Tim Storm has been wrestling for two decades and in October battled with Jax Dane to secure his first NWA World Heavyweight Championship, thus reaching the pinnacle of his career.

The night Storm defeated Dane to win the historic title, he was inundated with hundreds of texts and Facebook messages congratulating him on the accomplishment.

NWA President Bruce Tharpe and new NWA World champion Tim Storm

“It is humbling,” Storm said. “I think that I’m going to do a great job. I’m going to leave a mark on that title just like everyone else who’s ever worn it.”

Simultaneously, the newly-minted champion also questioned “who in this business deserves to have [his] name on a list with greatest wrestlers who’ve ever lived?”

“It was very emotional for me,” Storm said. “I reached what I consider for my career, the top of the mountain.”

James Beard, NWA director of operations, said Storm has the ability and presence “that makes it obvious he is something special” — just like past champions.

“Being an NWA World Champion carries with it a lot of responsibility in representing the brand and the wrestling business as someone who is a cut above the norm,” Beard said. “Tim has all the characteristics of the prototype NWA champion and I believe whenever he is done, no matter how long he remains on top, his legacy will be that he represented the NWA in the traditions of the men that preceded him and did so with honor and a style that makes his time as champion fitting to have his name among that elite group of wrestlers.”

NWA President Bruce Tharpe and the company itself, according to Storm, have “done a ton” to return the title’s level of prestige to what it was in its heyday.

“My goal is to continue to raise the level, both inside and outside the ring,” said Storm, who is scheduled in 2017 for his first trip to Japan.

Storm will compete for Diamond Stars Wrestling and said he intends to make his mark in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Tim Storm poses with Indy World title. Photo by Tanner Roberts

“I’m going to represent the NWA and I’m going to represent it well,” Storm said. “My goal is to have great matches everywhere I go, represent NWA and continue on the path that those guys set.”

And of those he grew up idolizing — Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, Terry Funk and Harley Race — Race is “one of the best ever” and Storm considered himself fortunate to get business advice from one of his idols.

“I am truly an old school wrestler,” Storm said. “Those guys seem to be open to talking to me, and I’ve gotten the opportunity to travel with guys that I consider legends like Skandar Akbar.”

Those opportunities, along with having the likes of Jake “The Snake” Roberts watch his matches are “invaluable,” according to Storm. It was the likes of Race that drew Storm to the industry.

Growing up in Pine Bluff, Ark., Storm was “centrally located” for Memphis Wrestling, Mid-South Wrestling, Georgia Championship Wrestling and World Class Championship Wrestling.

Storm also competed in the Germanfest Wringenmiesterschaft Tournament in 2011 and won the Indy World Championship in a final tournament match against Tokyo Monster Kahagas. Looking back, Storm said that was a turning point in his career.

“That kind of opened some people’s eyes,” Storm said. “It was a well done tournament. It had great competition. Kahagas and I were in the finals. All of a sudden now it seemed like I was on everybody’s radar.”

Beard has known Storm for several years and was one of the judges in the tournament, at which he said Storm made a “big impression.”

“To me, even though this may sound like an odd comparison, he is a little bit of a combination of a Nick Bockwinkel and a Stan Hansen type,” Beard said. “His interview style, typical match approach and personality are very businesslike and intelligent — like Nick, but he has a gear he goes to at times that is straight forward and very physical that reminds me at times of Stan. He is a real pro that could have been just as successful in any era.”

Storm said he’s always been competitive in one form or another, from college football to “the highest level of softball” and tournament volleyball. And when he decided to pursue wrestling, his first call was to WCW’s Power Plant.

“I called them and talked with them quite a bit,” Storm said, “then I saw a local [commercial for a wrestling school] and thought, ‘I want to visit that at least.'”

Though he opted to train locally with Bill Ash in Paris, Ark., rather than relocate, he said wrestling was what he’s “always wanted to do.”

Storm’s training — a roughly two-and-a-half hour drive weekly from Little Rock, Ark. — lasted about six months.

“It was a great training,” Storm said. “It was very old school. It was mainly psychology and the truth is, I wasn’t smartened up till I was already wrestling.”

Storm said he “probably got in the ring too soon,” but was a former college football player and a “big guy” at about 310 pounds when he first stepped between the ropes.

“There seems to always be a spot for big guys in the business,” said Storm, who earned a scholarship at Ouachita Baptist University for what would now be considered a defensive-end position.

Currently living in Dallas, Texas, Storm primarily works for companies in Texas, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Missouri, Florida and Louisiana, but he has a handful of mainstays that use him on a regular basis — NWA-Texoma; VIP Wrestling (Arlington, Texas); and Inspire Pro Wrestling (Austin, Texas).