Not only is the card taking final shape for the Hard Times 3 pay-per-view, but tonight there are matches to ensure certain hopeful can propel their way to championship glory in the National Wrestling Alliance. Amidst the Tag Team and Television title number one contender matchups, we’ll also get a Team War match as The Cardona Family will face off against The Spectaculars, led by Rolando Freeman.
It’s a show where hope springs eternal, so let’s head to ringside at the Skyway Studios, in Nashville, TN. Joe Galli and Velvet Sky have the call, as time Storm is away on assignment helping out with the upcoming PPV, but that leads to our First Match of the Night…
Colby Corino (with Jamie Stanley) vs. Flip Gordon
Gordon is hoping to get a headwind to push him forward in the NWA, while Corino needs forward momentum as he prepares to face Davey Richards at the upcoming PPV. At the start, Corino is evenly matched with Gordon, and every time he tries to ground the high-flying Gordon, he finds a way to come back, like when Corino gets an arm drag, but Gordon kips up every time, and The Last Bastion is unable to stop the springy Gordon. He lands a dropkick and Gordon returns the receipt with the same move. Now Corino hits a spear to Gordon as they go tumbling out of the ring onto the floor. As Corino heads back into the ring and complains of an injury to his hand, Stanley comes over to Gordon still on the outside and lays in some boots. Corino works over his back to ensure Gordon can’t flip out.
Corino goes up top and nails a Swanton to cover for a two count. Gordon manages to answer back with a springboard sling blade, and then from that point, both men go back and forth throwing bombs, but Gordon channels the Matrix as he dodges a forearm and then hits a thrust kick to a Pele kick. Corino pushes him to the ropes, and Gordon nails a springboard moonsault. He follows with a steamroller and climbs up the top turnbuckle, but he gets pushed off by Corino, who covers for another two count. Now Corino goes up to for a high-risk maneuver, and he gets caught by Gordon as he hits a Spanish Fly and covers for just a two count. Gordon goes to the ropes for another springboard offensive move, but Corino catches him mid-air with a leaping knee and then follows into a Sonsetter for another close two count. Now Corino goes up top again, but he’s caught by Gordon with a springboard thrust kick from the top that sends him crashing. Gordon goes for a finisher, but Stanley distracts long enough for Corino to get into position and deliver an avalanche Colby Crush for the pin.
Your Winner via Pinfall: Colby Corino
At The Podium with Kyle Davis are Jax Dane and Chris Silvio, Esq. Silvio says his client is exercising his Fifth Amendment rights but wants to show what kind of man Anthony Mayweather is as he introduces into evidence a text between The Dane Event and Heather Mayweather, Anthony’s wife. As he takes over the screen at The Podium and shows the text, which plays like a bad porn script (don’t ask how I know such things). But Silvio wonders what kind of man Mayweather is if his wife is offering such salacious texts and even their son Mason calls Dane “daddy.”
May Valentine is backstage with Tyrus about his second chance at the Ten Pounds of Gold and his thought process. Tyrus plainly says he needs to get NWA 74 out of his head. He explains he’s been training and living alone because he wants to focus on the PPV Main Event, and goes on to say the reason he isn’t the champ is that he hesitated. Tyrus says that night, he will face two of the best and will not hesitate this time around. Valentine asks what the likely outcome will be that night, and Tyrus channels his inner Clubber Lang and flatly states, “Pain.” On NWA USA he will team with Trevor Murdoch as they face Da Pope and an opponent to be named in a tag match before the PPV. He doesn’t trust Cardona, and Pope and he will always have a misunderstanding ever since he beat him for the NWA Television title, explains Tyrus, but he trusts Murdoch to watch his back.
Now let’s head back ringside for the next match, which is a…
NWA World Tag Team Champion Number One Contendership Match: Hawx Aerie( Luke & PJ Hawx) vs. The Dirty Sexy Boys (JTG & Dirty Dango)
This match is to determine who will face La Rebelion at the Hard Times 3 PPV for the tag straps. Luke and Dango start off and immediately, the fans chant, “Let’s get weird!” Luke almost gets a sunset flip to Dango, but he teeters for a little bit before a punch to his head stops that, and then he gets in a leg drop. Now he tags in JTG as they drop the ‘butts and give Luke that double boots to his midsection. Tha Gawd is looking good until Luke tags in PJ and the Hawx Aerie lands a double backbreaker, and then PJ’s technical prowess takes hold. JTG is more than a match for the younger Hawx as he gets a pop-up cutter to cover PJ for a near fall, and then he tags in Dango for a dropkick for another two count.
Dango whips PJ to the corner turnbuckles and then as he rushes with a splash, PJ gets a desperation tag to Luke and he is a Hawx en Fuego, as he cleans house. Tag back to PJ, and JTG returns fire with his unique offense such as a sling blade bulldog for a two count. He then throws PJ’s shoulder hard to the mat, and then a tag back to Dango, and he and PJ trade pin attempts. PJ utilizes his technical acumen and gets Dango with a half-and-half pin that gets the win.
Your Winners, and Number One Contenders for the NWA Tag Team Champions: The Hawx Aerie
After the match, DSG shakes their hands in a sign of respect. Luke and PJ are both ecstatic over their win, with PJ yelling into the hard camera that the Tag team belts are coming home to New Orleans.
Valentine now has Rolando Freeman and he proclaims that everyone has a little Rolando in them. His ultimate goal is the Ten Pounds of Gold, and he has wins over Matt Cardona. Freeman says they call him the “Deathmatch King”, but everyone will soon call him the “Big Match King.” Bold words.
Kyle Davis is in the NWA Control Center, but the feed is interrupted. We then see the Sinister Minister broadcasting from an undisclosed graveyard. He calls out Natalya Markova and makes it clear her business with Max the Impaler isn’t done. He knows that Markova is afraid of the dark, and then he challenges her to face Max in a Voodoo Queen Casket match and promises at the end of the night that Max will crush Markova and send her into darkness.
Next up is a…
Mongrovian Karate exhibition: The Question Mack (with Aron Stevens) vs. The Question Mark II
This exhibition is taking place ahead of their Mask vs Mask match at Hard Times 3. Stevens badmouths a fan wearing a Question Mark mask, saying its in poor taste to the original in the ring, and that prompts the fans to chant, “False.” Once in the ring, Mack shows some moves like he’s been watching The Karate Kid (the original, not the Jaden Smith/Jackie Chan remake). Mark II has more intensity to his moves and the fans appreciate the Mongrovian Menace™. Stevens explains (via a written statement that Kyle Davis reads) that as a third-degree black belt in Mongrovian Karate that Mack will use his Chi to knock the rolled-up paper out of his hand, and he succeeds in that feat. Then Mark II prepares for the same things and that has Stevens superkick him as they beat him further. On a scale of one to 36 Chambers of Shaolin, Question Mark II got Wu Tanged.
Interestingly Gaagz comes out for the save for Question Mark II, and then he’s blindsided by Sal the Pal who stomps his tag partner. The Sinister Minister berates his Gymp for stepping out of line, and now I’m curious what the fallout will be after this.
Valentine is now backstage with KiLynn King and she asks The Gatekeeper about Green getting involved at Hard Times 3. King is not surprised, as she calls her, “Politicking Green.” King’s confident about her chances of beating Green and she’s studied her mistakes with facing Kamille after their last match for The Burke. The championship is important to her, and she says that beating the self-proclaimed one-time champ will put her at a whole other level.
Dr. Tom Prichard joins Galli and Sky at ringside, as we go to the…
Team War Match: The Spectaculars (Brady Pierce, Rush Freeman, and Rolando Freeman) vs. The Cardona Family (Mike Knox, VSK, and Brian Myers, with Matt Cardona)
Galli Goes over the rules, that only one person is in the ring and whoever is eliminated via pinfall, submission, or thrown over the top rope to the floor will bring another combatant for the other team until the remaining team is standing.
Rush starts against Myers, and he starts strong versus Bob Kapur’s Favorite Wrestler™. He gets in a little hip sway and a leg sweep to Myers, but He fires back at Rush with a Spear and a huge lariat to pin him and he’s eliminated. Pierce is now in but soon gets sent over the top rope. Pierce has his feet on the ring apron but Myers nails him with an enzugiri to send him crashing to the floor.
That only leaves Rolando left for The Spectaculars and the odds are stacked against him. He shoulder tackles Myers and goes for a sunset flip, but Myers sits on him and grabs the ropes for Leverage. The ref sees it and kicks his hands off and that allows Rolando to do the roll-up for the pin. As Myers is eliminated, VSK enters the ring and stomps a mudhole to Rolando. He goes up the top turnbuckle to choke him, but Rolando pushes him off to eliminate him, too. That brings in Knox with a running crossbody, and he gives Rolando a thorough beating. Knox just takes his time dishing out the pain and has him in a gorilla press threatening the fans at ringside he’d throw him out. Knox opts to send him crashing to the mat, but Rolando catches his head and neck with a desperation DDT to knock him out silly. Rolando gets his second wind and nails a big boot to cover, but Cardona pulls out the ref.
As the ref and Cardona argue on the outside, Chelsea Green gets in the ring and plants Rolando with the Unprettier. As the ref gets back in the ring, Knox covers but Rolando kicks out at two. Knox goes back to beating him down with a splash followed by a humongous choke slam. He pins him for one, two…Knox pulls him up and decides to throw him out of the ring, but Rolando gets the big man with head scissors and sends him tumbling out of the ring to get eliminated, which means…
Your Sole Winner of Team War: Rolando Freeman for The Specatulars.
Cardona is beside himself as his entire stable has lost to Rolando Freeman, who Galli coins as “The Cardona Killer©.”
This last NWA USA has a recap of Jay Bradley and Ricky Morton in the main event but read it here for everything you missed last Saturday
Time now for the Main Event, and it is a…
Triple Threat Match for the NWA World Television Champion Number One Contendership: Judais (with The Sinister Minister) vs. Big Strong Mims vs Gustavo
This match is to determine who will get the chance to face the winner of the NWA Television title after Hard Times 3.
Gustavo wants some hip-swiveling going on (which makes one wonder how much influence Dango and Rolando have in the locker room. But, I digress). Mims is game, but Judais ain’t playing along. Mims and Judais face off, and then Gustavo tries a rollup on the Priest of Punishment but that doesn’t work. He gets one to Mims for a near fall, and he yells at him, “What’re you thinking, dumbass?!” Mims gets sent out of the ring, and Judais takes time with Gustavo with a fallaway slam, then Mims comes back throwing forearms at the big man. Gustavo attempts with a crossbody but both Mims and Judais catch him in midair. As Judais shrugs him off, Gustavo manages to nail Mims in a DDT to cover, but Judais breaks the count. Now he unleashes pain on Gustavo working him and Mims on the outside of the ring. Judais almost finishes off Gustavo, but Mims returns back. Judais executes a choke slam to Mims to cover, but Gustavo comes from behind with a sleeper, but he powers through the submission. Gustavo sends Judais to the outside, and Mims delivers his Big Strong Slam finisher to cover for the one, two, and three.
Your Winner, and Number One Contender for the NWA Television Title: Big Strong Mims
Once again, Mims has another bite at the apple, and the fans are happy for this turn as the show goes to the credits.
Overall a solid show, but the standout moments were the Corino/Gordon matchup, along with the win by Hawx Aerie ahead of the PPV and Mims getting another title shot. But the story of Rolando Freeman being able to overcome the odds at the hands of The Cardonas is handled very nicely.
We’re less than a week away from the Hard Times PPV, so see you in seven!