NWA Powerrr Episode 5: Storm Breaker

Previously on NWA Powerrr: Aron Stevens debuted the trailer for next year’s biggest movie, Tropical Pirates. Plus, the Dawsons continued to beef with the entire tag team division, Kamille still can’t speak (or chooses not to), and Colt Cabana got powdered in the face for pretending to be a cowboy.

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 five if you haven’t already:

Colt Cabana Wins The World’s Fanciest Restaurant Placemat

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This week’s most important development is the follow-through on Colt Cabana’s match for James Storm’s National Heavyweight Championship, which Cabana won by being part of the winning team in last week’s main event. There’s also the built-in story that Storm essentially “stole” the National strap from the previous champion, Cabana, when Cabana was injured. So this, again, has a real Dusty Rhodes vibe to it, and plays a lot like when Dusty was TV Champion but got injured, and suddenly Arn Anderson was a TV Champion who couldn’t stop shit-talking Dusty Rhodes.

This is probably the best match of the episode, which highlights and important aspect of growth for Powerrr: previous episodes have sort of coasted on the idea of the show, its presentation, and the passion of the performers, but hasn’t really been heavy on, you know, good-to-great wrestling matches. Studio wrestling shows weren’t necessarily about “good matches” — they were there to entertain and inform you about the characters and situations while you were waiting for the good matches on pay-per-view (closed circuit) events or at your local arena — but a modern studio show like this has to have a noteworthy match pop up more often, as wrestling’s the name on the marquee and even die-hard wrestling fans are caught in an absolute deluge of weekly sports-entertainment programming.

It also continues Nick Aldis’ weird, understated control over everyone in the NWA. He was the major motivating factor in setting up a match against Storm where Cabana could win and get back the National Heavyweight Championship, positioning Cabana as a “top challenger” who’s probably just happy to be there and won’t always be up Aldis’ ass about when he is or isn’t getting a shot at the 10 Pounds Of Gold™. Ken Anderson and Eli Drake are at ringside for the match and have mixed and/or unclear motivations, so suddenly Nick Aldis’ “insurance policy” shows up from out of nowhere, forces them to focus on each other, and takes the pressure off Cabana in the ring. Everybody’s trying to work out their plans in real time, and the champ is two or three steps ahead. I like an Ozymandias-style Nick Aldis on top of the card, especially if it’s going to result in more TV time for Kamille. Whatever Kamille’s doing on a weekly basis should be displayed in a picture-in-picture in the corner of the screen.

Stormy Weather

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Aldis continues his control of all things Storm by popping into Tim Storm’s increasingly depressing interview about how he’s no longer in contention for the 10 Pounds Of Gold™ and therefore feels relatively worthless as a performer. Aldis shows up to keep Storm from walking away and is like, “come on, man,” while Storm, who is a really good actor, gets just a hint of a tear in his eye. Aldis doesn’t want Storm out here saying something he’ll regret. Great character work, as the NWA’s showing you on a week to week basis that older performers have a role in a wrestling promotion and can be compelling in and out of the ring without you having to pretend they’re still in the primes of their careers. 50-year old Triple H, I’m looking in your direction.

You’re The Sandow, Dog

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when you find out you are only getting one gift for Tennessee Christmas

Aron Stevens continues trying to get one over on up-and-coming star Ricky Starks in … just the worst way imaginable, man. The NWA version of Damien Sandow is a trip.

WWE fans from several years ago will wonder why he’s not immediately the biggest and best guy on the show, as he kept miraculously getting over and getting main event reactions for some of the least inspired character ideas ever (like “smart guy” and “stunt double” and “guy in costumes”), but he’s not even kinda going for that. Dude looks horrible in all the best ways. He’s kind of out of shape now, he’s wearing flesh colored trunks that make it really awkward when you’re trying to screencap the show in the middle of an airport gate, and he loses the first fall of a 2-out-of-3 falls match with Starks in the least threatening and most embarrassing way possible:

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Nothing beats the “walk up to your opponent with a double axe-handle raised above your head and hope for the best” is wrestling’s greatest attack, just ahead of the Jumping Nothing out of the corner. One of the Dawsons legitimately went for this during the main event and it made me laugh out loud. The longer you hold the move over your head, the more it’s gonna hurt. It’s like Roy’s Flare Blade from Super Smash Bros.

Anyway, Aron Stevens ends up losing the second fall only a few minutes later when he decides to curtsy over his downed opponent instead of doing an additional wrestling move to them, and you can’t say he didn’t earn it. Brother’s getting coal for Tennessee Christmas, and he’s gonna like it. I for one welcome Knowing Comedy Jobber Aron Stevens, and wish him the best in all his future hopeless in-ring endeavors.

Quick note: I love the little touches on this show. One of my favorites is how Ricky Starks’ entrance is shown on the star-field graphic to remind us what happened last week, and when he does his taunt on the apron, the stars pulse brighter. So good.

Bang The Drum Slowly

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Last week we got our first real in-universe look at Thunder Rosa, who shows up to try to lure Marti Belle to the dark side with some off-screen drumming. Belle refused the offer, but is in a weird place emotionally after realizing NWA Women’s Champion Allysin Kay got her friends opportunities in the NWA, but mostly only the ones she knows she’s better than so she can chastise and defeat them. She’s seen it in action with Ashley Vox, and she’s starting to feel like being “best friends” with Kay may be more one-sided than she’d expected.

This week, Thunder Rosa makes her in-ring debut and murks Vox, pinning her after a flying double-stomp to the spine. After the match she punches Vox a bunch to draw out Belle to make the save, and then turns it around so it’s a chance for Belle to join her and beat down Vox for fun. Belle, having no specific beef with poor Ashley Vox, declines again. Rosa knows her plan’s working, though.

Dave Marquez tries to get a word with Belle and Belle is like, “I don’t actually know who Thunder Rosa is, but we should talk about how Allysin Kay’s being super weird to somebody who’s supposed to be her best friend.” Kay saunters out, shining up her belt and launching straight into a gaslighting kind of, “c’mon, Marti, what’s this, you couldn’t just come to me directly?” Before it can go anywhere, Thunder Rosa runs back out and levels Kay. The sarcastic taunt she hits her with during it is A+.

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Rosa’s thought process is, “hey Marti Belle, you didn’t seem like you wanted to beat up Ashley Vox, maybe you want to beat up Allysin Kay for being such a dick to you?” And Belle’s ultimately like, “yeah, all right, here’s some kicks.” Rosa slithers out of the ring like she’s the queen of some sort of ancient Aztec tribe that worships reptiles, or whatever, and Belle leaves with her.

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Thunder Rosa should show up on next week’s show with her entire face painted and be like, “finally, I have someone to help me!”

Rock ‘n’ Roll Will Never Die

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Early in the episode, the Dawsons squash the jobberiffic tandem of Mims and Kingsley, with Joey Gals dropping the “shut up, Mimsy” joke I’d been waiting for. After the match, the Dawsons want you to let them TELL YA ONE THING: by defeating the worst teams on the roster and getting a Wild Cards-assisted win over the number one contenders, they believe they’ve earned an NWA Tag Team title shot. Eddie Kingston and Homicide, said number one contenders, show up and offer a completely legitimate deal: they’ve got an NWA Tag Team Championship match, and they’re willing to put it on the line if the Dawsons square up with them two-on-two in an actual match to see which team is better. The Dawsons, channeling Jerry Lawler to Outlaw Inc’s CM Punk, say, “we’ll THINK ABOUT IT!” Nothing gets more reliable boos from a wrestling audience than thinking.

Later in the night, the Dawsons randomly show up and try to play the percentages, saying they agree to the match as long as it happens RIGHT NOW. Element of surprise, or what have you. And sure enough, they can’t wrestle this one fairly or win without an assist, so the Wild Cards show up again. Homicide knocks one of the Dawsons off the apron into the Cards in an awkward moment, which I’ve captured in its 1080p glory:

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Feeling motivated to cheat now that they’ve been indirectly attacked by Homicide, Bram and Bram’s Friend try to trip him up on the top rope. Who makes the save for the heroes, here? Why, none other than NWA legends the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson, recently seen getting put into a grave by the artists formerly known as LAX on AEW Dynamite. Ricky and Robert are great, even in their sixties, and clean the runway for Outlaw Inc. to finally get the two-on-two fight they wanted, and easily win it.

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My only complaint is that time turns all wrestlers into on-screen friends, so Jim Cornette doesn’t immediately get up and start instinctively attacking Ricky and Robert with his tennis racket. They’re gonna be friends. It’s Magnum and Nikita Koloff showing up side-by-side in that video package all over again.

I’m Goin’ Retro!

NWA Powerrr

Regardless, I think episode five managed to be the best episode of Powerrr yet. I’m interested to see what happens to the look and vibe of the show once the “nostalgia” aspect has worn off, and it’s existing solely on the merits of the universe it has created for itself in 2019. I think it’s gonna be great, honestly. They’ve given me no reason to believe otherwise.