This is a pay-per-view by the National Wrestling Alliance that looks to be, top-to-bottom, the most impressive wrestling card to-date, and the future is feminine, folks. Since I am feminist AF, as the kids say, lets jump to the show because we are live from the Khorasan Ballroom at The Chase Park Plaza in downtown St. Louis, MO, and this is NWA EmPOWERRR. Your commentators Joe Galli, Velvet Sky, and… (Some dude. I wanna say Brett, but he wasn’t introduced, so…yeah, I’ll stick with that) have the call.
There was a Preshow, if you want a small flavor of what took place.
Christi Jaynes vs. Skye Blue
We at Slam! Wrestling recently spoke with Skye Blue earlier in the week, and she had a tough match with the Brazilian Wonder Woman. Match was all Jaynes, but she missed a Lionsault (or is it a Rio-Sault?), and Blue takes advantage with a rollup to a bridge to pin Jaynes for the three count. Blue blows Jaynes a kiss, and this could have some legs as a feud down the road.
Your Winner: Skye Blue
Some tech difficulties to start, and you can hear people talking from the production truck, but it finally got resolved and the show starts with a clip from the NWA Archives by “Shooter Stevens” and Krusher Kratos” being interviewed by “May South”:
We see the shot of the Ballroom and, folks, things are going to get hardcore country, as the Executive producer, Mickie James, gets in the ring and cuts the following promo:
“Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. But tonight is not about me. Tonight is about women’s wrestling. You know, they told me that tonight wouldn’t be possible. They told me that women’s wrestling doesn’t make money. So I said, ‘You know what? Bet!’ I’m going to find the best women for the NWA. I am going to lean on women who have paved the way; broken bones, broken dreams, broken hearts…all for the sake of this ring.”
“Thank you, Mickie!” chants echo through the ballroom
“You know, if I was to be serious. This means so much to me and the fact that you are all sitting out here for a night that I did not think was possible, to be humbled for so long…I love you. These women love you, the NWA loves you. And when I think about the history that has been made inside of these four walls and for the first time in 37 years, and the first matches to be held in these hallowed halls is women’s wrestling. So tonight, this is for every little girl in the back who said I want to be a professional wrestler, and had to work twice as hard for half the respect to know that you matter. You have arrived. And you were born for this. This is the NWA, and this is EmPOWERRR!”
James was a bit choked up at points, as was Velvet, and this is a PPV where everyone’s heart will be on their sleeve, and they will give it their all. So let’s get to the First Match on the card…
Chik Tormenta (AAA) vs. Diamante (AEW) vs. Kylie Rae (NWA)
It’s hard to hear the ring announcer, but Galli keeps pace and bills this as a Battle of the Brands. Match starts with a three-way Greco-Roman lockup, but Tormenta gets rolled up by Diamanté to have the pin broken by Rae. Tormenta goes out of the ring, and Diamante wants to destroy “Smiley Kylie.” Tormenta manages to get back in she throws down as well with a German suplex on Diamante, but she gives Tormenta a receipt in kind with her own German. Big spot had Rae and Diamante fight up top in the high rent district, and Tormenta gets under Diamante and all three deliver a Tower O’ Doom superplex/powerbomb combo, and Tormenta capitalizes by pinning Diamante by Rae breaks the count. Diamante goes out as the match focuses on Rae and Tormenta, but Diamante comes back with a chain and tosses it in the ring, but the ref grabs it. While distracted, Diamante kicks Rae out of the ring and hits Tormenta with a Canadian…err, Cuban Destroyer for the pin and the win
Your Winner via Pinfall: Diamante
That was a nice amuse bouche to lead to the start of…
The NWA Women’s Tag Team Tournament Semi-Final: The Hex (Allysin Kay/Marti Belle) vs. Hell on Heels (Renee Michelle and Sahara 7)
There is a huge pop for The Hex from the crowd, and both teams aren’t laying down for the other. Both teams brawl, and then The Hex isolate Michelle with great tag team action. Michelle back elbows Belle and tides have turned, as Sahara/Michelle have moves of their own with a double team monkey flip/super kick to Belle, and Marti is a Belle in Peril. Heels do a great job keeping Belle away but a discus forearm in desperation and Belle gets the hot tag, and Allyson is a Hex en Fuego. Kay gets Sahara in the corner for a face wash and a cover, but Michelle breaks the cover. Sahara 7 with a delayed DDT, and gets Michelle to cover, but Belle breaks the count. Finish had The Hex with the Hexclamation Point (double front suplex to a double knee lift a la The Young Bucks), then the Hexacution (double team front face slam), and they advance.
Your Winners via Pinfall: The Hex
Now let’s see what their next opponents will be with…
The NWA Women’s Tag Team Tournament Semi-Final: The FreeBabes (Jazzy Yang/Miranda Gordy) vs. Kylynn King/Red Velvet
Yes, indeed, Freebird rules apply and Yang and Gordy will be part of this match, while Hollyhood cheerleads from ringside, so anticipate shenanigans. Velvet starts with a takedown to Yang, and she tags in to Gordy immediately. Gordy wants King, and Velvet obliges. There are shades of papa “Bam Bam” Gordy, as his darling daughter takes the fight to King, and we get your first double team action with a double suplex by the FreeBabes for a two count.
King and Velvet are no slouches, but Gordy is an impressively strong woman in her own right. Velvet gets back, hits the ropes, but Hollyhood distracts her with her fur coat, and Gordy gorilla presses Velvet to the mat. It’s all FreeBabes and it’s all fabulous, with Yang back in and biting Velvet’s leg. Velvet fights out, hits an enzugiri and gets the hot tag to King, who is fired up and delivers a German suplex to Gordy for a two count. Double team set up by the FreeBabes, but Velvet fights out, and King is still the legal woman and hits Red Kingdom cradle slam for the three count.
Your Winners via Pinfall: Red Velvet and Kylynn King
OK, I did not anticipate that. Shame for The FreeBabes debut, but I doubt that was the last we’ll hear from them. As for the final tag match between The Hex and Velvet/King…show me what you got.
As if reading my mind, May Valentine is backstage with The Hex. Allysin Kay lets us know she once held the Burke, and wants to hold the NWA Women’s tag titles. Belle notes there has been contention with the NWA and the Dominican Republic in the past as far as championships go, and wants to correct that by being the first legitimate champ for her country. Kay hits the catchphrase “Hex marks the spot.” Indeed.
We get another promo, and it’s the IMPACT Hall of Famer and former TNA/IMPACT Knockouts Champion, Gail Kim, and she cuts a promo, so let’s give her the floor:
“Thank you. Thank you. This place is filled with so much history and tradition, I’m just…I’m just having a difficult time expressing what I’m thinking of feeling right now. You guys know that talking wasn’t always my thing, but I’m gonna do my best right now.
“For the past 20 years. I’ve poured my sweat, my tears, my love, my life into professional wrestling. Just like all the women before me; Mildred Burke, Sensational Sherri, Wendi Richter, Madusa, Jazz, just to name a few. And now we get to enjoy the fruits of our labor. Tonight, it’s such a historic night. I am truly humbled and so appreciative that NWA asked me to be a part of this historic events. And I just hope that you, the fans, appreciate the love and passion that I have for women’s wrestling.”
This brings out Taryn Terrell, with Jennacide and Paola Blaze in tow. Terrell has history (and not the good kind), and she has come out to interrupt Kim. Terrell says in her bubble-headed way that there is room for one legend, and Kim can leave now so byeeeeeeee. Kim stands her ground, as Terrell sends the lackeys to do her work.
(Author’s Note: This hurt my ears, and my roommate’s dog complained as well. I prayed to the wrestling gods to deliver me from this torment.)
As if answering my prayers, a familiar music hits the speakers and… the hell?! Awesome Kong arrives, choke slams Jennacide and implant busters Blaze onto Jennacide, and makes sure Taryn is running. Kim tells them to keep walking, but Kong is still… right… behind… her. Back in the ring, and Kong demands the mic.
“Now, some of you may not know I’m not much for words. It’s been a hard, hard year in the Kong residence, and only one thing that can get me off my couch, and away from them delicious ice cream bars….and that’s this woman right here. And I said to myself, ‘If I’m gonna go out, I’m gonna go out with the toughest foe I know.’ I love you. I’m done, and I love you, Gail!”
And both women embraced in the ring. Wow, just… what a truly historic night, and we aren’t even halfway done through the night. So, let’s get to your next match…
IMPACT Knockouts Championship: Deonna Purrazzo (c) vs. Melina
Kyle Davis is in the ring with boxing style intros to The Chase, and they are lapping it up. Melina is also emotional during her ring entrance, while Purrazzo is laser-focused. Bell rings, and Purrazzo is in Melina’s grill to psyche her out. Ha! Good luck with that, Deonna. Chain wrestling to start, and Purrazzo can outwrestle the veteran, but Melina still has some tricks with a split leg kick for a two count, and Melina uses her legs with a submission that looked like a Figure Four to Purrazzo’s shoulders and then a roll up for another two count. Melina is in control and goes up top, leaps for a dropkick, but Purrazzo counters with powerbomb for a two count.
During the match, Joe Galli announces that tonight’s show at The Chase is a sold out crowd, and the fans are getting g their money’s worth as Purrazzo is a vicious Virtuosa, and works the arm of Melina, and then focuses her attack on Melina bad knee, and cinches the Figure Four (Wooo!) to wear her down. Purrazzo keeps up by twisting Melina’s bad knee, but Melina rolls her up for another two count. Purrazzo delivers a Russian leg sweep and transitions to a single leg crab submission, but Melina grabs to ropes but she is hurting. Purrazzo goes back with a Mafia kick, and sunset flip from the corner turnbuckle, but it doesn’t fully rotate. Purrazzo keeps up the leg attack, but jawbreaker by Melina stops the assault, and she crumples to the mat. She is feeling the effects of the Virtuosa, and the ref wants to call off the match, but Melina waves off, and Purrazzo shows no remorse. Melina gets a hope spot in with a leg spinning neckbreaker, but Purrazzo’s offense have left her so injured, she crawls to cover for a two count. Melina tries gamely to pin, but Purrazzo gets an armbar submission. When Melina uses her free hand to reach for the ropes, Purrazzo gets in a double arm submission. Melina gets her leg to the ropes, and Purrazzo answers with a half crab to the bad leg, and Melina has no choice but to tap.
Your Winner via Pinfall, and Still IMPACT Knockouts Champion: Deonna Purrazzo
Melina is getting helped to the back, while the fans cheer on for that great match.
Madusa comes out to join commentary at ringside, as we get ready for…
The NWA Women’s Tag Team Tournament Final: The Hex vs. Red Velvet/Kylynn King
Ring announcer Angela Sharpe delivers with boxing style intros for both teams, and as the bell rings, Kay/King have a stare down. Neither has the advantage, and a quick tag by Kay to Belle, but King has too much power over Belle. King’s leg drop misses, and Belle gets in a high knee. Tag back to Kay, who works over Kylynn, and she gets her in a firewoman’s carry and goes to tag back Belle, but Velvet sneaks over and takes out Belle, and King gets back in control.
Well, Velvet and King found their inner heel-ish nature (took ‘em long enough), and a split leg choke by Velvet in their corner makes Kay your Hex in Peril. This is the most work seen by King/Velvet, and they are really making a good showing here (more than on AEW Dark and Elevation combined. Change my mind), and Kay tries to reach Belle, but Velvet cuts off that attempt. Velvet gets in an Octopus Stretch, but gets powered out by Kay. Kay gets Velvet in position for a tombstone, but Velvet uses her thighs to stun Kay, and a stunner, but Kay answers back with a spine buster. Kay crawls and finally gets a hot tag and Belle is a Dominica en Fuego. King stops her fun, but Kay gets back in and wants to hit the AK47 on Velvet, but King comes in and gets knocked out by Velvet’s legs. Belle and Kay deliver a Sick Kick/ AK47 combo move, and it’s one, two, and three and we have new champions
Your Winners via Pinfall, and New NWA Women’s Tag Team Champions: The Hex
Chants of “Herstory” fill the ballroom, as Madusa comes in the ring and gives them the tag belts. King and Velvet gives handshakes of respect, and it’s a feel good moment for the night.
But we need to get back to the Big Match of the night, which is for the…
NWA Women’s Championship: Kamille (c) vs. “Legit” Leyla Hirsch
There is a great back shot of the women combatants showing the packed crowd at The Chase. Kamille is shown with her Strictly Business partners (oh, and you should read her interview, too). Before Kyle Davis gets to boxing-style intros, he reads a statement by NWA Owner William Patrick Corgan:
“Ladies and gentlemen. On January, 1937, a young and gifted 21 year old mother from Coffeyville, Kansas, Mildred Burke, won the newly christened women’s Welterweight Championship; a title when she would hold until 1956, undefeated and unbowed. Notably, it was a rise that coincided with the formation of the National Wrestling Alliance in 1948 as Mildred single handily forced state commissioners to change laws that, in that era, banned female athletes from competing in the ring. And so great was Mildred’s affertile (sic) success from magazine covers, to breaking box office records, that even the NWA would recognize her as the one and only world’s Women’s Champion. Tonight, we celebrate Mildred Burke and her incredible legacy by sharing with you, that original championship belt; the very one that ushered in this current and historic era of empowerment some 84 years ago as an active title [that] last appeared in a National Wrestling Alliance ring. August 20 1954.”
Corgan hands the original Burke to the ref in the ring, and damn if you can’t feel the history… errr, herstory taking place then, and now. But back to the match, and Kamille’s size is a big factor, but Hirsch is undeterred. Each time, Kamille throws off Hirsch, who shakes it off and is smiling. Kamille wants a test of strength, and Hirsch kicks her down and gets in a one-armed tightrope walk to a huracanrana. Outside the ring, Hirsch gets in another huracanrana, but Kamille stops that and slams Hirsch to the steel steps. From there, she drags Hirsch’s eyes to the guardrails, and in front of Strictly Business sitting outside by ringside. Kamille is just a brickhouse, and is so mighty mighty working over “Legit” Layla. But Hirsch will not be deterred, as she gets behind the champ and gets a sleeper cinched. Kamille goes back to the corner, but Hirsch controls her arm, and goes outside to a hanging armbar. But Kamille isn’t done, as she gets Hirsch with a back breaker to a suplex. Kamille goes up top, and works on Hirsch, but she turns to a twisting German suplex to send the Brickhouse down.
Chants of “This is awesome,” fill the hall, and rightfully so as Hirsch continues German suplexes like a mini Lesnar. She follows with high knees to Kamille and covers for one, two…so close. A cross armbar by Hirsch, and Kamille reaches for ropes to break the hold. Kamille gets Hirsch in a torture rack to a blue thunder bomb for one, two…kick out. Now it’s forearms by both women. Another German and a Lariat by “Legit” Layla knock down Kamille for a cover, and another close two count. Now Hirsch goes up top for a Moonsault, and misses. Kamille goes for a spear and misses, but Hirsch leaps behind the champ to a backstabber to another armbar again. Kamille powers up, and power bombs Hirsch to the mat. This time, Kamille nails the spear, and it’s over in one, two, and three.
Your Winner via Pinfall, and Still NWA Women’s Champion: Kamille
She goes outside to celebrate with Strictly Business, and Aldis start getting distracted by an unruly fan… no, wait. That’s Trevor Murdoch in the crowd and their rivalry is reaching a boiling point, in case anyone forgot there’s another PPV tomorrow.
But let’s return to the final Main Event of the night…
The NWA Women’s Invitational Cup
Kyle Davis enters and gives us the rules of the Invitational:
As for my rules for this recap, I’ll bring up who enters, and any big moves, followed by who gets eliminated. Got it? Good. Let’s move on to the ring.
First entrant is Chelsea Green, followed by Kiera Hogan. They lock up and don’t let go. Nice chain wrestling by both women, but Hogan hits with a super kick. Green sends Hogan to the corner with a knee to the side of her face. Davis counts down to the next contestant…
Bianca Carelli enters (Oh, did I mention we at SLAM! interviewed her?), and the daughter of Santino Marella judo slams Kiera. Carelli gets a roll up, but no pin elimination. Davis counts again and we get…
Thunder Kitty, and she is a fierce kitty at a spry 102 years old, according to commentary (hey, I’ll play along. Besides, don’t judge. That’s ageist!). Davis counts down to
Jennacide (Oh yeah. We interviewed her, too) is led with Taryn Terrell, and the Cyborg catches Carelli in a swinging DDT to a pin.
Eliminated: Bianca Carelli.
Hogan then goes after Jennacide, but to no effect. Davis counts down to…
Lady Frost come out (Yeah, we interviewed her, also), and something is going on in the ring, but we only get focused on the outside camera watching Frost stay out of the ring as the combatants tire themselves out. When it finally shows the ring, Jennacide channels her inner Diesel and pins Thunder Kitty, while Frost still is outside.
Eliminated: Thunder Kitty
Hogan and Green are exhausted, and Frost (not so) helpfully pushes Green to Jennacide, feeding the Cyborg. But Hogan and Green work over Jennacide, and Davis counts down to…
Debbie Malenko. The former AJW champ knocks out Frost and send her in the ring, and tosses competition around, giving Green a flying elbow and Hogan a German suplex. No ring rust on that one. Davis counts down to…
Jamie Senegal with Pollo Del Mar. Senegal gets in a couple arm drags, but is knocked to the corner and Jennacide topples onto her. Frost goes with a cartwheel cannonball…err, snowball, followed by a twisted corkscrew for two on Senegal, but Frost get trapped in crossface by Malenko to tap out
Eliminated: Lady Frost
Malenko goes to Green with a surfboard submission, but Hogan smartly goes for the pin on Malenko.
Eliminated: Debbie Malenko
Hogan keeps up the offense with a tope suicida to outside on Green and Jennacide, as Davis counts down to…
Masha Slamovich, who apparently raided GLOW’s wardrobe and is in full Zoya the Destroya/punk rock, goes up top to somersault senton to the women that are all on the outside. Jennacide with a DVD on Slamovich for a count of two. Jennacide with a spear misses, gets spinning Heel by Slamovich, and a stomp by Green. Senegal with a springboard spinning kick and all three pin Jennacide
Davis counts down to the Final entrant….
Tootie Lynn, and it’s a huge hometown chant with family at ringside. Lynn with a bulldog to Senegal, but gets dropkicked by Slamovich. Masha rushes Senegal, but Slamovich gets Senegal in a nasty looking package piledriver for a pin
Elimination: Jamie Senegal
Now Green, Masha, Tootie and Hogan are the final four left in the ring. Hogan has Slamovich in the corner with a hip attack, then goes up top and Slamovich gives chase and catches Hogan. Green and Tootie come from behind with their Tower of Pain (powerbomb/superplex combo) and Masha covers Hogan to pin her to massive boos.
Eliminated: Kiera Hogan
Green goes for the Unprettier, but Slamovich head butts Green in the back and delivers a textbook Tiger suplex for a two count. Slamovich then has Tootie Lynn in a powerbomb, but The Little Blue Dragon reverses to a roll up
Eliminated: Masha Slamovich
This leaves Lynn and Green, and Green is still in the ring, despite entering at number one. Green goes for the Unprettier, and Tootie reverses to landslide for a two count. Another Unprettier by Green and gets the three.
Your Winner of the NWA Women’s Invitational Cup: Chelsea Green
Green props Lynn up, and hugs her, and all the roster comes out, including producers James, Kim, Jazz, Madusa. The final image is Chelsea Green, with the Invitational Cup in the center of the ring, holding a sign a fan had that says, “This isn’t Women’s Wrestling. This is professional wrestling!”
First: This is a great pay-per-view on paper, and delivered from start to finish. From the promos to the matches, not a sigle wasted moment was spent.
Second: If this is a sign of things to come, I am on-board for what will take place for the next EmPOWERRR-ing show.
Third: Seriously, Tony Khan. Your wrestlers delivered in spades, from Hirsch to King/Velvet/Diamante. Give them more time that isn’t always on AEW Dark and/or Elevation, or give them to Corgan. Make it happen!
I gave a 1/4 star off because…well…Taryn hurt my ears.
See you for NWA73!