Wednesday, November 23, 2022

NWA Hard Times 2022

Yeah, I didn't watch the AEW PPV this past weekend. And to be honest, I don't think I'll be doing so anytime soon.

I did, however, watch the NWA Hard Times PPV from a couple weeks ago... I don't know if that's a fair trade off, however.

So I hadn't originally planned on watching the show, as I have not been following the NWA in recent years despite its grand return to the Youtubes. However, a week or so before the show was to take place, former NWA World Champion Nick Aldis announces his intentions to leave the NWA in January and offered some damning critiques of the company. NWA Owner and Smasher Of Pumpkins Billy Corgan suspends Nick Aldis while offering his own take on the situation. As a result, whatever build to this big NWA show (which is actually called Hard Times 3, but I go by year for this one) has been negated by the big Aldis/Corgan divorce making waves.

As a result of this, along with NWA announcer Joe Galli's impressive sales pitch of the show on WOL - gotta wonder what that guy is feeling doing the hard sell for this show, only for that to be forgotten because Brutus Magnus and the Zero Star guy couldn't get along - I figured I'd give the NWA another shot on PPV. It's been a while and I'd like to see how they're doing and also who do they have for their World title picture?

Trevor Murdoch - reigning NWA champion - defending against the former Zack Ryder and the former Brodus Clay.

Well, then... that's quite a shift. Still, let's give this a shot. I'm sure it'll turn out fine.

Max The Impaler (Barbarian woman with black facepaint over her upper head) defeated Natalia Markova in a CASKET MATCH. A brave choice, sir, to open your show with a CASKET MATCH. I guess somewhere along the way, Billy decided that it's not enough to be replicated old-school NWA shows; we've gotta curb some early 90s WWF stuff, too. Anyway, this was kind of a fun match that ended before it was starting to get really good and then you had the distraction from some dude who popped out of the casket and threw dust at Markova to allow Max to win.

MLW National Champion Davey Richards retained the title with an anklelock submission victory over Colby Corino, who is the son of former ECW champ Steve Corino. Kid's a spitting image of his old man, which is amazing. Hey, this match was pretty good. Kinda wish it lasted longer than a few minutes, but shit, Davey Richards is great and I'm pretty impressed with this Corino kid. I'll be keeping an eye out for this one.

And then we follow it up with the battle of the Question Marks, as two guys in similar Question Mark gear go at it in a mask versus mask match. So, as I recall, the Question Mark was a masked gimmick portrayed by the late Josephus of NWA fame. Apparently, somewhere along the way, it was decided that we were going to continue this gimmick, which may or may not be a good idea. I'll be honest here; this one lost me to the point where I had to take the dog out for a walk and by the time I came back, they were already doing entrances for the next match. Speaking of which...

Kerry Morton defeated NWA Junior Heavyweight Champion HOMICIDE (yes, that Homicide of TNA fame) to win the title in a pretty good match. Homicide had won the vacant title back in March and has held on to it until now. Kerry Morton is the son of RnR Express dude Ricky Morton and I couldn't tell because he doesn't have the old man's mullet. He does have talent and this was a fine showcase of that talent, with credit due to Homicide for giving the kid some shine. This was another match that I kinda wish went a little longer, but what can you do?

Thrillbilly Silas defeated Odinson in a thing that happened. Basically, two big guys who spray each other with sprary and that turns them into Popeye or something? I don't get it... oh, and by the way, Silas was a last minute replacement for Odinson's original opponent, who was going to be - wait for it - former NWA World's Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis. Well, after seeing this match, I could see why the former Magnus would want to leave.

NWA United States Tag Team Champions The Fixers (two big bald dudes playing big stupid dummies - kind of dumb to do since we have Braun Strowman being an actual big stupid dummy on Twitter) defeated The Spectaculars (two slightly smaller dudes with hair) to retain the titles and nobody gave a shit. The match was just there and they certainly tried - which is the least you could say about a match that nobody was reacting to; myself included.

Speaking of matches nobody gives a shit about, NWA National Champion whose name I forgot defeated some other dude whose name I forgot to retain the title. It's a sad sight to behold when the only guy you recognize or even remember is Austin Idol, who was managing the champion. Maybe people would've cared more if Idol was the one wrestling and winning the title instead of the other guy. I don't even remember if the match was any good. I suppose I could go back and rewatch it, but why even bother at this point?

NWA World Women’s Tag Team Champions Pretty Empowered (Kenzie Paige & Ella Envy) defeated Madi & Missa Kate to retain the titles. You know, Billy got into some heat regarding his reasoning for why there isn't another Empowerred all-women PPV show, citing their inability to create a world-class event. And then I watch this match, where nobody has a clue as to whether they're supposed to be cheering or booing whoever and I can sort of see his point. There was apparently a heel turn. I guess. This didn't hold my interest for very long.

EC3 defeated Thom Latimer via DQ when Latimer had EC3 in the crossface and refused to release the hold, pushing aside the ref who called for the bell. This was fucking horrible. If this is EC3's idea of controlling a narrative of some kind, then he needs to get better narrative. This match sucked and EC3 on the mic taunting Latimer and bringing up his drinking issues (which is apparently a real thing, so that's kinda classy, I guess). Fuck me, even without the external bits, this was fucking horrible. No wonder Aldis wants to fuck off.

Hawx Aerie (Luke & PJ Hawx, who also operate the WildKats promotions that NWA is partnering with for this show) defeated NWA Tag Champs La Rebelion (Bestia 666 & Mecha Wolf) to win the titles. Well, it took us a while, but we finally got a good match that people cared about. That's something, I suppose.

NWA Women's Champion Kamille defeated Chelsea Green and KiLynn King to retain the title in a total cluster of a match. At one point, King had Kamille in a submission move whose name I don't recall that saw Kamille tapped out, which would've earned King the title had the ref not been distracted by Green. Unless you're going to have Kamille and King feud over the title, this was pretty stupid to do, especially considering how dominant Kamille has been presented during her reign as champion. It'd be like Austin Theory beating Roman Reigns for the title despite being portrayed as a total fucking geek. Not a fan of this match or the booking, but with Green potentially off to WWE if rumors are anything to go by, maybe Kamille vs. King for the title will turn out to be a better match. There's a story to be told with that false finish if they decide to go there. Otherwise, why would you even do that?

And then we get to the main event, featuring regining NWA World's Heavyweight Champion Trevor Murdoch defending the title against Matt Cardona and Tyrus. For those out of the loop, Matt Cardona is the former Zack Ryder of WWE fame, who got released a couple years and reinvented himself to the point where he got a run with the NWA World title that ended abruptly due to injury. Tyrus is the former Brodus Clay of the planet Funkydactyl or whatever the stupid gimmick was in WWE, who left the company, had a brief stint at Fox News where he said some questionable things that rubbed people the wrong way, and then he signed with NWA, where he eventually won the TV title and recently gave it up to earn a World title shot.

Trevor Murdoch was retired before he joined the NWA a couple years back. He was a guy that I didn't really pay too much attention to back in his WWE days when he was mostly a tag guy, but there was something about the guy that stuck to me and part of me wished that he got a good run someplace. A couple World title reigns and a National title reign in NWA wasn't what I was expecting, but the guy more than earned his keep from the few times I saw him in action as of late and I felt he was a perfect follow-up to Nick Aldis' near historic reign as champion.

If Murdoch had retained the title on this night, it would've been another successful title defense under his belt and I would've been fine with it. And if Matt Cardona had won it... hey, some people might've mocked the idea, but I was the guy who eventually booked Zack Ryder to win World titles in the old WWE Universe modes. Mind you, that was a bit of a lark, but if you told me that guy was going to win a World title somewhere down the line, I wouldn't have a problem with it. If anything, he would've been the one guy I'd be fine with winning here, since he never lost the title in the first place.

Which leaves us with Tyrus - the former Brodus Clay - a dude that is just there. Said some pretty heated things that got him some pretty heated heat with some folks; things that would get you "cancelled" on the Interwebs and such, but in the NWA, that earns you a main spot on the show. And eventually a NWA TV title run, which I figured was the best he was going to do. At no point did I picture this guy becoming the NWA World Champion. At most, he felt he was going to be the fall guy for the two other major players in this match.

And so, of course, in the main event three way, Tyrus - THE FORMER BRODUS CLAY - defeated NWA World's Champion Trevor Murdoch and Matt Cardona to win the title by pinning Murdoch. If you ever wanted to watch a main event befitting an outlaw mudshow wrestling card, this would be it. This actually annoyed me, because you've got two really good talents in Murdoch and Cardona who were FAR BETTER CHAMPIONS and thus FAR BETTER CHOICES than this large mohawked dude with all the talent and charisma of sandpaper whose best run was dancing with two other girls who went on to become varying degrees of bigger deals than he was. And mind you, part of that was good genetics and part of that was Total Fucking Divas, but still.

It also didn't help that this match was fucking awful. Again, two talented dudes in Murdoch and Cardona would've had a good match together and probably might have on the night Cardona beat Murdoch for the title, but you throw in this lump of clay into the fold and you try to make this guy into an imposing force when the only force he should be imposing is putting one of the bigger, more talented stars over... holy fuck.

So yea,  we went from the National Treasure Nick Aldis to Trevor Murdoch to Matt Cardona to FUCKING BRODUS CLAY.

Paul Wight, you may rest easy. I may have found a new gimmick to replace FUCKING BIG SHOW.

So that was Hard Times 3, aka Hard Times 2022... and yeah, that was definitely hard time watching this show, which had some good matches here and there, but is largely overshadowed by some forgettable and oftentimes questionable material... and of course, FUCKING BRODUS CLAY as a World Champion in professional wrestling.

Yeah, no. Not sold on this show. At all. Better luck next time. Though I probably won't be around for it as long as FUCKING BRODUS CLAY is your world champion.

No wonder why Nick Aldis wants to leave.

Don't know what I'll be doing next week... maybe Survivor Series? Who knows?

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