Originally published at NWA Hard Times: Nick Aldis vs. Flip Gordon, TV Title Tournament
Welcome to our coverage of NWA’s ‘Hard Times’ from the GPB Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. We will have a review of the show on a special LIVE edition of Rewind-A-SmackDown tonight at 11 pm Eastern for members of the POST Wrestling Café.
Joe Galli and Stu Bennett are calling the show.
*Trevor Murdoch over The Question Mark in 3:08 in the Television title tournament quarter-finals
*Dan Maff over Zicky Dice in 3:02 in the Television title tournament quarter-finals
*Ricky Starks over Matt Cross in 3:52 in the Television title tournament quarter-finals
*Eli Drake & James Storm over The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express and The Wild Cards in 8:09 to win the NWA tag titles
*Thunder Rosa over Allysin Kay in 18:16 to win the NWA women’s title
*Trevor Murdoch over Dan Maff in 3:28 in the Television title tournament semi-finals
*Ricky Starks over Tim Storm in 4:45 in the Television title tournament semi-finals
*Scott Steiner over Aron Stevens by DQ in 5:51 for the NWA National title
*Nick Aldis over Flip Gordon in 15:16 to retain the NWA heavyweight title
*Ricky Starks over Trevor Murdoch in 9:20 to win the NWA Television title tournament
TREVOR MURDOCH VS THE QUESTION MARK IN THE QUARTER-FINALS OF THE TELEVISION TITLE TOURNAMENT
Unlike the matches on Power, if they go to the time limit of six-minutes and five seconds, they will go to three judges to select a winner.
Murdoch missed a lariat and hit the post with Question Mark attacking his shoulder. Murdoch caught him with a strike and hit a bulldog from the top. Question Mark got up and was hit with a second one, which Murdoch scored the win from.
WINNER: Trevor Murdoch at 3:08
This was the end of The Question Mark’s undefeated streak and they played up the shoulder injury that Murdoch will have to deal with tonight.
ZICKY DICE VS DAN MAFF IN THE QUARTER-FINALS OF THE TELEVISION TITLE TOURNAMENT
Maff hit Dice with a half-nelson suplex and speared him coming off the turnbuckle. Maff continued with a cannonball into the corner and a senton for the victory.
WINNER: Dan Maff in 3:02
It was just a short power display from Maff with Dice taking the first two minutes before Maff fired back and displayed his powerful offense. He was positioned as one of the favorites to win the tournament.
MATT CROSS VS RICKY STARKS IN THE QUARTER-FINALS OF THE TELEVISION TITLE TOURNAMENT
Cross knocked him to the floor and did his maneuver where he balances on the post and dropped an elbow to the floor.
Cross bounced off the top rope into a cutter on Starks, climbed to the top and missed the shooting star press. Starks caught him with The Stroke (Angel’s Wings) to win the match.
WINNER: Ricky Starks at 3:52
These matches are way too short to give much analysis. The two could have certainly had a solid match together with additional time but Starks is clearly one of their top commodities.
David Marquez spoke with Tim Storm. He referred to the audience as his ‘family’ and those supporting the NWA. He said there is a rumor that Ken Anderson won’t be here tonight but he’s going to continue in the tournament tonight and gets a bye to the next round. Joe Galli said that Anderson was not medically cleared.
Stu Bennett thanked GPB Studios for hosting their first two pay-per-views, but their next show will be in April somewhere bigger. The next show will be the Crockett Cup card. They did announce the location or the actual date.
THE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL EXPRESS VS THE WILD CARDS VS JAMES STORM & ELI DRAKE FOR THE NWA TAG TITLES
The crowd reacted in a big way for Storm and Drake and then even louder for RNR. The size of this building is not a detriment at all and is a big positive with the crowd into so many of the performers that make them feel like stars.
Three men were always legal.
Gibson was sent to the floor and Kamille attacked him. Meanwhile, The Wild Cards took turns in the ring beating down James Storm. He finally tagged Eli Drake, the referee missed it and the audience was livid. Gibson made his way back into the ring and was heavily selling.
Drake got tagged in and Gibson tagged Morton for the major pop. Morton hit Latimer with the Destroyer as Gibson yanked Kamille to the floor. Morton went for a Destroyer to Drake, it was stopped by Isaacs and allowed Drake to hit the Gravy Train on Morton and pinned him.
WINNERS: Eli Drake (pinned Ricky Morton) & James Storm in 8:09 to win the NWA tag titles
The new champions shook hands with the RNR and received their endorsement.
The audience made this into a fun match as they got into all the tag tropes that can still work effectively. It was a basic match but each person played their part.
They walked over to the podium and the crowd chanted ‘talk to us’, which Drake and Storm obliged to. Drake ran through potential names for their team but can be called ‘champs’ for now.
ALLYSIN KAY VS THUNDER ROSA FOR THE NWA WOMEN’S TITLE
The two came out striking and Rosa later kicked her way out of a sleeper hold. Kay went to the floor and was drilled with a dropkick through the ropes. Rosa snapped the left arm of Kay around the post and continued to attack the arm inside the ring.
Rosa snapped the arm on the middle rope and followed with a Fujiwara armbar. Kay finally responded with a release German suplex after being attacked nonstop. Kay missed in the corner and took a German suplex from Rosa.
Rosa went for a somersault off the apron, was caught and hit with an apron bomb by Kay. Rosa countered the AK-47 with a roll-up for two. Rosa came off the top with a codebreaker, Kay was supposed to catch her, and they fell. Rosa hit a counter with the Code Red for a big near fall.
Kay countered out of an Octopus submission to hit a piledriver for another big near fall. The audience was loving this.
Kay lifted her off the turnbuckle to hit the AK-47 and Rosa kicked out again.
Kay ran her injured shoulder into the post, she applied the Fujiwara armbar on again, but Kay powered to her feet. Rosa reset and hit the Thunder Driver, but it wasn’t smooth, and she got the win.
WINNER: Thunder Rosa at 18:16 to win the NWA women’s title
Overall, this was a very strong match and one of the better matches the NWA has hosted. I thought the match went a bit long at the end where the response to the near falls decreased after hitting a fever pitch around 11-12 minutes in. The spot where Kay was supposed to catch Rosa and nearly lost her was a happy accident as it made total sense with the arm injury. The Thunder Driver was an awkward end to the match, but this was still very good.
Melina and Marti Belle came out to congratulate Thunder Rosa.
Marty Scurll came out and spoke with David Marquez. He wants a shot at the ten pounds of gold and asked what Nick Aldis is so scared of. He said the people deserve to see a title defense tonight. Nick Aldis entered, he called this the house that he built, and he was the hot ticket in ROH and now he’s the hot ticket in the NWA. He will put the title up against Flip Gordon, but if he wins then everything involving him and Scurll is done on Aldis’ terms. He said Scurll must leave the building tonight if he wants Gordon to fight for the title.
DAN MAFF VS TREVOR MURDOCH IN THE SEMI-FINALS OF THE TELEVISION TITLE TOURNAMENT
They exchanged enormous chops to begin the match. Maff landed a spear and started biting Murdoch.
Maff missed him in the corner, was dazed getting to his feet and hit with the top rope bulldog as Murdoch got the cover.
WINNER: Trevor Murdoch at 3:28
It was short but they worked very hard for the few minutes they had including a hot pace at the start. The explained that Murdoch took a heavy beating in advancing.
TIM STORM VS RICKY STARKS IN THE SEMI-FINALS OF THE TELEVISION TITLE TOURNAMENT
The story is that Storm is fresh after receiving a bye in the last round.
Starks cut him off with a dropkick, came off the turnbuckle and injured his right knee coming down. Starks landed a knee and then ran into the Perfect Storm (a spinning side slam) but Storm couldn’t get the cover.
Starks blocked the Perfect Storm, Storm countered the tornado DDT, and Starks caught him with a crucifix.
WINNER: Ricky Starks at 4:45
Storm shook his hand and Starks hugged him. They explained how disappointed Storm was after having the advantage of a bye and getting caught by the young prospect.
ARON STEVENS VS SCOTT STEINER FOR THE NWA NATIONAL TITLE
Steiner just repeatedly attacked Stevens and he bounced around the ring and floor for him. After taking an eye poke, Steiner hit a belly-to-belly with Stevens nearly coming down on his head. He hit another one and Stevens got his arm up.
Steiner hit a flatliner and applied the Steiner Recliner as The Question Mark hit him with a karate chop for the disqualification.
WINNER: Scott Steiner by DQ at 5:51
Steiner applied the Recliner on Question Mark and Stevens ran away instead of helping.
This was pretty bad with a terrible finish for a pay-per-view level show.
NICK ALDIS VS FLIP GORDON FOR THE NWA TITLE
They fought on the floor by the announcer’s desk and then returned to the ring. Gordon applied an armbar but Aldis powered out and slammed Gordon to the mat. Aldis overpowered Gordon, he caught him off the ropes and delivered a vertical suplex. Aldis chop blocked the left knee and applied a figure-four.
Gordon escaped, he did a kip-up and leaped off the middle rope to land a spear. Gordon was suplexed off the top, landed on his feet but Aldis hit a piledriver an elbow off the top for a two-count. Gordon did another kip-up and applied a crossface that Aldis broke by getting the to the rope.
Gordon hit two Star-Spangled Stunners and Aldis kicked out. Aldis held onto Gordon and rolled back for the cover and caught him with a reversal.
WINNER: Nick Aldis at 15:16 to retain the NWA heavyweight title
The ending came out of nowhere and I wouldn’t say this match got to a high-level but it was well worked and a step above everything but the women’s match.
TREVOR MURDOCH VS RICKY STARKS IN THE FINALS OF THE TELEVISION TITLE TOURNAMENT
There is no time limit for the final.
Murdoch attacked Stark’s back by driving it into the apron and into the steps. The audience was chanting for both men.
Murdoch dumped Starks face-first onto the floor and was controlling the match. Murdoch proceeded to hit a Saito suplex and killed Starks with a big lariat. Starks came out of the corner and hit a sit-out powerbomb for his first major offensive maneuver. Starks hit a spear and Murdoch kicked out.
Starks hit The Stroke and got the win.
WINNER: Ricky Starks at 9:20 to become the NWA Television champion
This was a well-worked match and I came away very impressed with the performance from Murdoch, who showed more in this than you would have anticipated. Starks played a strong babyface fighting from underneath and made the heroic comeback to overcome the larger opponent.
There wasn’t a big celebration and they were off the air moments after the ending and said they would be back on Tuesday with a new episode of ‘Power’.