The debut of NWA Powerrr is here. The selling point was the return to studio wrestling in Atlanta, GA. The main event saw Tim Storm challenge Nick Aldis for the NWA World’s Heavyweight Championship. The familiar faces of James Storm, Eli Drake, Eddie Kingston, and Jim Cornette also made appearances.
Let’s see what Billy Corgan’s vision has to offer.
The episode started with a three-minute countdown clock. The background star graphics looked like old-school 3-D without the special glasses. The music was a unique uplifting tune. This is already presenting a different vibe than standard professional wrestling.
The opening showed pictures of the roster to a pumping 80s rock jam from Dokken, “Into the Fire.”
Joe Galli and Jim Cornette welcomed us from the announce table by explaining the history of studio wrestling, particularly in Atlanta, GA. David Marquez handled interview duties.
First up was NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis, accompanied by Camille. He displayed dapper fashion with a vest, tie, and sport coat combo.
Aldis cut a promo putting over the title belt, his close to year-long reign, the current champions, the wrestlers in the back chasing ten pounds of gold, and NWA going from punchline to headline. Most importantly, Aldis put over professional wrestling. While addressing title challenger Tim Storm, Aldis mentioned how professional wrestling has paid for his Jaguar, every stitch of clothing he has on, and every meal he puts on his son’s dinner table. “If you think that I busted my ass from coast to coast and across four different continents just to do the J-O-B in the A-T-L, you’ve got another thing coming, my friend. So, what say you and I go out there and get after it like men. And when this is all said and done, you will know why I’m the National Treasure and the World’s Champion.”
The Dawsons vs Sal Rinauro & Billy Buck
The opening tag bout was a squash showcase for the Dawsons. They were a couple of big belly beefers. The Dawsons used a bruising style to punish their opponents. Their teamwork maneuvers included a double suplex and a sidewalk slam combined with a running elbow drop. For their finisher, one Dawson held his foe upside down while the other Dawson ran to collide bodies like a jabrone sandwich squisher, then the poor fellow was slammed down to the mat.
The Dawsons did an interview with David Marquez after the match. They own this place and, “There ain’t nothing nobody can do about it.” They’re here to fight everyone. They’re the two guys that bullied everyone for their lunch money. Time to get acquainted with the Dawsons. Marquez closed with old-school announcer flavor, “I think we’ve met our first double tough competitors here on NWA Powerrr.”
Next was a low budget throwback commercial for Austin Idol’s wrestling school. It seems to be a real place.
Eli Drake vs Caleb Konley
Joe Galli interviewed Eli Drake. Drake said you can tell there is something different about this place (in Atlanta). Everywhere you look in wrestling today, there are a bunch of children running around (as wrestlers). In the NWA, they’ve got grown men. Men who want to be the best. Drake is coming for championships.
This was a quality match in the mold of high flying up-and-comer against proven veteran. It was back and forth, but Drake was always one step ahead to stifle any momentum. Top moves were a slingshot shoulder tackle by Drake and a slingshot corkscrew splash by Konley. For the finish, Konley went high-risk with a springboard moonsault, but Drake got his boots up. That led to Drake’s over the shoulder back-to-belly piledriver finisher.
Jocephus wants one Storm, gets a different Storm
After a hype video for the evening’s championship main event between Nick Aldis and Tim Storm, Jocephus came out to interrupt the announcers and demand Storm. Instead of Tim Storm, NWA National Heavyweight Champion James Storm answered the call. James got in Jocephus’ face talking about him pretending to be tough by putting on a pair of wrestling trunks. James told him to go back to his desk job. When James looks in his eyes, Jocephus knows that he knows Jocephus is nothing but a joke. Fisticuffs! The two brawled all over the studio.
The Wild Cards vs Danny White & Mims
The Wild Cards are NWA World Tag Team Champions. The team consists of Thomas Latimer and Royce Isaacs, who were paired together as wild cards in the Crockett Cup. This non-title contest was another showcase squash. The top highlight was the finishing sequence of a pop-up powerbomb by Latimer and a standing full nelson lift into a German suplex by Isaacs. Latimer picked up the pin.
In the post-match interview, the thoroughbred champs were interrupted by Eddie Kingston. Kingston took very lame verbal jabs at the champs, but he wasn’t out there to disrespect them. The champs look great all jacked and tanned, however, that means nothing in Kingston’s world. Kingston said the champs don’t speak for underdogs or the outlaws of the world. Latimer shoved the podium in rage over that last comment. I’m not sure why. The three had a shouting match, then Homicide walked up to join Kingston. The lip flapping continued.
All of a sudden, James Storm and Jocephus bust threw the curtain still brawling.
James Storm vs Jocephus
A one-on-one contest was finally agreed to after Jocephus demanded James Storm turn his back in the corner, so Jocephus could enter the ring. Ding, ding, ding. Jocephus charged, so Storm superkicked. Storm won the match in under ten seconds. After the bell, Storm delivered knees and another superkick. Storm placed Jocephus’ thumb in his own mouth and laid him down to sleep like a baby.
Storm spoke into Jim Cornette’s headset from a distance, but I couldn’t hear what he said. The announcers acted like it was important.
NWA World’s Heavyweight Championship: Nick Aldis vs Tim Storm
A video package set up the story of the rivalry between Nick Aldis and Tim Storm. This title opportunity was offered by Aldis on the condition that it will be Storm’s last if he loses. 54-year old Storm cut a promo about what defines him as a man versus a professional wrestler. As a man, it is the people he loves and who love him, such as his 94-year old mama. As a wrestler, it is the ten pounds of gold (title belt). He held the championship with style and class. He agreed to the stipulation because there is nothing more important to him in wrestling than the NWA World’s Heavyweight Championship.
Aldis made his entrance with Camille by his side. Commentary referred to Camille as Aldis’ insurance policy.
The bout was about thirteen minutes in duration. The excitement picked up midway through when Storm applied a figure four leglock. Aldis was in trouble but managed to grab the ropes. Storm followed up with a superplex. Aldis kicked out at two. Storm took to the air with a flying crossbody. Aldis kicked out at two. High flying was not Storm’s game. He thought about going up top again but decided to do a middle rope swanton instead. The hesitation cost Storm as Aldis moved out of the way of impact.
Aldis took control with a flying elbow drop to Storm’s lower back. Aldis locked in a Sharpshooter submission. Storm was fading until the crowd chanted, “Mama Storm.” That gave Storm the emotional boost needed to reach the ropes.
Storm escaped out out a slam and pushed Aldis, who smashed into the referee. Storm took advantage of the moment with a low blow. Storm connected on his spinning side slam finisher. Aldis kicked out at two.
The action spilled to the floor. Aldis attempted a clothesline, but Storm ducked. Aldis clocked Camille by accident. Camille had been standing there with an oblivious look on her face before being hammered.
Storm smashed Aldis’ head into the ring post. Back in the ring, Storm went for a suplex, however, Aldis countered into a cradle to win. The champ retained his ten pounds of gold.
Joe Galli conducted a post-match interview with the champ and Camille. Aldis stated that the NWA also stands for never without authenticity. He put over Storm as a hell of a man. Camille was standing in the background like a sad panda about that clothesline. Galli asked how she was doing, and Aldis answered for her that she was fine. Galli tried again to allow Camille to speak for herself. Silence. Galli asked Camille a different question, which Aldis interrupted. Aldis didn’t want to take the moment away from Storm. Aldis said Galli could save his clickbait stuff for another day.
The debut episode of NWA Powerrr is in the books, and I’m going to say it was a winner. The show attempted to provide a unique throwback flavor to studio wrestling. It achieved just that. The studio setup was a perfect replication. The laser graphics and sound effects put a smile on my face. Jim Cornette and Joe Galli called the action just fine. David Marquez played his role well in a dry way. Even the weird commercials felt like dated blasts from the past. NWA gained my interest enough to check out the second episode.
The wrestler physiques in the debut episode added to the throwback atmosphere. They were rugged and didn’t look like male models. Even the ones in shape have thickness. They appear more like bar brawlers than crossfit trainers. It reminded me of the wrestling days with “real men” who wanted to fight.
NWA Powerrr won’t be everybody’s cup of tea. Of the five bouts, three were squashes. It was also promo heavy. In fact, some may tune out after five minutes if they aren’t hip to the low frills production vibe. That’s not to say the show was amateur. They did what they did on purpose. It won’t be appreciated by all, and that is okay. The bottom line though is that I think the debut episode is something unique enough in the wrestling landscape for everyone to check out and judge for themselves.
Can NWA Powerrr become a sustainable program? I think so. There is definitely a niche lane for NWA to carve out if they continue on this path. The paying fans were extremely enthusiastic. Much like MLW, NWA can survive if they stay the course and provide a unique product to grow a diehard fan base.
As for the performance aspects, there was a good mix of action and talking. The formula was simple but effective. The squash matches for the Dawsons and the Wild Cards achieved the goal of making me curious to see more. The Wild Cards against Eddie Kingston and Homicide is a fight I look forward to.
I’d say the standout was Caleb Konley. He was new to me. Konley’s athleticism and energy make him the kind of homegrown talent I could root for down the line as he rises up the ladder.
The main event title bout was entertaining. At first, I was somewhat disinterested, because I thought there was no way Storm was going to win. Storm sucked me in with his barrage of maneuvers after the figure four leglock. I actually ended up caring about Storm and the stipulation that he couldn’t challenge Aldis again if he lost.
One interesting aspect as a first-time viewer of Billy Corgan’s NWA product was the tone of promos from Nick Aldis. He opened as the face of the company with a mighty fine speech. Aldis put over NWA and everyone in the back. After his title defense, it was clear he was a heel with the way he treated Camille. That will be a story to keep an eye on.
Did the debut of NWA Powerrr pass or fail in your eyes? What were the positives and the negatives? Will you be tuning in next week?