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Hard Times takeaways: Thunder Rosa and Ricky Starks are ready to carry the NWA

NWA’s Hard Times PPV was very newsworthy with three new champions and more developments in the interpromotional feud between Nick Aldis and Marty Scurll. Let’s break down the takeaways from the event as we head into the next chapter of Powerrr tonight at 6:05 pm ET on NWA’s YouTube channel.

New champs ready to carry the company

While Worlds Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis is occupied with Marty Scurll and Villain Enterprises, NWA will need some stars to carry the load for Powerrr. Two of those stars have been crowned: Thunder Rosa and Ricky Starks.

Thunder Rosa became the first Mexican-born NWA World Women’s Champion by defeating Allysin Kay in a barn burner of a bout. It was the best match of the evening. Rosa showed grit and determination to win clean without help from Melina or Marti Belle. Rosa has often showed the spark of being a future star, but she had yet to be given the opportunity in a top promotion. Well, now Rosa’s time is here. Listen to her post-match interview. You can tell that Rosa won’t be letting her hard work go to waste. She’ll be carrying the women’s belt with the same pride as Nick Aldis does with the Ten Pounds of Gold.

Ricky Starks is another star ready to take the leap for NWA. He earned the NWA World Television Championship by winning an 8-man tournament. Starks’ performance in the ring was enjoyable, but it was less of a breakout than Thunder Rosa due to the natural story of attrition that a tournament tells. However, Starks’ post-match promo will sell you on any doubts about him.

These two new stars will give NWA an opportunity to build quality stories for Powerrr and rely less on Nick Aldis to carry the load as the selling point. Both Rosa and Starks have worked hard to earn their spot, and I have no doubt that they can carry the NWA into the future.

Tournaments are fun

There are two things in wrestling that I will always have a desire to watch regardless of who is participating. Those would be any form of a battle royal and single-event tournaments. NWA’s TV title tournament didn’t disappoint. It provided a fun experience.

The matches were quick with a 6:05 time limit prior to the final. That forced the action to have urgency. There were unique good vs good matchups that clouded any obvious winners. Trevor Murdoch emerged as an underdog to make it to the final. Ricky Starks came through as the breakout to win. It was a good touch by NWA to have the final as the main event. That showed the TV title to be important rather than another mid-card belt to be overshadowed by the Ten Pounds of Gold.

Tournament good times will continue to roll as NWA announced the next PPV will be the 2020 Crockett Cup tag team tourney.

Scott Steiner is also fun

Scott Steiner had a title match against for the NWA National Championship against Aron Stevens. Steiner did his thing as Big Poppa Pump. He entertained by being burly with several suplexes. From an in-ring standpoint, I couldn’t have asked for anything more from Steiner. Stevens retained via disqualification due to interference from ¿The Question Mark?, so perhaps this feud will continue. If it does, then we should be treated to a promo exchange from Steiner and Stevens. I actually want that more than a rematch.

Three legal wrestlers in tag team three-ways is the way to go

I have long wondered why multi-team tag matches had to only have two legal men in the ring. The NWA World Tag Team Championship match between the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, Wildcards, and James Storm & Eli Drake shed that standard rule by allowing three legal men at once. One man per team was permitted with only tags between partners. The match basically had the same style with wrestlers being knocked out of the ring for the action to be one-on-one. The finish broke down into a giant skirmish, which is also a staple of multi-team matches. I hope that three legal men (or more depending on how many teams) becomes the new norm. It feels more logical that way.

As for the winner, Storm and Drake became new champs. Ricky Morton was rocking and rolling with a Canadian Destroyer on one of the Wildcards. Morton targeted Drake, but Storm grabbed Morton’s foot from the outside. That allowed Drake to hit his Gravy Train finisher to win. I like the decision for Storm and Drake to become tag champs. It gives them purpose while waiting for Nick Aldis to finish his feud with Marty Scurll. Storm and Drake are also big enough names to carry a show as the main event.

The ball is in Nick Aldis’ corner

Nick Aldis believes he is the primary reason why the NWA is where it is today. Outside of Billy Corgan’s involvement as owner, I agree with Aldis. He exemplifies every trait I think of when I imagine the standard-bearer of a promotion. At Hard Times, Aldis lived up to being the man by defending his Worlds Heavyweight Championship in a clean win against Flip Gordon.

Aldis also locked down a key stipulation toward Marty Scurll. In exchange for putting up the Ten Pounds of Gold against Gordon, Aldis’ win now dictates that he sets the rules going forward with that feud. Aldis has this strange sense of honor while being a heel. He often tries to get the advantage in the guise of being strictly business, but it usually results as a somewhat fair exchange for the challenger. Scurll was advertised for Powerrr tapings, so it should be interesting to find out how Aldis uses his new power.

Those are my takeaways from Hard Times as we head into the fresh episode of Powerrr. In the words of Stu Bennett, we have some breaking news. Sean Mooney will be joining the NWA team. Mooney is a memorable face from the WWE in the late 1980s as interviewer, announcer, and host of VHS tapes.

What are your takeaways from Hard Times? Do you think Thunder Rosa and Ricky Starks can carry the NWA going forward? If you were in Nick Aldis’ shoes, what shots would you call against Marty Scurll?

Update: It looks like Zicky Dice will be going after Ricky Starks and the NWA TV title. Dice went to protest Starks as champ.

NWA Powerrr airs worldwide Tuesdays at 6:05 p.m. ET on NWA’s YouTube channel and NWA’s Facebook page.

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