DATE: January 24, 2020
VENUE: GPB Studios (Atlanta, GA)
COMMENTATORS: Joe Galli & Stu Bennett
NWA presents its second PPV, Hard Times, featuring an 8-man tournament for the vacant and reinstated World Television Championship. Also in title action Allysin Kay defends the Women’s Championship against Thunder Rosa, The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express defend the Tag Team Titles in a triple threat match, and Aron Stevens defends his 3rd degree National Championship against Scott MF’N Steiner.
- NWA WORLD’S HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION: “The National Treasure” Nick Aldis
- NWA WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPION: Allysin Kay
- NWA WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPION: Vacant
- NWA NATIONAL CHAMPION: Aron “Shooter” Stevens
- NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express
- NWA TV TITLE TOURNAMENT – FIRST ROUND: Trevor Murdoch vs. The Question Mark (***)
- NWA TV TITLE TOURNAMENT – FIRST FOUND: Dan Maff vs. Zicky Dice (***)
- NWA TV TITLE TOURNAMENT – FIRST ROUND: Ricky Starks vs. Matt Cross (***1/2)
- The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express [c] vs. The Wild Cards vs. Eli Drake & James Storm for the NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (***)
- Allysin Kay [c] vs. Thunder Rosa for the NWA WORLD WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP (****1/4)
- NWA TV Title Tournament: Semi-Finals (***3/4)
- NWA TV Title Tournament: Semi-Finals (***)
- Aron Stevens [c] vs. Scott Steiner for the NWA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP (**1/4)
- Nick Aldis [c] vs. Flip Gordon for the NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (***1/4)
- NWA TV Title Tournament: Finals (***1/2)
-Crowd chants “NWA!” as Galli and Bennett welcome the home audience, both men looking dapper AF. They run down the card, and tease a big announcement concerning the Tim Storm/Mr. Anderson match TV Title tournament match coming later.
NWA TELEVISION TITLE TOURNAMENT: FIRST ROUND
Trevor Murdoch vs. The Question Mark
During the entrances Galli announces that if any tournament match goes past the 6:05 time limit then a panel of three judges (Billy Corgan, the referee of said match, & Stu Bennett) will decide the winner. Interesting, I wonder if that’ll actually come into play or if it’s a red herring.
Murdoch with an armdrag and dropkick to start it off, but runs into a back elbow. Question Mark follows up with a middle-buckle missile dropkick and Murdoch rolls to the floor. Murdoch lunges for a clothesline but hits nothing but post, Mark rolls him back in and sends him shoulder-first into the buckles. Mark connects with a series of palm thrusts, dropping Murdoch to one knee, and a backdrop that Murdoch almost didn’t get up for. That could have been scary. Mark with a KARA-TAY chop and a release overhead belly-to-belly suplex for the 1…2…Murdoch kicks out, Mark tries again for the 1…2…another kickout. Murdoch fights back, catching a charging Mark with a boot followed by an uppercut and a FLYING BULLDOG from the top…and Mark gets right back up! A shocked Murdoch heads back to the top and hits another flying bulldog for the 1…2…3! Question Mark’s undefeated streak is over!
Trevor Murdoch defeated The Question Mark via pinfall (3:10)
- Color me surprised; given Question Mark’s popularity I expected him to advance and possibly even make it to the finals, but here we are. I’m not complaining too much though, Murdoch has been GREAT since coming to the NWA and deserves the shine. Good match here, both men busting out moves that they don’t normally hit on television in order to get the win, and hot damn this crowd is ROWDY. (***)
NWA TELEVISION TITLE TOURNAMENT: FIRST ROUND
Dan Maff vs. “The Outlandish” Zicky Dice
Zicky Dice’s entrance theme SLAPS as does his bright pink fanny pack and feather earring. How Outlandish! Dice f*cking ruuuuuules. Apparently Maff’s last name is pronounced “MOFF” which is something I just learned…two seconds ago. Oh man Zicky Dice is about to get murdered on live PPV.
Maff goes to lock up, Dice ducks and slaps his ass. Famous last moves. Dice tries a shoulderblock, Maff drops him and splashes him the corner before lighting him up with chops. More corner whips, more chops, Dice finally ducks one and connects with a series of forearms and a running bulldog out of the corner but only gets a one-count off the lateral press. Maff with a chop, Dice stomps him and drops an elbow for another one-count. Maff easily counters a piledriver with a backdrop but Dice counters a splash with a pair of knees followed by a double axhandle and lariat for the 1…2…Maff kicks out! Maff escapes the neckbreaker and hits SNAP SUPLEX right on top of Dice’s head. Dice comes off the buckles, Maff spears him out of the air and follows up with a cannonball and running senton for the 1…2…3.
Dan Maff defeated Zicky Dice via pinfall (3:04)
- DAN MAFF IS A KILLER AND I F*CKING LOVE IT. Fun match here, Dice mixing in some actual wrestling with his showboating but not enough to avoid getting turned into a pancake at the end. I would’ve loved to see Zicky Dice be Television Champion but we’re about to get Murdoch vs. Maff in a SUPER HOSS FIGHT next round so bring it on! (***)
NWA TELEVISION TITLE TOURNAMENT: FIRST ROUND
“Stroke Daddy” Ricky Starks vs. Matt Cross
Starks picks up a kid and holds him up with one arm as he makes his entrance from the top of the studio. That’s the stuff lawsuits are made out of in other companies but the NWA can get away with it apparently. Bennett being legitimately relieved he didn’t drop him was funny.
Stark with a shoulder tackle to start, Cross does a little backflip to show off and connects with a dropkick. Starks bails to the floor and gets dropped with a pendulum dropkick, followed by an elbowdrop after hanging off the post like a friggin’ gymnast. Back in the ring Cross cartwheels off the top rope to avoid Starks, Starks then counters a tilt-a-whirl headscissors with a sit-out face slam and a two-count. Starks with a neckbreaker followed by a delayed dropkick to the back of the head for the 1…2…Cross kicks out. Cross escapes Buster Keaton, hops over Starks, and belt shim with a pair of clotheslines. Starks bails to the corner, Cross with a back handspring elbow followed by a slingshot crossbody for the 1…2…Starks kicks out. Cross with a wheelbarrow into a double stomp and a lateral press for the 1…2…Starks kicks out again. Starks with a whip, Cross turns it into a cutter and heads to the top. Cross lands on his feet when Starks dodges Death From Above and Starks hits him with Buster Keaton (now called The Stroke) for the 1…2…3!
Ricky Starks defeated Matt Cross via pinfall (3:52)
- Starks and Cross wasted no time in this one and had a helluva sprint. I can’t believe that Cross can still do the things he does after so much mileage on his body, it’s damn-near superhuman. Starks stayed with him and got the big victory, and he’s got to be the front-runner to win this thing. MAN THIS TOURNAMENT IS GOOD SO FAR. (***1/2)
-INTERVIEW PODIUM: Dave Marquez welcomes his guest Tim Storm. Storm talks up how the NWA and its fans are becoming family. Storm says he heard a rumor that Mr. Anderson is not here tonight, and is the last man who would want the easy way to victory…but if he gets a bye he’ll take it. Oh okay. Storm says he’s got one goal: make Momma Storm proud and becoming Television Champion.
-Back to the desk Galli announces that Mr. Anderson isn’t cleared to compete, so the bye is official. Bennett gets up from the desk and walks next to something covered in a sheet. Bennett asks for decorum and has some BREAKING NEWS. Bennett thanks the GPB Studios for being gracious hosts for their first two PPVs but their next PPV in April is going to happen somewhere bigger. Bennett reveals the Crockett Cup and announces that as the next PPV. Nice. The Atlanta crowd took the news of the PPV moving locations really well, proud of them.
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson) [c] vs. The Wild Cards (Thom Latimer & Royce Isaacs) [w/ Kamille & Mae Valentine] vs. Eli Drake & “Cowboy” James Storm for the NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Rules for this one: three men in the ring at the same time, can only tag your own partner. Latimer attacks Morton from behind, Drake makes him pay with a series of rights. Drake dodges a splash and connects with a neckbreaker and a shot to the midsection, Morton with a kneelift and they team up for a double back elbow. Drake runs into Latimer, Morton with an armdrag on Drake. Isaacs tags in, Storm and Gibson both tag and double-team Isaacs. Storm connects with a legdrop, Gibson covers for the 1…2…Storm pulls him off and Latimer elbow drops his own partner. Isaacs dumps Gibson to the floor and stomps Storm down in the Wild Cards’ corner, Latimer throwing Gibson into the ring post. Storm escapes a chinlock, Latimer belts him with a back elbow. Isaacs tags back in and connects with right hands, but Storm no sells it and connects with a pair of chops but runs into a powerslam for the 1…2…Storm kicks out. Storm drops down to avoid a piledriver so Latimer pummels the sh*t out of him with forearms and covers for the 1…2…not yet. Chinlock time.
Gibson gets to his feet, Kamille attacks him so Morton walks over to try and get her away. Storm makes the tag but Isaacs distracts the ref so it doesn’t count, Isaacs clotheslines Storm and Latimer rolls him up for the 1…2…Storm kicks out. Gibson finally gets back in the ring, Isaacs drops him with a clothesline. Storm hops over Gibson and hits a Codebreaker but Gibson moves to avoid the senton. Drake and Latimer get the tags for their teams, Drake with a side Russian Legsweep followed by a powerslam and an elbowdrop for the 1…2…Latimer kicks out. Isaacs distracts Drake, Latimer connects with a pop-up powerbomb. Gibson dodges him in the corner and Morton finally gets the hot tag but gets dropped with a shot to the throat. Kamille distracts Gibson, Latimer drops him with a forearm, Morton hits Latimer with a Canadian Destroyer. Kamille tries to climb in, Gibson pulls her out. Storm knocks Isaacs out on the floor with a Last Call, Drake hits the Gravy Train on Morton for the 1…2…3!
Eli Drake & James Storm defeated The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express [c] & The Wild Cards to win the NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP (8:09)
- RNR mostly sat this one out and let the other teams handle the bulk of the match, which was the smart play for obvious reasons, but they still had their moments including the Canadian Destroyer from Ricky Morton. Triple threat matches are always chaotic so this was no different but I enjoyed the heck out of it, and props to RNR for still taking the pinfall loss to lose the titles. Could’ve easily been The Wild Cards that took the pin but RNR do business. Drake and Storm are a great choice for champions too; the promos alone are going to be wonderful. (***)
Drake and Storm pay their respects to The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express after the match, raising all their arms in victory.
The new champs make their way to the interview podium. Drake reminds everyone that he’s been warning the champions of the NWA since the first episode of Powerrr, Storm says “blood is thicker but they prefer beer and liquor”. Drake goes through possible tag team names but it doesn’t matter because all they need to be called is champs, and if you don’t like that SORRY ABOUT YOUR DAMN LUCK.
-THIS PAST WEEK ON POWERRR: Allysin Kay beats Marti Belle in a No DQ match, leading into her defense of the Women’s Championship tonight against her other ex-friend Thunder Rosa.
Allysin Kay [c] vs. Thunder Rosa for the NWA WORLD WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Thunder Rosa’s got the full war paint on for this one and I am already HYPED AS F*CK. Steal the show y’all!
Brawl starts immediately as the bell rings. Kay backs Rosa into the corner, stomping a mudhole in her, and connecting with a bridging Northern Lights suplex for an early two-count. Kay with body shots and a snapmare into a chinlock. Rosa kicks Kay off, Kay ducks a clothesline and turns it into a neckbreaker for the 1…2…Rosa bridges out and rolls to the floor. Kay suplexes Rosa back in and covers, both legs hooked, for the 1…2…Rosa kicks out again. Rosa rocks Kay with a series of strikes and a European uppercut. Rosa blocks an O’Connor roll and belts Kay with a dropkick. Rosa with a series of body and head shots in the corner, Kay tries to kick her away and gets stomped and choked for her troubles. Rosa connects with a snap suplex and floats over into a lateral press but Kay quickly escapes and slides to the floor; Rosa has no time for that bs and sends her into the front row with a pendulum dropkick. Rosa targets Kay’s left arm, ramming it into the post and wrapping it around the middle rope. Rosa legdrops the arm, then wraps it and applies a crossface.
Kay rolls through and pummels her with rights, then rolls through a suplex attempt with a guillotine choke. Rosa forces a rope break, and snaps the arm across the middle rope. Rosa mocks Kay, Kay goes for a leg submission but Rosa counters to escape and applies an armbar, bending it in an unnatural position. Kay, using her legs and one good arm, fights back but Rosa goes right to the hurt arm and brings her to the mat for another armbar. Kay charges at Rosa in the corner, Rosa floats over and hits a snap release German suplex for the 1…2…champ kicks out. Rosa to the top, Kay rolls to the floor to avoid the double stomp. Rosa climbs the apron and tries a cannonball but KAY CATCHES HER and powerbombs her on the apron! Hot damn! Kay rolls Rosa in for the 1…2…NOT YET. Dueling chants from the studio crowd, Rosa counters the AK-47 with a sunset flip for the 1…2…Kay kicks out, Rosa connects with a shining wizard. Rosa back to the top and tries a flying codebreaker but they both kinda collapse, Kay tries a piledriver-looking thing and Rosa counters with a sunset bomb for the 1…2…Kay kicks out! Rosa with an Octopus in the center of the ring, Kay counters into a Tombstone for the 1…2…Rosa kicks out again! “THIS IS AWESOME” chant from the crowd, the first I can remember hearing on an NWA show.
Kay seats Rosa on the top buckle, Rosa pushes her away and connects with an absolute BANGER of a missile dropkick. Rosa signals for the end, Kay counters her and connects with a running forearm in the corner. Kay peels Rosa off the buckles and hits an AK-47 for the 1…2…ROSA GETS HER SHOULDER UP. Kay can’t believe it. Kay covers again, this time holding her wrists to the chest, for the 1…2…Rosa still kicks out. Kay and Rosa get to their knees and trade forearms and chops. Back to a vertical base they throw bombs at each other, Rosa grabs a guillotine but Kay rams her into the corner. Rosa gets seated on the top buckle, Kay chops her and goes for a middle-buckle superplex. Rosa fights her off and connects with a sunset bomb for the 1…2…KAY GETS HER SHOULDER UP. Kay with a roundhouse kick, Rosa dodges her in the corner and she goes shoulder-first into the post. Rosa wraps BOTH ARMS up in a double armbar, Kay powers to her feet. Rosa connects with a knee to the skull and hits the Thunder Driver for the 1…2…3!
Thunder Rosa defeated Allysin Kay [c] via pinfall to win the NWA WORLD WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP (18:14)
- Easily the best match the NWA has had since coming back. Hard-hitting slugfest full of drama and I was into every second of it. There was a little stumbling here and there but they covered for it well and every move had impact, every moment made sense. Tremendous stuff that I don’t think will be topped for the rest of the night. Thunder Rosa is going to make a killer Women’s Champion. (****1/4)
Rosa celebrates with Marti Belle and Melina. Props to Melina for rocking those HUGE high heels in a bouncy wrestling ring. Crowd chants “YOU DESERVE IT” because despite the company she keeps Thunder Rosa rules.
-VIDEO: recap of the feud between Nick Aldis, Ring Of Honor, Marty Scurll, and his opponent tonight Flip Gordon.
-INTERVIEW PODIUM: Galli welcomes “The Villain” Marty Scurll. Scurll is here for the same reason he was at Into The Fire: he wants a shot at the ten pounds of gold. Scurll accuses Aldis of ducking him and won’t stop causing him a spot of bother until he gets what he wants. Scurll brings up that Aldis/Gordon is non-title and the people deserve to see a title defense. This brings out the champ himself, Nick Aldis. He is flabbergasted at the AUDACITY of Scurll trying to throw his stroke around like it’s Ring Of Honor. Scurll continues goading Aldis into putting the title on the line, Aldis tells him to shut up because the grown-ups are talking. Aldis agrees to put the World Title on the line tonight on one condition: if he wins, all the business between himself and Scurll and ROH is on his terms. Aldis also tells Scurll he’ll put the title on the line if Scurll leaves the building. Two NWA security guards come out, Scurll agrees to the terms and is led out.
NWA TELEVISION TITLE TOURNAMENT: SEMI-FINALS
Trevor Murdoch vs. Dan Maff
Murdoch and Maff trade forearms to start, then switch to chops. ALL OF THIS SOUNDS VERY PAINFUL. Murdoch belts Maff with a series of forearms, Maff spears Murdoch when he charges into the corner. Maff continues the punishment, including a FRONT RAKE and BACK RAKE. Murdoch blocks a chop, Maff bites him instead! Maff splashes Murdoch and poses for the crowd before covering for a two-count. Murdoch chops Maff, Maff chops back and I’m wincing. Murdoch dodges a corner splash and connects with the top rope bulldog for the 1…2…3.
Trevor Murdoch defeated Dan Maff via pinfall (3:28)
- THOSE F*CKING CHOPS, JESUS. This was a quick match but holy goddamn they beat the hell out of each other and remind me never to cross Dan Maff ever in my life. F*CK. I loved it. (***3/4)
NWA TELEVISION TITLE TOURNAMENT: SEMI-FINALS
“Stroke Daddy” Ricky Starks vs. Tim Storm
Storm backs Starks into the corner and breaks clean, showing his power advantage. Starks grabs a standing side headlock, Storm whips him off and doesn’t budge when Starks tries a shoulder tackle. Starks lands on his feet to counter a hip toss and they reset. Storm and Starks exchange chops, Starks laying in a few extra to get the better of him. Storm counters a whip and connects with a spinebuster for a two-count. Storm with a snapmare followed by a running boot, Starks once again kicks out of a lateral press. Storm with a whip, Starks comes gunning out with a dropkick. Storm dodges a double stomp, Starks tweaking his knee, and he hits a backbreaker for the 1…2…not yet. Starks connects with a jawbreaker, Storm sidesteps a kick and hits the Perfect Storm…but rolls off instead of counting. It’s supposed to be a momentum-related thing but he was on top for at least a one-count. That was odd. Starks with a big boot and a faceslam for the 1…2…Storm gets his shoulder up. Storm reverses a corner whip but runs into a boot, Starks blocks the Perfect Storm, Storm blocks the Tornado DDT, Starks rolls him up with a crucifix for the 1…2…3!
Ricky Starks defeated Tim Storm via pinfall (4:45)
- I thought we were going to get a judge situation there for a sec. Good match, liked the power vs. speed dynamic, but the whole Perfect Storm/roll-off thing felt mistimed and awkward which took me out for a sec. Starks sneaks out the win, moves on to face Murdoch in the finals which is an interesting matchup on paper. Are they going the 6:05 too or are they going to give them more time to work? Not sure if the entire division is time limit-based, or it was just the tournament. (***)
Storm proves to once again be a man of honor, shaking Starks’ hand. Storm losing after getting a bye has got to be weighing on his mind. OH NO DON’T HEEL TURN, MAN.
-POWERRR CLIP: Mongrovian Karate demonstration, interrupted by Ricky Starks.
Aron “Shooter” Stevens [c] [w/ The Question Mark] vs. “Big Poppa Pump” Scott Steiner for the NWA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Question Mark accompanies the Third-Degree National Champion while wearing a Game of Death-style bodysuit. Galli thinks it’s Tarantino-esque because of Kill Bill, but I’m not going to shame him for it. We all have gaps in our movie knowledge. Now that Steiner is bald he looks more like late-stage “Superstar” Billy Graham than ever before. Hopefully he’s not as big of a piece of sh*t as Graham though because Graham is the f*cking WORST.
Stevens shows off some karate poses to Steiner, who is very much not impressed. Stevens with an armbar to start, Steiner quickly counters into a wristlock, wringing the arm and forcing the champ to his knees and to the ropes. Steiner backs Stevens into the corner and chops him repeatedly, tossing him to the canvas like nothing. Stevens takes a powder and claims Steiner pulled his tights. Back in the ring Steiner grabs a standing side headlock, Stevens whips him off and gets dropped with a shoulder tackle followed by a back elbow, and Stevens once again takes a powder. Steiner slingshots Stevens back inside and connects with an overhead suplex. Stevens bails, this time Steiner follows him out and sends him into the post and the podium that holds the Television Title. Stevens with an eyepoke but runs right into a release overhead belly-to-belly suplex followed by a regular belly-to-belly for the 1…2…Stevens somehow manages to get the shoulder up. Stevens catches a charging Steiner with a pair of boots and rolls him up, feet on the ropes, for the 1…2…Steiner gets his shoulder up. Steiner catches Stevens, countering a double ax with a flatliner and locks in the STEINER RECLINER. In comes The Question Mark with a chop to the back of the head, forcing the ref to call a DQ.
Scott Steiner defeated Aron Stevens [c] via DQ; Stevens retains the NWA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP (5:52)
- Steiner rocked his suplexes, Stevens sold in his goofy endearing way, I was entertained. Question Mark causing the DQ was a little lame but unsurprising, there’s no way Stevens was going to PIN Big Poppa Pump. That would have been ridiculous. (**1/4)
Steiner drops Question Mark with a Steinerline and locks in the Steiner Recliner, as Stevens runs off and leaves his sensei to suffer the wrath of Big Poppa Pump. Steiner tosses the ref out of the ring as well, annoyed at not winning the championship. Steiner grabs the Television Title (?!?) and puts it on the ref’s body before leaving. Nobody’s going to tell him that’s incorrect. Certainly I won’t be doing that.
“The National Treasure” Nick Aldis [c] vs. “The Mercenary” Flip Gordon for the NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Aldis inches Gordon into the corner, Gordon escapes and peppers him with forearms until ref forces separation. Gordon dodges a right hand and connects with a chop followed by more forearms. Aldis reverses a whip, Gordon catches him with a dropkick and the champ bails to the floor to regroup. Gordon follows him out and lays in more chops. He goes for a suplex on the announce table but Aldis escapes, much to the joy of Galli and Bennett. Gordon rolls Aldis in and the champ takes him to the mat with a waistlock. Gordon quickly slides out of his grasp and sits on top, hammerlock applied. Gordon grabs the second arm and rolls Aldis up but only gets one. Back to a vertical base Aldis counters into a wristlock, Gordon quickly counters and transitions into a side headlock. WRESTLING IS HAPPENING. Aldis tries to escape with a backdrop, Gordon lands on his feet and connects with a dropkick. He tries the Star-Spangled Stunner but Aldis averts and bails to the floor. Gordon wants to fly but the ref stops him. Ref ducks down to check on Aldis, Gordon flies over him and hits Aldis with a tope con hilo. Back in the ring, Gordon goes for a sunset flip. Aldis lands on top but misses a right hand, Gordon locks in a cross armbreaker. Aldis gets to his feet and escapes with a deadlift powerbomb to create separation.
Aldis connects with a release overhead belly-to-belly suplex followed by a fallaway slam, while some dork in the audience keeps saying “FLIIIIIIIIIIIIIP”. Shut up dude. Aldis lays Gordon across the top buckle, climbs the middle and we’ve got an avalanche fallaway! Nice. Aldis catches Gordon mid-crossbody and turns into a stalling vertical suplex with ease. REAL WORLD CHAMP. Aldis measures Gordon, clipping the left knee and applying the Figure Four in the center of the ring. Gordon reverses the pressure, Aldis gets to the ropes to force the break. Gordon connects with a slingshot sunset flip, Aldis rolls through, Gordon nips up and superkicks him in the mush. Aldis escapes a fireman’s carry, Gordon floats over and hits a springboard spear but pummels him instead of covering. Gordon kicks the spine and hits a moonsault for the 1…2…Aldis barely kicks out. Gordon catches a charging Aldis with a back elbow and climbs the buckles, but gets crotched when Aldis yanks the top rope. Aldis tries a super German, Gordon lands on his feet, Aldis connects with a Tombstone followed by a flying elbowdrop for the 1…2…Gordon counters with a crucifix for the 1…2…champ kicks out. Matrix escape and enzuigiri by Gordon followed by a tilt-a-whirl into a crossface in the center of the ring. Aldis hangs on and manages to get a break. Both men trade rights and forearms. Aldis catches a kick and goes for the King’s Lynn Cloverleaf, Gordon pries him off and hits two Star-Spangled Stunners for the 1…2…ALDIS KICKS OUT. Aldis seats Gordon on the buckles, Gordon goes for a victory roll but Aldis shifts his weight and rolls him up for the 1…2…3!
Nick Aldis [c] defeated Flip Gordon via pinfall to retain the NWA WORLD’S HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (15:15)
- Probably my favorite Aldis title defense so far in terms of the wrestling; Gordon is a much higher-energy opponent than his last few and that led to a far more entertaining match for me personally. I actually bought into a few of those near-falls as well and was about to go “FLIP GORDON DID WHAT” as my review. But once again the champ proves why he’s on top, not because he’s a dominant monster but because he’s a SMART wrestler. I love it. (***1/4)
The Wild Cards help Aldis to his feet and to the back as a disappointed Gordon looks on.
NWA TELEVISION TITLE TOURNAMENT: FINALS
“Stoke Daddy” Ricky Starks vs. Trevor Murdoch
Murdoch is feeling the effects of his first two matches during his entrance, almost barely able to stand. Poor guy. Meanwhile Starks has changed his ring gear and looks totally fine. I WONDER WHO’S WINNING. I’m glad NWA is main eventing with this, they could have easily said f*ck it and had Aldis/Gordon do it once it became for the championship. One fall, NO time limit, there must be a winner. YES.
Murdoch with a waistlock to start, Starks lands on his feet off a suplex attempt so Murdoch drops him with a big boot instead. Starks floats over Murdoch in the corner and connects with a sliding clothesline but his lateral press is countered with Murdoch getting his hand on the rope. Test of strength as a kid LOSES THEIR DAMN MIND in the crowd. Murdoch drives Starks down, who bridges to keep his shoulders from touching the mat, so Murdoch knees him and connects with a side Russian Legsweep. Murdoch tosses Starks to the floor, Starks immediately climbs the apron and eats a right. Starks drops to the floor, Murdoch catches him with a haymaker of a right hand. He tries to roll him in, Starks spins and kicks him and tries a flying something but gets countered with a headbutt and gets sent back-first into the side of the apron. Starks with a series of strikes, Murdoch whips him into the steps. Murdoch tries to win via countout but Starks rolls in just in time. Would he have won the title that way? Murdoch slaps Starks, Starks kicks at him for separation. Starks counters a backdrop with a kick, Murdoch backdrops him to the floor, a sickening ass thud.
Murdoch suplexes him back inside and covers for the 1…2…Starks kicks out. Murdoch fights out of the tornado DDT attempt and WRECKS Starks with a lariat right to the jaw for the 1…2…not yet. Chinlock time. Murdoch sits Starks on the top buckle, Starks fights him off with a series of palm strikes and slides under for a SIT-OUT POWERBOMB and the 1…2…Murdoch gets his shoulder up! Murdoch escapes The Stroke, Starks hits a massive spear for the 1…2…Murdoch kicks out again! Starks sets up and hits THE STROOOOKE for the 1…2…3!
Ricky Starks defeated Trevor Murdoch via pinfall to win the vacant NWA WORLD TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP (9:20)
- Great conclusion to a wonderful one-night tournament. Props to the NWA for giving them the main event AND removing the 6:05 time limit to let it play out. Great stuff here, Murdoch changing up to work heel and give Starks that babyface shine, and Starks showing off some amazing strength with that sit-out powerbomb. I’m loving this Murdoch renaissance and I’m into seeing what a Starks title reign looks like. (***1/2)
FINAL THOUGHTS: A 2.5 hour PPV filled to the brim with good to great matches and a one-night tournament that delivered in every single match. I dug Into The Fire a lot but Hard Times was better in almost every single way. New champions, another dominant defense by Aldis, and a true star-making night for both Trevor Murdoch and the new TV Champion Ricky Starks. Gotta love it.
- MATCH OF THE NIGHT: Allysin Kay vs. Thunder Rosa
- MOMENT OF THE NIGHT: Starks’ sit-out powerbomb on Trevor Murdoch