Hello AW Universe,
The NWA is heading towards their next PPV, Hard Times live on Friday 24 January, and things are heating up in the GPB Studios, as the tournament to crown the new National Television Champion continues to progress, and wrestlers from all around the world, past and present, slowly make their way into the Atlanta.
One thing that NWA has done expertly Powerrr, since it’s inaugural episode is balance really good wrestling matches with superb promos within usually an hour runtime. Often they do have episodes that lean more into the promo and interviews, while only leaving room for one or two good matches– which, to me, is perfectly fine as the promos are so fresh and unique with the direct crowd interaction and clearly unscripted mic-work.
But Episode 13, “Who’s The Third Man, Brother?” did a fantastic job of evenly blending ring time with mic time. Tim Storm opened the episode with a white meat babyface promo that in today’s wrestling (internet) climate, only he could pull off; he put over the NWA fans, the television tournament, and built more heat for Nick Aldis without saying a bad thing about him, before Kamille came out to do more no-talking (this is getting a little tired-out, IMO) and then slapping him hard across the face as he contained his rage.
And there were some great matches: Zicky Dice vs. Caleb Konley in another qualifying match for the TV Championship tournament (Dice won), and an actually pretty stiff match between Thunder Rosa and ODB (Rosa won). But the highlight was no doubt Ricky Starks against Aldis.
There have been numerous attempts for bookers to replicate the desire/won’t quit/star-making moment of Austin’s “Blood from a Stone” finish against Bret Hart at WrestleMania 13, all with varying degrees of success. In no way am I putting this finish on the same level as that iconic moment– in fact, the Worlds title match between James Storm and Aldis at Into the Fire ended even more similar to it– but Starks locked into the Cloverleaf for a full minute, defyingly refusing to tap-out, while desperately crawling towards the ropes as the time expired and he drew with the Worlds Champion was
I have to think that Triple H is watching these episodes with wolf’s eyes, fantasy-booking Starks into a program with Adam Cole or Finn Balor, with the Stroke Daddy cutting a scathing promo on his rival in the middle of the NXT ring as the Full Sail crowd goes nuts. I love Aldis, I love Eli Drake, and I think Aron “Shooter” Stevens is even having himself a nice career renaissance, but Ricky Starks is the burgeoning superstar on this roster, with the charisma mic skills and old-school look of The Rock, the move set and ring style of Shawn Michaels , and the raw passion of Kurt Angle.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t what closed out the episode, and if there’s one nit to pick with the finish it’s that Ricky Morton came out to berate Aldis after the match and put Starks over, rather than just have Starks do it himself, but they’re pushing this Rock n’ Roll Express/Strictly Business feud right now, so it makes sense. Not to mention that Aldis did some perfect heel-work by refusing to wrestle either Morton or Starks for five minutes while the crowd was hot.
This all built up to the end of the episode– following a great tag match between Drake & James Storm against Colt Cabana & Ken Anderson, who seems to be unravelling bit– to the reveal of this “third man.” The question was uttered by the Worlds Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis as he set up a, frankly little convoluted, stip-heavy, six-man tag match between the Rock n’ Roll Express minus Ricky Morton, who, if this team wins, earns a title match against Aldis, and a partner against the Wild Cards and said “third man,” who Aldis introduced as the Atlanta crowd roared to the music of…
… Scott Steiner.
Yes, Scott Steiner. 57-year-old Scott Steiner, is now in the NWA. I really don’t know what to make of this. After the arrival of Marty Scurll at Into the Fire, a real coup by the NWA to land one of the most talented free agents in pro wrestling, this seems anti-climatic. Do people still care about Steiner? Can he even really move in the ring? He has been active on the indie circuit and popping up (lol) in Impact, but what can he really bring anymore.
He probably makes more sense being protected in a six-man tag match in a promotion like the NWA that works a slower, more methodical, old school style, but even that being said, I did not pop for Big Poppa Pump.
NWA, Willam Patrick Corgan, and David Lagana haven’t disappointed yet– only Jim Cornette’s done that– so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt here.