By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NWA Into The Fire Pay-Per-View
Aired live on December 14, 2019 on FITE TV
Atlanta, Georgia at GPB Studios
A video package opened the show and then the broadcast team of Joe Galli and Stu Bennett checked in on commentary from their desk. They ran through the lineup for the card. Bennett warned people not to look away, go to the kitchen, or the bathroom…
1. Eli Drake vs. Ken Anderson. Both wrestlers entered from an area located above the fans and then walked down the steps in the bleachers to get to the ring. Anderson teased throwing his t-shirt to the crowd, but he tossed into the corner instead and then referee Brian Hebner called for the bell.
Drake performed a Stun Gun and went for a cover, but Anderson kicked out. Drake slammed Anderson and dropped an elbow for another two count. Drake remained on the offensive and got another two count following a neckbreaker. Anderson ducked a clothesline and came back with a few punches, an elbow, and a neckbreaker of his own.
Anderson performed a rolling senton and got a near fall. Drake came right back and set up for his Gravy Train finisher, but Anderson rolled him into a pin for a nice near fall. Anderson went up top, but Drake raced over and leapt to the top rope in an impressive showing. Anderson went for a powerbomb from the ropes, but Drake sat down on him and got the pin…
Eli Drake beat Ken Anderson in 9:15.
Powell’s POV: A nice opening match. Drake was clearly the fan favorite and it will be interesting to see if Anderson is going to be more of a heel in the second season than he was in season one when he was basically Colt Cabana’s babyface buddy. It seemed like they made a point of holding the camera on Anderson while he showed frustration, so hopefully that’s the plan.
The broadcast team spoke about the main event. Bennett said he would normally side with the champion, but in this case he was going with Storm, though he added it would be close…
Dave Marquez interviewed Nick Aldis on the interview set. He said the NWA was a distant memory a couple years ago. He fired up the crowd while noting that the NWA Powerrr show is viewed in more than 40 countries.
Aldis said James Storm probably doesn’t think they have a lot in common, but on this night they have more in common than anyone in that they have a chance to live forever. Marquez brought up Kamille, and Aldis reiterated that she had the night off so there would be no excuses.
Marquez introduced James Storm, who joined him and Aldis on the interview set. When it comes to the NWA’s success, Storm said “we did this as a team.” Storm said that at the end of the night, Aldis will know that he’s been in the ring with one of the toughest SOBs on God’s green earth. Storm said he can drink beer all night long with the best of them, but at the end of this night Marquez will say “and new world heavyweight champion.” Storm closed it out with his “sorry about your damn luck” catchphrase and walked to the back. Aldis followed moments later…
Powell’s POV: I like that this isn’t just an in-ring pay-per-view. It makes sense for most promotions to take the straight wrestling approach on pay-per-view, but the promos and the studio setting are such a big part of the NWA Powerrr show that I would have been disappointed if they didn’t include promos.
A video package recapped Melina’s return and her faction with Thunder Rosa and Marti Belle, as well as their issues with Allysin Kay…
Tasha Steelz made her entrance and was interviewed by Marquez by the ring. A Christmas tree was positioned next to the broadcast table. Steelz said she brings the Latina heat. She said she’s the brightest star in the sky. Thunder Rosa made her entrance to what sounded like Latin music. Both women were well received by the live crowd…
2. Tasha Steelz vs. Thunder Rosa. Rosa tied up Steelz in a tree of woe and then dropkicked her, which led to an early two count. Rosa performed a nice drop toehold into a move where she held up Steelz by her arms and legs while walking around the ring.
Steelz avoided a top rope double stomp and then caught Rosa with a big boot. Rosa came back with a couple of running kicks to the head of Steelz and then performed a top rope double stomp to the back and pinned her.
Thunder Rosa beat Tasha Steelz in 4:15.
After the match, Rosa threw punches at Steelz until Ashley Vox ran out for the save. Rosa regrouped and ended up performing a shoulder breaker and then wrenched on the arm of Vox. Galli and Bennett pointed out that Vox was scheduled for a tag match later in the show and wondered whether she would be able to take part in the match…
Powell’s POV: Steelz is a nice addition to the NWA. She showed good confidence and poise during her pre-match promo and the match was well received by the live crowd. Speaking of confidence, Rosa seems to have gained confidence from her standout performance during season one. She seems to be the most popular female wrestler on the roster even though she’s in a heel faction.
The broadcast team set up a video package on the Aron Stevens and Ricky Starks feud…
The Question Mark and Aron Stevens made their entrance. Stevens wore a karate gi to the ring and brought a flag with him. Stevens barked at the crowd to shut up. Stevens said he refers to Question Mark as “Sensei Question.” Fans laughed. Stevens told them to shut up. Stevens said Question Mark asked to perform the Mongrovian national anthem. Stevens held the Question Mark flag up while Question Mark hilariously sang the anthem. The fans cheered at the end, but it wasn’t the end because he started singing again. Murdoch’s entrance music quickly interrupted him…
3. The Question Mark (w/Aron Stevens) vs. Trevor Murdoch. A masked man stood at ringside and held up Question Mark’s flag. Murdoch made a play for Question Mark’s mask at one point. Murdoch threw forearms at the head of Question Mark and some fans booed. Murdoch jawed at them. Question Mark came back with a throat thrust that led to a two count.
The wrestlers traded chops. Question Mark performed a missile dropkick to the chest of Murdoch and then covered him, but Murdoch’s foot was on the bottom rope. Murdoch avoided a leg drop.
Murdoch put Question Mark down and then went to the ropes and took the flag from the masked man and threw it to the ground. Murdoch went to ringside where Stevens struck a karate pose before running away. Murdoch returned to the ring and Stevens ran out and grabbed at his leg again, then Question Mark performed a double spike (karate thrust) and got the pin…
The Question Mark defeated Trevor Murdoch in 5:55.
Powell’s POV: A fun match. In an era filled with athletic wrestlers who perform amazing high spots and have excellent matches, it’s fun that something as silly as Question Mark can catch fire with the fans. This won’t compete for best match of the night let alone the weekend, but the live crowd couldn’t care less. One can only hope that the Mongrovian flag will eventually join the other flags hanging in the studio.
A video package recapped Rock & Roll Express beating The Wild Cards to win the NWA Tag Titles…
Ricky Morton, Robert Gibson, Eddie Kingston, and Homicide joined Marquez on the interview set. Morton said they brought “Outlaw Inc.” Kingston and Homicide out to have a little bit of insurance during their tag title match…
4. “The Rock & Roll Express” Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson (w/Eddie Kingston, Homicide) vs. “The Wild Cards” Royce Isaacs and Thom Latimer (w/Zane Dawson, Dave Dawson) for NWA Tag Titles. Gibson held the ropes open and then Morton dove onto both challengers at ringside early in the match. There were loud “Rock & Roll” chants. Morton performed a Canadian Destroyer on Latimer. Kingston and Homicide fought with The Dawsons at ringside. Isaacs watched the brawl, then turned into a double dropkick from Morton and Gibson and ended up being pinned…
The Rock & Roll Express defeated The Wild Cards in 5:05 to retain the NWA Tag Titles.
Powell’s POV: The match was brief and didn’t do much for me, but the live crowd loves Morton and Gibson.
Galli and Bennett announced that they will be returning to FITE.TV pay-per-view on Friday, January 24. Bennett held up the NWA Television Title belt and said it would return at the pay-per-view…
Powell’s POV: No time was listed, but it looks like the show will run opposite Smackdown on Royal Rumble weekend. I thought it was a mistake when ROH ran opposite Smackdown last night and I think it’s a mistake for the NWA to do the same. Granted, replays are an option, but it’s a ridiculously busy pro wrestling weekend with just WWE programming. Meanwhile, the belt announcement was well received. This will be the third male singles title for the NWA. I hope they have a way to make the NWA TV Title feel necessary when they already have a secondary title in the NWA National Championship.
Eli Drake was interviewed by Marquez on the interview set. Drake said the NWA is the hottest thing going today and he’s the hottest thing in the NWA. He said you have a choice at the gas pump to take a receipt or not, and if you don’t choose someone else can pump gas on your card. He said he doesn’t care who the man is, he’s the guy who shines in the company. He said no one pumps his gas.
Ken Anderson came out and attacked Drake from behind. Anderson wrapped a chair around the neck of Drake and ran him into the ring post. Crimson and four referees ran out and pulled off Anderson, who threw a punch at Crimson and broke free. Anderson brought the chair into the ring and hit his Mic Check finisher on Drake into the chair. Drake was helped to the back…
Powell’s POV: We didn’t even have to wait for Powerrr for Anderson to turn heel. I like it. I’m surprised it didn’t come at the expense of Colt Cabana, but I like that Drake and Anderson are feuding, which gives them more of a direction than they had in season one.
5. Allysin Kay and ODB vs. Melina and Marti Belle. It looked like Kay was going to take the match herself, but Marquez announced that she had a partner and then ODB made her entrance. Belle started the match with Kay, who jawed with Melina. Eventually, Melina tagged into the match and was quickly set up for Kay’s piledriver, but Belle quickly broke it up. Kay was isolated by the heels.
ODB took a hot tag, causing Melina to quickly tag out. ODB performed a fallaway slam on Belle, then splashed her in the corner and followed up with a Bronco Buster. ODB covered Belle, but Melina ran in and broke it up. Kay went after Melina and performed her AK47 piledriver. Kay whipped Belle toward ODB, who hit her with the Bam cutter finisher and scored the pin.
Allysin Kay and ODB beat Melina and Marti Belle in 7:25.
After the match, Kay and ODB went to the broadcast table and took swigs from ODB’s flask. Galli told them he wasn’t old enough to indulge…
Powell’s POV: ODB was a nice surprise, but this felt like a throwaway match. Here’s hoping that the women’s division is easier to follow in season two now that they’ve established the Melina, Rosa, and Belle heel trio. I hope we get to Kay defending her title more frequently against a variety of challengers.
A video package focused on the NWA Championship match and Aldis and Storm both selecting referees. Nick Aldis said he would have picked Brian Hebner had James Storm not selected him first. Storm acted like something was fishy about Aldis selecting Tim Storm as his referee…
Ring entrances for the NWA National Championship match took place. Ricky Starks gave his hat to a female fan. Aron Stevens drew good heat while he and Question Mark did their spots where the fans booed Stevens and cheered Question Mark. In a nice moment, Cabana squatted down and had a fist bump moment with a young fan in the bleachers…
6. Colt Cabana vs. Aron Stevens (w/Question Mark) vs. Ricky Starks for the NWA National Championship. Marquez delivered in-ring introductions for the title match and noted that Stevens refused to disclose his weight. Funny. Cabana and Starks performed a double elbow on Stevens, then things fell apart when Cabana went for a pin and Stevens pulled him off. Stevens ended up at ringside.
Cabana rolled up Stevens for a two count. Stevens hid behind the Christmas tree next to the broadcast desk and motioned for the fans to shut up. Funny. Meanwhile, Cabana and Starks had a good exchange in the ring. Stevens returned to the ring and then both men stopped and faced him. Stevens struck a karate pose and charged both men, who ducked and hit him. Cabana and Starks bowed to one another and then took turns beating up Stevens.
Cabana tossed Starks to ringside and went after Stevens. Starks returned and was backdropped by Cabana. The Question Mark stood on the apron and spoke with the referee while Stevens low blowed Cabana. Stevens hit Starks with a discus clothesline and got a near fall. Stevens did more karate poses and noises before dropping an elbow on Starks. Cabana tried to return, but Stevens spotted him and used his knee to send him back to ringside.
Starks rolled Stevens into a pin for a two count, then Stevens got up and clotheslined Starks and got a two count of his own. Cabana got back to the apron and blocked a shot from Stevens and then hit him with punches and a shoulder block to the gut. Cabana returned to the ring, but Stevens immediately tossed him out through the ropes on the other side of the ring.
Starks performed a sling blade clothesline on Stevens. Cabana returned and then he and Starks performed double team inverted atomic drops on Stevens. Cabana and Starks worked over Stevens together. Starks leapt over the fallen Stevens and dropkicked Cabana in an impressive move, then covered Stevens for a two count.
Cabana avoided a tornado DDT attempt from Starks, who put him in an abdominal stretch. Cabana hip-tossed his way free and then applied the Billy Goat’s Curse on Starks, who crawled to the ropes to break the hold. Stevens was shown hiding by the tree again. Cabana and Starks traded pin attempts. Starks performed a backslide for a two count, then Cabana sat down on him during a sunset flip attempt for a good near fall.
Starks dropped Cabana with a tornado DDT. Cabana came back and performed his Superman pin on Starks, but Question Mark hit him with the Mongrovian Spike from ringside. Stevens snuck back into the ring and stole the pin while Question Mark held Starks on the floor.
Aron Stevens beat Colt Cabana and Ricky Starks in a Triple Threat in 12:20 to win the NWA National Championship.
After the match, Stevens announced that he won the match with the power of karate. Stevens and Question Mark celebrated at ringside with the title belt…
Powell’s POV: The best match of the night thus far. Cabana and Starks worked well together, and Stevens continues to be laugh out loud funny. I’m all for Stevens winning the title, as you have to assume that this eventually leads to Stevens vs. Question Mark.
Tim Storm was interviewed by Dave Marquez on the interview set. Storm thanked the fans and said that this was something he’s never done before. Storm put over the NWA Championship as his heart and soul and said he would do his best as the referee because he knows the title means so much to Aldis and Storm… A video package set up the main event…
Marquez stood in the ring with referees Tim Storm and Brian Hebner. A graphic listed that it was a best of three falls match with Hebner serving as referee for the first fall, Storm serving as ref for the second fall, and a coin toss would decide who calls the third fall if needed. James Storm made his entrance followed by Aldis…
7. Nick Aldis vs. James Storm in a best of three falls match for the NWA Championship. Once both men were in the ring, Marquez delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Brian Hebner was the referee for the first fall. Kamille showed up at ringside less than two minutes into the match. Aldis told her from the ring that he told her to stay to in the back. Bennett assumed that Aldis was up to something. Aldis turned back toward Storm, who hit him with the Last Call superkick and pinned him to take the first fall.
James Storm pinned Nick Aldis in 2:20 to win the first fall.
Tim Storm (who will be listed as “Tim” going forward to avoid confusion) replaced Brian Hebner as referee for the second fall. James Storm went right at Aldis once the second fall started. James Storm took Aldis into the crowd and roughed him up, then took him over to the interview set and slammed his head into podium. Storm suplexed Aldis onto the exposed floor.
Aldis came back and whipped Storm into the Christmas tree. Fans responded with a “Merry Christmas” chant. Funny. Storm regrouped and brought Aldis back to the ring. Storm performed the Eye of the Storm for a good near fall. Storm went to ringside and grabbed a chair. Tim warned James that he would be disqualified if he used the chair. Galli wondered whether Storm could afford to lose the fall. Storm gave up the chair. Aldis caught Storm in a backslide for a two count. They rolled into a pin and reversed until eventually Aldis scored the three count.
Nick Aldis pinned James Storm in 11:10 to win the second fall.
A referee came out and flipped a coin. It landed on heads, meaning Brian Hebner was the referee for third fall. Aldis quickly hit a Michinoku Driver for a two count. Storm went for a Backstabber twice, but Aldis avoided it twice and then Storm hit the move on the third try for a near fall.
Aldis performed a superplex for another two count. Aldis went for another a short time later, but Storm headbutted him three times to knock him into the ring. Storm performed an elbow drop from the ropes for a near fall. Storm performed a Codebreaker. Aldis came right back looking for a cloverleaf, but Storm countered into an inside cradle for a two count. Storm applied a figure four and got a few two counts while Aldis sold the pain. Aldis reversed the hold, but Storm grabbed the ropes to break it.
Aldis caught Storm in the corner and dropped him with a tombstone piledriver. Aldis went up top and performed an elbow drop that led to a two count. Bennett said the match would have ended five times already were the title not on the line. Aldis went for a clothesline, but Storm ducked and Aldis hit Hebner. REF BUMP!!! Tim Storm returned to ringside and checked on Hebner.
Tim Storm entered the ring and replaced Hebner as the referee. Storm got a good near fall, then connected with his Last Call superkick, which Bennett recalled won him the first fall. Aldis was on his feet leaning with his face toward the corner. Aldis held onto the turnbuckle and tore it off when Storm pulled him away. Aldis ended up sending Storm face first into the exposed turnbuckle. Aldis applied the King’s Lynn Cloverleaf on Storm. Tim checked on Storm and then called for the bell.
Nick Aldis defeated James Storm in a best of three falls match in 22:00 to retain the NWA Championship.
Galli said he’d never been more confused and never heard a bell. Bennett said something stinks in the NWA air. Aldis emphasized that James Storm did not quit when Tim Storm called for the bell. Tim Storm raised the hand of Aldis while Storm was tended to by two men and then rolled to ringside. Storm motioned to the crowd. Aldis went to the ropes to celebrate his win and received a favorable reaction. Meanwhile, Bennett continued to say the whole thing stinks.
Nick Aldis was interviewed by Dave Marquez on the interview set. Aldis said the old him would have boasted that it’s his ring. He said it’s our ring. Aldis said he feels more confident than ever in saying there isn’t a man who could take the title from him. The lights went out.
Marty Scurll’s entrance music played and he entered from the top of the bleachers. A “holy shot” chant broke out. Scurll entered the ring and stared at Aldis, who looked at him in disbelief. Aldis left the ring with the title while the fans chanted Scurll’s name to close the show. The screen went black for a moment, then the feed returned and the fans were chanting NWA.
Scurll went to the interview set where Marquez asked what he was doing in the NWA. “So this is the NWA, is it?” Scurll asked. The feed stopped. Damn. A few minutes later, the feed returned and Scurll was celebrating with fans and then headed backstage. Marquez could be heard telling the fans that moments like what they saw make him happy to be with the NWA. He said he went to court and fought for it, then said he hoped to see them the next night. The Into The Fire logo appeared on the screen and the crowd could be heard in the background (I think it’s really over this time)…
Powell’s POV: It looks like the show was supposed to end when the screen went black, so I don’t believe this was a case of the feed cutting out prematurely. Anyway, the main event was good. I wasn’t a fan of the third fall finish. Perhaps there’s a storyline reason for it, but with Aldis apparently moving on for a match with Scurll, it felt like there could have been a clean finish between Aldis and Storm. Of course, the NWA creative team may have other ideas, so we’ll see, but you can get away with that type of finish when you have a hot show closing angle like they did.
Scurll appearing was quite the surprise. I see it as another sign that he’s staying with Ring Of Honor. And after the NWA National Championship was mentioned twice during last night’s ROH Final Battle event, it’s possible the working relationship between the NWA and ROH is back in play. But if Scurll is staying with ROH, then I’m surprised they didn’t announce it at Final Battle. Perhaps we’ll know more with ROH’s Final Battle Fallout event taking place on Sunday?
Overall, Into The Fire was a really fun show. They found the right balance between in-ring action and promos that works for them, and they saved the two best matches and the big surprise for the end of the night to close things on a high note. I will have more to say coming up shortly in my members’ exclusive audio review. Join me again on Sunday night for my live review of WWE TLC.