Show Reviews

NWA Hard Times Review

Shaun Pond gives his review of NWA Hard Times

Surviving a three-match onslaught to become the new NWA World Television Champion? Now that’s hard times. 

That is exactly what one man would have to do in front of the Atlanta faithful. In the latest PPV from the revived NWA, an old championship was brought back, an inter-promotional war took place, and Scott Steiner stumbled about a bit. 

Powerrr has been excellent ever since launching on Youtube last year. It may not be to everyone’s tastes, but it is an enjoyably retro hour of programming each week. That being said, they haven’t had any standout matches to speak of, but was that a problem at their latest event?

TV Title Tournament Quarter-Final #1 – Trevor Murdoch vs. The Question Mark

Grade – C

This was a clash of styles as the comedic karate ‘expert’ The Question Mark took on the tough as nails brawler Trevor Murdoch. Despite the short time limit imposed on the match, they both delivered an enjoyable contest. 

With Murdoch, you get the sense that he’s really out there in a fight wherever he steps between the ropes. He’s gritty and believable, something that is often lacking in wrestling today. Question Mark is in no way believable, but he is a lot of fun. 

Murdoch eventually picked up the victory with a pair of Top Rope Bulldogs to hand Mark his first pinfall loss. The right decision, all things considered, and a solid performance. 

TV Title Tournament Quarter Final #2 – Dan Maff vs. Zicky Dice

Grade – D+

The best gift I have received so far this year was Maff picking up the win in this match. Dice just isn’t my cup of tea, but it has to be said that he performed better than you may expect. 

Dan ate a fair number of shots from Dice before quickly firing up and using his overwhelming power to secure the victory and advance in the tournament. 

Neither man is particularly exciting to watch even in such a short match, and that is reflected in the low grade given here. 

TV Title Tournament Quarter Final #3 – Ricky Starks vs. Matt Cross

Grade – C+

Cross is a genuinely enthralling wrestler to watch perform. He can dazzle with his highflying offence, or he can slow down the pace with his technical prowess. On any other day, against any other opponent he might have been a favourite, but there was just no way he was getting the win against the uber charismatic Starks. 

Starks has been the one to watch on Powerrr since it’s inception. Praised by everyone, including the Worlds Champion, he has more than lived up to the hype. He’s the most exciting performer on the NWA roster and someone who could have an extremely bright future with the promotion. 

The match itself was good. Cross flew around the ring, though not with the reckless abandon that you’d see elsewhere, and Starks matched pace with him. In the end it was a Buster Keaton that saw Starks to victory. 

TV Title Tournament Quarter Final #4 – Tim Storm vs. Ken Anderson

Grade – F

The match didn’t take place as Anderson wasn’t medically cleared to compete. Moving on. 

NWA Tag Team Championship — Rock ‘n’ Roll Express vs. The Wildcards vs. Eli Drake and James Storm

Grade – C+

The Tag Titles had to change hands here. Ricky and Robert’s return to the top of the division has been fun and all but it was time to make the change and allow a team who could still really go in the ring to hold the gold. 

I liked that there was a man from each team legal at all times as it makes so much more sense to do that rather than have people tagging out to opposing wrestlers. It also allowed from some exciting moments when Robert Gibson finally got the hot tag on Ricky Morton, allowing him to hit his couple of moves on their opponents. 

Whilst The Wildcards winning would have made the most sense, I shan’t grumble about Storm and Drake taking the belts home instead. They worked well together and overall were the stars of the match. It’s not often that a clearly randomly thrown together team actually gel immediately, but that’s exactly what’s happened with these two. 

NWA Women’s Title Match – Allysin Kay vs. Thunder Rosa

Grade – B

Truth be told, the women’s division hasn’t really been given all that much time to grow on Powerrr. It’s felt like they’ve gone back to the same few matches due to a shortage of performers. The big shining light that has broken free of that monotony though is one Thunder Rosa. 

She is intense, believable, and utterly compelling to watch. Simply put, she was a champion without a belt. Now, she’s a champion with a belt. 

Kay cannot be overlooked either as she more than held up her end of this hard-hitting affair. The MMA influence was obvious as Rosa looked to apply chokes whilst Kay used her power to brawl with her foe. 

Rosa getting the win was the right move as she has been a house of fire since joining the promotion. The Women’s title feels more important for this match having happened, and that’s exactly what you want if you’re sat in the NWA office. 

Marty Scurll then showed up to continue his feud with Nick Aldis. He wondered aloud why the title was not on the line against Flip Gordon later in the night. To which Aldis responded by saying that the title would be up for grabs, but if he won then he’d be in charge of NWA/ROH affairs. 

Marty agreed to these slightly ambiguous conditions and left for the night. 

TV Title Tournament Semi-Final #1 – Trevor Murdoch vs. Dan Maff

Grade – C+

This was a match that better highlighted Maff’s skills as he looked great in a bonafide hoss fight alongside Murdoch. 

Both men are absolute bruisers and this throwback of a match was a treat to watch. Had it been outside of the tournament, and thus less constricted by times limits, then it could really have been something special. 

Murdoch’s victory saw him punch his ticket to the finals and it was well deserved. 

TV Title Tournament Semi-Final #2 – Ricky Starks vs. Tim Storm

Grade – C

At this point in his career, a Tim Storm match is never going to be something to rave about. He’s slow and predictable in the ring, his matches never quite living up to the hype that his excellent promos create. However, Starks was able to up the pace and push Storm to something decent. 

In the end this was a vehicle to lend more legitimacy to Starks as he picked up a clean win over the former Worlds Champion with a Crucifix Pin. The right man won and did so in convincing fashion. 

NWA National Heavyweight Championship – Aron Stevens vs. Scott Steiner

Grade – DUD

Scott Steiner should not be wrestling anymore. He is beyond slow, looks awkward, and just can’t deliver the goods like he once did. Let’s face it, he was bad way back in 2003 so why anyone would book him in a high profile spot some 17 years later is anybody’s guess. 

Aron did what he could but working with such a limited competitor coupled with the non-finish meant that not even his genius comedic styling could save this from being a disaster. 

Please never book a rematch, NWA.

NWA World Heavyweight Championship – Nick Aldis vs. Flip Gordon

Grade – B+

With the stakes raised earlier in the night, this was a match that mattered between two top tier talents. 

Aldis has been the MVP of NWA and will surely go down as one of the best to ever hold the Ten Pounds of Gold. He’s been legitimising people with his promos and in ring work from the beginning, whilst also raising the belts prestige once more by making people earn the right to challenge for it. You don’t simply get a title shot; you’ve got to be worthy. 

Flip hasn’t been on quite the same kind of run, but he has changed his look to be more imposing and it’s working wonders for him. 

What I really liked about this match was that the wrestlers gave everything time to breath. It wasn’t just a spot fest like you’d see in AEW or on the indies, but rather the high spots made sense within the confines of the match and added to the overall story. Aldis sought to control the pace through meticulous groundwork and Flip took what few opportunities he was given to fly. It made the big moments feel so much more special. 

Ultimately, Aldis won as expected. It’s going to be interesting to see how his new power over the ROH side of NWA operations plays out as he continues to war with Marty Scurll. 

TV Title Tournament Final – Trevor Murdoch vs. Ricky Starks

Grade – B-

Another clash of styles and generations as the young, hungry Starks took on the old hand of Murdoch to crown a new NWA World Television Champion. 

Right out of the gate it was clear that both men were turning things up a notch with the belt so close to being there’s. Murdoch used his raw power to batter his much smaller opponent, whilst Starks utilised his speed and look excellent as the determined underdog. 

There were moments where it was conceivable that Murdoch could have pulled off the upset and walked out with the title, something that would have been perfectly acceptable. It was not to be however, as Starks hit The Stroke and picked up a well-deserved victory to take home the gold. 

The future is unbelievably bright for this young man and you’d have to consider this win as NWA strapping the rocket ship to his back. 

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