirty Dango (formerly WWE Fandango) come out. They just motioned back and forth with their hands. The announcers interpreted this as JTG and Dango were a tag team and wanted to take on La Rebelion. Ok? There better be some follow-up on the next Tuesday show. 

Nick Aldis beat Thom Latimer

Like I said above this was the match I was wanting to see in this PPV, I have loved watching Nick Aldis for so long that I definitely have wanted to see him beating up his best friend for awhile. The stipulation made for this match was No Kamille at ringside for Lattimer and that if either guy was disqualified then both would be suspended for two months. These two went back and forth knock each other around to start the match. Nick Aldis pulled down Thom Lattimer’s trunks as he was trying to climb through the ropes, so that we got a full moon (butt shot) of Lattimer that no one wanted to see. Lattimer didn’t think we got enough of since he pulled his own trunks down further as he was getting up. 

We saw a lot of “dirty tricks” by Lattimer. (Since when doesn’t Nick do them too?) Lattimer raked Aldis’ eye before hitting a pile driver then went after the hammer used for the ring bell. However, he put it down because of the stipulation. He did get to hit Aldis with a low blow though since the referee needed to take the hammer back to the timekeeper’s table. They each got to use each other’s moves on one another. As Thom went for a piledriver, Nick countered it for the win. This match was borderline boring for what it was built up to be. I couldn’t believe their video package was better than the match. No aggressiveness, no yelling, no taunting…nothing. What’s up with that? My guess is they didn’t want either to lose. They didn’t want either to come out ahead. Well sorry…that’s what makes great stories that fans remember. Sad, they didn’t use this opportunity. Where do they go now?

NWA’s Acknowledgment of Jazz’s Career?

Not sure about this one. Jazz thanked the WWE for allowing her to be the last WWF Women’s Champion and the first WWE Women’s Champion. Ok? And the first African American woman to go into WrestleMania as the champion and walk out as the champion. Ok? Why would she say all this? I guess because WWE doesn’t really acknowledge her anymore and they made the big deal about Sasha and Bianca in 2021? She also thanked Tommy Dreamer and Paul E for believing in her. 

Jazz said she was looking forward to starting her new career working behind the scenes and thanked Billy Corgan for trusting her to be the NWA World Women’s Champion for over 900 days. Tony Khan…you should have snapped her up when you could to help backstage and training. Then Jazz thanked Madusa who we got to see come out for Jazz. 

NWA World Women’s Championship Match for The Burke: Kamille beat Melina

Melina had to get some offense in on the beginning before Kamille almost snapped her in half with a spinebuster that would have made Arn Anderson proud. Then Kamille started with her suplexes until Melina came back at her. Melina choked Kamille with her own braid. Then Melina targeted her shoulder with different holds. As she hurt Kamille, she went for the California Dream, but Kamille got to the rope in time. We got to see Kamille hit a steamroller, but missed on her spear before putting Melina in an ankle lock. Melina stooped to biting Kamille to get out of it. 

Who is the heel in this match? Hasn’t Kamille always been a heel with Strictly Business and now her fiancee Thom Lattimer? Are they really going to try to turn Kamille babyface? Say it isn’t so. I know she’s became one of the NWA’s biggest stars, but what’s going on? Fans were starting to cheer for her. Melina then took off her knee brace and went to hit Kamille with it. She moved then hit Melina with her patented spear for the win. Can she be a babyface with Thom Lattimer being a heel? I don’t think so. Can people root for Lattimer? No thank you. So what does NWA do?

NWA World Championship Match: Trevor Murdoch beat Mike Knox

My thoughts on Trevor Murdoch? What are they? Hmm…if you would have asked me at the beginning of the year, I would have said I don’t like him. Why? I thought he was an out of shape hick that maybe didn’t respect wrestling enough to put forth the effort. I had never paid much attention to him and didn’t think he had any charisma. But you know what? Somewhere in 2021 that all changed. Was it his promo of passion about Harley Race? Or his promos about Nick Aldis? Was it the stories he told in the ring using his build and showing how much he did respect wrestling? Was it his love for the NWA or St. Louis? I don’t know, but I root him on every chance I get now. Will I root for him when Nick Aldis comes calling for his championship back? Probably not, but I will clap for him at the end of the match. 

As for Mike Knox, I didn’t even know who he was in the Kentucky PPV of By Any Means Necessary. Leading up to this match still didn’t really understand or know him. I thought this was poorly built and put together. Of course, Murdoch’s selling made this match one to watch and root for him again. 

Of course, I enjoyed watching his comeback of hitting a spinebuster, some clotheslines and a DDT. Knox hit one move before Trevor hit his diving bulldog finisher for the win. My immediate thought was…really? What was this match even for? To give Aldis time to play around with Lattimer? Why not just give Trevor a break? Then the answer for the quick match and why Trevor Murdock, NWA World Champion, was in Atlanta walked through the curtain and I loved it. 

The Aftermath

My boy, Matt Cardona walked through that curtain to get into Trevor’s face just like he has done in many promotions this year. He may be the wrestler of the year. Yes, I know Bryan Danielson has put on a show everywhere this year with outstanding matches. However, can anyone out there that actually follows all American pro wrestling say that any wrestler has had a BIGGER year than Matt Cardona? I mean seriously…from AEW helping Cody out, to challenging GCW’s Nick Gage and actually beating him in one of the more famous deathmatches of the year…maybe ever to losing it to Jon Moxley then challenging Impact Wrestling’s champion Moose and William Morrisey…now here he is in NWA to challenge Trevor Murdoch.

So he walks out to get into Trevor’s face then Mike Knox decides to hit Trevor with a low blow. Say what? Go away, Mike Knox…your time is over. But this brings out Mick Foley who has to tell everyone that’s not how it is done in the NWA. Foley then says that Matt Cardona is an embarrassment to Long Island and he had a surprise for Mike Knox. It turned out to be Da Pope who immediately attacked Knox, but Cardona got after Da Pope to save Knox. Are they together? Was this planned out by Knox and Cardona?

Mike Knox nailed Trevor Murdoch with a kick allowing Matt Cardona to pick up the NWA World Championship. He held it for just a minute before placing it on Murdoch. So if this was the WWE, we would get Mike Knox and Matt Cardona vs Trevor Murdoch and Da Pope for a month or so, but it’s definitely not. So how fast before we see Trevor Murdoch and Matt Cardona go after each other for the Ten Pounds of Gold? I hope very soon after the New Year. But how are Mike Knox and Da Pope going to play into this one?

Every championship match had the champion win. When was the last time that happened? Especially in the NWA. I had hoped for a couple to switch, but this show didn’t disappoint me overall. When I think about it…I’m not sure that NWA ever does with their PPVs. Even if I don’t like who wins, they always overall make me like their shows because of their stories they tell. Ones that I’m going to remember for a long time. Thanks NWA.

Oh by the way, Billy Corgan…when did you say Nick Aldis is getting his Ten Pounds of Gold Championship back? Soon I hope. 

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