I grew up watching Georgia Championship Wrestling, and later the NWA on TBS (the infamous 6:05 show). As I grew up I remained a huge fan of wrestling, mostly WCW, as WWF/E seldom appealed to me. Oh I watched some WWF for sure, but it was always the lesser in my eyes for its overly cartoon like presentation. When the WWE started the Attitude Era, during the heights of the nWo era in WCW, I was one of the few that found it distasteful, and embarrassing. When WWF bought out WCW, I was sad, but turned to Puroresu (Japanese pro wrestling) with companies like All Japan, New Japan, and NOAH, then fulfilling my wrestling fix. For a while, companies like Ring of Honor, and Evolve also made me a happy wrestling fan as well. Along the way, the over the top, no selling, extremely choreographed wrestling started taking over everywhere, even in my beloved Japanese companies. Ring of Honor and Evolve stared losing their best wrestlers to WWE’s NXT, which I tried to enjoy, but they too went the “super indie” route with their in ring style. “Super indie,” for those that don’t know that term, is the no selling style. The style of wrestling that is all about big moves that look like they might kill someone, having little to no effect on the wrestler receiving the move. For example, a DDT on the ring apron gets a two count, a Canadian destroyer gets a two count, and four or five super kicks in a row get a two count. I got to the point to where I was only watching a Japanese Joshi company (meaning Japanese women) called Stardom. While Stardom isn’t “old school style,” it does very much remind me of early 2000’s Ring of Honor, and I decided back then that I could “settle” for that style.
Then it happened! The NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) now owned by Smashing Pumpkins lead man, Billy Corrigan, announced that they would be bringing studio wrestling back! Sure, the NWA had sort of been around for a little while before this announcement, but other than the Crockett Cup PPV, I’d only seen them be part of other companies’ shows, like the time Nick Aldis won the NWA World title from Tim Storm on a CZW (Combat Zone Wrestling) show of all things, or when Cody Rhodes won the NWA title from Aldis, on a Ring of Honor show. Announcing the return of a weekly studio show, at 6:05pm, told me that they planned on returning to the roots of the NWA, and I found the possibilities exciting. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, but when they hired Jim Cornette for commentary, he told everyone to get excited, so I did. The show premiered on Tuesday, October 8th, at 6:05pm on the NWA’s YouTube and Facebook page. It was everything I ever dreamed about. From the podium interviews, to the graphics, to the in ring style of wrestling. The NWA had brought back my precious memories of what professional was, and is supposed to be. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning, and that’s no exaggeration!
The reasons I believe that studio wrestling is “wrestling done right” are several. First of all, studio wrestling is an advertisement for big shows, live, and or pay per view shows, are sold to the audience based on what they see every week on the studio television show. Giving away main event matches on free TV (or YouTube) is just silly. Sure, as a fan you might think that seeing nothing but main event matches on TV is a good thing, but eventually main event matches stop meaning nearly as much, when they are shown week in and week out. Main events have to be built, they have to be drawn out programs that take you on an emotional ride until the match finally happens. Studio wrestling is how that’s done. No, I don’t want to see 100% squash matches every week on studio TV, and I am sure that’s not going to happen, but we will see them, and we should see them.
Secondly, the interviews (promos). Studio TV interviews are not scripted. The WWE is famous for scripting nearly every word out of their wrestl…..errr I mean sports entertainers, or “superstars” mouths, and that’s why nearly every spoken word in the WWE is cringe worthy. That’s why nearly every “superstar” in the WWE tries to find a catch phrase, so they can rely on that to get them over, and sell merchandise. In studio wrestling, the WRESTLERS have to come up with their own words. The best wrestlers are also the best talkers, and if you can’t talk, you don’t deserve to be over. If you’re good enough in ring, a smart company will find you a manger or a tag partner, than can talk for you, but for the most part, learn how to give a promo, or find another line of work. That’s always how I’ve felt. If you don’t want to talk, why in the hell are you in the wrestling business? Oh yeah, to do big moves, high dives, and flips. Ugh….
Thirdly, and most importantly, the wrestling style! In studio wrestling, selling matters, moves hurt, and finishers end matches almost every single time. If you watched NWA Power’s first episode, on Tuesday, October 8th, you saw finishers ending matches. You saw James Storm’s super kick put a guy down for the three count. You saw a second super kick, after the match had ended, put Storms opponent to sleep so badly, that Storm posed him like a baby, by placing his thumb in his mouth as he laid him down. You also didn’t see one single suicide dive, and very few top rope moves! Studio wrestling is personal, as the fans are right on top of the action, so the wrestlers have to tell a story in the ring, or be exposed as frauds. Only the best “workers” can survive in this environment
My third point leads to the pitfall that the NWA, and their wrestlers, their “workers,” have to avoid at all costs. They simply cannot, they must not, present the style of in ring “work” that they did on NWA Power, and then veer off into the earlier described “super indie” style on their pay per views. They can’t “bait and switch” wrestling fans like me, fans that are being sold on the NWA being a real, true, “alternative” to every other wrestling company out there, with their studio presentation of old school worked matches, only to see them then present matches that look just like the WWE, Impact Wrestling, AEW Wrestling, etc. etc. on their big PPV shows. The NWA’s PPV’s need to have matches that are wrestled, presented, worked, in the same exact style that the matches on Power are.
Right now I, “The Wrestling Snob” am in love with what the NWA is doing. I stand behind them, I endorse, and advocate for them. You may not think that’s a big deal, but trust me, my endorsement is a big deal. I turn up my nose at nearly all wrestling anymore. Only the best matches from guys like Walter, Drew Gulak, and Timothy Thatcher get my approval. Here, for the first time in years, is an American company that I am standing behind. Like Eli Drake said “A wrestling company full of men, not young boys!” Here I stand, Adam Leavelle, the Wrestling Snob, telling you all the the NWA is wrestling done right!
Click the image below for the NWA's YouTube Page, where you can watch NWA Power every Tuesday at 6:05pm (replays available immediately after as well)