Dusty Rhodes taught us that many things constitute Hard Times, and NWA’s next Pay Per View is one of them.
The GBP Studios in Atlanta, Georgia will play host to the second NWA PPV to take place since the brand experienced its Powerrr led revival. The main selling point is the last leg of the tournament to crown the new NWA World Television Champion.
There is a larger than normal amount of guesswork required with these predictions thanks to that tournament, but here we go.
NWA Television Championship First Round: Tim Storm vs. Ken Anderson
The first of four quarterfinal matches taking place tonight, this feels like a very easy one to predict. Tim Storm is still considered one of the most reliable presences on the roster, whilst Ken Anderson is more of an also ran type.
I expect Storm to take home a fairly easy victory, which will feed into Anderson’s upcoming heel turn as he once again fails to get the job done.
Prediction: Tim Storm
NWA Television Championship First Round: Ricky Starks vs. Matt Cross
Starks has been a highlight of NWA programming each time he’s appeared and is being positioned as a star of the future. He has bags of charisma, tremendous in-ring talent, and is just plain likeable. Cross is also fantastic, but he hasn’t done much of anything to warrant going over Starks in this match.
Prediction: Ricky Starks
NWA Television Championship First Round: Zicky Dice vs. Dan Maff
This is, frankly, a very unappealing match for me. Dice has been pushed pretty strongly throughout the tournament thus far, but his style just doesn’t equal entertainment in my book. He’s a man trying to be vibrant and campy, but it’s unnatural in presentation and comes across as nothing more than a character.
Maff is a talented worker who doesn’t bring much of anything else to the table.
All in all, I expect this to be the low point of the evening. That being said, it’ll still lead to a win for Dice.
Prediction: Zicky Dice
NWA Television Championship First Round: The Question Mark vs. Trevor Murdoch
In a complete 180 from the last match, I expect this one to be a highly entertaining couple of minutes.
The Question Mark has defied all semblance of logic and reason to become the most over performer in the entire company. With just a Mongrovian Spike and the word Kar-ata-aaaay in his arsenal, he has taken the NWA by storm.
On the other hand, Murdoch is a wonderful throwback to the big, no-nonsense bruisers of the past. He is simultaneously a badass and a sympathetic character. I wish he was going further on this night, but I just can’t confidently put my money on him.
Prediction: The Question Mark
NWA World Tag Team Championships: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) (c) vs. James Storm & Eli Drake vs. The Wildcards (Thom Latimer and Royce Isaacs)
In a true time-turner of a moment, The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express defeated The Wild Cards to become nine-time NWA World Tag Team Champions. Since then the aging legends have been regular faces on Powerrr and have even tangled with the Worlds Champion himself, Nick Aldis. Now though, the fun needs to come to an end.
With the formation of Strictly Business, The Wildcards are reinvigorated with a sense of purpose. In theory, that should make them more dangerous than ever before. With that in mind, I have to give them the nod to go home as two-time champs.
It would be nice to Eli Drake and James Storm take home some gold of their own, but they’ve only just come together as a tag team and so it feels wrong for them to go over against more deserving competition.
Prediction: The Wildcards
NWA Television Championship Semi-Final: Tim Storm vs. Ricky Starks
We’re into the semi-finals now and what a match this could be. A true clash of generations and styles. Tim is the grizzled veteran, slowed but no less dangerous for it. Starks is the exuberant youth with something to prove. It could be something special despite the time constraints.
It would be nice to see Tim Storm walk away with the win here and continue to prove that he’s still got it. It would be even better to see Ricky Starks pull off the upset and continue to create his own legacy in the NWA. It could conceivably go either way but with a Starks/Dice match teased two weeks ago, I have to go with Starks to win.
Prediction: Ricky Starks
NWA Television Championship Semi-Final: Zicky Dice vs. The Question Mark
If I went for Starks based on his interactions with Dice, then it stands to reason that I’m taking the latter of the flamboyant pair to win this match.
It’s a shame as Mr. Mark winning would be the more entertaining option. Still, the overall story is more important so, with a heavy heart, I’m counting him out of the tournament.
Prediction: Zicky Dice
NWA National Championship: Aron Stevens (c) vs. Scott Steiner
Well this one came out of nowhere now, didn’t it?
Scott Steiner turned up on Powerrr a few weeks back to be the third man on Team Aldis, a team that ultimately lost, and now he’s challenging for Stevens’ title.
Despite his age, Steiner can still put in a decent performance when he needs to so there is some hope that this could be a good clash. The winner has to be the comedic genius that is Aron Stevens though. There’s just too much mileage left in his reign to switch the title over now.
Prediction: Aron Stevens
NWA Women’s Championship: Allysin Kay (c) vs. Thunder Rosa
Since debuting a few months back, Rosa has been on a roll that no one can stop. With Melina and Marti Belle at her side, she looks poised to steal the top spot from Kay. However, you can’t count the powerful champion out that easily.
Kay has been one of the unheralded heroes of women’s wrestling this past year or so. She’s held down the relatively small division in NWA and done a fantastic job of presenting herself every time she’s appeared on Powerrr.
Rosa has built up her mystique as a dangerous competitor with the skills to run through just about anybody. She’s popular and a ready-made champion in every sense.
This is the hardest match to predict on the entire card. In the end, I’m going to go for my favourite of the two ladies, and that means a win for Thunder Rosa.
Prediction: Thunder Rosa
NWA Television Title Tournament Final: Ricky Starks vs. Zicky Dice
The finale to this tournament is one that will, if I’m right, feature two of the youngest entrants. That’s something to be celebrated in its own right as NWA will have realised that a revived championship is the perfect way to put over the future of the brand, rather than celebrate the past.
From earlier predictions you’ll know that I have a favourite out of these two. I shan’t be going against that either as I truly believe that Ricky Starks is the future of NWA. This is the beginning of that ascension.
Prediction: Ricky Starks
Nick Aldis vs. Flip Gordon
An inter-promotional war to headline the show as ROH’s Flip Gordon takes on the reigning NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis in a non-title encounter.
Aside from the fact that this is bound to be a very strong match, there is another level of intrigue at play here. Recently it was revealed that Marty Scurll had signed a new contract with ROH that saw him become the head booker. Scurll also happens to be at war with Nick Aldis over his championship. It seems reasonable then to assume that The Villain will show up at Hard Times.
I don’t expect him to hand Gordon a win with that appearance as Aldis is very protected in the way he is booked by NWA. He’s their top guy and they understand the importance of keeping him strong. Instead I think that Aldis will pick up a shady victory over Gordon leading to Scurll appearing post-match to hand out some justice and further this feud.
Prediction: Nick Aldis
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