Previously on NWA Powerrr: It was Hard Times, daddy, as new NWA Television, World Tag Team, and Women’s World Champions were crowned. Plus, Marty Scurll unwisely put the fate of all future negotiations between NWA and ROH in the hands of Flip Gordon, and got exactly what he deserved.
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 sixteen if you haven’t already:
The Plain Dealer
At the risk of turning this weekly column into an ongoing tribute to Real World’s Champ™ Nick Aldis, this week’s show opens and closes with equally entertaining but wildly different segments highlighting the champ’s skills as a performer and as the central figure in the NWA Powerrr universe. “Univerrrse?”
The opening features Aldis explaining what went down at Hard Times, saying that Flip Gordon is actually more like Flop Gordon and that he had Marty Scurll ejected from the building because he needed to “maintain the integrity of the World’s Championship,” and doesn’t want a championship match, “marred by outside interference.” He also speaks out against three deadly sins:
It’s also important to note that this is the first appearance of the NWA’s newest broadcast colleague, wrestling legend SEAN MOONEY, the voice of the old WWF Event Center who they’ve been keeping in the warehouse since 1993. As a late ’80s-early ’90s WWF guy, Mooney kind of antithetical to the throwback TBS World Championship Wrestling aesthetic, but it works. Mooney’s comes with so much pro wrestling nostalgia he could probably shoot it out of his fingertips. Great pickup.
Aldis also had Marty Scurll thrown out of the building at Hard Times because per their pre-match agreement, Aldis now “calls the shots” for any and all interaction between the NWA and Ring of Honor. That includes Marty, so he had to go. He promotes a segment for the end of the night, as well: a special “sit-down interview,” wherein Aldis kept Marty sitting around waiting until he got pissed off, and then sauntered in just to tell him what a turncoat piece of shit he is for selling out and betraying his only good friend, Nick Aldis, who was always here for him and just wanted the best.
Aldis brilliantly turns Marty’s completely rational wants and needs as a professional wrestler — wanting to win a World Championship, so he can say he’s at the top of his field — into something that seems greedy and spiteful. He plays up Marty’s widely publicized “WWE main roster money” contract with Ring of Honor and openly wonders why if Marty has everything he wants, why he has to also come over HERE and take what HE has. He’s so good that you kinda start coming around to his side. Marty DID already get a title shot at last year’s Crockett Cup, and he came up short. So all his, “I KNOW I can beat you,” stuff comes across as him just feeling entitled to more title matches. That then comes across sounding like Aldis is right when he says Scurll doesn’t care about any of this, he just wants to take over Aldis’ “thing” and be the center of attention everywhere.
Scurll does an okay job of trying to explain his point of view, especially the part where it’s annoying how at every meet and greet people keep telling him, “you should’ve won” and “you should be champion.” But the champ’s got him over a barrel, and his stipulation for giving Marty another shot at Sweet Charlotte is Marty having to dig into those fat pockets and personally refund every person in the crowd if he can’t seal the deal. This is awesome as a sarcastic power move to shame a guy who used to be your friend for doing well at work, and a great way (if they want) to do a “free” event like ROH is doing in Baltimore. It’d be pretty awesome to make people pay for tickets, but then secretly plan to give them refunds when the night’s over. That would probably cause more logistical problems than it’s worth, but it’s a fun hypothetical.
All in all, Nick Aldis continues to be one of the very best characters in pro wrestling right now. And more World title programs featuring people calmly talking to each other about their differences of opinion and conflicting points of view without it always having to end in flipped tables and beatdowns. You can build high drama without punching. It can make the punching that DOES end up happening mean more. Full-circle Crockett Cups. Love it.
Things continue to go badly for the worst members of Strictly Business, Royce Isaacs, who cosplays as CIMA and can barely win a jobber squash because he’s worried about his sex-withholding girlfriend leaving him (at ringside, I guess) for literally anyone who moves. Here, he’s borderline obsessed with Sal Rinauro, of all people, who sits in on commentary with a broken arm. It’s the least threatening person who could POSSIBLY be in that seat, but Isaacs confronts him and almost gets counted out because he can’t stop attempting to measure dicks in real-time. I’m honestly kind of into Royce as the Dirt Mall Nick Aldis.
By the way, the jobber he could barely defeat is “Andre Guhn,” who I hope will be the next man to join AEW’s GUNN CLUB. Oh, and a interesting thing I just learned that probably nobody else would care about: up until recently, the woman playing Mae Valentine (who has done a laundry list of interesting things before showing up in wrestling) was married to, of all people, Coyote Shivers from Empire Records, and was given away at her wedding by Dee Dee Ramone’s widow.
In Other Championship Developments
Ricky Starks tries to talk about his NWA Television Championship victory at Hard Times and gets confronted by national treasure OUTLANDISH Zicky Dice. Dice sarcastically puts over Starks’ performance at the pay-per-view, but notes that he would be Television Champion if the NWA hadn’t put him up against a “mutant freak who doesn’t even work here” — fair — and promises lawsuits for both William Patrick Corgan and, for some reason, Dave Marquez. Dice then launches into a monetized receipt of a promo explaining why Ricky Starks is poor, showing off his own “$6000” sunglasses, $4500 feather earring (hahaha), and a fanny pack so expense he has to poll the audience about it, Price Is Right-style. It’s worth $16,000, by the way. It looks like a bag you’d see attached to a little girl’s bicycle. Zicky Dice for President.
They have a match to settle the score, which Zicky of course loses in about four minutes. It’s a strong way to start off Starks’ TV title run, and at least gives Zicky a chance to lose a tournament match to somebody that actually works there. It’s also mentioned that if the TV Champion can successfully defend the title seven times in a row — the “Lucky Seven rule” — it earns him a shot at the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. See how easy it is to give the prizes and accolades on your wrestling show layers, and how presenting actual reasons why someone might want to hold a championship increases the value and prestige of not only said championship, but everyone competing for it? 24/7 Championship, I’m looking in your direction.
The new NWA Tag Team Champions run into the NWA Third-Degree National Heavyweight Champion and his Sensei, tying together two important narratives from Hard Times: Eli Drake and James Storm keeping their eyes on the prize and becoming champions in spite of their lack of experience as a team, and The Question Mark totally bailing out Aron Stevens in his title defense against Scott Steiner and being immediately abandoned when HE was in trouble for doing so. Stevens and Question Mark want all the belts, because the best should have the belts, and aren’t quite prepared for how drunk the tag team of James Storm and Eli Drake can be.
Storm goes full Christmas Show Eli Drake here, doing random, not-aging-well Bruce Lee jokes, calling Stevens the Chick-fli-a Cow in one of those burns that only really sounds good when you’re drunk, and (again, extremely randomly) insulting Ronda Rousey. “What do Ronda Rousey, Ohio State, and the Green Bay Packers all have in common? They all lost on the final kick.” Fair, but also LOL, what? Drake and Storm then pick on Joe Galli for not knowing to respond to Drake’s line of questioning with “YEAAHHHH” (YEAAHHHH).
Shooter Stevens is great as usual, saying he didn’t actually “run away” after his match with Scott Steiner. “I had to be somewhere right after that match.” Amazing. Stevens gets made fun of for wearing pajamas and doing the Al Bundy while wearing a karate* gi (pictured) until they leave. As soon as it looks like the coast is clear, Trevor Murdoch shows up and reveals that he’s talked his way into a National Championship match on next week’s show. TQM responds accordingly, with *KARAH-TAY:
Finally, Thunder Rosa wants to celebrate her Women’s World Championship win over Allysin Kay at Hard Times, but Melina’s too busy taking credit and won’t really let her speak. When she DOES finally get to start opening up and talking about what an honor it is to have her face on the title belt, Melina tells her to “save this emo crap.” Oh, and this is the face Melina makes when Rosa says no woman on the roster or on the planet can stop her:
I think The Question Mark is subtler storytelling than this, but hey, it’s gonna be worth it when Melina reveals her master plan of, “put yourself over as someone who can make unsuccessful wrestlers more successful, help the unsuccessful, and then get mad at them for being successful,” and gets stomped in the back about it.