NWA’s latest PPV event is a wrap. We knew there would be one champ crowned at Hard Times in Atlanta tonight (Jan. 24), as the Television title was being awarded to the winner of an eight-man tournament. We ended up getting two title changes, an unexpected championship defense, and a champ who lost but kept his belt.
The TV title was won in the main event, when Ricky Starks pinned Trevor Murdoch. Starks beat Matt Cross & Tim Storm to reach the final. The former WWE World Tag champ ended Question Mark’s undefeated streak, then pinned Dan Maff.
The final was the only match of the tourney longer than 6minutes and 5 seconds (by rule there was a 6:05 time limit - an homage to the the old NWA World Championship Wrestling show’s start time). It sounds weird on paper, but helped the show go by quickly and feel action packed. Starks won his third match and the title with his sitout double underhook facebuster.
Two championships changed hands in between the first round matches and the semi-finals. Eli Drake & James Storm won the Tag titles from The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express in a Triple Threat (which featured one man from each team in the ring at all times, and tags could only be made between partners) which also featured Nick Aldis’ stablemates The Wildcards. Ricky Morton took the pin from Drake after The Rock ‘N’ Roll dealt with Thom Latimer & Royce Isaacs of The Wildcards, and their enforcer Kamille.
The match of the night was next, as Allysin Kay defended the Women’s belt against Thunder Rosa. The crowd was thoroughly behind Rosa, even though she’s allied with a clear-cut heel in Melina. The studio audience at GPB has been treating the luchadora that way for a while, though, and could be why she got the nod here. After a hard-hitting 20 minute affair, Kay fought her way out of an armbar only to take a Thunder Driver.
Rosa celebrated becoming the 29th wrestler to hold the NWA Women’s title with Melina & stablemate Marti Belle.
The Worlds champ wasn’t supposed to defend his title. But when Marty Scurll showed up to continue his long-running, on-again off-again issue with Aldis, the National Treasure agreed to put the title on the line in his scheduled match with Flip Gordon in order to shut up the Villain (and the fans calling him a coward). In exchange, the champ demanded Scurll leave, and that once he won, the ROH/NWA relationship would be on his terms.
Marty agreed. And it looked like a good call when Gordon had Aldis reeling with a pair of Star Spangled Stunners. Nick fought off a roll-up and got one of his own, however, and he’s calling the shots heading into a scheduled tag match with Scurll at ROH Free Enterprise next month.
The other announced title match saw Scott Steiner beat NWA National champ Aron Stevens by disqualification when Question Mark saved the former Damien Sandow from a Steiner Recliner. The Mongrovian karate master couldn’t save himself, though.
Stu Bennett announced the company will be back on PPV in April with the 2020 Crockett Cup tag tournament.
Full results from Hard Times are here.