A lot has changed in the life of Tim Storm since he was last featured on SLAM! Wrestling. In the prior profile, he had just recently wrested the National Wrestling Alliance World heavyweight title from the clutches of Jax Dane. The NWA was in a much different place in terms of company ownership, brand visibility, and international notoriety/relevance in the pro wrestling world.
It’s different today.
“For a long time I felt like as far as the NWA prior to William Patrick Corgan buying it and Dave Lagana getting involved with him before that ownership group came in, I really felt like it was me and a handful of guys that were kind of carrying the banner and waving the flag,” Storm recently told SLAM! Wrestling.
Storm realized through the YouTube-based NWA Powerrr experience that he was never alone. There’s a world of fans out there who have great memories who tie NWA to fantastic wrestling, the history of the promotion, the old show at 6:05 p.m. on Saturdays. NWA resonated with a group of people out there that were hungry for an alternative.
NWA Power has been capturing the imagination of the collective wrestling world. Helmed by Nick Aldis as the NWA world’s champion, the roster is becoming a deep one with additional depth seemingly week by week. Established names occupy spots on the card like James Storm, The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, Eli Drake, Eddie Kingston, and many more. Young up-and-comers bolster the roster like Ricky Starks, Zicky Dice, Marti Belle, and a myriad of other prospects who are getting people talking.
As far as what Storm is doing on the show in-ring, he has found himself in some recent high-profile situations where he has failed to grab the brass ring. Bids at gold that did not pan out (NWA World title match with Aldis and as a participant in the TV title tournament). He can also be found cutting some brilliant promos week to week.
It almost feels like it’s doing a disservice to describe it as a promo because there’s such an earnestness and authenticity to what Storm’s doing as an orator.
Many fans and pundits alike have described Storm as being the best white-meat babyface on the modern pro wrestling scene.
“I read that stuff and it always makes me smile,” Storm said. “I can’t say how much I appreciate it because here’s the funny thing, nobody’s more surprised by that than I am … Who’s the bestface in wrestling? This is so weird because it’s true. There’s just no gimmick. I’m just being me and maybe that’s what people like, I don’t know.”
The amazing work on the mic from Storm has inspired a lot of fanfare around not just himself but also his own mother. Momma Storm has become a popular chant in the NWA Powerrr studio and there’s even official NWA merchandise surrounding her.
“There’s nothing funnier in life than to hear your 95-year-old mom refer to herself in the third person,” chuckled Storm.
Not that long ago, the NWA brand was scattered throughout the indie circuit. It was a far cry from the buzz it is generating now on a week-to-week basis from GPB Studios in Atlanta, now labeled the NWA Arena. The microcosm of the NWA has seen growth but the macrocosm of pro wrestling as a whole has grown tremendously too.
“It’s a great time to be a wrestler. It’s a great time to be a wrestling fan,” Storm stated. “There’s so many options out there and variety. One of my favorite things to say, usually I say it about my own wrestling style, there are tons of different kinds of ice cream. This is a time where you’re walking into 31 flavours.”
NWA Powerrr, with it’s extra r’s, represents a confluence between what worked in the territory days of wrestling past but also what appeals to the modern day fan.
“I’d say that’s definitely by design … I’m just being me. But it really appeals to old school wrestling fans,” Storm said. “Along the same lines, we’ve got young talent that work what I would consider more of a high-flying style. I’m a big fan just of wrestling in general.”
As much as some dismiss it as being a niche product, NWA Powerrr provides a variety show that can appeal to many, a notion that Storm compared to a circus show. This is an idea that was imparted on him by his trainer. You may not enjoy the acrobats; you may enjoy the strongman, the elephants, or the clowns — but there’s something for everybody.
The former NWA World champ has a traditional main event style but respects and appreciates the various permutations that professional wrestling can provide.
Storm remarked, “I learned about 10 or 15 years ago, that there are certain things I don’t do well in wrestling. For example, you’re not going to see me go to the top rope very often. Because that is not my strong point. If you want my strong point, I can punch somebody in the mouth. I can kick somebody. I’m a fighter.”
On the subject of learning, the 55 year-old Storm is still concurrently working as a teacher. He keeps the two worlds very separate and prefers the students refer to him by his government name, Mr. Scoggins. There are wrestling fans at the school and more specifically there are NWA Powerrr fans that follow his career.
When we spoke, the history teacher introduced to me the allegory of the high-flying cave dweller. “I go back to something I read one time and I said, ‘That when the caveman found himself facing a dinosaur, he had one of two choices. He could either run or he could fight. Nowhere in there does he climb up on a rock and hit a 450,'” Storm explained. “I’m not taking away from the guys who do that. That’s an amazing athletic thing and has its place.”
He continued, “It’s just not my place. It’s not what I can do. So those are my two choices. These knees are so bad, I can’t run anymore anyway. So I’m going to stand and fight.”
Much has been made of Storm’s beaming pride holding the NWA belt. While the whole experience was invaluable, there was one moment that stands out as a particularly definitive one.
“It was a very, very big deal for me to defend the NWA World title in Japan. As the NWA continues to rise, the prestige that that title has in Japan is unbelievable. I didn’t realize it,” Storm said. “I had had the title, eight or nine months at that point, was comfortable defending it wherever. So we went to Japan and defended it against a guy there and he was a former sumo, legit 500 pounds, had done some MMA stuff. He was a very legitimate fighter.”
The pride of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, found himself defending the lineal heavyweight title of pro wrestling in the Land of the Rising Sun. Storm was hugely taken aback by not just the adoration the crowd has for the NWA lineage but also the adoration he received as a gaijinperformer.
“The way the NWA title is perceived there is so much different than it was at the time here. I think it’s on the rise. Nick’s title is getting back to the prestige and prominence that it deserves,” Storm remarked. “In my mind, there was no doubt that when I walked out in front of a Japanese crowd against a local Japanese, very well known guy, that I was going to be booed. And that just didn’t happen.”
Walking through the curtains and coming out to the same music that Harley Race, Ric Flair and Dory Funk Jr. came out to in Japan. The NWA championship music playing with the crowd chanting “NWA.” A true moment of pride for Momma Storm’s baby boy.
As the NWA World champion from October 21, 2016 to December 9, 2017, Storm didn’t feel like holding the belt fundamentally changed who he was as a man. But perhaps a more accurate characterization would be that capturing the belt further bolstered an already rock-solid skillset, and profoundly boosted his profile.
“There’s always that debate about, does the man make the title or does the title make the man? I think in this case, the title made the man. I’m basically the same wrestler that I have been for the last 10 or 15 years. My matches, what I do in the ring, the quality of my matches, those kind of things. I don’t think that has really changed,” said Storm. “Who I am as a person hasn’t changed… When I won it, nobody knows how long they’re gonna hold that world title. That or any prominent title when you win it. I think there were a lot of people who thought, ‘Okay, this will be a quick deal.'”
The 6-foot-3, 260-pound Storm sees the NWA gold as the great-great grandfather of every title belt in every industry in every country. It’s been there, it’s done that. It really is that important to him. He had won a lot of titles and some of them very-prestigious. But there was none greater than that one and the title win galvanized his legitimacy in the eyes of many fans and pundits alike.
I’ve had people come to me and say, ‘If so and so called and offered, you would jump on that and that would be more important.’ The truth is I wouldn’t. It wouldn’t be more important than that,” he said. “Truthfully because I love the brand so much and because I grew up watching that and it meaning so much, it just can’t get any higher than that.”
NWA has also been carving out quite a place for fans of wrestling interviews. The art of the promo is one of the many engaging facets of wrestling and NWA might have the best roster of talkers in the business today. It’s a free-form creative platform which hearkens back to the organic approach studio wrestlers in the ’80s had.
“When I go out there, one of the really fun unique things that makes NWA Powerrr different than any other wrestling promotion,” Storm said. “It’s a sink or swim thing. You walk out with a live mic, in front of a live crowd, with not even bullet points. It’s just like saying go out there and talk about your match.”
Storm elaborated, with a specific example of how free-form things are working with NWA producers. “It’s sink or swim when I go out there and I’m being me because that’s my passion. The very first promo Dave [Lagana] said, ‘You’ve got about 90 seconds, go out there and just talk about your match with Nick’ … The one thing I was worried about going through the curtain was, I have a message I want to deliver and I’m not sure I can get out what I want in 90 seconds.”
He continued, “I’ve done TV before, if you’re on the clock you’re on the clock. As I’m standing in gorilla [position] getting ready to go out, Billy [Corgan] walks up and he goes, ‘Don’t worry about the time. Do what you want to do. We trust you.’ … The fact that it connected with the crowd was a complete surprise.”
Tim Storm has an authentic prizefighter aura that always elicits a big reaction from the NWA audience. That studio audience becomes unglued because Storm is a wrestler who can be in contention for gold at any time.
Though he has encountered a few bumps in the round as of late, it stirs up a fervor in the fans who are that much more invested to cheer him on to victory in the next outing.
“On episode one I lost to Nick and the stipulation was if you lose you never get a shot … My sights kind of went towards the TV title. That didn’t work. I held the North American title twice. We’ve got the National title. There are other things out there … To represent the NWA with any title is an honour.”
- June 6, 2021: Tim Storm: Weathering the changes in the NWA
- Dec. 21, 2016: New NWA Heavyweight champion Tim Storm ‘truly an old-school wrestler’
- May 11, 2011: Indy World champ crowned at inaugural Germanfest tournament
- Tim Storm’s Social Media: Twitter * Instagram
This is Dylan Bowker’s debut piece for SLAM! Wrestling. Why not take a moment and let him know what you thought of his story on Tim Storm.