National Wrestling Alliance & Ring Of Honor
Crockett Cup 2019
April 27, 2019
Cabarrus Arena & Events Center
Concord, North Carolina
Before going into the card, I have to comment on the atmosphere of this show. I thought the NWA and ROH absolutely nailed the presentation here, from the old school set up with the entranceway, the old school ring mat with the NWA letters and ring skirts, the old school graphics, and even with the commentary, as Jim Cornette was part of the announce team (and he was great, by the way). I thought the whole ambiance of this show absolutely worked, and it definitely helped make this show stand out as being unique.
Wild Card Tag Team Battle Royal – Winners: Royce Isaacs & Thomas Latimer
The team that emerged victorious from this battle royal would earn the eighth and final spot in the Crockett Cup. None of the teams were revealed beforehand, but what we ultimately got was a mix of teams from the NWA, ROH, and (presumably) from the local independent scene. The list of teams included The Boys, The Dawgs (despite the fact that Rhett Titus and Will Ferrara have seemingly been separated for a number of months), Jay Bradley & Jocephus, The Dawsons, Cam Carter & LaBron Kozone, Billy Buck & Kevin Blue, and Royce Isaacs & Thomas Latimer. This was….a battle royal. Nothing really much to it. At one point, it seemed like The Boys had won after eliminating the Jay Bradley/Jocephus team (speaking of which, I know Josephus got his head shaved by David Arquette back in January, but he looks totally unrecognizable now when compared to his previous Bruiser Brody-esque look). However, the Royce Isaacs/Thomas Latimer team (who had been hiding on the outside) then eliminate The Boys to secure the victory. At the moment, this seemed like a harmless result, in the sense that most didn’t expect the winners of this battle royal to go very far. Unfortunately, these two would end up making a very deep run in the tournament. **
Crockett Cup 2019 – First Round – Bandido & Flip Gordon def. Guerrero Maya Jr. & Stuka Jr.
The actual opening bout of the tournament saw the team of Bandido and Flip Gordon (who were representing ROH) defeat Guerrero Maya Jr. and Stuka Jr. from CMLL. This was a great tag team encounter that was packed with exciting action from start to finish. While it wasn’t the first time I’ve seen these two CMLL talents (they’ve both made sporadic appearances in ROH in recent years), I have to say that this was a very impressive outing for both of them. Stuka Jr. was awesome, as he connected with some incredible offense (that fake out dive to the floor gets me every time). Guerrero Maya Jr. was also very solid, and his finisher (which is called “The Mayan Sacrifice”) was crazy. As for Bandido and Flip Gordon, they worked very well together as a team, which was interesting, since (to my knowledge) this is the first time they’ve teamed up for a two-on-two tag team match. There were some insane moments in this one, from the various dives, to Flip Gordon breaking up a double Romero Special by going for a pin (it was simple, but it looked cool), to Stuka Jr. nailing a Mexican Destroyer. Ultimately, Bandido and Flip Gordon picked up the win to advance after a TKO. These four absolutely killed it. Make sure you check this match out. ****1/4
Crockett Cup 2019 – First Round – Royce Isaacs & Thomas Latimer def. The War Kings (Crimson & Jax Dane)
We first saw Crimson and Jax Dane team together in 2017, when TNA/Impact was in the middle of its transition to becoming Global Force Wrestling (a transition that quickly fell apart) under the final Jeff Jarrett regime. At that point, they were known (interesting enough) as The Veterans Of War, or VOW. Now, they’re known as The War Kings, and they can into the Crockett Cup as representatives of the NWA, after winning a qualifying match on the NWA’s pop up even back in January. While I’m sure most weren’t expecting The War Kings to go all the way to the finals, it seemed plausible that they would at least get out of the first round (since they were a team from the NWA). Unfortunately, they didn’t even make it out of the first round, as the duo of Royce Isaacs and Thomas Latimer picked up a shocking upset win to move on to the semi-finals. Now, this win didn’t come without controversy, as Isaacs had his foot on the ropes when he pinned Crimson with a rollup. The match itself was perfectly fine, and we did see some solid double team offense from Crimson and Jax Dane. However, it seemed as though this match was simply meant to get Isaacs and Latimer over as old school heels, who would do whatever they need to do to get the win. I have no issues with wanting to do something like that in a tournament like this, but better wrestlers could’ve been picked for that role. The War Kings could’ve easily filled that role. Just have The Boys win the battle royal, and then they get killed by The War Kings in the first round. A dominant, monster heel tag team would’ve been a much better choice than the old school heels who cheat at every opportunity, but whatever. **1/4
Crockett Cup 2019 – First Round – The Briscoes def. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express
Before this next bout got started, we got a really cool segment where Jim Cornette left the commentary booth to do a pre-match interview with The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express. This was something that felt straight out of JCP/NWA circa the late ’80s. Cornette mentioned that The Crockett Cup was the only prize that had alluded The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, but the legendary tag team was soon interrupted by The Briscoes. Jay Briscoe took the mic, and after telling Cornette to hit the bricks, gave Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson the chance to forfeit now before they can beat them into retirement. Morton responds by kicking Jay in the balls, and the match immediately gets started.
Now I’m sure many people were curious to see how this match would play out. What we got was a fun seven-minute bout that followed the classic Rock ‘n’ Roll Express formula. They had the edge early before The Briscoes took control. Then The Briscoes beat up Ricky Morton (who got busted open on the outside) for a few minutes before he eventually made the hot tag to Robert Gibson. This led to a brief comeback by The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, but The Briscoes ultimately scored the win after Mark Briscoe hit the Froggy Bow on Ricky Morton. This was by no means a classic, but the fans were into it, and it was exactly what it needed to be. You can’t ask for much more than that. ***1/4
Crockett Cup 2019 – First Round – Villain Enterprises (Brody King & PCO) def. Satoshi Kojima & Yuji Nagata
When the bracket for this tournament was revealed, this was a match that caught a lot of people’s attention. PCO sharing a ring with two New Japan legends in the Crockett Cup? Imagine telling that to someone a year ago. Yes, this was a match that actually happened in 2019, and when the dust settled, it proved to be a very entertaining tag team bout. Seeing Kojima and PCO go after each other with strikes and hard chops was totally surreal, yet so cool at the same time. Brody King and Yuji Nagata were really solid in this one as well, and as a whole, this was a ton of fun to watch. Seeing Kojima and Nagata team together stateside was awesome, but they came up short here as Villain Enterprises won after King hit a Michinoku Driver on Kojima. Again, this was a very enjoyable affair, and the right team came out on top. No complaints from me. ***1/2
NWA Women’s Title – Allysin Kay def. Santana Garrett
Before this bout got underway, Madusa came out with the NWA Women’s Title belt and cut an extremely awkward promo that was meant to be an introduction of sorts. Madusa didn’t appear to be comfortable at all. She was constantly looking at her phone and it seemed like she wasn’t prepared. I’m not entirely sure what happened, but outside of actual matches, this was the worst thing on the show.
Jazz was originally scheduled to defend the NWA Women’s Title against Allysin Kay. However, only a few days before the event, Jazz pulled out and the title was vacated (I believe it was a mix of injuries and personal issues). Allysin Kay kept her spot in this bout, and Santana Garrett filled the spot left open by Jazz. The choice to put Santana Garrett in this spot make perfect sense, as she was a former NWA Women’s Champion. As for the match itself, I wouldn’t call it good, but it wasn’t bad… let’s call it average. The match featured some ok action throughout but the finish seemed to come out of nowhere, as Allysin Kay hit a spinning lariat to win the vacant NWA Women’s Title. I honestly had no idea that was her finisher. On paper, this seemed like it was going to be a little better than it ended up being, but it was still perfectly fine. The crowd seemed dead for most of this, so that certainly didn’t help. **1/2
Before the start of the semi-finals, Caprice Coleman (who was the special correspondent for this show) interviewed all three members of The Midnight Express (Bobby Eaton, Dennis Condrey, and Stan Lane). The highlight of this segment was the announcement that Condrey had beaten cancer.
Crockett Cup 2019 – Semi-Finals – Royce Isaacs & Thomas Latimer def. Bandido & Flip Gordon
I refuse to talk about Bandido and Flip Gordon both doing the floss dance (I say both, but it was mainly Gordon doing it with Bandido giving a halfhearted effort). This bout was really a tale of two halves. When Bandido and Flip Gordon were on offense, this was a pretty solid bout. When Royce Isaacs and Thomas Latimer were on offense? Not so much. After getting taken out by a pair of dives, the heel duo got some advice from Madusa (who was still at ringside, for some reason). I’m not exactly sure what Madusa told Isaacs and Latimer, because they were well on their way to losing this match until Gordon hurt his knee on a 450 Splash. From there, the heel duo worked over Gordon’s injured knee, and picked up the win after Latimer caught Gordon in a rollup while holding the tights. Again, I have no issues with pushing a heel team in a tournament like this if that’s the story they wanted to tell, but they had to go with Royce Isaacs and Thomas Latimer? They’re not very good. Plus, if you wanted to give an underdog run to the winner of the Wild Card Battle Royal, then why did you give that spot to a heel tag team? It just doesn’t make that much sense. **1/4
Crockett Cup 2019 – Semi-Finals – Villain Enterprises (Brody King & PCO) def. The Briscoes via DQ
Of course, these two teams have been feuding in ROH throughout 2019, so while this would decide who moved on to the finals of the Crockett Cup, it also served as the continuation of this feud. Even though this bout ended in a DQ, it was still a very enjoyable contest for the nine or ten minutes that it went. They went after each other immediately, and it didn’t take long for the action to spill to the floor. PCO did the spot he seemingly does in every match, where he misses a senton onto the apron. He then comes back only a minute or so later to slam Mark Briscoe on the exposed concrete floor. Chairs were eventually introduced, and The Briscoes use them first, which leads to an immediate DQ. After Paul Turner declared that Villain Enterprises had won, The Briscoes went on a rampage. They continued their assault on Brody King and PCO, and they injured the shoulder of the latter after Mark nailed a senton off the top rope to the apron, while PCO was covered in chairs. Then, they went after Paul Turner, and Jay Briscoe gave him the Jay Driller. After all of that destruction, Jay took the mic and cut a promo on the NWA. Again, this was a really entertaining bout, even with the DQ finish. Doing this in the Semi-Finals was pretty annoying, but it does continue the Villain Enterprises/Briscoes feud, along with seemingly set up something between The Briscoes and the NWA. ***1/2
NWA National Title – Colt Cabana def. Willie Mack (c)
The actual NWA National Title belt has a….fascinating look, to say the least. Anyway, Willie Mack won the vacant NWA National Title in a mini-tournament at the NWA 70th Anniversary Show last October. His challenger on this show was Colt Cabana, who is someone that is very familiar with the NWA, having been a former two-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion in his own right. These two went on to have a very good back and forth match. At one point, Mack appeared to go for a dropkick to Cabana in the corner, but Cabana moved, and Mack crashed HARD on the floor. While Cabana was able to take advantage after this nasty spot, Mack eventually mounted a comeback, and we got some good exchanges between these two in the closing stages. Ultimately, Cabana caught Mack with the Superman Press Pin to capture the NWA National Title. This seemed like a shocking result in the moment, but as we would later find out, it was the only result they could’ve done, as AAA sent Cease & Desist letters to both the NWA and ROH regarding their usage of Willie Mack (since he’s still under contract with Lucha Underground). Not only did this development lead to a lawsuit, but it also led to Willie Mack signing a contract with Impact only a few days later. I actually really enjoyed this match between Colt Cabana and Willie Mack, but it sucks to see wrestling politics rear its ugly head, with regards to the result. A really unfortunate situation with Willie Mack, but I’m sure Colt Cabana will do a fine job as champion. ***1/2
As Willie Mack was making his way to the back, he crossed paths with James Storm, who came out to issue a challenge to the new champion, Colt Cabana. Storm ran down NWA management for not wanting a guy like him as NWA World Heavyweight Champion, so he’s going to go after the NWA National Title instead. As we would later find out, that singles bout will take place at ROH’s War Of The Worlds event in Chicago in just over a week.
Crockett Cup 2019 – Finals – NWA World Tag Team Titles – Villain Enterprises (Brody King & PCO) def. Royce Isaacs & Thomas Latimer
Before the finals got underway, we got a couple of cool pre-match moments. First, there was a group photo with the Crockett Family, Billy Corgan, Joe Koff, the Crockett Cup Trophy, and the NWA World Tag Team Titles. Then, we get a segment with Caprice Coleman where he talked to Nikita Koloff and Magnum TA.
When you look back on it, Royce Isaacs had a pretty crazy month of April. He started out the month by participated by a wild (and at some points, disgusting) comedy match on DDT’s Coming To America event where he teamed with Joey Ryan against Danshoku Dino and Antonio Honda. Then, he closed out the month on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, as he made to the finals of the revived Crockett Cup alongside the former Bram. Anyway, this makeshift heel team of Isaacs and Latimer is wrestling in their fourth match of the night. They came out with Madusa by their side, but she seemed to disappear by the time the match got started, so I have no idea what the point of including her with Isaacs and Latimer was. There really wasn’t much to the match itself, and it was probably the worst bout of the entire tournament. Brody King and PCO came into this match selling the injuries suffered at the hands of The Briscoes from earlier. Isaacs and Latimer beat up King for a few minutes before he was finally able to make the tag to PCO. At this point, PCO asked his partner to fix his injured shoulder, and once he did, PCO fired up. He ran through Isaacs and Latimer, and eventually hit a moonsault to win the match, the Crockett Cup, and the NWA World Tag Team Titles, for Villain Enterprises. **
Afterward, Villain Enterprises celebrated with the Crockett Cup Trophy as Nikita Koloff and Magnum TA presented them with the NWA World Tag Team Titles. It’s been incredible to see how well Brody King and PCO have gelled as a team since coming together at the tail end of last year. The whole Villain Enterprise act seemed so random when they first formed, and while it’s certainly centered around Marty Scurll, it can be argued that Brody King and PCO have gotten so much more out of this stable than Scurll has. They’ve been together for only four or five months, and they’ve already won three sets of tag team titles together (the ROH World Tag Team Titles, the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Titles, and now the NWA World Heavyweight Tag Team Titles). I’m not sure they would be the first pick for most people, but if these two can keep it up through the rest of the year, then Villain Enterprises could be a dark horse contender for tag team of the year. It’s also incredible to see how much success PCO has seen in 2019. It seemed like that he was on the final minute of his fifteen minutes of fame when ROH announced that they had signed him. Not only has he proved all of us wrong, but he’s seen more success in 2019 than he did in 2018!! I’m not sure how long this will last for PCO, but he’s certainly had an incredible ride over the last year or so.
NWA World Heavyweight Title – Nick Aldis def. “The Villain” Marty Scurll
Brian Hebner served as the referee for this one, but before the match got started, they brought out Tommy Young (a longtime NWA/JCP referee) to do the pre-match instructions. NWA and ROH did a really good job building up to this main event, both through the Ten Pounds Of Gold series as well as ROH TV. The friendship between these two seemed to break down as this big match against each other quickly approached. After the opening exchanges, Scurll used some of his tricks to get Kamille (Aldis’ “insurance policy”) ejected from ringside. At that point, the match turned into a brawl. Scurll ended up going through a table after an Aldis chokeslam, while Aldis got busted open pretty bad by Scurll a few minutes later. Once they got back in the ring, there was some really good back and forth action between the two, and the fans were definitely into it (they were certainly behind Scurll). “The Villain” came close on a few occasions, but Aldis was able to fight through the blood loss, and ultimately got Scurll to tap out after locking him in the King’s Lynn Cloverleaf. The match itself was great. Of course, Marty Scurll was awesome, but Nick Aldis did a very nice job as well. Aldis has never been seen as a really good wrestler. That being said, even since becoming the NWA World Heavyweight Champion, he’s delivered in the big spots (against Cody at All In and against Marty Scurll on this show). You’re never impressed by the various title matches in between, but in the big spots, he seemingly delivers. The only critique I have is that the story in the match seemed a little backward. The fans are always going to cheer Scurll, no matter how much cheating he does (he did a decent amount of cheating in this match), but what was odd was that Aldis was presented as a babyface at a couple of different points. That’s despite the fact that (at least, in the buildup), Aldis came off as the more heelish of the two (he kept prodding at Scurll, noting that he couldn’t “win the big one”). At one point, when the referee was down, Kamille came back and tried to get involved, but Aldis stopped her, in a clear babyface move. That part of the bout was a little strange to me. However, this still delivered from start to finish. ****
Afterward, despite their issues in the buildup, the two competitors embraced, and then took turns putting each other over as the show came to a close.
While the atmosphere of the show was extremely cool, the actual matches were a mixed bag. In terms of the length of the show, it was certainly a long one, in terms of the number of bouts that were featured (eleven in total), but it never really felt that long. The fact that, outside of the main event, none of the matches went over thirteen minutes probably helped. When it came to the Crockett Cup tournament, anything that didn’t involve Royce Isaacs and Thomas Latimer was pretty good to great. Anything that did involve those two? Not so much. I still don’t understand why those guys got such a big push on this show. If they aren’t used by the NWA going forward, that’ll be a positive, but it’ll prove that this whole experiment with Isaacs and Latimer was even more nonsensical than I initially thought.
On a more positive note, Bandido and Flip Gordon vs. Team CMLL was definitely the best match of the tournament (and even the best match on the show), while Villain Enterprises had entertaining bouts in the first round and the semi-finals. As far as the non-tournament matches go, they seemed to progressively get better as the show went on. The NWA Women’s Title bout was ok at best, the NWA National Title bout was really good, and the NWA World Heavyweight Title bout in the main event was great. There’s certainly stuff on this show that’s skippable, but there’s also a lot of stuff that’s worth checking out.