Wednesday, April 22, 2020

NWA 70th Anniversary (2019 PPV)

So this coronovirus thing is a big deal. Businesses are shutting down, large gatherings and sporting events are getting cancelled left and right, and a lot of the sources of entertainment are slowly but surely going away as a result. Naturally, pro wrestling is being affected by this pandemic, with many smaller groups postponing or outright cancelling shows. One of these promotions is Billy Corgan's revived National Wrestling Alliance, which had cancelled a PPV and further TV tapings.

As a sort of consolation for the lack of Powerrr, the NWA posted their 70th Anniversary show for free on their Youtube channel. The show, originally airing October 21, 2018, featured the main event of Cody Rhodes, defending the NWA World's Heavyweight Championship against the man he beat for the title at All In the month prior, Nick Aldis, in a Best Of 3 Falls match. Also featured is the crowning of a new NWA National champion.

Sounds like fun... too bad I missed out the first time, but let's take advantage of Billy's generosity and give this a whirl, shall we?

Let's get this out of the way all in one shot. NWA 70 featured a mini-tournament of sorts to crown a new NWA National Heavyweight Championship; a fine looking, if not unconventional, championship which has the map of the USA as the front plate on a red strap. This is an acquired taste and your mileage may vary... but at the very least, it doesn't spin or look like a butterfly.

The first four-way match was won by Sam Shaw, which also featured Colt Cabana, Scorpio Sky, and Sammy Guevara. I almost want to dub this the "Losers Get Signed By AEW" match as a sort of rib, but then those guys turned out just fine there. This was a pretty good opening match, though I kinda wished Sammy won this one... but whatever, let's go with Dexter Lumis, instead.

The second four-way was won by future Impact mainstay Willie Mack, which also featured future NWA mainstay Ricky Starks, Jay Bradley, and Mike Parrow. I actually liked this match a little more, if only because I was happy to see Willie Mack take the win. I remember him having a match with Cody at a Championship Wrestling From Hollywood showing and I liked his style.

And in the tournament finals, Willie Mack defeated Sam Shaw to win the National championship. Well, this was a thing that happened, but the right guy won and it gave a bit more of a spotlight on Willie Mack, who I believe is currently with Impact. Good for him.

Back to the non-tourney matches:

Barrett Brown defeated Laredo Kid in a quick and fun little match between the wrestler Brown and the high-flying Kid.

Tim Storm defeated Peter Avalon in a Kiss My Foot match. They had a bit afterwards where Avalon tried to get his manager whose name I forget do the deed, but eventually Avalon was forced to kiss the foot of one Tim Storm.

NWA Women's Champion JAZZ (yes, that Jazz of teh EC-Dub) defeated Penelope Ford to retain the title. Unlike a lot of NWA champions these days, Jazz had held the title since 2016... though she would drop the title in a few months due to personal and health reasons. A bit of a shame too, because this was a fine little match and Jazz is about as engaging of a personality as I recall her being... so that's something.

CRIMSON & Jax Dane (the team managed by Road Warrior Animal) defeated CRAZZY Steve & Shannon Moore (the team managed by Josephus) in a thing that happened. Honestly, the lack of familiarity with the teams involved outside of Shannon Moore (two guys were in TNA when I wasn't watching that show and that's about all I know) might have contributed to my not caring about this match. They tried their damndest and sometimes, it's not always enough. Not their fault; just the way things are, I'm afraid.

And in the main event, Nick Aldis (with Kamille) defeated NWA World's Heavyweight Champion CODY (with Brandi) in a Best Of Three Falls match (2-1) to win the title. They went all over the place here; straight up wrestling early on, brawl in the crowd later, some interference with the ladies, and eventually the roll-up win for Aldis. On a whole, a fine main event match. Was this better than their All In match a month prior? Eh... I don't know. Cody winning the title felt like a bigger moment than this did and honestly, I could've done without the crowd brawling, but I could go either way. This was a perfectly entertaining main event.

And so, for the first major event in Billy Corgan's NWA, this 70th Anniversary show was pretty good for the most part. I admit that I might sour on a couple matches due to my lack of familiarity with some of the talents, but as a whole, there was never a point where my brain was about to explode, so being disinterested in a match or two is the worst flaw of this show, which is actually better than I would've expected. On a whole, a fun show to revisit while it's still free, so check it out.

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