National Wrestling Alliance
73rd Anniversary Show
August 29, 2021
Khorassan Ballroom At Chase Park Plaza Hotel
St. Louis, Missouri

Watch: FITE

The 73rd Anniversary Show of the National Wrestling Alliance had a tough act to follow. Returning to the Chase Park Plaza Hotel after decades, NWA EmPowerrr delivered with a solid card, moments that tugged at the heartstrings, and a sold-out Khorassan Ballroom with an electric crowd. NWA 73 sought to further the momentum from one night prior with eight matches on the main card and of NWA’s titles on the line, headlined with Trevor Murdoch vs. Nick Aldis for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Should Murdoch fail in capturing the Ten Pounds of Gold, his career was over.

The Pre-Show begins with May Valentine interviewing Jax Dane. Dane reminds everyone of his past accolades in NWA, including being World Champion. As one of the winners of the Championship Series, Dane can challenge for any title at any time. Dane also “puts over” Crimson before his match with backhanded compliments.

Pre-Show Match
Lady Frost & The Hex (Allysin Kay & Marti Belle) def. Jennacide, Paola Mayfield, and Taryn Terrell

The Hex continues to exhibit their tag team syncopation early on, though Lady Forst wasn’t a team player. To their credit, Taryn showed some decent tag team strategy by keeping Balle away from her corner. Just as the Hex had the match won, Lady Frost tagged in. Frost with the Moonsault to Mayfield, and the match is over.

The match was a short and inoffensive contest on the pre-show, no more, no less. ***

Valentine interviews Austin Idol and asks him about his strategy for his client Tyrus. Idol’s answer is so long-winded that May informs him that they ran out of time.

Pre-Show Match
PJ Hawx def. Colby Corino

These young, second-generation wrestlers began the match with energy. It feels both these guys are hungry and had something to prove tonight. Corino showed some heel viciousness against Hawx, and both displayed great athleticism. The crowd was feeling it halfway through. PJ tapped out Corino with the Hawx Clutch to win.

I was impressed by both guys in this match. Hawx and Corino had the right amount of physical capabilities and style to keep me engaged. It was a competitive back and forth affair with the right amount of Corino’s heel tactics thrown in. ***3/4

The show proper opens with another “vintage” NWA interview with Shooter Stevens and Krusher Kratos, only now set from 1968. Stevens once again gloats about NWA’s prowess and that no other promotion will go national. They put over “the new kid” Harley Race, who could become NWA Champ someday. 1960’s May Valentine caps the interview off, excited about the next 20, 30, 40 years of the NWA.

A fantastic video package airs next. Narrated by Missouri’s own John Goodman, it featured the history of St. Louis, the NWA, and the Chase Hotel.

The Brawl in the Lou
Tim Storm def. Thom Latimer & Crimson

This match takes place under hardcore rules with no disqualification. Before this match could even start, Jax Dane jumps Crimson from behind, working him over with a steel ladder. As Dane leaves his now former tag team partner to be carried out by the doctors, Latimer took advantage. Nailing Storm with a chair, he almost got the win.

Crimson would eventually make his way back into the match, but at that point, there were already several moments that popped that crowd. Latimer leveled Storm with a senton on an extra crowd barrier from on top of a HUGE ladder. They found a very clever way for the over 50-year-old Storm to take a breather as Latimer and Storm wrecked each other. When Storm came back, he and Storm started to punish each other and Latimer with belt shots. With Latimer incapacitated, Tim Storm nailed A Perfect Storm on Crimson to take the win.

What a hot opener, the booking was so clever. Opening the show with this carnage was not only an attention-getter, but it allowed for the War Kings a seamless way to finally break up. With Latimer weakened from his big bump and Crimson weakened by Dane, it made sense for Storm to get the win. For this electric crowd, Storm was the right choice. Great stuff! ****1/2

Mickie James def. Kylie Rae

The fans and Kylie Rae thank Mickie for EmPowerrr before the match starts. No spot lingered on for too long. When either James or Rae had a hold locked in or a potentially devastating attack, there was usually a counter-attack not too far behind. Both women had their working boots on. They both moved quickly from move to move, setting up their next spot. It could have gone either way, but Mickie hit the DDT on Kylie to win the match.

The shortest match on the main show, this match felt like a preview of what’s to come. For what it was, I liked it. ***1/2

Post-match, Deonna Purrazzo, came out and jumped Mickie from behind, with Kylie making the save.

Tim Storm comes to commentary, taking over for guest commentary, Conrad Thompson.

Tyrus, The Masked Scion, & Jordan Clearwater (with Austin Idol) def. Da Pope & The End (Odinson & Parrow)

The match began hot enough, with the faces taking the fight to Clearwater and Scion. Soon after, Pope was the babyface in peril for quite some time until Odinson got tagged in, and it was his turn. Tyrus’ time in this match was few and far between. He let his partners do most of the dirty work. When he did tag in, his attacks were a combination of rest-holds, telegraphed, or emersion breaking.

The end of the match was just an overbooked mess. Parrow tagging back out of this match shortly after the hot tag made no sense. Tyrus failed at taking Pope’s outside dive and bumped for it anyway. BLK Jeez got involved, costing the faces the match, only for Scion to steal the pin from Tyrus. Why wasn’t BLK Jeez in this match with Tyrus and Clearwater in the first place? They’re part of the same stable.

This match had some issues, but the ending ruined it for me. **1/2

NWA National Heavyweight Title
Chris Adonis (c) def. James Storm

Storm and Adonis favored letting their fists doing the talking at the opening of the match. The pace set by this match was methodical and deliberate. There was a focus on vintage wrestling maneuvers, complete with Adonis slapping on a headlock twice. The crowd played along for this, but not with nearly the energy of yesterday. Storm did get the fans behind him after he Hulked Up and did the Frankensteiner from the top rope on Adonis. The spot with Adonis and the beer bottle went on too long, and the false finish was unneeded. In the end, Adonis held on to his title with a rope-assisted roll-up.

The match was fine, but it dragged on, and the final five minutes were weak. ***

Kyle Davis introduces the all-time greatest NWA World Heavyweight Champion, the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Flair came out to one of NWA’s songs. I like the song, but it isn’t “Also Sprach Zarathustra”/2001: A Space Odyssey song.

Flair, not content with leaving the tear-inducing stuff for EmPowerrr, had a beautiful speech. He thanked his wife, Wendy, and his kids Charlotte (calling her “The Queen”), David, and Megan. He was equal parts gracious to WWE, Vince McMahon, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton, and The Undertaker, but thankful for Billy Corgan for telling him he’s Ric Flair and that he could say whatever he wanted. The love and memoried for the NWA for him was real and shared as much with the audience. He put over McMahon, Corgan, and Tony Khan, stating that pro wrestling needs brands. He ended it by thanking the St. Louis fans and the NWA.

Find a way to watch this speech. I assure you, I did it no justice.

13-Man Battle Royal to determine the #1 Contender to the NWA National Heavyweight Title
Judais (w/Father James Mitchel) def. JTG, Rush Freeman, Heartthrob Jaden, Captain YUMA, Jeremiah Plunkett, Marshe Rockett, Sal Rinauro (w/Danny Deals), Jamie Stanley, El Rudo, Mims, Slice Boogie, & Luke Hawx

For this NWA battle royal, a competitor becomes eliminated when one foot touches the floor. This match had a handful of fun spots, and I laughed at Captain YUMA’s elimination. Once most of the fodder, the story began to focus on Judias’ dominance. His top rope clothesline and some of the power spots were unique. I want to see how he does in a 1-on-1 match.

The battle royal didn’t need to be as long as it was. Too much of it was spent just brawling, most of it being filler that didn’t lead towards elimination. It was a dull match with brief moments of fun and excitement. **3/4

NWA World Women’s Title
Kamille (c) def. Chelsea Green

Kamille punished Green from the beginning of the match. This effort wasn’t enough to keep Green down, so she starts to work the injured left wrist. This match work in sections where each part builds to a dynamic move that leads to a pinfall. While it wasn’t a completely dominant performance on the part of Kamille, she controlled it fairly competently. Green couldn’t make the match more competitive with her injury being a target. Where she failed with the Spear, Kamille wrenched Green’s left arm behind her back and made her tap.

This match was a good performance by Kamille and Green. It felt like a great main event for NWA Power. I had higher expectations after EmPowerrr, and it never reached that second gear. ***1/2

NWA World Tag Team Title
La Rebelión (Bestia 666 & Mecha Wolf) (w/Konnan) def. Aron Stevens & JR Kratos (c)

Konnan makes a surprise appearance in the corner of La Rebelión with the LAX playing. Stevens gets a bit of Hallelujah playing for his and Kratos’ theme. That and him wearing his pink and purple gear harkens back to Damien Sandow in his WWE days. If you didn’t know that, you’re welcome.

Konnan provided heavy interference, attacking Stevens. Bestia and Mecha Wolf are working well together, isolating Stevens from his corner. Stevens sold the beatdown where he couldn’t recognize which corner was his. Stevens attempts to tag in Kratos while getting stopped at every turn made the actual tag all the sweeter. Both teams kept this contest competitive, but Konnan’s interference proved too much. Stevens succumbs to The Mark of the Beast, and that was all.

This match was a good title defense. I liked that Kratos and Stevens put their issues from Power aside and worked as a cohesive unit in this match. Bestia and Mecha Wolf did well, as they displayed a mix of tag team skill, high flying, and vicious heel tactics. Konnan did get involved just a bit too much, but I was satisfied overall. ***3/4

Post-match, Konnan puts over the inter-promotional partnerships between wrestlings organizations, La Rebelión becoming the first Mexican and Puerto Rican-born NWA World Tag Team Champions, and NWA EmPowerrr. When he started, pro wrestling wasn’t inclusive like it is today. He wishes NWA a happy anniversary.

NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title – Title vs. Trevor Murdoch’s Career
Trevor Murdoch def. Nick Aldis (c)

It was made clear that Murdoch was the hometown hero and that Harley Race was both of their mentors before the match started.

Aldis attacked Murdoch while he was giving his jacket to his family. They took the brawl into the crowd. They went everywhere, including to the NWA sign. Aldis jaw jacking with Billy Corgan and Pat Kenney, who tried to get Aldis to return to the ring.

They’re in the ring, and the match starts with Murdoch throwing those soup bones. Olympic/Angle Slam and Thesz Press by Aldis to Murdoch. Murdoch locks in the Figure Four on Aldis, but Aldis eventually grabbed the ropes. I did not expect this match to be this intense in-ring. They did a great job of making this match feel personal and making Aldis come off as an arrogant snake.

The ref fought back Aldis’ bullying and took a massive bump. Aldis brought the fight back to Murdoch’s family then knocked out Kyle Davis and the timekeeper. Elbow Drop from Aldis to Murdoch into a table! I can’t believe how well this match came off. A new ref arrived as Aldis and Murdoch hit a Code Red and Tombstone Piledriver into an Elbow Drop, respectively The crowd loved this match. Murdoch hits the Pile Driver and Top Rope Bulldog.

1, 2, 3

Murdoch became the NEW NWA World Heavyweight Champion.

I loved this match so much. It not only exceeded my expectations, but it gave me everything I want in a pro wrestling match. There was plenty of action, conflict, drama, cool spots, and excitement. Murdoch, winning in his home state and the crowd’s investment, was the cherry on top. I’m glad I watched it, and I will gladly watch it again. ****1/2

Post-match both Velvet Sky AND Tim Storm are in tears. His family, friend, and former tag partner, Bull Schmitt, and Ric Flair, come into the ring to celebrate. Flair congratulates Murdoch for his victory. As they leave, Kyle Davis comes in to give Murdoch the mic. He puts over the crowd for believing in him, and he will represent the title to the best of his ability. He mentions Harley Race one last time, thanking everyone for supporting him.

Final Thoughts

Most of the mid-card matches went on for too long for no real reason. On top of that, the crowd was a bit more lukewarm for every match after James vs. Rae until the main event. That said, the show had remarkable highs. The crowd showing continued praise for Mickie James after EmPowerrr was nice. Ric Flair’s appearance and impassioned speech are major highlights of Billy Corgan’s entire NWA run. Finally, the opener and the Main Event subverted expectations to kick as much ass as possible. On the whole, NWA 73 didn’t quite match the unmitigated success of EmPowerrr but was an eventful way to wrap up back-to-back events at the Chase.