SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
Greetings readers! Tonight, the NWA aired their second and third installments of The Circle Squared, their version of Tough Enough in a sense, and for convenience sake, I’ll combine Hits & Misses in one column and conclusive overall hit or miss!
•OPENING SEGMENT – 50.1% HIT: NWA is good with giving us necessary information without it being boring, so this just creeps past neutral into hit. We got the montage of popular (?) YouTube hosts watching the premiere episode, at least I reckon, and reacting to that and the show properly opens up with Sean Mooney. He lets us know that the Crockett Cup card will be updated later and gives some poll results from episode number one: 71% of respondents felt that Jeff Lewis Neal and Tyson Dean should be signed, while 88% thought Hawx Aerie should be signed. I think this is fair. I was higher on the babyface team of Hawx Aerie but felt there’s more upside to Neal and Dean.
•PROMO TIME W/ KYLE DAVIS – 51% HIT: Our first competitor comes out and it’s Colby Corino, son of former NWA Champion, Steve Corino. He has this weird and awkward vibe to his movements and look, but it may be kind of endearing? I’m not sure! He looks just like Steve too but with terrible tattoos. He does the whitest of white meat babyface promos and tells us he’s here because he has a newborn and wants to put food on the table and have his son be proud of his old man. This is where we all say, “Awwwwwww!” It was a bit cheesy, and he may have feigned emotion, but again, it was so nervous and awkward that it was endearing?
Our second competitor is a blast from the past, former NWA/WCW/SMW wrestler, George South walks out in a terrible bomber jacket filled with comic book logos! I haven’t thought about this guy in 20 years probably! He’s clearly taking the heel approach because he calls the crowd trash and screams his entire promo about never getting to be interviewed by Caudle or Solie and now he’s not taking his chance to be a mainstay for granted. Also, he tells us a story of he held Colby when he was a baby because his dad had to fight Dusty Rhodes in a bullrope match! Is this true?! Even Kyle looked like wait are you talking about the right Colby here?! The vintage feel of George though is perfect for NWA.
After promo time, we see videos of Eli Drake and Allysin Kay separately chime in on these promos but they just reiterate what I’m saying. This was just a weird segment to grade because neither one was stellar; one was nervous and odd, the other just loud and gruff. I don’t think that the added commentary by current wrestlers adds too much because it just hangs a lantern on all of this is a work, but then again, this whole show does that without doing that, so who am I to say or judge?
They did a quick before the bell video package though and apparently, Colby was on the verge of a wrestling career when he then overdosed on heroin and was also arrested! Now the whole thing of his son being proud of him really connects. If this were part of his promo though, it would have been more effective.
•COLBY CORINO VS. GEORGE SOUTH – MISS: Two clear stories are told in this match and they’re obvious as George South is the old vet but also the bigger, stronger competitor as compared to Colby Corino. This match was a bit of a bore as it was mired in old school psychology. George South used the Iron Claw FOUR, COUNT ‘EM, FOUR SEPARATE TIMES! That’s fine and all as he’s the heel and is grinding down the young hotshot, but the problem for me was George never really sold the application of the hold and Colby never really sold the pain of the hold. They just kinda stood there while one had his hand on the other’s head or face. After South charges the corner from a three point stance, Colby ducks, schoolboys South and gets the win. Meh.
After the match, they go to Kyle Davis, who conducts a soft straw poll and the audience cheered for (babyface) Colby and booed (heel) South when asked who they preferred.
•JOE GALLI CROCKETT CUPDATE (My word not theirs) – HIT: Joe Galli, the voice of the NWA and my consistent hit every NWA Power, gives us a rundown of the Crockett Cup card as of now: Marty Scurll vs. Nick Aldis for the NWA World Title and $500k if Scurll loses; Trevor Murdoch challenges Shooter Stevens for the NWA National Title; the NWA Women’s World Title will be defended by Thunder Rosa but her opponent will be named next week. Eight teams will be in the Crockett Cup: RNR Express (who have never gotten out the first round, EVER, so I bet they go to the finals), Brody King and Flip Gordon, Rey Horus and Flamita (YES!), and the Wildcards. There will also be a wild card battle royal for the final team to enter and it will be the last two men standing, so not necessarily an established team. Three people have announced for this match already, Tim Storm, Ricky Starks, and Zicky Dice. I’m going to go ahead and say Zicky and Ricky will win this battle royal. (Also, the Wildcards won last year’s wild card battle royal, so maybe that’s why Thom and Royce don’t really match as a team and are called the Wildcards! This kind of backstory would have helped back in October, NWA! GEEZ!)
•PROMO TIME W/ MARQUEZ – HIT: This was a tale of two promos where one was quite nervous and the other was confident in character. Freya the Slaya came out first with a look reminiscent of Lufisto but much taller. She’s from Alaska, it’s cold there, and she made a Sarah Palin joke saying she can’t see Russia from her house. Wow. 2020. But you know what she didn’t say? HER NAME! Bless her heart, she was so nervous.
Dani Jordan came out next, and maybe because I’m somewhat familiar with her, I saw confirmation bias but i think she came off more self assured. Marquez asked what’s her name and she said can’t you read?! Her name was on her shirt but she took this opportunity to make a dig at Freya by asking what’s her name anyway? Ilsa? Frozen jokes. Wow. 2020. Well we did just get Frozen 2, so I’ll allow it. Jordan opens her “Mean Girls” style Burn Book and shows her entry for Freya and it’s just her picture and says “She’s from Alaska. That’s it. That’s the joke.” Great stuff! Dani’s a seasoned pro though, she’s very sure of herself and has a gimmick and hits the punchlines perfectly for the most part.
Before the bell pacakges aired for both and I must say, I think this showed the gap in character for both. Freya told us again she’s from Alaska, she build her own ring and put on her own matches, and she’s already made it just being on this show. Dani, however, of all the competitors to date, was the first to say she wants to come back here and be a part of this all. It may have not been the most heelish thing to say, but it hit my ears heavily and suggested that she’s truly invested.
•FREYA THE SLAYA VS. DANI JORDAN – HIT: Second verse, same as the first! Another story of bigger, stronger wrestler versus a smaller wrestler, but this was much more effective. Dani gives up a lot of height and weight to Freya and did the smaller wrestler thing of trying to chop down the giant with leg kicks, but they didn’t work too well. Giving her promo, she was all nerves, but in the ring, Freya stands solidly and with confidence. She has credibility in no-selling Dani’s moves when appropriate but also did a good enough job at selling a knee injury after repeated kicks from Jordan. They also were able to flip the story a few times, meaning that as characters Dani was the clear heel, but then they start wrestling and Freya is so much stronger, she becomes the heel, but then her knee injury makes her the babyface as an underdog. It’s really interesting to see this happen in real time. Dani Jordan kept trying to get the giant down, but eventually, Frey put Dani down with a Michunoku driver for the win. This isn’t a match you’d write home about but I think it’s a fun romp and I think both wrestlers really did a good job in ring and have a place in the NWA.
Post match, the two go to the podium with Marquez, but instead of just cheering the face and booing the heel, both combatants got a fair amount of cheers. Good job, crowd!
•OVERALL – HIT: I really do like how they format these shows and the quick pace of it makes it light fun. The promos aren’t anything that will make you cry or yell or feel real emotion but they’re usually enough to give you some insight on who they are. Of the four we got today, one was really good (Dani), one was decent (Freya), one was just barely okay (George South), and one was just hard to really grade (Corino). That’s a wide spectrum of promos, but with this show being many of these wrestlers’ first big time show, the nerves and scattershot nature makes sense.
The match quality is always going to be lacking because they’re not out to give us a great match and it’s still studio wrestling that has to fit a time format. They do, however, give us fun matches usually and that’s all I’m asking for. Dani vs Freya was enjoyable while South vs Corino was just a match. But as a whole, both shows were fine, even though episode three (Dani vs Freya) was a stronger one altogether.