As the NWA celebrates its 51st anniversary, it finds itself at one of the most critical junctures in its existence. Several members have been publicly feuding over the direction of the alliance. Morale is low and fans have grown increasingly impatient with their product.

Then there’s the image problem. With a rad-tad agreement from a collection of regional promotions, the NWA has the perception of being minor league. The glory days of NWA years past continue to dog this once proud organization. Fans instinctively compare the one time powerhouse to today’s meagre incarnation and ask, “is this the same organization?”

The 51st anniversary convention this weekend in Charlotte is absolutely critical in alleviating these problems and addressing some key issues.

“I think we’re at a crossroads,” NWA President Howard Brody told SLAM! Wrestling. “The most important thing is getting everybody together and discussing business and have an understanding of what our members are doing and trying to create working relationships and create a bond of trust.”

Brody feels last year’s debacle of a show set the organization back a little and contributed to the perception that the NWA is minor league.

“Last year’s show was the pits,” stated Brody. “We created this idea of a joint show with all the promotions to say ‘here’s a group of guys trying to go in one direction.'”

It didn’t work. They put on a horrible show. And instead of going in a single direction, they clearly demonstrated they didn’t know if they were coming or going.

Brody hopes this year’s convention will go a long way in repairing the NWA’s battered and bruised complexion and reestablish some good faith with its fans.

“I’m a little apprehensive,” admitted Brody. “I think we need to put our best foot forward. I think compared to last year we have a better card. This year we’re trying to be more conscience of working with each other. I hope we do well.”

Brody wants to use the convention as a vehicle to establish the NWA’s stable of young wrestlers. Instead of bringing in stars from other organizations like last year, the decision was made to have the stars of the NWA as the focus of this year’s show. Brody feels this is crucial to the NWA’s future.

“We need to survive on our own laurels and with our own workers,” said Brody. “We are bringing in two wrestlers: Jerry Lawler, but he’s been involved in an ongoing feud with the Colorado Kid in an NWA territory and Abdullah the Butcher who worked last year’s show.” (Lawler has since cancelled his appearance because of his run for mayor in Memphis.)

“Everybody else on the card is of NWA nature,” continued Brody. “I think that’s healthy for us to develop our talent and give them a chance to shine.”

Despite the feuding among its members and the minor league perception, Brody still believes in the NWA and that it can overcome its problems with the co-operation of its members.

“I’m always a believer that there’s strength in numbers. I really have faith in this organization.”