It’s been over six months since we last saw the NWA POWERRR YouTube show each Tuesday. There was a lot of momentum going in to its next PPV, when COVID-19 effectively ground any future plans to a standstill. While the NWA, as well as various wrestling companies, tried to cope with an uncertain future and attempted to deliver content on its YouTube channel, there was hardly any wrestling at all.
Although WWE and AEW were able to continue with pre-taping their shows, and others like ROH and MLW had a back catalog to show fans matches from their respective libraries, the NWA looked to be stagnant. Adding to its woes, they lost quite a bit of talent (David Lagana resigning amid #SpeakingOut allegations, stars like Ricky Starks, Eddie Kingston going to AEW). It was looking bleak for the company that was making a comeback to prominence and, to use wrestling parlance, was about down for the count.
As reported in mid-August, David Marquez of the United Wresting Network (UWN) in conjunction with Billy Corgan and Thunder Studios in Long Beach, Calif., announced the launching of UWN Prime Time Live to Fite.tv as of September 15th, where fans can pay $7.99 per episode (or $23.99 for a bundle of four episodes) to see not only the stars of the NWA such as current NWA Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis and Eli Drake, but also those who have made names for themselves in UWN’s shows like Championship Wrestling From Hollywood (CWFH) or Championship Wrestling from Arizona (CWFAZ) such as the tag team The Tribe and single competitors like Watts and Heather Monroe.
Yet the question remains, is it worth the price tag when there are so many other ways to get your wrestling fix?
I decided to purchase the bundle to really get a sense of what UWN Prime Time Live had to offer wrestling fans, and as of this writing, I was quite pleased with the current product. The Thunder Studios does not have any fans in the building, save for the cameramen and the announcers, but if you watch IMPACT wrestling during the pandemic, this is the same approach and for the most part does not take away the action from the ring. Some episodes do have a few technical kinks to work out, but with each episode clocking in at one hour, 30 minutes, they keep the action flowing, and (as of this writing) really ensure their main event matches are worth the price of admission, so the flavor of the NWA POWERRR matches hold in this format.
Below are some recaps of Episodes 1-3 (Episode 4 will broadcast this Tuesday, October 6). Each episode recap will have two parts: A recap of the action for each episode, and final thoughts on if it’s worth the investment or not. For now, let’s get to the action!
Episode 1 (Aired Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Marquez welcomes us to the 1st episode and then gets cut off by “Dirty Daddy” Chris Dickenson who’s ready to show everyone what pro wrestling is really about. Ring commentators Joe Galli (NWA) Allyssa Marino, Todd Keneley (UWN) have the call. On to the matches.
– Hammerstone vs. EJ Sparks for West Coast Pro Wrestling Belt. A classic strength (Hammerstone) against speed (Sparks) match, w/ Hammerstone able to end it with his Nightmare Pendulum for the W.
– Will Allday vs. Jordan Clearwater. Allday is the highlight at the start, as he bullies ring announcer Adnan Kureishy to announce him as “All Damn Day!” It’s Allday in control until he flips into the ring to put away Clearwater and gets hit with Clearwater’s Midas Touch (big boot) finish to get the pin.
– Kamille vs. Heather Monroe (w/ Halston Boddy). Monroe attempts to cheat to win and targets Kamille’s shoulder using the ring post, and almost get Kamille w/ the Bitch Breaker (codebreaker), but it’s all Kamille with the Spear (or if you’re Joe Galli yelling “the Spear OUTTA NOWHERE!!”).
– Throwing back to Marquez in the back w/ Eli Drake who wants to TALK TO YA, plugs his Episode 2 match with WATTS, and “We’re back, Baby! YEAAHH!!”
– Tag team match w/ The Tribe (Navajo Warrior & Hawaiian Lion) vs. The Wolf Zaddies (Che Cabrera & Tito Escondito), and the best line is from Keneley stating this match will go down in the trenches “in the land of the big uglies!” This match has the teams brawling all over the studios, ending in a time limit, and all hell breaks loose as they battle to the back.
– Back to Marquez interviewing Mike Bennett. Bennett states he won’t leave without the Ten Pounds of Gold. Really sells the point that he is not “a hungry young wrestler” but as a “desperate veteran” who’s wrestled all over the world (Bennett: “I’ve even been to Saudi Arabia. Who wrestles in Saudi Arabia?!” *ahem*).
(Author’s Note: The NWA YouTube channel on the Ten Pounds of Gold series highlighted this, and really showcases Aldis/Bennett very well, and is a great way for the NWA emphasizes the prestige and importance of the belt).
– “Dirty Daddy” Chris Dickenson vs. “Showtime” Jordan Cruz is a glorified squash match, it served its purpose in introducing how dangerous the “Dirty Daddy” is to the masses.
– Dan Joseph vs. Levi Shapiro (W/ Howdy Price) for United Television championship. Blink and you missed this match, with Joseph getting the quick W.
– Finally your main event is: Mike Bennett (w/ Maria Kanellis) vs. Nick Aldis for the Ten Pounds of Gold. This match goes all over the Thunder Studios, with Aldis Tombstoning Bennett on the ramp. With Bennett out cold, Maria is pleading for Bennett to get up. Aldis goes after Bennett with the belt in hand, but Maria blocks his way to her husband. Business picks up with Kamille and the “Insurance Policy” of Aldis is apparently renewed. Kamille goes after Maria, and we hear Bennett goes for a cross body on Aldis that isn’t captured on screen. Once it gets back in the ring, the match goes back and forth. Bennett with a piledriver on Aldis almost earned him the gold, except Aldis was able to put his foot on the rope to break the count. Maria on the outside grabs the Ten Pounds of Gold for Bennett to use. Bennett ponders for a moment, but decides against it. Final minutes had Bennett going for a dropkick, but Aldis sidesteps, and locks his legs in the Kingslayer (Texas) Cloverleaf submission. Bennett tries to escape, with Maria pleading for her husband to hang on. Bennett valiantly tries to break the hold, but finally passes out from the pain. Aldis gets the Win….AND STILL NWA HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION!
After the match had Aldis offering his hand to Bennett in a gesture of “mutual respect.”
Final Thoughts on Episode 1:
If you are going to start (or restart) a wrestling brand, this episode hit a home run from the time the bell rang, with the Hammerstone/Sparks opening match all the way to the main event, and I am of the opinion that if you have a strong opening match to pull in eyeballs and a strong main event, then everything else gels. The matches in the middle will also whet fans’ appetite for the secondary titles (Joseph/Shapiro), tag team matches (Tribe/Zaddies), and women’s matches (Monroe/Kamille) that the NWA/UWN have to offer. The match and story with Aldis/Bennett was the best showing by far from both individuals and really reinforces Bennett as an upcoming title challenger down the road. Definitely worth the $7.99 price ticket for this PPV.
Episode II: Aired Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Plug for the Show w/ Thunder Rosa, Priscilla Kelly, Slice Boogie, Karl Fredericks, Eli Drake to kick off the show. Ring Announcers Alyssa Marino & Todd Keneley have the call this week
– Danny Limelight vs. “BHK” Kevin Martenson. Story is that Martenson beat Limelight previously, so Limelight looking for the rubber match. Big move from Limelight had him balance off the middle rope to springboard dropkick Martenson (similar to Rey Fenix’s move set), but Martenson catches Limelight in a DDT to the hard ramp, and rolled him in for the win.
– Marquez with the 3rd degree belt National champ Aron Stevens, talking smack on Trevor Murdoch and plugs the match for Episode 3
– Watts vs. Eli Drake, billed as a “hard hitting hoss” match by Keneley. This is a psychological match as each tries to one-up the other. End had Watts deliver a DarthForce (choke slam/power bomb combo) to Drake, only for a two count. Watts gets cocky and called for his music for a second DarthForce; only for Drake to pull out the Gravy Train finisher to put Watts away.
– Dave Marquez is with Priscilla Kelly. She cuts an impassioned promo about training for six months “not knowing if she would return,” and everything is on the line for the Women’s championship.
– Real Money Bro$ (Big Money Clutch & RMB $uge) vs. Friendship Farm (Gentleman Jervis & Sweet Robin Shaw). Jervis had control for the team, but once Shaw tagged in, The Bro$ took control, laying in boots Sweet Robin. Shaw escaped for a hot tag to Jervis, and it’s time for “GentleMania!” Action spills out all over the ring, only for the Bro$ to hit the Signing Bonus, (Irish Whip to a Black Hole Slam) and the Money Bro$ get the win.
– “Dirty Daddy” Chris Robinson is back and not impressed by the last match, and wants to show what professional wrestling is all about (I sense a theme).
– Slice Boogie vs. Karl Fredericks. From the bell, it’s all about strong style matchup (since Fredericks trained in the New Japan Dojo in Los Angeles), with Fredericks dominating whip chops/forearms; Slice not giving an inch to Fredericks. Slice tries to put away Karl with the 21st St. Special (Blockbuster), but only gets a two count. Fredericks puts away Slice with the Manifest Destiny (elevated DDT) for the pin.
– Throw it to Joe Galli in Austin, TX and talks with fans of Thunder Rosa
– Your Main Event: NWA Women’s Champion Thunder Rosa vs. Priscilla Kelly (Hell’s Favorite Harlot). Announcer Adnan Kureishy does boxing-style intros for both competitors. Feeling out process between the two, and it’s back and forth between them, neither one gaining an inch over the other. The action spills out of the ring, where Kelly wraps Rosa’s arm around the steel post; Rosa with stiff kicks to Kelly’s back. Halfway through the match, both try submissions (Rosa with rear naked choke, Kelly with an arm triangle, but no dice. Back out of the ring, with Kelly going for a Stretch Plum submission, but Rosa counters to a DVD on the ramp. Kelly got back with a belly to back suplex that damn near dumps Rosa on her neck that was hard to see, but only gets a two. Final moments of the match had Kelly almost get the win with Crippling Depression (Dragon Suplex), but only gets the win, but it’s Rosa w/ the Thunder Driver (Michinoku Driver) to put her away … and still NWA Women’s champion.
Final Thoughts on Episode 2:
I felt the episode started slow at the opening, even with the moves by BHK and Limelight, and my armchair booker moment make me felt that Watts/Drake should have been the opener. Yet despite that, the matches built from there, and the big highlight was the Slice/Fredericks matchup, if you dig the New Japan Strong Style. But, as always, the thing UWN/NWA does right is put a big focus on the main event, and Rosa/Kelly was cherry on top of this suplex sundae. Still worth the $7.99
Episode 3: Aired Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Promos from Real Money Bro$, SoCal Distancing, Nicole Savoy, “Dirty Daddy”, Aron Stevens, Trevor Murdoch hype up UWN Prime Time Live. Ring announcers this week Todd Keneley, Blake “Bulletproof” Troop, and Alyssa Marino have the call.
– UWN TAG TEAM Matchup: Real Money Bro$ (Big Money Clutch & RMB $uge) vs. Tag Team Champs SoCal Distancing (Adrian Quest & Andy Brown). Highlight of this is the Real Money Bro$ get led to the ring by Repo Ric (hype man for Floyd Mayweather Promotions). Soon as the bell rings, SoCal tries to jump the Bro$, but the Bro$ get the upper hand. Back and forth match had the Bro$ try for a Flatliner combo, but SoCal breaks up the pin. End has SoCal go for Last of a Dying Breed finisher (Roaring Elbow/Phoenix Splash) that puts the Bro$ away… and still tag team champions.
– Throwback to Curt Robinson to talk with Trevor Murdoch’s shot at the NWA National Championship, and Murdoch saying it’s his last chance at the gold
– Greek God Papadon vs. “the 86er” Remy Marcel. There were some audio issues with Troop’s mic calling the match which was a bit distracting. Nothing fancy, but a good technical match from GGP against Remy’s calculated shots. End had Marcel dumped on his neck, courtesy of GGP back suplex, and then he turns Marcel inside out with a Lariat, followed by a piledriver for the win.
– James Kincaid is here to interview Dirty Daddy. Yep, he’s still bitter, and not happy by the product he sees being offered by Marquez/Corgan. That brings out The Neon Icon, Anthony Idol, and he wants Dickinson to get in the ring with “the baller, the shot caller, the guy who makes all the ladies holler!” Which leads us to….
– Anthony Idol vs. “Dirty Daddy” Chris Dickinson. This is a little more competitive with Idol able to take “Dirty Daddy” off guard with a spine buster. Idol with a choke slam only gets a two. End sees Dickinson unleash a flurry of kicks, then puts away Idol with the DVD. Oh, and big surprise, Dickinson still wants competition. Who knew?
– Allison Kay with Nicole Savoy. (Author’s Note: This was originally supposed to be Serena Deeb against Kay, but she pulled out due to testing positive for COVID. Here’s hoping she will be fine.) Split screen had May Valentine talking, but then Kay tries to interrupt, which was odd… but, whatever. This is a technical classic between the two, with Savoy throwing Kay around with suplexes (since she is the “Queen of Suplexes”), and Kay focuses on knee attacks to Savoy. End then has Kay do a rollup on the targeted knee of Savoy getting trapped and hyper extended, but it’s enough for Kay to secure the win. Kay calls out the champ Thunder Rosa.
– May Valentine interviews your 3rd degree National champ Aron Stevens. Basically, he’s the best, and will retain.
– Ruby Raze vs. Cece Chanel. Raze with a little chest thumping and then a test of strength, but Chanel gets offense in on the Equal Opportunity Ass Kicker, but it’s all Raze in control and she decimates Chanel with a reverse-style Vertebreaker, and that’s all she wrote.
– Jack Cartwright vs. Robert Banes. Banes just manhandles Cartwright, and Cartwright bumps about like a pinball. Cartwright attempts some offense and goes for a shooting star but misses the mark. Banes puts him into a unique submission (what appeared to me as a standing Anaconda Vice) and Jack taps out.
– Main event: Trevor Murdoch vs. NWA (3rd Degree Belt) National Champion Aron Stevens. Once again, boxing style intros by announcer Adnan Kureishy. Stevens ring gear has him wearing a karate (excuse me, I meant …”KA-RA-TAYY”) gi with Mongrovia Karate on the back. Stevens gets shots in, but the Redneck Wrecking Machine takes it to the champ. Shenanigans by Stevens when he gets tossed outside as Murdoch stalks him, and Stevens shines the stage lights in his face. While the ref was distracted, Stevens goes for a low blow and drags Murdoch in the ring for the pin, but gets a two. Stevens unties his 3rd degree belt to choke out Murdoch, but to no avail. Stevens in control until a Murdoch spinebuster takes the wind out. Murdoch goes up top for a crossbody but only gets a two. End has Stevens trying a sunset flip to pin, but can’t rotate completely, and Murdoch just sits down for 1…2…3! Trevor Murdoch is Your Winner… and new National champion! Great finish and first title change of UWN Prime Time Live. After the match, James Kincaid interviews an emotional Murdoch, thanking his wife and kids, saying, “Dad won!”
Final Thoughts on Episode 3:
Again, the opening match didn’t do it for me, but the rest of the show built from there. Only other quibble I had last two episodes with the main events were the boxing-style intros for the competitors (which makes sense if there is a crowd of people, but when everything is so empty if can be a bit glaring, but I digress). Big highlights of the show were the Kay/Savoy match that was changed at the last minute, but still a classic; the Raze/Chanel match; and as always the main event match with Murdoch/Stevens had the right amount of sizzle to really invest you into this match. Again, gonna say it’s worth the $7.99.
Overall, without seeing Episode 4 yet, I would say if you are missing on the type of action that NWA POWERRR was delivering, this is worth the investment that NWA/UWN is providing its fanbase to get back on track. While some of the stars have moved on to the big time, Corgan/Marquez have done a great job emphasizing the new/established talent, and gives them a chance to shine in the national limelight. But their secret sauce is the emphasis on the main event picture, and the wrestlers that hold those prestigious titles.
I found that I got my money’s worth, and my package includes tonight’s show, which I will recap here at SlamWrestling.net.