There has been a lot of buzz on the Hard Times 3 pay-per-view offered by the National Wrestling Alliance. Controversy aside, this has a lot of potential and there are matches on the card that are good and may have further surprises in store. But like its namesake, there’s been some Hard Times prior to the show, some of which has already played out on social media (and I already offered my thoughts on that topic already) before the event has taken place.
Regardless, this will get fans interested in what is on the card, so let’s dive into the card coming up this Saturday at the Frederick J. Sigur Civic Centre in Chalmette, LA. With Wildkat Sports Wrestling assisting, this has the potential to rival the Alwayz Ready PPV earlier in the year. So, let’s get to the Pre-Show portion, starting with…
AJ Cazana vs. Jordan Clearwater for the vacant NWA World Television Championship
The Story So Far: Since Tyrus decided to cash in the “Lucky Seven” title defenses for a shot at the Ten Pounds of Gold, a tournament was decided to see who would now hold one of the most important belts in the NWA. Clearwater and Cazana both came out on top, and on the last NWA Powerrr, both men fought to a draw, and this match will be on the pre-show to determine a winner once and for all.
My Predictions: Both Cazana and Clearwater have made great strides since coming to the NWA, and each is deserving of the title. However, I think The Golden Boy will benefit because it keeps a title in IdolMania, and it will give focus to one-half of The Country Gentlemen to chase after for a while.
This show will be part of the YouTube Pre-Show (which I disagree with, but hey! I’m not the bookerman.) Other matches that hour will have Team War with Mercurio, “Magic” Jake Dumas, and Jax Dane versus JTG, Da Pope, and Anthony Mayweather. Dumas recently injured his leg, so there’s a question of if he’ll be involved that night.
Also, there will be a WildKat Sports Tag Team Title match that evening with Slime SZN (the team of J. Spade and Bu Ku Dao and current title holders) versus The Miserably Faithful team of Gaagz the Gymp and Sal the Pal.
Now Let get to the main event, and the next match is…
Max The Impaler (with Father James Mitchell) vs. Natalia Markova in a Voodoo Queen Casket match
The Story So Far: Markova, alongside Taryn Terrell, have really challenged their inner Mean Girls act and even topped it with the (we can’t mention “Russian” now because…y’know, geopolitics) Crush winning the Queen Bee tiara.
Enter the Non-Binary Nightmare.
Max has run roughshod through the NWA women’s roster, almost beat Kamille at NWA 74 for the Women’s Title, and they’re just getting started. Mitchell took over a video feed and challenged Markova to a Voodoo Queen Casket match, and the only way to win is to put the opponent in a casket and close the lid, which Markova accepted.
My Prediction: Now that Terrell is out of the picture, Markova is going into this solo and Max will bring that violence. I’ll be surprised if this goes any longer than expected, but Max will close the lid on this short feud, literally and figuratively.
“The Question Mack…Err, Mark” (with Aron Stevens) vs. The Question Mark II in a Mask vs. Mask match
The Story so Far: Stevens, who for all intents and purposes has “retired” from in-ring competition, has focused his energies as a manager, starting with helping his friend Rodney Mack. But somewhere along the way, Stevens decided to bring back The Question Mark all the way from Mongrovia, and he returned to the ring (even though it was Mack under a Question Mark mask). But another Question Mark came out to stop this charade (the aforementioned Question Mark II, the brother of the original), and that made Stevens so furious he proposed this match as his Question Mack…err, Mark is the real deal from Mongrovia.
My Predictions: Somewhere, the late Joseph Hudson is smiling, and I have been a fan of this gimmick. Who the second Mark is remains a mystery, and that’s how it should be as he retains the mask for the honor of Mongrovia, and Mack is exposed for who he really is.
The Fixers (Jay Bradley and Wrecking Ball Legursky) (c) vs. The Spectaculars (Rush Freeman and Brady Pierce, with Rolando Freeman) in a tag team match for the NWA United States Tag Team Championship
The Story So Far: Since winning the resurrected tag titles on the second night of NWA 74, The Fixers had championed the Red, White, and Blue because, well…Fixers Rule. The Spectaculars want the belts for themselves and led by “big brother” Rolando, they are marching in with all the confidence in the world that they can top The Fixers.
My Predictions: Short and sweet, this will end one way, and that’s because FIXERS (wait for it….) RULE!
Homicide (c) vs. Kerry Morton in a singles match for the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship
The Story So Far: The Notorious Legend has made a strong case as the reigning and defending champion of the Junior Heavyweight belt, but lately, he’s devolved back to some old habits of his in ensuring the belt does not leave his waist. The son of Rock n’ Roll Express legend Ricky Morton has been making the case he is a Future Legend since he challenged for the strap at NWA 74 and lost. But he gets another bite at the apple, and he wants the title more than anything else.
My Predictions: Homicide has been a noteworthy champ, and while I think it’s time to drop the belt it won’t be against Morton. Then again, I have been wrong in my predictions, so what do I know?
Eh, let’s give the kid a break, and give the win and the belt to Morton.
EC3 vs. Thom Latimer
The Story So Far: The Essential Character of the Control your Narrative promotion/faction is still on a crusade to free the NWA of the shackles of the past and be free to pursue another narrative. First on his list is Latimer. They faced each other on the second night of NWA 74, but he wasn’t done with the King of All Evil. He has continuously played mind games with Latimer and goaded him into this match, all so EC3 has a chance to make him free to truly pursue his own narrative.
My Predictions: Latimer has been somewhat directionless of late, and this can go one of two ways: Latimer wins, and EC3 hounds him at every turn to really add fuel to this feud. The other is EC3 finally breaks him down and ends up joining the CYN. With EC3 in the NWA to stir the pot, this has a lot of potential to draw interest at the PPV and down the road. It’s a coin flip between Latimer (Heads) and EC3 (tails) so my Coin Flip app says EC3 takes the win, and Latimer drinks the Kool-Aid, so to speak.
Pretty Empowered (Kenzie Paige and Ella Envy) (c) vs. Madi and Missa Kate in a tag team match for the NWA World Women’s Tag Team Championship
The Story So Far: Paige and Envy have a good thing going as the Women’s Tag Team title holders and they, too, are good in their Mean Girls dynamic. They even managed to hold on to the belts from the former champs, The Hex.
(Quick Side Note: Hey, Markova! I got a suggestion for an awesome stable with these Pretty Empowered girls.)
Madi and Kate surprised the champs in a non-title match and earned a chance to take the belts.
My Predictions: You’re kidding, right? Pretty Empowered retains.
Davey Richards (c) vs. Colby Corino in a singles match for the MLW National Openweight Championship
The Story So Far: Richards is currently in Major League Wrestling as the holder of the MLW Openweight title. He has been on a tour of other promotions challenging anyone for his title, the last time being at NWA 74 where he successfully defended against “Thrillbilly” Silas Mason. Corino wants a chance for the belt, and The Last Bastion looks like he can match up with The American Wolf.
My Predictions: This is truly a dream match, and this is going to be one of two sleeper matches of the night. However, lest there be any doubt, Richards will hold onto the belt. But expect Corino to use The Power of Douchenozzlery™ to try to get the pin and the win.
Cyon (c) vs. Dak Draper in a singles match for the NWA National Championship
The Story So Far: To decide the next challenger for The National title, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat came up with a tournament to decide the number one contender. It came down to three men: Draper, Chris Adonis, and “Thrillbilly” Silas Mason. Draper managed to best the other two men for the opportunity, and Cyon is ready for the challenge, alongside “Daddy” Austin Idol. However, on past NWA Powerrr shows, there was some indication he got hurt and may not be cleared to compete that night.
My Predictions: This feels like a work and I expect that Cyon and Idol will play it up for all it’s worth to lower Draper’s guard just enough to beat him down to retain the National title. If that makes Draper stick around to chase after the belt, I’m down for it.
La Rebelión (Bestia 666 and Mecha Wolf) (c) (with Damián 666) vs. Hawx Aerie (Luke Hawx and PJ Hawx) in a Tag Team match for the NWA World Tag Team Championship
The Story So Far: The Commonwealth Connection of Doug Williams and Davey Boy Smith, Jr. were previously the holders of the tag titles. But due to illness from Smith on NWA 74, They had to relinquish the titles and Hawx Aerie took over at the top spot before they lost due to chicanery by Damian 666 (the father of Bestia 666) in the form of a red mist.
However, Hawx Aerie wasn’t grounded for long, and they got another bite at the apple, and better yet, they’ve got the home-court advantage as the PPV is held in Louisiana. With the fans at their side, Hawx Aerie looks poised to take flight and be the first father-son tag team champions.
My Predictions: Hawx Aerie has all the momentum going into this, and this is my second sleeper match of the night that will raise the roof in The Big Easy. I want Hawx Aerie for the gold, and Luke and PJ are in a prime position for this if you will.
Kamille (c) vs. KiLynn King vs. Chelsea Green in a three-way match for the NWA World Women’s Championship
The Story So Far: Now for the first of two Three-Way matches; this one for The Burke. “The Brickhouse” Kamille has been the face of the NWA Women’s division since claiming the title way back when at the Back for the Attack PPV in March 2021. For the last 18 months and counting, dozens of challengers have stepped up to Kamille, only to be speared down. Recently, one of those challengers was Taya Valkyrie, and she had another chance at The Burke after losing to Kamille on Night One of NWA 74. She was set for a rematch, but KiLynn King (another person who came close but lost in a Match of the Year candidate at the Alwayz Ready PPV) face Valkyrie and earned her rematch.
But wait. There’s more!
Chelsea Green, who won the NWA Invitational Cup at the NWA EmPOWERRR PPV for a shot at Kamille the next night on NWA 73 couldn’t get the job done. Since then, alongside her husband Matt Cardona, she has politicked and not only secured a championship spot but chose to insert herself into the title picture with Kings and Kamille.
My Predictions: This was already looking to be a good match with just King and Kamille, both students of Bully Ray’s Team 3D Academy, and their chemistry in the ring is the reason I am looking forward to this match. Green has proven herself a title contender, as well as being an all-around s***-stirrer, and her antics will be well worth the price of admission. But, honestly, in light of recent events, Kamille really needs to be in the top spot for a while longer so she can be the new face of the NWA and a representative of what a true champion means in the modern era of the National Wrestling Alliance.
Trevor Murdoch (c) vs. Matt Cardona vs. Tyrus in a three-way match for the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship
The Story So Far: Let me explain how we got here…
No, there’s too much. Let me sum up.
Cardona beat Murdoch on a PowerrrTrip taping to become the holder of the Ten Pounds of Gold. He was the epitome of a true chickens*** heel, retaining the belt in controversial fashion at the Crockett Cup PPV. But before he could lord it over us at his Alwayz Ready PPV, he tore his bicep and relinquished the title, but not before making NWA owner William Patrick Corgan concede to demands he had, like having his Cardona stablemates get title opportunities and he receive a rematch when he became healthy. That night, an impromptu four-way match was held between Murdoch, Nick Aldis, Thom Latimer, and “Hatchet” Sam Shaw (currently back to Dexter Lumis in WWE). Murdoch reclaimed his belt and took on a much darker tone afterward, not letting the belt go and putting the hurt on anyone that dared step up to the champ.
One of those challengers was the “Man-Ster” Tyrus, as he was given an opportunity by Corgan after he replaced Nick Aldis as the number one contender. They fought at NWA 74, but Murdoch emerged the battle the winner and still held the Ten Pounds of Gold. Tyrus was beside himself, and since he still held the NWA Television title and defended the belt seven times, he reluctantly cashed in the opportunity to face Murdoch again, and thus the three-way dance.
My Predictions: I think all three men have a viable chance at “Sweet Charlotte,” and each brings their value to the title and the NWA as a whole. Tyrus would be a good candidate, as he has a major platform on FOX News as part of The Gutfeld Show and can add more eyes to the promotion and himself as well. Cardona is the other favorite to elevate the title, as his original run got aborted by injury, so this would be a good “do-over” to get back to that storyline track he was set to have. Murdoch is a good face for the title and a good company man himself who’s really channeling his inner Harley Race in his ring work and his promos.
But, to quote from Highlander, “There can be only one.” That’s why I’m picking Cardona to reclaim the belt, Murdoch to chase back for the belt, and Tyrus becomes a ‘tweener as he breaks from IdolMania and The Church’s Money to pursue the richest prize in the NWA (or feud with his former stablemates; either way, I’m good).
There may be some more surprises in store as the card is subject to change, so check back here after the PPV for the recap and see ya tomorrow!