Previously on NWA Powerrr: Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner participated in a six-man tag team match as Strictly Business’ trump card, but lost. He did pronounce “calories” as “CAROLIES,” though. Meanwhile, Nick Aldis invaded Ring of Honor and ended up in a match against Flip Gordon. Ooh, Flip Gordon!
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 fifteen if you haven’t already:
Will You Still Need Me When I’m 64?
The highlight of this week’s show is, of course, the NWA World Heavyweight Championship match between the champion, Nick Aldis, and the challenger, 63-year old Ricky Morton. It proved one of two things, depending on your point of view; that Ricky Morton is timeless and can still put together a better match than most performers half his age, and/or that Nick Aldis is good enough to carry a sexegenarian to 11 minutes of watchable, exciting wrestling.
There’s never really any drama that Morton’s going to win the Heavyweight Championship, especially since he’s already one half of the NWA World Tag Team Champions. Being tag champs is one thing, but I’m guessing even the NWA’s conscientious of their image as “old” wrestling to not give a guy in his sixties Double Gold. But the drama is there, thanks to the natural give and take of a guy who earned the crowd’s cheers trying to unseat the guy who earned the crowd’s boos. You don’t need the announce team to say it out-loud ever 10 seconds when you show it. Classic pro wrestling.
Aldis drives all that home and puts a nice, dirty bow on it by pinning 63-year old ass tag team-ass Ricky Morton by reversing the momentum of a small package and grabbing a handful of tights. Such a dirtbag. He’s not going to win any animated GIF contests on social media or whatever, but Aldis deserves true credit for developing into the type of wrestler who succeeds in wrestling and can carry an entire wrestling promotion by understanding how the sport works on a nearly molecular level. Brilliant work from him from the beginning of the show through the end of the first “season.” There’s so much more to being an essential heel than telling fans to shut up over and over.
He’s going to need to keep that going at Hard Times, when he faces Flip Gordon. Gordon is now The Mercenary, which is some pretty hilariously minor-league character development, but a significant step up from being the Denny to Cody and Brandi Rhodes’ Johnny and Lisa.
Still wish Tim Storm was getting this match, or that Marty Scurll had actually shown up for the tapings and built on the story his presence started at Into The Fire, but shit happens, and it’s hard to book what you want to book when you aren’t a billion dollar, globally traded monopoly.
The other members of Strictly Business don’t fare as well as their leader.
A few weeks ago, Wild Card (bitches!) Royce Isaac introduced us to his new girlfriend, Mae Valentine, aka Burlesque Natalya. She hasn’t done much between then and now, but Dave Marquez issues an innocent line of questioning and accidentally gets to the bottom of things: Mae and Royce haven’t had sex yet, because she’s “waiting,” which means he’s waiting, too. Getting that “you’re a virgin” heat in 2020! I was really hoping R-Truth was going to sneak into the studio and roll him up to win the 24/7 Championship.
Lots of tights-grabbin’ going on this week. Isaac’s tag team partner, Thom Latimer, beats the ever-loving dog shit out of Trevor Murdoch in their TV title tournament qualifier but gets hit with the Divas roll-up a couple minutes in and loses without having taken a single additional offensive move. What’s more embarrassing: losing a tournament match in two minutes to no wrestling, or getting professionally and sexually emasculated by your own valet?
Kamille doesn’t get much to do in this episode except get ejected by NWA President Hipster Kenny Rogers along with everyone else at ringside for the main event. Was really hoping we’d get to see Kamille give the lead singer of Zwan one of those monster football tackles, but I guess we’re saving that for pay-per-view.
Boards Don’t Hit Back
Before we talk more about the Television Championship tournament, we need to touch on Aron Stevens, seen here literally standing on a soap box to present a Mongrovian karah-tay demonstration from ?THE QUESTION MARK? Yes, this is as good as you’re hoping.
Beneath Shooter’s screamed narration, Question Mark “exhibits” his martial arts prowess by beating up two “students,” also wearing Question Mark masks. Here he is (very slowly) countering a “weapon attack.” Here he is countering a MACE ATTACK by turning the (pantomimed) mace on his attacker and spraying them with (pantomimed) mace, which they sell. In pantomime. If nothing else, it’s great object work.
This develops into a board breaking demonstration, which Shooter interrupts so he can break the board and earn his fourth degree Mongrovian Karah-tay black belt. It turns out RICKY STARKS has been lying in wait as one of the Question Mark’s students, though, and Shooter gets the board across his back. Really great, entertaining stuff that also kinda goes on forever, which might explain why this episode’s 90 minutes long. I wouldn’t want to cut any of it, either.
Zane Dawson’s injured hand is going to keep him out of the TV title tournament, so we have a gauntlet match (Royal Rumble style) to determine who’ll take his spot. Between all the qualifiers, bored lady name drawings, the “open slots” for people who don’t work for the company, injuries, and now gauntlet matches, the NWA’s really taking the long way around to book a tournament.
Anyway, Shooter Stevens enters this tournament — he wants all the gold, remember, because “the best deserve the belts” — and spend most of his time in the match hiding under the ring. Other participants in the match include CW Anderson, Caleb Konley, Sal Rinauro, and Dave Dawson, so it’s not like he’d have had much trouble just standing in a corner or whatever. Zicky Dice also makes an appearance, just to tell us that he’s a “pay-per-view wrestler” and earned his spot in the tournament by winning actual matches, so he’s not going to wrestle in a jobber battle royal on TV. Here is your weekly reminder that Zicky Dice rules.
The major story of the bout becomes Colt Cabana and Ken Anderson, who work to prove wrong everyone who assumes Anderson’s going to turn on Cabana. He’s going to. Colt’s literally the only person on the Earth who thinks he won’t. When it looks like the match has come down to just those two, The Question Mark shows back up to cause a distraction, loosing the Shooter from his underground prison. They try some heel double-teaming but get caught with HEEL MISCOMMUNICATION, leading to Stevens getting hit with the deadliest move in wrestling: the DOUBLE Mongrovian Spike. This is how he sells it:
I haven’t seen a sell like that since Santino Marella’s magical under-the-radar run of gags on Superstars. Magnificent.
Oh, and Mr. Anderson turns on Colt Cabana.
WHAT DID YOU THINK WAS GOING TO HAPPEN. HONESTLY.
Also Appearing At Hard Times™ Brand Pay-Per-View
Who will be filling those “open slots” in the tournament, you may ask? Why, none other than Matt Cross of Ring of Honor and Lucha Underground (and Tough Enough) fame, and ROH original Dan Maff. Cross just gets a “special update” graphic, but Maff gets a full promo and introduction from Ring of Honor backstage correspondent and ersatz Veda Scott Quinn McKay. She’s really good, as long as you don’t notice how she always touches the side of her glasses when she’s supposed to start talking. You can see her do it like five times in this one video. More of a “that’s not how people who wear glasses wear glasses” note than a criticism.
Maff’s facing Zicky Dice in round one at Hard Times and Cross is facing Starks, which is perfect. Starks will get a big showcase match against an athletic veteran who can make him look great, and Dice gets to stooge around for a violent hoss and pull off some kind of underhanded victory that sends him into round two for his inevitable comedy clash with The Question Mark. Note: I would also like to see The Question Mark defeat Dan Maff with one I Love You uppercut to the throat.
The Women’s Division Is Still Struggling
Early in the show, Thunder Rosa gets a strong, quick-but-competitive win over Tasha Steelz. Later in the episode, Melina shows up with her jacket draped across her shoulders like she’s M. Bison (pictured) and informs Allysin Kay that Thunder Rosa’s getting an NWA World Women’s Championship match at Hard Times. She also drops a full-on F-Bomb on her, which is intense for a show that just last week bleeped out the phrase, “white trash.”
Melina also announces that Kay’s going to face the ultimate punishment tonight: having to wrestle Marti Belle. [checks notes] Sorry, “having a no disqualification match against Marti Belle.”
If you’re wondering if Belle gets it together this week and at least spins in the right direction, you’re in luck. She does! But they also start the match with Kay shouting KICK ME HERE and repeatedly pointing at her stomach, only for Belle to run up and kick her in the stomach. BRUH.
It gets a little better after that. It would have to, wouldn’t it? There’s some gentle hardcore violence including one of those fights in the crowd where they just kinda wander up and down the steps while forearming each other, and Kay delivers some nice post-match pathos about having to destroy her former friends to keep her championship. I’ve gotta say, though, I’m glad Allysin Kay vs. Thunder Rosa is the pay-per-view match.
This Friday, It’s Hard Times
Let the smooth, country and western stylings of Bill Corgan get you hype for Hard Times. Pay no attention to the fact that that video package promotes Nick Aldis vs. Marty Scurll! Instead, you’ll get:
- Nick Aldis vs. DA MERCENARY~ Flip Gordon for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship
- a triple threat match for the Tag Team Championship
- the remainder of the Television Championship tournament
- Allysin Kay vs. Thunder Rosa for the NWA World Women’s Championship
All that, plus this match of the century contender:
Make sure you’re back here on Thursday for our full preview of the card, and on Friday for our coverage and results. If nothing else, you don’t want to miss the crowning of pro wrestling’s first Mongrovian Television Champion.