SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
OPENING MONTAGE – HIT: This is consistently a hit for Power because they give you more than enough replays of the last couple weeks or more of the big storyline, but they add enough and foreshadow enough to make you eager to see what new developments will happen this week. So we saw Aldis retain his title, the new group of Aldis/Kamille/Wild Cards, and it ended with a line from commentary I missed last week, saying, “The National Wrestling Alliance has a new alliance with the champion at the head!” I like that line a lot.
TREVOR MURDOCH, ZICKY DICE, THE POPE w/ DAVE MARQUEZ – HIT: I was a little worried at seeing Zicky out there in a tacky suit but I was into it. He looks like what should have happened to Zack Morris post Bayside High, as he got hooked on narcotics, bottomed out and moved to the trailer parks here in South Florida. I’m beginning to dig Outlandish Zicky Dice. Murdoch has a contract with NWA and you could see the appreciation from the fans really touched him and I’m glad. I always liked Murdoch and seeing him go from out of wrestling entirely to now a contracted mainstay, here’s to you, Trevor. The Pope, formerly DeAngelo Dinero/Elijah Burke, walks out and says he’s here to create a new superpower in the NWA, similar to the legends like the Horsemen (even though we already have a new group of four) and the Road Warriors, to which gross Zicky says you mean me right? And Pope just walks off to commentary. Cute segment, almost too cute, but I enjoyed it.
RICKY STARKS VS. EDDIE KINGSTON, TV TITLE TOURNAMENT – HIT: Galli and Bennett do a wonderful job informing us about the 6:05 time limit and how that will make these matches different; they allude to the quicker pace and the importance of going for big moves and taking chances to get a win or else both can be disqualified. That’s a tidbit that should be emphasized and I think they do it well.
It was a decent match as both had equal amounts of offense in the match, but one spot stood out as potentially dangerous when Kingston hit Starks with an exploder suplex and Ricky seemingly landed awkwardly on his head and then Kingston came over the top with hard potatoes to the other side of Ricky’s head. I mean, these punches were rough and audible from just the microphones around.
In the end, Starks went over with 1:55 left and he is the right choice to go over and hopefully this tournament makes him a major player because he’s got true star potential. Good enough match, stiffer wrestling, and the right person going over makes it a hit.
ROYCE ISAACS VS. JAMES STORM, PRE-MATCH W/ MARQUEZ – HIT: I will only call 70s Porn by his name in headlines, but in actual opinion and recapping, he’ll forever be 70s Porn until he shaves that godforsaken Jim Holmes ‘stache and gains some weight. He stands at the podium with his new gal pal, May Valentine, and suggests that he and she will do freaky things during the holiday, to which May isn’t embarrassed by (but she should be because look at 70s Porn). I guess this is good because they’re trying to establish some personality to the Wild Cards, and now they both have women and both women are quite different looking. ’70s Porn wanted to show off for his new girl and decided to call out anyone and James Storm answered his call. Cowboy had a good line saying, “I got my beer on ice in the back, so I can kick your ass (Isaac) and tip your ass (May)!” This wasn’t much of a match as ’70s Porn avoided entering the ring and preferring good luck kisses and a massage for a feigned shoulder injury, but Cowboy had enough and beats him up some outside, even using Santa Vol’s boot as a landing spot for ’70s face. It all culminates in a ten count as ’70s Porn slides out and leaves the match. James Storm is truly in babyface form yelling at the ref that dude isn’t coming back out, speeds up the count to nine and then has fun with the audience as they all join in on 10. Good to see James Storm as solidly a babyface connecting with the audience. He was perfect in everything he did tonight and didn’t yell ever!
ELI DRAKE, JOCEPHUS CLAUS, ALDIS AND FRIENDS W/ MARQUEZ – WAS A MISS, ENDED AS A HIT: This was one of the wildest five plus minutes in NWA Powerrr ever. Eli Drake didn’t do his usual promo but the crowd was still into him. He was swigging champagne and talking about his shoes and coat and how he looks like a champion but mostly just said “YEAH!” for four minutes or more. I was really growing tired of this with Marquez until he walks away and we just see Jocephus Claus and some woman singing Christmas carols. WHY?! Doesn’t matter because we just got more buffoonery from Drake as he’d interrupt the caroling yelling YEAH! intermittently and yet the crowd still liked it. This was all a huge miss so far… But then came out our NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion, Nick Aldis, et. al (as Stu Bennett actually said), and the point of this was to let the world know that the entire Kamille thing was all a work! Aldis worked us all! He addressed Ricky Morton saying he’s not an all time great and called out Rock & Roll and this segment just got even better. Robert had on a Tiger Hattori retirement shirt and that was cute, Ricky had on an ugly RNR Christmas sweater, and Ricky stated the fact that Aldis may have worked two years building this company but Rock & Roll, Flair, and Aldis’ teacher, Harley Race, worked their entire lives building this. It all ended with Aldis accepting a meager apology from Ricky and saying next time you open your mouth, think about it or end up like the brothers Storm. Good heeling from Aldis and his crew and good use of Ricky and Robert, coming off as legends who know better, but still ceding to the younger top dog of the company. The back half of this entire hodgepodge really saved it from the front half mess.
THUNDER ROSA/MELINA/MARTI BELLE VS ALLYSIN KAY/ODB/ASHLEY VOX – NEUTRAL: This match had a weird stipulation of the member who gets the win for their team gets to challenge any member of the opposite team to a match. Immediately you think, okay so either Allysin wins and challenges Thunder Rosa (my thought) or Melina wins and challenges Allysin Kay. Neither happens. In a match that was fine and included Kay taking a stun gun that looked like she almost was decapitated and also saw Melina actually wrestle a bit, Thunder Rosa got the pin over Ashley Vox. Okay, so far, so good, so Rosa will challenge Allysin Kay. NOPE. Post match, Rosa takes the scenic route in declaring who she’ll challenge but before she can say a name, Melina says ODB, Rosa says oh, yep, ODB, and Marti nods along like yep definitely ODB. This is fine. No need to rush to a title match for Melina or Rosa, I guess? I mean, sure Allysin Kay has only defended her title once in the Power era, but at least they’re still teasing some dissention of sorts in the heel women’s ranks. Last week it was Marti Belle sucks at her job, this week it was Melina is a taskmaster overlord. It’s something and progresses things. I’ll take it for now.
TIM STORM W/ DAVE MARQUEZ – MEGA HIT! MEGA! HIT!: Let’s just get the weird parts of this segment out of the way. The Dawsons were behind Storm but never said a word. This segment also contained drawing opponents for next week’s TV Title matches, as they had Anastasia from some Price Waterhouse sounding firm to make sure it was all official and above board. Of course she drew Tim Storm and Nick Aldis. Fine, great. This is where we get the best promo of the NWA Power era and one of the best babyface fire promos you’ll ever see. Tim says his mama just turned 95, retired at 78 making eight bucks an hour, worked her ass off most of her life and never quit because she still had something to prove. She didn’t do it because she had a child and his dad took all the money and left, no, she did it to prove herself to everyone. That’s exactly why Tim isn’t retiring or going away; he still has a lot left to prove. I can’t say enough about just how well this promo worked. Tim Storm connected with me as just a cynical bastard who hates tugging heartstrings but goddamn yall, he brought passion and emotion and it was magical. It took an easy-to-see contrivance of pitting Storm and Aldis in a match and saved the entire segment and took it to new heights. And the one thing about Tim Storm promos is how much he commits to emotion because you can see the glassiness in his eyes like he’s holding back a wall of tears. Just incredible stuff from Tim Storm. If you do nothing else with NWA Power, just please watch this promo. The question is whether Tim will win or get cheated out by the heels. You need the heels to be dastardly but you don’t have a deep roster and enough babyfaces, so I’d put Storm over in a triumph of the numbers game, but I’m sure NWA will book them to a no decision and both men out if not Aldis winning outright.
QUESTION MARK VS. COLT CABANA, TV TITLE TOURNAMENT – HIT: Galli and Bennett reiterate the need for big moves and quick pace up front and I think they should continue that throughout these first round matches at least. Oddly, this match was unlike what one would or should expect from comedy act Cabana (even if he is more straightforward in NWA) and vintage comedy act Question Mark. There was zero comedy, Question Mark’s offense wasn’t the gimmicky Mongrovian karate as Cabana was in charge most of the time, and there was no Aron Stevens ringside or pre-match to chew up scenery and ruin everything. It concluded with Cabana coming off the top rope for an elbow smash on a standing Question Mark, but he countered it with a Mongrovian Spike for the win.
Good call putting Question Mark over and doing it without the frills and gimmicks. That was a nice touch that adds credibility to Question Mark going forward in the tournament. This was a hit but modestly because, let’s be real, we don’t love Question Mark as a wrestler but for all the things packaged into him. That said, it all worked.
CLOSING SEGMENT BACKSTAGE W/ ARON STEVENS AND QUESTION MARK – HUGE HIT: Aron Stevens stood with Question Mark and said Mark will win the TV Title, they’ll be tag champs, Stevens will be World and National champ and they’ll have all the belts, belts, belts, belts, belts! Eat it, Vince! They’re belts! Finally a great segment from Stevens where he said little, did it without hamming it up and it all worked. Just wonderful closing segment.
OVERALL – HUGE HIT: If you listen to me on Ten Pounds of Talk or read last week’s column, it’s clear I hated last week’s Russo-esque show of ten pounds of shit thrown at the wall and let’s see what sticks. This week was back to good storytelling, a well paced show, and some bits of character development. The Brothers Storm connected with us all as huge babyfaces; Aron Stevens did a great segment; we may have a new in-ring competitor in the women’s division down the line; they’re attempting to add some personality to 70s Porn and Long Hair; Nick Aldis is cementing himself as top heel; the TV Title matches delivered good action. I really enjoyed this episode and it wasn’t long like last week either. Well done, NWA. And frankly, yall needed it to wash some of the putrid stink of Dave Marquez, his stupid tweet, and the fact that yall can’t just let this Cornette thing die a deserving death.