Previously on NWA Powerrr: Aron Stevens added “degrees” to the National Heavyweight Championship, Tim Storm finally started sticking up for himself again, and NWA legend Nikita Koloff set the stage for the Television Championship tournament.
If you’d like to keep up with these columns, you can do so on the NWA Powerrr tag page. Remember, NWA Powerrr and all its extra Rs is free to watch on YouTube, so check out episode eleven if you haven’t already:
The Pope’s Traditional Christmas Blessing
No, not that one.
This week’s show opens with a conflicting Ricky Starks vs. Eddie Kingston Television Championship tournament qualifier and a Trevor Murdoch x OUTLANDISH Zicky Dice interview, both of which are quickly interrupted by the NWA Powerrr debut of The Pope. You may remember him as former WWE and (WWE) ECW star Elijah Burke, or as TNA Wrestling’s D’Angelo Dinero. He was also a commentator for Impact as Da Pope, much less informal than his current position of The Pope. I guess you can’t be “da” bishop of Rome, “da” leader of the worldwide Catholic Church, or “da” head of state representing Da Holy See. Pope blows off Zicky Dice and wanders over to take a seat next to Wade Barrett, a guy he actually knows.
The Pope — the actual Pope — is here in a managerial role, in addition to dabbling in color commentary, and is looking for a faction of guys to lead. If you’re looking to start a religious cult with sinister undertones, have you thought about All Elite Wrestling? Pope’s a talented guy and a good pickup for the NWA, even if he joins Mr. Anderson and Eli Drake in that group of guys who still feel a little too TNA.
Eventually the wrestlers in the ring get to wrestle, with Starks pinning Kingston in about four minutes with the Buster Keaton. The “Buster Keaton” joins Matt Riddle’s “Bro Derek” on a list of first-draft wordplay move names that should’ve ended with, “haha, but no, seriously, what should we call it,” but somehow made it to television. I can’t wait for someone to start using the DD-Tea Leoni.
You’d think Pope would be here for Obvious Future Star Ricky Starks, but instead sticks around to give a bro nod to Eddie Kingston. I suppose religion finds those who need it. Pope, if you do end up in AEW at any point, might I recommend Pentagon Jr.? He’s got a lot of experience with Wrestling Popes.
It’s Nick Aldis! It Was Nick All Along
Lots of good Nick Aldis content again this week, as he continues to be the best TV heel in wrestling not named Chris Jericho. Aldis confirms what we already knew from watching — that he’s been pulling the strings all along, and that the Wild Cards and Kamille were all in on the plan from the beginning — and gives everyone customized “Team Aldis” jackets for Christmas. These are great, and right behind the Mongrovian flag on the list of things I’d like to buy from the National Wrestling Alliance gift shop.
Beyond that, Aldis makes a point to call out the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, who look like your mom and dad after they put on the Christmas presents you got them from Pro Wrestling Tees. Ricky’s mullet is the Ghost of Christmas Past at this point. But yeah, Aldis asks him to clarify his statements with a bunch of aggressive thugs standing around him, Ricky chooses his words diplomatically, and they exchange a tense handshake. I’m all in on Aldis costing the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express the Tag Team Championship back to the Wild Cards to set up an Aldis vs. Morton NWA Heavyweight Championship match. I bet it’d be off the hook. Morton’s already been one half of some of the most underrated championship matches ever in a studio just like this one.
Oh, before I forget …
My favorite part of the episode is Royce Isaacs introducing us to his new girlfriend, “May Valentine,” who I assume he met at the Duelist Kingdom tournament. I love that just last week we found out Thomas Lattimer was dating Kamille, so now Royce Isaacs also has to suddenly have a girlfriend. It’s so sad. She looks like she’s about to do a Nattie Neidhart routine at a 2006 SHIMMER burlesque show.
Royce is like, “me and my GIRLFRIEND who is REAL like to have SEX WITH EACH OTHER,” and whispers a bunch of dirty stuff into Dave Marquez’s ear for some reason. He needs Dave Marquez to know he knows what sex is! He’s NOT Aiden English if he stayed at home and worked at the hardware store instead of going off to a liberal arts college! He’s quickly interrupted by James Storm, who is basically his cultural equal but masculine opposite, and they agree to have a match. Isaacs is too concerned with his girlfriend to wrestle, though, so as soon as he starts getting beaten up, he bails. It’s all very funny.
My favorite part here is actually how Storm handles the referee counting Isaacs out. Most wrestlers would just stand around and let the count-out happen because that’s what’s in the call sheet, but Storm points out that he’s not coming back, so the referee should speed up. He then uses that opportunity to get the crowd chanting along, and builds them up for a big “ten” at the end. It’s the little things, and a sign of a guy who actually, really knows what he’s doing in a wrestling ring.
Tim By God Storm
Jokes aside, the actual best part of the episode is when Tim Storm finds out his Television Championship tournament opponent will be Nick Aldis. This sets up an incredible promo where he talks about spending Christmas with his mom, and how she wants him to quit wrestling, but understands he can’t because he still has something left to prove. He gets choked up talking about how he got his work ethic from his her, and paraphrases Dusty Rhodes’ Hard Times promo to say that he might be a little old, and his body might be a little broke down, but he’s bad, and they know he’s bad. This promo ruled, Tim Storm rules, and you should make a point to check it out. Easily the best mic work in the series so far.
Two weird notes though:
- the setup for the promo was pretty bad, with Storm’s name being conveniently drawn to face the guy he wanted to face in the tournament while he’s one of the three guys out there waiting, standing in front. The Dawsons just kinda hang around in the background knowing they aren’t gonna be part of the segment.
- the names are drawn by “Anastasia Fleischer” from a random law firm, which you think would be a local business cross-promotional thing, but her name and the law firm’s name aren’t given a graphic or a commercial or anything, so who knows? Maybe she’s a lawyer character who’s gonna start hearing war drums in the distance or whatever
Speaking Of War Drums
Thunder Rosa wins a six-woman tag team match for her team and, per a pre-match stipulation, gets to choose a member of the opposing team to face one-on-one. The opposing team features NWA Women’s World Champion Allysin Kay, so everyone’s like, “yes, of course, she’s going to challenge the Women’s Champion for the Women’s Championship.” But as soon as she’s about to make the announcement, Melina jumps in and is like, “she challenges ODB.” Rosa has to begrudgingly go along with it.
I like that Melina’s already such a bad leader that she’s breaking her team apart only weeks after forming them. On last week’s show, she and Thunder Rosa told Marti Belle to stay backstage and then jumped up her ass about it when they got attacked, and blamed her. This week, Rosa wins the match for her team, and Melina won’t let her challenge the person she wants to challenge. Between this and Lucha Underground, Melina’s doing a terrible job of introducing herself into a company and making anyone want her to stay.
Eli Drake Spent Christmas With A Little Bit Of The Bubbly
The most random part of the episode has to be the appearance of an extremely holiday drunk Eli Drake cutting a “shoot” promo on Dave Marquez for “doing comedy” between the matches (?), then loudly interrupting Jocephus Claus’ attempt to sing ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ to the studio audience. If I wanted a drunk guy in a Supreme knockoff t-shirt and a leather jacket to scream Christmas carols at me while wrestling’s on I would’ve hung out with my family this year.
And Now What You’re All Here To See: ?THE QUESTION MARK?
For the best example yet of how hilariously out of control the Question Mark gimmick has become, he beats former NWA Heavyweight and National Heavyweight Champion Colt Cabana in three minutes, clean, with a kara-tay chop to the throat. Cabana sells all his big slow comedy martial arts strikes like he’s being punched in the face by Goldberg. I mean, I love it, but is the end point of the gimmick just The Question Mark reigning forever as NWA Heavyweight Champion? Because again, I would enjoy it. What was my point?
Anyway, The Question Mark beat Cabana so bad it sent him to AEW Dark. Afterward we get a pre-taped promo from Question Mark and Aron Stevens about how they’re going to use the power of karate slash kara-tay to win all the belts, and brother, I don’t doubt them.