KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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OCTOBER 8, 2019
ATLANTA, GA. AT GPB STUDIOS
REPORT BY MICHAEL TAYLOR, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Announcers: Jim Cornette, Joe Galli
-The show’s opening intro video featured Dokken’s “Into the Fire” which had an instant “throwback” vibe but didn’t feel cheesy or corny. A montage of the roster was shown with NWA Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis featured first and most frequently. The classic NWA title belt was also featured several times. As the video ended, the camera was shown panning the studio audience cheering enthusiastically.
(Taylor’s analysis: This was by far the best intro video for a wrestling show I have seen in some time. It might have been riding on nostalgia, but in this case, it just worked in every sense. I was instantly reminded of the original NWA studio shows of the ’80s and got that “It’s time to watch some Pro-Wrestling” feeling. Great job by the NWA production team.)
-The camera then cut to announcers Jim Cornette and Joe Galli. Cornette noted that the city of Atlanta had a 50-year history of studio wrestling. As he continued, black and white shots of former NWA wrestlers such as Robert Fuller, Dusty Rhodes, and Ric Flair were shown on the screen. The announcers threw to David Marquez who introduced the NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Nick Aldis.
-Aldis entered with Kamille and placed the NWA title belt on the desk in front of him which glowed beautifully in the studio lights. Marquez asked what the first episode of NWA Power meant to him. Aldis said that he was coming up on one year as world champion but was still trying to find ways to stay hungry. He then mentioned the other champions on the NWA roster and touted their attributes. Aldis said the entire NWA roster had paid their dues and then turned his attention to Tim Storm, his opponent later in the evening. He stated that his entire life, from his clothes, his car, and the food he fed his family with were paid for by professional wrestling. This got a great reaction from the audience. He closed by saying after the night was over, Storm would know why he was the “National Treasure” and the NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Aldis then walked out to the audience who were cheering him on as Marquez threw back to the announcers. Joe Galli mentioned that if Tim Storm was unsuccessful in the main event, he would never get another shot at the title.
(Taylor’s Analysis: Great promo by Aldis who came across as totally authentic. There were hints of Ric Flair and Harley Race in his words. He captured the bravado of those who came before him but did not seem derivative. The production choices here continued to set the tone of the show. Starting with an effective in-studio interview was classic and effective.)
(1) THE DAWSONS vs. SAL RINAURO & BILLY BUCK
-The camera cut to the ring where both teams had already entered. Rinauro and Dave Dawson started the match with Dave quickly getting the upper hand. After a quick tag, Zane Dawson entered the ring and the two hit a double power slam on Rinauro. Zane broke his own two count and then Rinauro made the tag Billy Buck. Buck entered the ring but was quickly overpowered. After a quick series of tags, Dave Dawson charged and squashed Buck who was being held in place by Zane. Zane then hit a power slam for the victory.
WINNERS: The Dawsons via pinfall
-After their victory, the Dawsons were interviewed by David Marquez and were met by loud boos from the audience. Zane stated that they were there to fight anyone and everyone, and they would do anything to win. Dave followed that by saying they should remind everyone in the audience of their childhood bullies, and that the world would soon get well acquainted with the Dawsons. The crowd continued to boo loudly as the interview ended.
(Taylor’s Analysis: This was a perfectly executed squash match. The Dawsons came across as vicious in the ring and in their post-match interview.)
– An NWA Power bumper was shown reading “Up Next: Eli Drake”.
-A voiceover stated, “promotional consideration has been paid for by the following” with a still image of Austin Idol on screen. A commercial for Austin Idol’s wrestling college aired featuring Idol himself standing in front of an empty ring. Like the rest of the show, the commercial had an old-school feel and was shot like a commercial from the ’80s with quick cuts and on-screen graphics that matched what Idol was saying.
-The show returned with Joe Galli in the interview booth. He then introduced Eli Drake who made his way out to cheers. Drake asked the crowd if Atlanta, GA was an NWA crowd which got more loud cheers. He then said that the NWA roster was different from any other wrestling roster in the world. He closed by making an open challenge to all of NWA’s male champions.
(2) ELI DRAKE vs. CALEB KONLEY
-Drake made his way to the ring where Konley had already entered. Konley started with a headlock but was knocked down by Drake. The pace quickened with a series of pinfall attempts by both men. From there, Drake hit a neck breaker after dodging a charging Konley. The crowd began an “Eli!” chant. Drake then hit a running knee on Konley who was propped up on the second rope. From the ring apron, Drake dove over the top rope and landed a shoulder tackle for a two count. Konley countered offense from Drake and the two traded blows. The action continued with Konley hitting a kick from the outside of the ring. He then dove over the top rope and hit a twisting dive for a two count. Drake got up and reversed an Irish whip into the corner. As Drake charged, Konley put his feet up and stomped Drake to the mat below. Konley then attempted a springboard moonsault but Drake raised his feet and avoided contact. Drake then hit his finisher on Konley for the win. Drake stayed in the ring for a short time, celebrating his victory.
WINNER: Eli Drake via Pinfall
(Taylor’s Analysis: There was a lot of fast-paced action here with both men hitting impressive offense. The competitive nature was a good counterbalance to the previous match. Drake’s mannerisms and promo style make me think he’s better suited for being a heel. I liked him making his championship intentions known as it builds interest for weeks to come.)
-Highlights of the feud between Nick Aldis and Tim Storm were shown. Storm responded to the challenge laid out by Aldis by saying he knew he could beat Aldis, as he had done so in the past.
-The camera returned to the announcers who were interrupted by Jocephus erratically yelling for Tim Storm to come to the ring. Jocephus made his way to the ring as the commentators threw to a commercial.
-A video package aired showing fans commentating on the return of the NWA. One fan aptly stated, “it was like wrestling from 30 years ago with today’s energy”. The screen noted the on-sale date for the next set of NWA TV tapings.
-The show retuned with Jocephus angrily walking around the ring with a microphone. As he demanded that Tim Storm come out to face him, James Storm made his way to the ring. James Storm took a microphone and said he was the only Storm Jocephus needed to worry about. The two began to brawl as referees tried to separate them and the cameras cut to a break.
-A commercial aired for the 10 Pounds of Gold 3-Disc DVD set.
-The show returned with Danny White & Mims already in the ring.
(3) THE WILD CARDS (c) vs. DANNY WHITE & MIMS
-The camera cut from the ring to show The Wild Cards entering the studio. The match started with Royce Isaacs and Danny White with Isaacs getting the early advantage. Tom Latimer and Mims both tagged in. Cornette emphasized that the Wild Cards did not respect the sport of Pro Wrestling but were only driven by making money. After a series of quick tags by both teams, both Issacs and Latimer entered the ring and hit tandem offense on White for the victory.
WINNERS: The Wild Cards via pinfall
-After the match, David Marquez interviewed the Wild Cards but was interrupted by Eddie Kingston. Kingston claimed that the Wild Cards did not speak for people like him or any of the “underdogs” of the world. Latimer shoved the interview stage out of the way and approached Kingston until Homicide made his way to Kingston’s side. The confrontation was then interrupted by a brawl between Jocephus and James Storm.
(Taylor’s Analysis: Another effective squash, this time establishing the tag champions. I like the team of Issacs and Latimer, but I don’t like the “Wild Cards” name at all. Hopefully, they will continue to develop both as characters and as a team, and with a new name.)
-Another commercial for NWA TV taping tickets aired with more comments from fans.
-The show returned with Jocephus in the ring. James Storm then began chasing Josephus. The two began fighting in the crowd. Storm made his way into the ring where a referee had entered. Jocephus mimed that he would only enter the ring if Storm turned his back to him. Storm obliged and the bell rang.
(4) JAMES STORM (c) vs. JOCEPHUS
– Jocephus charged at Storm but was met with a standing side kick for a pinfall.
WINNER: Nick Aldis via pinfall
(Taylor’s Analysis: Weaving the brawl throughout the show and the quick match was a fine way to feature James Storm on the show.)
-More highlights of the Nick Aldis and Tim Storm feud was shown. Storm was shown with his wife, and he stated he hoped he could win back the NWA World Heavyweight championship and hold onto it for as long as possible.
-Tim Storm made his way to ringside and was interviewed by Joe Galli. Storm stated that the NWA defined professional wrestling throughout his childhood. He then stated that as man, the ten pounds of gold defined him and that nothing in professional wrestling was more important. Somewhat strangely, Storm then quoted lyrics from “Lose Yourself” by Eminem. He closed by saying he knew this was his last shot, and that he couldn’t lose.
(Taylor’s Analysis: The Eminem lyrics were a bit out of place in such a serious promo, but Storm did a really great job conveying how important the gold was to him. His delivery really made the upcoming match feel important.)
-Another commercial aired for the 10 Pounds of Gold 3-Disc DVD set.
-With Tim Storm in the ring, Nick Aldis made his entrance with Kamille at his side.
(5) NICK ALDIS (c) vs. TIM STORM – NWA World Hvt. Title match – If Storm loses, he never receives another NWA Title shot
-The crowd started an “NWA!” chant before the match began. The bell rang and the two men locked up. Aldis took the advantage in the corner but was reversed by Storm. After trading strikes, the pace quickened until Aldis retreated to the outside of the ring. Storm met Aldis on the outside but was whipped into the ring post. With both men back in the ring, Aldis hit a powerslam for a two count. Aldis cinched in a headlock. The commentators talked about the importance of the championship to both men as they made their way to their feet. Storm broke the hold and knocked Aldis to the mat with a kick to the face followed by a two count. From there, Storm cinched in a figure four leg lock. Aldis broke the hold by reaching the bottom rope. After creating separation, Aldis scaled the top rope. Storm them met Aldis at the top and hit a superplex for a two count. Storm then hit a cross boy from the top for a two count. After Storm missed a dive, Aldis hit a flying elbow drop. Aldis then locked in a modified Texas cloverleaf submission. The crowd began loudly cheering for Storm who forced his way to the bottom rope. Both men returned to their feet, and a charging Aldis nearly hit referee Brian Hebner. With the referee slightly distracted, Storm hit a low blow on Aldis. Much of the crowd began to boo as Storm hit his Perfect Storm finisher for a two count.
(Taylor’s Analysis: This was my only major problem with the show. I understand that Storm was desperate, as this was his last chance at the belt. However, the low blow felt way out of place after all the video packages and impassioned babyface promos from Storm.)
-Storm then scaled the top rope but was met by Aldis. Both men fell to the floor after trading strikes. Aldis then tried to hit a running clothesline but accidentally hit Kamille after Storm dodged the attack. Back in the ring, Aldis reversed a suplex attempt with an inside cradle for the victory.
WINNER: Nick Aldis via pinfall
-Joe Galli then interviewed Aldis. Aldis said that tonight, “NWA” stood for “Never Without Authenticity” and that Tim Storm was authentic as anyone. Galli tried to ask Kamille about the clothesline but Aldis did not allow her to speak. After Galli persisted with the question, Aldis stormed off the set as the ending credits rolled and the show ended.
(Taylor’s Analysis: This was a great first show for the NWA. There were so many aspects that were done right. The main event was talked about throughout the show. The importance of the title was emphasized frequently. Squash matches were used as showcases. The commentary was fantastic and felt sports-like. I think it’s impossible for a wrestling fan to not enjoy the production, pace, and format of the show. If you have never seen the original NWA TV tapings, I highly recommend watching a few before watching more episodes of NWA Power. The balance of nostalgia and present-day was struck almost perfectly. I can’t wait to watch this show on a weekly basis).