With only a few days away from its biggest pay-per-view spanning two nights, the NWA is looking to deliver on their signature event. It will also be a historic night, as the main event will have the current NWA Heavyweight Champion, Trevor Murdoch, defending the Ten Pounds of Gold against the number one contender, and current NWA Television champion, Tyrus.
There’s a lot to cover for this double pay-per-view held at the Khorrasan Ballroom at The Chase Park Plaza in St Louis, MO. This is a short take on what matches to expect, plus my predictions on who will win that night. So let’s get started with…
Matt Cardona vs. TBA
The story so far: Cardona once held the Ten Pounds of Gold after beating Trevor Murdoch on PowerrrTrip 2. With he and his newly formed Cardona family, they ran roughshod in the NWA. However, an injury he sustained prevented him from defending the title, and as a result he relinquished the Ten Pounds of Gold, which was won by Murdoch in a four-way event at the Alwayz Ready PPV. Since then, he has been rehabbing, and this would be his first time back in a ring with, well…whoever steps in the ring
My prediction: Just for laughs, I’ll say Brian Myers is his handpicked opponent. The reason is that he’s still far from performing at a top level. Also, if it’s a chance he can do comedy with his best friend, I’m down for it.
Next up is…
EC3 vs. Big Strong Mims
The Story So Far: Mims has been on the shelf since challenging Tyrus for the NWA Television Championship. Now that he’s healthy, he is stepping back into competition with…EC3. Slam! Wrestling spoke with EC3 as it relates to his Control Your Narrative promotion, and this is an odd inter-promotional dynamic, so it begs the question: Is EC3 here to set Mims Free or the NWA as a whole?
My Prediction: Let’s say yes, and, like Cardona, EC3 is here long enough to not only add eyeballs to his CYN promotion but also free some other wrestlers to control their narratives, as he did with Cardona at the first Free The Narrative.
Bully Ray vs. Mike Knox in a Tables match
The story so far: Bully Ray came out for commentary to give props to his former 3D Academy students, KiLynn King and Kamille is the NWA Women’s championship bout. He stuck around the next night to celebrate with his fans and meet some old friends like his old Ace’s & Eights running buddy, Mike Knox. Knox, however, does not look back on those IMPACT Wrestling years fondly and drove the point home by beating Ray and slamming him through a table. Since then, Knox has had a vendetta against Ray, and this will be the opportunity to beat him at his own gimmick: A tables match.
My Prediction: I think Knox will need to go over this night and close that chapter on Bully Ray. But then, the question remains where does Knox go from there afterward?
Homicide (c) vs. Kerry Morton for the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship
The Story so far: Since winning the resurrected junior heavyweight title, Homicide has been the epitome of a fighting champion, taking on all comers like PJ Hawx and Colby Corino. Kerry Morton, the son of NWA Legend Ricky Morton, is a youngster with a lot of potential, and Homicide offered him the opportunity to challenge for the title on the biggest night. Can The Future Legend Morton rise to the challenge?
My Prediction: Not yet. Slam! Wrestling talked to Morton, and he has a lot of promise, but he’s not there yet. It might be another few months or the next PPV before The Notorious Legend gives up the gold.
Jax Dane (with Chris Silvio, Esq.) (c) vs. Cyon (with Austin Idol) Singles match for the NWA National Heavyweight Championship
The Story so Far: Since beating Anthony Mayweather at The Crockett Cup for the National title, The Dane Event has dominated the competition. Granted, his “lawyer” Chris Silvio, Esq., has ensured his client is protected, and he does the bare minimum to defend the belt. Enter the Masked Man, Cyon. Since reuniting with his “father” Austin Idol, he has shown a mean streak and a willingness to do whatever it takes to secure victory. Will it be enough to take home the second biggest title in the NWA?
My Prediction: As a non-fan of heel vs. heel matches, this will be hard for me to get behind. But I would love to see Cyon with gold around his belt, just so Idol can add more obnoxiousness to his proclamation that he guides wrestlers to championships.
I’m not happy about that, either, but it would be nice for a shakeup.
The Commonwealth Connection (Doug Williams and Harry Smith) (c) vs. La Rebelión (Bestia 666 and Mecha Wolf 450) (with Damián 666) for the NWA World Tag Team Championship
The Story So Far: Since their loss at Alwayz Ready, La Rebelion is hungry to reclaim the tag belts. So why not bring in an X-factor (and the father of Bestia 666) like Damian 666. The Commonwealth Connection has managed to keep tag challengers at bay, but will the presence of evil at ringside?
My Predictions: This is the first of many “toss-ups” I feel will come up. But, as I start in tea leaves that were soaked in mezcal, let’s give the “w” to La Rebelion, as a result of shenanigans (or engaños, in this case) from Damián. Anything for familia, ¿que no?
That leads us to the…
Burke Invitational Gauntlet for an NWA World Women’s Championship match
The Story So Far: Even though last year’s EMPOWERRR was a huge success, Billy Corgan stated on the record that they couldn’t hold it this year, due to a smaller women’s roster (I also think there may be some blowback, as a result, of Mickie James standing by her man Nick Aldis for not being in the title picture, but more on that later). As for the combatants vying for a chance to be a number one contender for “The Burke”, it is a stacked card consisting of: Samantha Starr (with Baby Doll), KiLynn King, Tootie Lynn, Missa Kate, Max The Impaler (with Father James Mitchell), Madi Wrenkowski (just Madi), Angelina Love, Jennacide, Natalia Markova, and Taryn Terrell.
As my high school classmate, Blake Heller would say: that is a ton of women.
But one of them will come out as the winner to challenge the holder of the NWA Women’s title on night two. KiLynn King has asked to come out first to take on all contenders, but the other nine competitors have an equal chance of securing that spot. Who will it be?
My Prediction: King came so close last time at Alwayz Ready, and even though she’s been on AEW programming of late, I would love to see a second battle between her and The Brickhouse. Either way, this is the match you should glue your eyeballs to see.
And that leads to the Main Event of Night One:
Kamille (c) vs. Taya Valkyrie for the NWA Women’s World Championship
The Story So Far: Kamille has been the standard bearer of The Burke for over 400 days and counting. No matter who came up to challenge The Brickhouse, they ran into an imposing wall.
Enter Taya Valkyrie.
The former Frankie Monet has shown since her release from WWE NXT that she is a contender in any promotion that will have her, and she has the championship credentials to back up the claim. Is this the night she collects another belt for her mantle?
My Prediction: This will go to the wire, and Kamille and Valkyrie will give everything they got. I would love to see La Wera Loca add the Women’s title to her belt. I would love that. But, odds are this will not be that night, and Kamille staves off another challenge to keep The Burke for another day longer.
That’s a lot to cover for just the First Night. But here’s what to expect from…
I’m exhausted by what I’m going to cover for night one, but not as much as what will happen on the second night as one of the matches will be a…
12 Man Battle Royale for the NWA United States Tag Team Championship
The Story So Far: In honoring the “History, Tradition, and Legacy” of the NWA, Billy Corgan saw fit to dust off the old tag titles, and this will have the current tag team roster looking to add these belts. Originally announced as a ten-man battle royale, the teams will consist of: Gold Rushhh (Jordan Clearwater and Marshe Rockett), The Miserably Faithful (Sal The Pal and Gaagz The Gymp) (with Father James Mitchell), The NOW (Hale Collins and Vik Dalishus), The Ill Begotten (Alex Taylor and Jeremiah Plunkett, with Danny Dealz), Ruff ‘n’ Ready (D’Vin Graves and Diante), The Fixers (Jay Bradley and Wrecking Ball Legursky), Hawx Aerie (Luke Hawx and PJ Hawx), The Country Gentlemen (AJ Cazana and Anthony Andrews), Team Ambition (Mike Outlaw and Camaro Jackson), The Spectaculars (Brady Pierce and Rush Freeman) (with Rolando Freeman).
But there is a surprise entrant yet to be named, so it could still be anybody’s guess who will get the belts.
My Prediction: Of course, me being a bias reviewer (and only because I interviewed Jeremiah PlunkettJeremiah Plunkett is the NWA’s Ill-Begotten Tater Peeler), let’s give the NWA USA Tag belts to the Ill-Begotten.
And now for something different (literally and figuratively) here’s…
Davey Richards (c) vs. “Thrillbilly” Silas Mason (with Pollo Del Mar) for the MLW National Openweight Championship
The Story So Far: In another inter-promotional match, Richards will be in St. Louis putting up the title against a blue-chipper like “Thrillbilly” Silas. After the interview SLAM! conducted with Pollo Del MaPollo Del Mar getting a ‘Thrill’ managing in the NWAr on her man’s chances at the belt, there is a lot of upside and curiosity on whether “The American Wolf” can beat a “Thrillbilly.”
My Predictions: Sources close to Del Mar state that Silas will be coming in a lot leaner than when we last saw him on television, and that can add another dimension to this match against a respected champion like Richards. This is the second “toss ‘em” for me, so I will say for the freak win, Silas gets the belt.
Pretty Empowered (Ella Envy and Kenzie Paige) (c) vs. The Hex (Allysin Kay and Marti Belle) in a King’s Highway Street Fight for the NWA World Women’s Tag Team Championship
The Story So Far: Envy and Paige won the belts from The Hex at Alwayz Ready in a somewhat underhanded fashion (mostly by Envy). While they haven’t defended the belts a whole lot, it’s the turmoil within Pretty Empowered that has been the focus, and Paige isn’t quite as ruthless as her counterpart. It also doesn’t help that Kay and Belle are looking to get those straps back and are willing to throw everything including the kitchen sink (literally) to get them back.
My Prediction: Remember a while back when we all thought Aron Stevens/Kratos wouldn’t last long as a tag team, let alone champions? Yeah, this feels like this is the same playbook, but for the ladies. I think Envy will do anything to keep those belts, and that will ensure she and Paige are Pretty Empowered to do what’s necessary (See what I did there? Eh? Oh, never mind!).
We’ve already talked about who will be in the women’s match for The Burke, so let’s finally dive into the Main Event, and that’s…
Trevor Murdoch (c) vs. Tyrus for the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship
The Story So Far: Murdoch has undergone quite a transformation. Since losing the Ten Pounds of Gold to Matt Cardona, his persona has become darker; almost cold when facing other opponents. After he reclaimed the belt at Alwayz Ready in a Fatal Four-way after Cardona had to relinquish the belt, Murdoch has ensured no one gets in his way. Murdoch has spoken about this with SLAM! but for all intent and purposes, he is channeling his mentor, Harley Race, and becoming quite possessive of the Ten Pounds of Gold.
But the Great American Smash, Tyrus, is entering with a claim to the title. Having won and defended the NWA Television title seven times, a huge personality on FOX News, and a bestselling author, he is the default number one contender and wants to add the heavyweight title. As Slam! noted in a recent expose on Tyrus, he would be the first singles competitor to hold dual championships in the NWA, which would be a historic first.
So, let’s address the elephant in the room, shall we?
Nick Aldis was originally going to be the number one contender to take on Murdoch for “Sweet Charlotte”, which would have been a nice bookend since he lost the belt at NWA 73 last year to Murdoch. But then Corgan decided to change things up and replace him with Tyrus. Whether this was a shoot or a work, the fact is that this took on a life of its own and now Aldis has been relatively absent from almost all promotions or involvement with the NWA, other than a match with Flip Gordon on night two. The fact that Mickie James, the wife of Nick Aldis, isn’t involved either speaks volumes about why another NWA EMPOWERRR is not happening this year.
Also, Tyrus has his share of criticism and controversy as well. Is he the challenger everyone wanted to see go for the belt? No. Does his involvement with FOX hurt him in certain eyes? Possibly. Does he deserve to be in the main event?
Yes, he does, and the fact is he has done a lot with his platform to promote the NWA at every opportunity, and that is something Corgan has looked for since he purchased the NWA. Whether you’re P.T. Barnum, William Hearst, Rupert Murdoch, or Vince McMahon himself, as long as there are people invested in what’s happening in the squared circle, that is the endgame when it’s said and done. So, who will take away the top prize?
My Predictions: My Smark-y sense is tingling, and there could be some other factors that come into the picture. It wasn’t long ago that Storm got a title shot from Velvet Sky, so he could probably cash in that chance. Also, Aldis could insert himself back into the title picture and take the belt away. But assuming none of those factors come into the mix, let’s just say that Tyrus becomes the NWA World Heavyweight champion.
With that long yarn, we’ll see you in the next two days with all the recaps!