ATLANTA – The first wrestling convention that I attended was the NWA 50th Anniversary event in Cherry Hill, NJ. That day I met legends, past and future, and other fans that shared my passion for wrestling. To interact on a personal level with the likes of Freddie Blassie, Abdullah the Butcher, Tully Blanchard, and Lou Thesz cemented that passion.
When the NWA announced their plans to celebrate their 60th Anniversary, I knew it would again be a special event.
On Saturday, June 7, the Philips Arena in Atlanta hosted the celebration which featured matches showcasing NWA superstars from around the country. The highlight of the evening was the 2008 NWA Hall of Fame inductions. Master of Ceremony, Jim Cornette had the honor of introducing the inductees Nikita Koloff, The Iron Sheik, The Corsica Brothers (accepted by Corsica Joe), The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey), and Tommy Rich. “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff was introduced and announced as the first honoree into the 2009 NWA Hall of Fame.
NWA titles were put on the line during the evening’s matches. Mike Dibiase retained the NWA North American Championship against Idol Stevens. Mike Quackenbush successfully defended the NWA World Junior Heavyweight championship he has held since May 2007 against Ricky Vega. The NWA Anarchy Heavyweight champ Iceberg defeated Judas and Shatter. The NWA World Tag Team champs, Los Luchas, retained the title against The Real American Heroes (Karl “Machine Gun” Anderson and Joey Ryan) and The Naturals.
Tommy Rich and Abdullah the Butcher kept their action and extreme bloodshed outside the ring. The bout was deemed a no contest because the match never officially started.
Rob Conway teamed with Carl Oulette unsuccessfully to take on the odd pairing of Blue Demon Jr and Sean Waltman. Sid Vicious destroyed the Playas Club in a handicap match stemming from the brutal beating Sid handed them at a prior show in Lincoln, Rhode Island. The main event featured another victory for the Rock and Roll Express over the Midnight Express.
Overall, it was a good time, with about 2,500 people in the building.