By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
NWA 73 pay-per-view
Aired live August 29, 2021 on FITE TV
St. Louis, Missouri at the Chase Ballroom
The show opened with another comedic throwback video with May Valentine interviewing Aron Stevens and Kratos. Last night’s video was older, whereas this one seemed set in the seventies. Stevens said no wrestling promotion will ever go national. He also said Kratos took Eddie Graham’s diamond ring and Graham thanked him for it. Stevens said Harley Race might do something someday. Valentine said she couldn’t wait to see what would happen with the NWA over the next forty years…
Actor John Goodman narrated a video package about the NWA in the city of St. Louis. Classic promo footage aired of Ted DiBiase and Dusty Rhodes, and then modern footage featured Tim Storm, Nick Aldis, Trevor Murdoch, and Mickie James. Goodman closed by saying that the more things change, the more they stay the same, and then he excitedly hyped the NWA at The Chase…
Powell’s POV: John Goodman is the man. It’s very cool that the NWA was able to get him to narrate the opening video package.
Joe Galli, Conrad Thompson, and Velvet Sky were on commentary. They ran through the card lineup. Galli hyped some surprises for the battle royal… Kyle Davis was the ring announcer…
1. Tim Storm vs. Thom Latimer vs. Crimson in a Brawl in the Lou. Crimson was the last man to make his entrance. Jax Dane attacked Crimson from behind at ringside. Dane placed a ladder over the apron and the ring steps and then performed a Death Valley Driver on it. A “holy shit” chant broke out. Dane hit Crimson with the ladder a couple times and made his exit.
In the ring, Latimer worked over Storm with a chair and covered him for a two count. Meanwhile, Crimson was helped to the back by the medical team. Storm regrouped and threw a trashcan at the head of Latimer. Storm wedged the trashcan between the ropes. Storm clotheslined Latimer over the top rope to ringside. Storm followed to the floor and ran Latimer into the ring post.
Storm pulled a giant ladder out from underneath the ring and set it up in the entrance aisle. Storm slammed Latimer on the carpeted floor. Storm climbed the ladder, but Latimer hit him from behind and followed up with a trashcan lid shot. Latimer grabbed a piece of the barricade and placed it in front of the ladder and over the actual barricade.
Latimer hit Storm with the lid and then placed him on the barricade. Latimer climbed to the top of the ladder and performed a swanton onto Storm, who was lying on the other piece of the barricade. Another “holy shit” chant broke out.
Crimson walked back to ringside and held his ribs. Crimson checked on Storm and then entered the ring and gave Latimer a spinebuster. Crimson handed Latimer the chair and then performed a running kick that drove the chair at Latimer’s face. Crimson set up two chairs facing one another in the ring and then drove Latimer onto them with a Death Valley Driver.
Crimson covered Latimer and had the pin, but Storm pulled the referee to ringside. Storm rolled back inside the ring and jawed with Crimson before both men traded forearm shots. Crimson removed his belt, Storm took the referee’s belt, and then they traded shots with it. Latimer returned to the ring and took a belt shot from both opponents, who threw him back to ringside.
Crimson went for a move on Storm and couldn’t keep him up. Crimson sold rib pain. Storm hit his Eye of the Storm finisher on Crimson and pinned him to win the match…
Tim Storm defeated Crimson and Thom Latimer in 9:30 in a Brawl in the Lou.
Powell’s POV: Wow, that was a spirited and fun opening brawl. All three men worked really hard and the live crowd enjoyed it. It was nice to see Storm get a win on the anniversary show. Storm has been arguably the biggest feel good story of the Billy Corgan era of the NWA.
2. Mickie James vs. Kylie Rae. Both women were well received by the live crowd during their entrances. The fans chanted “Thank you, Mickie.” Rae joined the chant and then shook hands with James. Rae had James down and teased a superkick, then backed off and offered a handshake. James accepted, then kicked Rae and taunted her by waving at her.
Rae came back with an STF. James came back a short time later with a Thesz Press from the ropes and got a near fall. Rae caught James with a superkick, waved at her, and then covered her for a two count. Rae went for multiple pins and showed frustration, then applied a crossface that James broke by getting to the ropes. James came back with a big DDT and scored the clean pin.
Mickie James defeated Kylie Rae in 5:30.
After the match, a hooded masked woman dressed in black attacked James and left her lying with a big kick to the head. The woman unmasked, revealing herself to be Impact Wrestling Knockouts Champion Deonna Purrazzo. Fans booed. Purrazzo put James down with a cradle piledriver. Kylie Rae returned to the ring, causing Purrazzo to make her exit. Rae checked on James while Sky put over Rae’s sportsmanship on commentary. Rae helped James to the back…
Powell’s POV: The match was solid. It wasn’t long enough to be more than that. The post match angle was well done. It was set up on Impact television, as Purrazzo took issue with James stealing her spotlight even though James invited her to take part on the NWA Empowerrr show. I’m not sure if they are going with Purrazzo vs. James at the NWA TV Tapings, on an Impact show, or both.
Tim Storm came out and replaced Conrad Thompson on commentary…
3. Pope, Parrow, and Odinson vs. Tyrus (w/Austin Idol), Xion (Masked Man), and Jordan Clearwater in a six-man tag match. Tyrus brought a title belt to the ring with him, which apparently represented the entire team. Odinson was isolated by the heels for a stretch. Tyrus went for a second rope splash and landed carefully, which allowed Odinson to tag in Parrow.
Pope performed a flip dive over the top rope onto Tyrus at ringside. Parrow and Odinson set up for a finisher, but BLK Jeez an out and broke it up while the referee was distracted. The masked man tagged himself into the match, which upset Tyrus. The masked man covered Odinson and pinned him. Afterward, Tyrus and the masked man bickered…
Tyrus, Xion, and Jordan Clearwater beat Pope, Parrow, and Odinson in 13:10.
Powell’s POV: This overstayed its welcome and was a letdown coming off the wild opener and the star power of the second match.
4. Chris Adonis vs. James Storm for the NWA National Championship. The broadcast team played up Storm’s return to the NWA, and Galli recapped his history with the NWA National Championship. Early in the match, the wrestlers ended up at ringside where Adonis shoved Storm into the ring post. Back inside the ring, Adonis applied a headlock and jawed at a fan by saying “shut your mouth” a couple times.
Storm eventually made his comeback and the crowd came to life. Storm charged Adonis, who caught him with an elbow in the corner. Adonis went to the ropes, but Storm stood up and threw a kick at him. Storm joined Adonis on the ropes and performed a huracanrana. A short time later, Storm performed Closing Time (Codebreaker). Adonis stuffed a Last Call superkick and performed a spinebuster for a near fall.
Adonis put Storm in the the Master Lock. Storm ran toward the corner and ducked, causing Adonis’s head to hit the turnbuckle to break the hold. Adonis came right back with a Full Nelson Slam for a near fall. Adonis grabbed Storm’s beer bottle and took a swig and spat some near the referee. Storm hit the Last Call Superkick and scored the pin.
The referee ruled that Adonis put his foot over the ropes before the three count. Storm argued with the referee. Adonis tripped Storm and then put his feet on the ropes for leverage while stealing the pin. Afterward, the fans chanted “Thank you, Cowboy”…
Chris Adonis beat James Storm in 14:30 to retain the NWA National Championship.
Powell’s POV: A basic match with Adonis using some slow paced offense until Storm made his comeback. The finish felt like it put more heat on the referee than it did on Adonis. Even Tim Storm asked how the referee could see one thing and miss the other. I guess it’s possible that they have heel referee gimmick, but I don’t think that’s where this was going.
Ric Flair was introduced by Kyle Davis after a Car Shield ad. Flair walked out to a standing ovation and headed to the ring. Flair thanked the fans and said he wasn’t going to cry. Flair spoke about some of his celebrity friends and tied it in with it being due to his years in the NWA. Flair said he lived and died in St. Louis. A big “welcome back” chant broke out.
Flair recalled asking Billy Corgan if he could have a minute to speak. He said Corgan told him that he’s Ric Flair and could do whatever he wants. Flair said it’s been a long time since someone told him that. Flair thanked his wife for picking him up when he’s down, just like Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Vince McMahon. Flair said he loves Vince. He said Vince wouldn’t see this, but he would hear about it and he was the reason that Flair was there.
Flair said Triple H didn’t give up on him. He said Hunter grew up on the NWA and has the NWA Title belt that he bought from him hanging in his office. He thanked Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, Steve Austin. Flair recalled Austin asking him what Harley Race was really like. Flair told a story about Race telling him to get one in on Bruiser Brody and wanting Flair to tell Brody about it.
Flair recalled wrestling Dick the Bruiser, Dory Funk, Harley Race, Jack Brisco, Baron Von Raschke, Blackjack Lanza, and others in the Chase Hotel. He mentioned some WWE legends and said they grew up on the NWA. Flair said Sam Muchnick was a great payoff and a main event was good for $6,000. Flair said that by the time he was done in St. Louis, he might have $1,200 and then he got his shoes shined and gave the guy a $200 tip, and a bartender on the way to the gate another $100. “You know why, because I was the NWA World Champion.”
Flair said he’s happy and so is Vince McMahon and so is Tony Khan. Flair said the business needs brands. Flair said he can he could visit Steve McMichael and then fly to Chicago an have a drink with Tony Khan and then watch Chris Jericho from the front row. Flair spoke about Jericho growing up on the NWA. Flair told another story and said that it wasn’t Madison Square Garden, but it was St. Louis, Missouri.
Flair thanked Undertaker, Hunter, and Shawn again. He also thanked Randy Orton and his father Bob Orton Jr. Flair said he wanted Randy to break his record, and now his daughter is only four away. Flair thanked Corgan for calling him and played up the idea that he thought he’d be wrestling Nick Aldis. He removed his suit jacket, bounced into the ropes, and strutted. Flair said he was told that he was needed to talk. He said he would have done it for nothing, but he was paid. Flair said he knew he was running long. He thanked his wife again and signed off shortly thereafter…
Powell’s POV: There may be some scrambling going on backstage if this show has have a firm deadline. Flair was all over the place in terms of what he spoke about, but who is complaining? He’s Ric Flair. It was fun to see him in an NWA ring again and he clearly had great memories of working in St. Louis. I like that he’s still respectful of Vince McMahon even though they are not currently doing business. Was that a hint that he’ll be appearing for AEW this week? He picked the night in between the two AEW television shows
The broadcast team spoke about Flair’s appearance at ringside…
5. A 12-man battle royal to become No. 1 contender to the NWA National Championship. The entrants included Sal Rinauro, JTG, Luke Hawx, Slice Boogie, Jeremiah Plunkett, Marshe Rockett, Mims, Jamie Stanley, Luke Hawx, El Rudo, and Captain Yuma. They introduced them all once they were in the ring (I couldn’t make out some of the names). Danny Deals took the mic and introduced Rinauro. Music played and then James Mitchell walked out with Judais, who entered the match.
After a long and painful 15 minutes, the final four were Judais, JTG, Mims, and Luke Hawx. Judais eliminated Mims with a big boot that knocked him off the apron. JTG and Hawx opted to team up to go against Judais. Hawx was eliminated by Judais. JTG crotched the big man on the ropes, but Judais caught him by the throat and chokeslammed him. A short time later, JTG was hanging over the ropes. Judais stumbled as he went to leap to the ropes, then then made it on his second try and knocked JTG off the ropes to eliminate him…
Judais won a battle royal in 21:20 to become No. 1 contender to the NWA National Championship.
Powell’s POV: Maybe I had it wrong. Maybe Ric Flair didn’t go as long as they anticipated. I’m just trying to come up with some reason to explain why this terrible battle royal went over twenty minutes. This was so bad I thought maybe James Mitchell was really the devil and I’d died and gone to hell. On the bright side, I’m all for Mitchell delivering promos on the NWA Powerrr set. Mitchell is a great talker who only seems to get a call for Undead Realm nonsense or a pro wrestling wedding.
6. Kamille vs. Chelsea Green for the NWA Women’s Championship. Green brought the cup she won for winning last night’s gauntlet match to the ring with her. Kamille wore Green down with some methodical offense. Green started to fire up, but Kamille moved when Green went for a move using her left arm, which sports a cast over her broken left wrist. Kamille targeted the broken wrist by slamming the cast into the mat and then stomping it.
Kamille put Green in a Torture Rack. Green elbowed her way free and then dropped Kamille with a cutter. Kamille regained offensive control again and put Green down with a neckbreaker. Kamille went for a spear. Green sidestepped it and then performed a suplex. Kamille stood up and speared Green. Kamille had the pin, but Green put her foot on the bottom rope.
A short time later, Kamille put Green’s bad arm in a submission hold. Kamille wrenched back on the arm and forced Green to tap out…
Kamille beat Chelsea Green in 12:40 to retain the NWA Women’s Championship.
Powell’s POV: An underwhelming match. I was really looking forward to seeing this one, but it just wasn’t as good as the two title matches on last night’s Empowerrr show. Kamille dominated the bulk of the match, and Green’s spurts of offense never seemed to make the crowd believe that she might actually win.
Galli set up the tag title match. The LAX entrance theme played. Konnan led the challengers to the ring in a surprise appearance…
Powell’s POV: Konnan is another guy who could deliver some great promos on the Powerrr set. Here’s hoping that he’s sticking around for the tapings.
7. Aaron Stevens and Kratos vs. “La Rebelion” Bestia 666 and Mecha Wolf (w/Konnan) for the NWA Tag Titles. Stevens wore his pink tights with purple kneepads and came out to his old “Hallelujah” entrance theme. Kratos performed an impressive deadlift suplex on Bestia early on. The challengers isolated Stevens for a long stretch. Konnan got some cheap shots in while the referee was distracted.
Stevens finally made it to his corner, but Kratos was pulled off the apron. Stevens eventually tried again and Kratos finally tagged into the match. Kratos launched Bestia across the ring with a suplex. Kratos powered up Bestia and slammed him to the mat with a Muscle Buster for a near fall (Wolf was late to break up the pin). Bestia went up top. Kratos kicked him and then performed a falcon arrow. Kratos had the pin, but Wolf broke it up.
Kratos tried to fire up the crowd and then tagged in Stevens. Kratos put Bestia on his shoulders, but he escaped. Bestia tagged in Wolf. Stevens bot the better of both opponents briefly. Konnan distracted the referee and then Stevens took a low blow. The challengers hit a double knee strike to the head of Kratos. Bestia performed a moonsault onto Kratos at ringside. Wolf and Bestia performed a powerbomb into a Codebreaker combo move as their finisher and then Wolf pinned Stevens…
“La Rebelion” Bestia 666 and Mecha Wolf defeated Aaron Stevens and Kratos in 13:30 to win the NWA Tag Titles.
After the match, Konnan spoke about it being a great time with promotions working together. He also said it was a beautiful thing to see a Mexican and a Puerto Rican together as the new tag team champions. He spoke about the all women’s show and how inclusive things. Konnan fired up the crowd while saying we all love pro wrestling and the NWA is pro wrestling…
Powell’s POV: The match was rough at times, but there were some cool spots, including the impressive finishing move. I actually thought Kratos dropped off the apron to walk out on Stevens because I didn’t see him being pulled by one of his opponents. Anyway, Konnan brought the crowd back to life in a big way for the first time since Ric Flair’s appearance.
A video package set up the NWA Championship match…
Powell’s POV: I’ve been inspired by Trevor Murdoch. If I don’t win one of my fantasy football leagues that are hosted by MyFantasyLeague.com, then will retire from fantasy football forever! Actually, scratch that. I have terrible luck and no faith that I’ll actually win, but I do recommend MFL.
8. Nick Aldis vs. Trevor Murdoch in an NWA World Championship versus Murdoch’s career match. Kyle Davis delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. The crowd was fired up in support of Murdoch while Aldis was booed. Referee Robert King delivered instructions to both men and said they both knew they were wrestling in the same room as their trainer and mentor Harley Race. A loud “Harley” chant broke out.
Murdoch went to ringside to speak with his family. Aldis attacked him. Murdoch tossed Aldis over the barricade and into the crowd. The broadcast team noted that the match had not officially started yet. they fought to the stage. Pat Kenney (f/k/a Simon Diamond) walked out and tried to get Aldis to go to the ring. Aldis ended up slamming Murdoch on the stage. Billy Corgan came out and barked at Aldis to go to the ring. Aldis argued with Corgan. Kenney tried to get Corgan to calm down.
The wrestlers finally entered the ring after roughly five minutes of brawling and the bell rang to officially start the match. Aldis was in offensive control and performed an Angle Slam. Velvet Sky spoke about the history between Aldis and Angle, including that they were in the Main Event Mafia together. Murdoch caught Aldis on the ropes and slammed him into the ring Ric Flair style. Nice. Murdoch went up top and leapt off, but Aldis caught him on the way down. Murdoch countered into a pin for a two count.
Murdoch put Aldis in the figure four. Aldis’s shoulders were down and the referee counted two two a couple of different times. Later, Aldis put Murdoch in an abdominal stretch and used the ropes for leverage when the referee wasn’t looking. Eventually, the referee caught him and kicked Aldis’s arm, which led to Murdoch performing a hip-toss in another Flair spot. Aldis shoved the ref, who shoved him back. Murdoch took shots at Aldis, who ducked one, causing Murdoch to accidentally take out the referee. REF BUMP!!!
Murdoch put Aldis down and then tried to revive the referee. Aldis hit Murdoch with a low blow. Murdoch rolled to the floor. Aldis followed and worked over the challenger in front of Murdoch’s family. Murdoch’s son encouraged his father. Aldis slammed Murdoch’s head into the ring post multiple times. Aldis punched out Kyle Davis and the timekeeper (they brought that shit on themselves). Aldis set up a table on the floor and placed Murdoch on top of it. Aldis went to the top rope and drove Murdoch through the table with an elbow drop.
Aldis rolled Murdoch inside the ring and covered him. A second referee ran out and made the count, but Murdoch kicked out. Murdoch came to life and performed a Code Red for a good near fall. The original referee was helped to the back. Storm called out on commentary for Murdoch to go up top and hit his finisher now. Murdoch went up top, but Aldis cut him off. Aldis pulled Murdoch off the ropes and gave him a tombstone piledriver. Aldis went up top and performed an elbow drop and then covered Murdoch for a near fall.
Murdoch rallied and performed a superplex and got a near fall. A “this is awesome” chant broke out. Murdoch went up top and attempted his bulldog finisher, but Aldis moved. Murdoch’s son was shown looking like he was in agony. Aldis applied the King’s Lynn Cloverleaf. Murdoch reached the ropes. Both men traded punches while on their knees and as they got back to their feet. They jockeyed for position. Murdoch got the better of it and performed a Harley Race piledriver. Murdoch went up top and hit his top rope bulldog and then scored the pin.
Trevor Murdoch defeated Nick Aldis in 16:30 to win the NWA World Championship.
The Murdoch family was shown cheering and the fans popped big. The referee presented Murdoch with the championship and raised his hand. Ric Flair walked to the ring and applauded Murdoch from ringside. Murdoch’s family entered the ring and celebrated with him. Flair entered the ring and raised Murdoch’s arm and then had a moment with Murdoch’s son.
Kyle Davis entered the ring and handed the mic to Flair, who said Murdoch represented Harley Race, who was the baddest man alive. Flair told Murdoch he is the NWA Champion and champions lead by example. Flair congratulated Murdoch and shook his hand, then introduced him as the world champion. Murdoch raised the belt and celebrated with his family, who then left the ring.
Davis gave the mic to Murdoch, who said the fans needed to give him a second because “this fat boy is breathing hard.” Murdoch said he never dreamed that this moment would happen and yet this moment was exactly how he dreamed it. A “you deserve it” chant broke out. Murdoch said the fans kept him going because they believed in him. Murdoch said he doesn’t know what’s in his future, but every single day he will represent the title.
Murdoch said he had to hear it one more time. He said the man who brought him to the show was Harley Race. The fans chanted “Harley.” Murdoch said he hopes someday he can be as good as Race and the title was one hell of a start. Murdoch thanked the fans for supporting him and the NWA. Murdoch celebrated with the title belt while Galli closed the show by hyping NWA Powerrr for Tuesday…
Powell’s POV: A terrific main event between two true pros. It was very well worked with some fun tributes to Ric Flair and Harley Race along the way. Aldis’s top matches always strike an emotional connection with the fans and this was no exception. Murdoch’s son gets an assist because he really added to the broadcast of the match by being so fired up in support of his father. It was a really cool moment to close the show and it was great that Flair was there to endorse Murdoch. The overall show was a mixed bag, but they closed things out with a gem that was easily my favorite match of the NWA’s two pay-per-views at The Chase.
“The match was solid. It wasn’t long enough to be more than that.”
Match length has almost nothing to do with quality. I’m not sure if that’s a Meltzer thing or not, but it’s an asinine way to view a fight.
Hagler-Hearns is one of the best boxing matches of all time and nobody downgrades it for only going to the 3rd round.
Can you have a great brief match? Sure, but most great matches require more time to tell in-ring stories. And even if you get a strong five-minute match, the feedback is typically that fans wish the wrestlers had been given more time. I think it’s actually telling that you used a boxing match instead of pointing to a brief yet great pro wresting match as a comparison. I don’t remember how long Brodie Lee vs. Cody Rhodes went, but I loved that match because it was just Lee destroying Cody, which was shocking.
Flair was Flair
The battle royal was too long or didn’t need to be on there
Konnan is out every where
Murdoch winning was cool
Kamille is a powerhouse
I completely disagree. You need time to tell a story in the ring. Five minutes is really not enough time to do that.
Hogan and Sheik told a business changing story in the ring. It took 5:40.
Hogan vs Andre at WM3 is the biggest drawing match of all time, it went 12:01.
Hogan vs Andre at The Main Event is the biggest drawing TV match of all time, it went 9:05.
The reason why so many modern wrestlers need so much time is because they can’t get over in a match without doing everything they know how to do and having 153 false finishes. The best draws of all time could tell the story quickly and get out of there.
Hogan vs Andrew was a big spectacle, but I don’t see too many people hailing it as a great match.
The “fingerpoke of doom” was also a business changing match, storywise. But nobody calls it a great match do they?
A “great match” is something that gets people to spend money on it and then come back to see more.
If you need 30+ minutes and 183 false finishes to “tell a story” then you’re not any good.