The National Wrestling Alliance had its first pay-per-view of 2020 this past weekend in Hard Times. NWA hopes to be a nice alternative to WWE and hoped that their first network special will get some fans invested and even bring some new fans along.

10 matches took place tonight, which included three title matches and an eight-man tournament to crown a new Television Champion. How did Hard Times fare? Here are my grades and thoughts on each match.

World Television Championship (First Round) – Trevor Murdoch def. The Question Mark

Credit: National Wrestling Alliance

Grade: C

A match we did not expect to open the card. The Question Mark has been over with the crowd since NWA Powerrr debuted so it was shocking to see him knocked out of the tournament so early. Still, a solid match and it set up what was going to happen later in the night.

World Television Championship (First Round) – Dan Maff def. Zicky Dice

Credit: National Wrestling Alliance

Grade: C+

Given the short match (all the tournament matches had a six-minute five-second limit), it was a good one. It worked well to Maff’s advantage since he is more of a powerhouse of a wrestler. It was a quick squash match but it worked well here.

World Television Championship (First Round) – Ricky Starks def. Matt Cross

Credit: National Wrestling Alliance

Grade: B+

Out of all the first-round matchups, this was the best one by far. The athleticism of both Cross and Starks was on full display with Cross hitting a slingshot cross-body, then a slingshot cutter, setting Starks up for the Death From Above shooting star press. Starks rolled out of the way and hits his finisher, The Stroke, to win.

The time limit was short and this was the case where I wish the match was a little longer. But Starks is a guy you should keep an eye on. He looks to be a huge star in the company.

It is of note to mention here that the next match between Tim Storm and Ken Anderson ended up not happening due to an injury to Anderson, so Storm got a first-round bye and advanced to the semifinals.

World Tag Team Championship – Eli Drake and James Storm def. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) (c) and The Wild Cards (Royce Isaacs and Thom Latimer)

Credit: National Wrestling Alliance

Grade: B-

A solid multi-man tag match that helped Morton and Gibson at times given their age. It would have made sense for The Wild Cards to win here due to their alliance with Nick Aldis’ stable and the eventual winners were seemingly just paired together.

That being said, Drake and Storm already have some solid chemistry and they are established guys the fans know, so not the worst call here to crown them the champs.

World Women’s Championship – Thunder Rosa def. Allysin Kay (c)

Grade: A-

By far the best match of the night up to this point. This was a great 20-minute match from start to finish. The commentators did a great job, in particular, putting over Rosa’s MMA background and using it to her advantage.

A solid technical wrestling match and NWA showed that they have a solid women’s division to build around. Rosa looks to be a big star in the company going forward. It’ll be interesting to see how the alliance of her and Melina is going to go and if Kay will be back in the title picture.

World Television Championship (Semifinal) – Trevor Murdoch def. Dan Maff

Credit: National Wrestling Alliance

Grade: C

This match was okay as it was just a battle between two big guys. The match seemed stiff at times and was a little slow and having Murdoch going to the finals was an interesting move here.

World Television Championship (Semifinal) – Ricky Starks def. Tim Storm

Grade: C+

Two different wrestling styles here as Storm is a classic technical wrestler while Starks is an athletic high-flyer. It would have been nice for the fan-favorite to win here given he has been very vocal about his comeback and the fans are 100% behind him but Starks winning here (and later on) show that he is a star in the making.

National Championship – Scot Steiner def. Aron Stevens (c) by disqualification

Credit: National Wrestling Alliance

Grade: D+

This was all over the place. Credit to Stevens here using his heel tactics to buy time and stall outside until Steiner got some offense in on him by smashing his face into the ring steps. Steiner looked to have the victory until Question Mark came out and hit Steiner with the Mongrovian Spike, resulting in a DQ finish.

I never have been a fan of DQ finishes and this is another case in that.

Worlds Heavyweight Championship – Nick Aldis (c) def. Flip Gordon

Credit: National Wrestling Alliance

Grade: B+

Not as good as the women’s title match but it is still a solid match, with two different styles clashing in the ring (Aldis as a power mat style compared to Gordon’s high flying style).

A solid match from start to finish but it did have a predictable winner. There was no way the top guy in NWA was going to lose to a Ring of Honor wrestler at his own PPV. With that match out of the way, will look to see Aldis go up against Gordon’s stable member in Marty Scurll.

World Television Championship (Final) – Ricky Starks def. Trevor Murdoch to be the champion

Credit: National Wrestling Alliance

Grade: B

It really was shocking to see Murdoch even make it this far in the tournament but the right guy won here in Starks. Like I said before, he is a guy you need to keep an eye on. A solid wrestler with great athletic ability. The match itself was solid, with momentum going back and forth leaving fans to wonder who would come out on top.

Overall

Hard Times was not anything spectacular but it was overall a solid show. The women’s title match stole the show and that is one match you can look back on. The tournament was nice and the time limit was a good way to get a lot of matches on the card without it feeling dragged out. The Gordon/Aldis match was good also as it was a nice way to showcase their partnership between both companies.

Although it is not in the same production style as AEW or WWE for example, NWA is a nice promotion to watch if you want a break from your typical wrestling schedule. The future of the company looks bright, particularly with Starks and Rosa as two wrestlers you should build around for the future. NWA looks to have another pay-per-view in April in the famous “Crockett Cup”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s