A loaded card with multiple title matches from various wrestling promotions highlights the latest pay-per-view by the National Wrestling Alliance. The big title match between Trevor Murdoch and Mike Knox is less about the Ten Pounds of Gold, but more about the champ beating some respect into the would-be upstart challenger. That’s part of the appeal going into “Hard Times 2,” and as the tagline suggests “revenge has no bounds.” All this, and so much more, and we got a lot of ground to cover, as we step Into the Fire, Wyttch is another way of saying, “let’s start the show.”
The pre-show was on YouTube, as Joe Galli was with Austin Idol, who was more unhinged at the mic than usual, if such a thing could be possible. The show is at the GPB Studio and the audience was at approximately 25% capacity, as Galli noted this was due to the stringent COVID rules.
Big Strong Mims (w/ Anthony Mayweather) vs. Jax Dane
The interesting moment of this match was when Kyle Davis had Dane billed as “The Dane Event”, and the former Crimson is now going by his real name, and was coaching Mims during the match. The match was all Jax Dane, as he kept gesturing to his former War King that he was better in every way possible. Dane made a lackadaisical cover, but Mims turns it into a pinning move, and a win.
Your Winner via Pinfall: Big Strong Mims
Dane is upset by the loss, as Mims and Mayweather celebrate on their way to the back.
NWA World Women’s Tag Team Championship Match: The Hex (Allysin Kay and Marti Belle) (c) vs. Missa Kate and Natalia Markova vs. T vs Kylie Rae and Tootie Lynn
Galli notes that Kate was a last minute replacement for Lady Frost who couldn’t make the show. Kate has done some work from Freestyle Wrestling. Before the match starts, Taryn Terrell comes out with Paola Blaze and Jennacide, and Terrell announces that since Jenna got a title shot from the Champion Series, she and Blaze will now be in this as a four way match. Eh, makes as much sense as anything else. Best part was Idol commenting that this was “full of femininity”, and he wasn’t kidding. The match was spotty at points, but there was a nice move that had Jenna and Allysin do double firewomen carry to two wrestlers on their shoulders, and then Markova hit double dropkick. The action spills outside, and Belle dives on all the women. Lynn gets caught in the Hex Marks the Spot finisher, and champs retain
Your Winners via Pinfall: The Hex
Kyle Davis is at The Podium, and introduces Darius Lockhart. Lockhart says he was supposed to be in the upcoming gauntlet match, but he is injured and could not be medically cleared, so Ricky Morton will be in the gauntlet. Lockhart says he’ll be in the junior heavyweight tournament down the road, and plugs the NWA USA show coming to YouTube soon, and he delivers a promo that would give Da Pope a run for his money.
Jaden Roller comes out, and blames Tim Storm for not being on the show because he is a cheater, and then he leaves. Uhhh, OK.
Now it’s time for the…
NWA Junior Heavyweight Championship Qualifying Gauntlet (Order of entry to be chosen by random draw): Jeremiah Plunkett vs Victor Benjamin vs PJ Hawx vs Ariya Daivari vs Ricky Morton vs Homicide vs CW Anderson vs Sal Rinauro vs Kerry Morton vs Jamie Stanley vs Alex Taylor
The gauntlet starts with Luke Hawx and Kerry Morton, and every 90 secs a new entrant comes. Since this match takes up the remaining 30 minutes of the preshow, here’s the big points from the gauntlet. Kerry looked real good in the matchup, lasting the longest of the men entered, including his dad Ricky. Homicide is definitely channeling Terry Funk energy, down to his funk-styled trunks, delivering the hard hits to everyone. CW Anderson looked real good coming back to the ring, and delivered a couple of spinebusters. However, the end had Kerry Morton and Homicide face off, with fans behind the younger Morton. But the wily veteran Homicide gets Morton up top with an avalanche Koji cutter to pin Morton to advance.
Your Winner, and Qualifying in the NWA Junior Heavyweight Championship: Homicide
Nick Aldis joins Davis at The Podium. He cuts a promo regarding his upcoming match with Thom Latimer. He says that the GPB Studios are the past, present, and future of NWA. Tonight is not about titles or money, but respect. For 17 years he walked alongside his brother Latimer, and now it’s time for an ass whipping like he’s never seen.
Now we start the PPV proper, and we get a cold open with the NWA Heavyweight Champion Trevor Murdoch with a new version of the Hard Times promo:
Hard Times is waking up every single morning and go into a job that you don’t like, so you can take care of people that you love. Hard Times is working on a vehicle 20 and 30 times, so it can get you back and forth to work so you can save up enough money to buy something nice for your family. Mike, Hard Times for me is just having to look at my son every single night, and have to explain to him why you did what you did to him; to have to talk him down from the images that he has in his head of you taking a chair and continuously hitting me across the back. Mike, tonight I will bring you hard times. I will bring you everything you asked for. You wanted hard times like tonight. You’ll get it!
With that, the fans are chanting for the NWA as your commentators, Joe Galli, Tim Storm, and Velvet Sky have the call, and it’s time for your First Match of the night…
NWA Junior Heavyweight Championship Qualifying Match: Austin Aries vs “The Professional” Rhett Titus
This is a nice back and forth match with two ROH veterans, and Titus is showing why he is now The Professional, but Aries is able to answer back and counter Titus’ moves, and he shows that he hasn’t lost a step. Aries with a springboard senton to Titus to cover for a two count. He then gets Titus in a shin breaker to a suplex. He tries to follow with the IED, but Titus scouts it and get a big boot for his trouble. Titus returns the move in kind, and attempts again, but Aries slips out and gets Titus on the ground for the front chancery submission, but Titus gets the ropes to break the hold. Titus delivers with a belly to belly suplex to cover, but Aries gets ropes. Titus then sends Aries in the corner and hits a running boot to cover for another two count. Titus goes up top, but Aries knocks him down, and then it’s a discus forearm, and an IED to a brain buster on Titus that Aries the pin and the win
Your Winner via Pinfall, and Advancing in the NWA Junior Heavyweight Qualifying Match: Austin Aries
There’s a handshake of respect by Aries to Titus, and the fans show their appreciation as well.
But we got more Ring of Honor action with the next title match…
ROH World Tag Team Championship Match: The OGK (Matt Taven and Mike Bennett) vs Aron Stevens & Kratos
The story of the match is that Stevens hasn’t been on the same page as his tag partner, and that’s cost them some matches. It took a while, but Stevens slowly but surely taps into his vicious side, much to Kratos’ delight, and not to Matt’s, as he becomes your Taven in Peril. Big move had the powerhouse Kratos just launch Taven from one end of the ring to another with a suplex. Manages to get the hot tag for his OGK partner, and Mike is a Kingdom en Fuego. Bennett manages to get a superkick to a DVD to Kratos for a two count. The OGK attempt to double team, but can’t knock of Kratos. Taven goes up, but Kratos knocks him off and nails the running DVD to pin, but Bennett breaks the count. Stevens blind tags Kratos to get in the ring, and fights both OGK members, but a roll up by Taven gets the pin and …
Your Winners, and Still ROH Tag Team Champions: The OGK
At that point, Stevens start talking crazy and goes in a tirade to anyone at commentary and at The Podium, saying he’s not done.
And now for a technical feast for the eyes, we have…
Colby Corino (with The Fixers) vs Doug Williams
This is a beautiful technical match, and Williams is looking as sharp as ever, considering this is his first match in the United States in eight years. Very nice catch wrestling, with Williams caught in Corino’s leg scissors, but managing to a deadlift suplex to cover for a two count. Corino has some offense, too, with a leg drop and flies to drop on middle rope and covers for one count, and mounts punches to Williams. He follows with a Colby Crush (spinning senton) but can’t cover. Williams starts to get the upper hand, but as he attempts the Chaos Theory finisher, Corino reverses to a double foot stomp to cover for another two count. Williams answers with a Tiger Driver for a two count. He tries Chaos Theory again, but The Fixers hold Corino’s legs in the corner. Williams rushes the corner, but Corino dodges and Williams’s momentum goes to the ring post, and he hurts his shoulder. Corino gets La Magistral on the injured shoulder, and gets the win.
Your Winner: Colby Corino
The Fixers hold Corino aloft in victory, as we prepare for another title match…
IMPACT Knockouts Championship Match: Mickie James (c) vs. Kiera Hogan
(Author’s Apology: I thought I had covered this in my review of the matches for the PPV, but this somehow fell through the cracks. I’m gonna blame this on the “Genius juice” of Mexcal being more “genius-er” than usual.)
The Story So Far: Hogan has idolized James, but felt like she wasn’t getting her proper due. She went and challenged James for a match that took place on the Women-led EMPOWERRR show in St Louis, with James getting the win. Now, James is going to grant her a title shot (which is odd since Hogan opted out of IMPACT, but, hey… you buy the bit, you buy the premise), and now you know the rest of the story.
Both women trade hold for hold, and move for counter move, and all amid chants of, “This Is Wrestling!” from the vocal fans in attendance. The veteran James keeps control of the match, with a snap mare to a yakuza kick to cover for two for James. Hogan gets James in the corner. She rushes, but James leaps and gets a head scissors to a Mickie-a-rana, followed by a baseball slide to the outside. Hogan answers with a tope suicida, and brings James in the ring to cover for a two count. Hogan chops away and jaw jacks at James, saying she wants the title, but James drives boot to Hogan throat in the corner of the ring. They both start trading blow with their forearms, and then each deliver kicks that knocks both women down. James is up first, and hits a Thesz press, and then a neckbreaker to cover for a two count. James attempts the Mickie-DT but Hogan reverses, and then gets James in the corner for a hip attack and a basement dropkick to cover for another two count. Hogan goes up and gets a crossbody, but the momentum reserves for James to covers for the win.
Your Winner, and Still IMPACT Women’s Knockout Champion: Mickie James
A very heartfelt match, which leads to the next title match of the night for the…
NWA World Television Championship Match: Tyrus (c) w/ Austin Idol, BLK Jeez, and Jordan Clearwater vs Cyon, with special guest referee Da Pope
This match is a No-DQ, no Time Limit match. Start of the match, Pope ejects Jeez and Clearwater, stating there will be no interference. Only Idol is allowed at ringside, but you know he’s gonna pull something shady, so try not to overthink this match. The bell rings, and Cyon pie faces Tyrus and takes the big man down with kicks, and keeps him grounded. Then the violence amps up with Cyon taking a steel chair to Tyrus’ midsection. Outside, Cyon punts Tyrus’ chest and his form is good. Cyon then goes for more plunder with chairs and a steel trash can, and then he rushes the Television Champ. Tyrus catches the masked man, and tosses him to The Podium and then to the ring post. He claws at Cyon’s mask, then a body slam to the outside concrete, and then back to mask. The match all favors Tyrus, as he steps on his inner thigh and knee of Cyon. At one point, Tyrus gets the can onto Cyon, and then slams him, and hits an elbow to pin, but Pope can’t see Cyon’s shoulders in the can, and therefore cannot do a pin count. Tyrus amps up the violence and sets up the chairs in the ring, and then props Cyon up on the top turnbuckle and slams him to the chairs. Idol bad mouths Cyon on the outside, as Tyrus rips at the mask. He sets up for the Heart Punch, but Cyon gets a low blow and a trash can lid to his head. Cyon goes for a table, but Idol stops. Pope sees this and ejects him from ringside (and before someone asks why it’s happening in a No-DQ match, I have no bloody clue).
Cyon goes back in the ring, and Tyrus choke slams him, and sets up the table. He climbs to the top rope to powerbomb Cyon, but Cyon escapes and ends up powerbombing him. All of a sudden, Clearwater and Jeez come back out, and Cyon takes out both men, and that enough distraction for Tyrus to knock out the masked man in the corner. Pope is not happy, and Tyrus gets in his grill, and he can’t takes no more, and starts wailing on the champ. Pope goes for Elijah Express in the corner, but Tyrus moves and hits Cyon instead. Tyrus Heart Punches Cyon to cover, and Pope reluctantly counts to three.
Your Winner, and Still NWA Television Champion: Tyrus
Back to The Podium, and Kyle Davis is feeling the season, and here’s Santa Mick Foley to drop in and he says it’s great to be back in Atlanta, GA, but also great to be back in the NWA. It wasn’t that long ago he delivered a 17 ft. elbow to Ricky Fargo, and how everyone was taken by a young Cactus Jack’s feat. Now he fast forwards to today, and he’s seeing not only the past, but the present and future of the NWA and he’ll be glued to the monitor to see who’s naughty or nice. So, Have a Nice Day, and Bang Bang.
And now for another title match, it’s for the …
NWA National Heavyweight Championship Match: Chris Adonis (c) vs. Judais w/ Sinister Minister
Remember all the action, and the intrigue of the matches of the first hour? Yeah, this ain’t happening here, as this is a slow paced match, and the crowd seems half-heartedly into it. I actually stepped away to talk to my roommates about the Christmas lights at our house and when I came back, the match was still going on, and it was. Just. That. Plodding.
This is why I do not dig heel versus heel matches.
Anyway, to make a long story long, Adonis gets Judais in a Masterlock, and that’s all she wrote.
Your Winner, and Still NWA National Champion: Chris Adonis
And now for something (hopefully) faster paced, we get your…
NWA World Tag Team Championship Match: La Rebellion (Bestia 666 and MechaWolf ) vs. The End (Parrow and OdinSon)
This match is everything the last match wasn’t, as The End try to attack, but then the power of Lucha Libre kicks into fifth gear for La Rebelion. However, Parrow is too strong and sends Bestia to Wolf, and The End imposes their will with a variety of tag team offense, the best being OdinSon having Bestia in a delayed vertical suplex hold, while Parrow runs the ropes to kick Bestia to knock down for a two count, then OdinSon follows with a belly to belly suplex to pick up Parrow for the senton drop and then they do the Blood Eagle (powerbomb to Lungblower) double team to cover, but Wolf breaks up the count.
Parrow toys with Bestia, but he hits a desperation DDT and he gets the hot tag to Wolf, and he is a Mecha en Fuego. From there, it’s completely lucha-rific, as Rebelion attempt an assisted blockbuster move to OdinSon for a two count. The End get both members of La Rebelion, and hit the Supercollider. They go for the Doomsday Device, but Bestia blocks, and Wolf hits Parrow with a standing enzugiri. Bad timing has OdinSon crash into his partner, and he gets knocked out. A diving splash by Bestia, and a 450 splash by Wolf is enough to get the three count, and keep the belts
Your Winners and Still NWA Tag Team Champs: La Rebellion
After the match, JTG and “Dirty Danko” (aka Fandango) come out pointing and gesture broadly they want the tag belts. Color me intrigued, as well as puzzled by “Danko.”
Now to the big three matches, starting with the …
Grudge Match (No Seconds at Ringside): Nick Aldis vs Thom Latimer
As stated, the stipulation is that in either man gets disqualified, they will both be suspended for eight weeks. As the bell rings, Latimer ducks out and Aldis rushes, and takes it to The National Treasure, but Aldis can take on The King of All Evil in a technical match. As Aldis wrestles, but Latimer is able to countermove. Aldis gets a Thesz press, and Latimer attempts to runs away, but pulls down the trunks and we Latimer is more… cheeky than usual.
As Latimer gets his trunks back up, he tries to stop Aldis, but can’t find a way to counter him. Frustrated, Latimer goes outside to the timekeeper’s table, and grabs a hammer for the bell. He goes in the ring, and the ref tries to talk sense. Latimer finally gives the hammer, and while the ref brings it back, Latimer low blows Aldis. He goes for a Swanton but misses the mark. Aldis hits with a Michinoku driver for a two count. Latimer answers with an Implant DDT for a two count, as well. Aldis gets a powerbomb and tries the Kingslayer but can’t lock it in, so he switches to the Figure Four (woo!) leg lock, as Latimer gets to the ropes. Now, Latimer gets the Kingslayer to Aldis and leans to his side for more pain, but The National Treasure reaches ropes, but Latimer drags him back. He tries for the Figure Four, but Aldis pushes off and get him in a Piledriver for a two count. Latimer talks trash and sets for his Piledriver, and Aldis gets a jackknife roll up for the quick pin.
Your Winner via Pinfall: Nick Aldis
As Aldis heads back, Latimer is dejected by the loss, and leaves feeling very frustrated.
We head to the ring, as we celebrate the accomplishments of the Female Fighting Phenom, Jazz. As the Women’s roster comes out to pay homage, she thanked not only Paul Heyman and Tommy Dreamer for taking a chance on her, the WWE for giving her a platform to be the first African-American woman to go into WrestleMania and still be champion, to Billy Corgan for allowing her the opportunity to be NWA Women’s champion for over 900 days, and to her husband, Rodney Mack, for sticking by her through thick and thin. She also stated she’ll be taking a backstage role in seeing the development of the new crop of women in the NWA.
Everyone was on their feet for Jazz, and it was deserved.
Now it’s time for the….
NWA Women’s Championship Match: Kamille (c) vs. Melina
Melina rushes at the champ and is giving Kamille a fight, but it’s too much power by The Brickhouse, who delivers a spinebuster and rams Melina’s head to the top turnbuckle. She also pulls on Melina’s hair and throws her to the center, followed by leg drop to cover for two. Kamille methodically targets the back and midsection of Melina, but Melina works on dislocation of arm, and slams at it, pinning for a two count. Melina focuses on yanking the arm, but Kamille pops her in the nose.
Melina stretches the champ’s back on ropes, and Kamille returns the receipt with a taste of her own medicine. She gets Melina with a clothesline using her bad arm, and Kamille feels the effects. Melina slams Kamille to the mat, and covers for one, two… so close. Melina gets the California Nightmare cinched, and Kamille crawls and reaches the ropes to break the hold. Melina goes out and rams Kamille’s head the ring edge, and tries to ram her arm in the post, but she pulls Melina back in, and she hits the post instead. Now Kamille is back on the offensive hammering away with a knee to the midsection, and a steamroller. Kamille tries to finish with the spear, but Melina dodges. Kamille gets a leg submission, but Melina bites her ear to break the hold. As the ref checks on Kamille, Melina takes off her leg brace, but Kamille spears her out of her socks for one, two, and three.
Your Winner via Pinfall: Kamille
Finally, with less than 20 minutes left in the night, it’s time for your Main Event for the…
NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match: Trevor Murdoch (c) vs. Mike Knox
After the boxing style intros, Murdoch goes right to Knox, and it’s just a straight-up fight. Knox ducks out, and Murdoch gives chase, ramming him into the ring post. Knox is sent in to the ring, and Murdoch with a leg drop to Knox’s throat, and then a drop toe hold by the champ to crossface forearms to Knox. Murdoch sends Knox to the corner, and goes up top for punches, but Knox gets snake eyes to Murdoch on the top turnbuckle.
Knox is in the driver’s seat, with a hip attack in the corner, and a knee to the midsection and a boot to the face. Knox has the champ in an abdominal stretch to add more pain than he already was in. He tries a clothesline, but Murdoch ducks and gets a pop up powerbomb, but can’t cover. Murdoch then gets a clothesline and another, and a DDT to cover for a two count. Murdoch goes up top for the flying bulldog, but he’s cut off at the pass, and Knox gets them both up top and delivers a superplex that shakes the ring. Both men spent, Knox drapes an arm for a two count. Knox hits with a spinning facebuster similar to a Sister Abigail finisher, and Murdoch gets to the ropes to break the pin count. Knox goes up top for a high risk, maneuver, but Murdoch knocks him off and sends him crashing to the mat. The champ delivers the flying bulldog and covers for the count of one, two, and three.
Your Winner, and Still NWA Heavyweight Champion: Trevor Murdoch
After the match, Matt Cardona comes up, and congratulates the champ. Murdoch looks annoyed by this, but Knox low blows the champ. Well, Santa Foley won’t stand for this, and comes out and says Cardona sucks, and that’s speaking for Long Island.
He knows someone that can deal with this treachery, and now Da Pope comes out, but Cardona takes him out easily. Back in the ring, Cardona holds the Ten Pounds of Gold, and champ is still laid out as the show goes to black.
A lot of title matches, but no title changes. This feels like a case of things needed to be spaced out better, because the last two title matches felt rushed at the end.
But the good parts of the show (the Junior Heavyweight matches, Corino/Williams, the tag matches, and even the Television title match) had some bones to it to set up some nice angles down the road.
Until then, see you this Tuesday!