THE RANT: NWA Power Delivers Nostalgia & A Hope for the Future

Posted By James Walsh on 10/09/19

I grew up in the New York City area. In fact, I was the same exit on the Jersey Turnpike as the George Washington Bridge. Have you seen the Wedding Singer? Yeah, there. Ridgefield, New Jersey. Growing up in the shadows of NYC meant that you were in the heart of WWE country. In the interest of full disclosure, I was certainly a fan of the WWE. I went to multiple events at the Meadowlands Arena (later known as the Continental Airlines Arena and finally the IZOD Center before it was closed for no reason that makes any sense to me to this day) and, of course, Madison Square Garden. I loved the glamour of the larger than life wrestling as delivered by the likes of Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Roddy Piper, and Jake "The Snake" Roberts. It got me hooked.

That said, a benefit of being in the most populus market is that you also get the most exposure, to some extent, to things outside of your region. So, I found myself hooked on Crockett wrestling on TBS, Dallas wrestling on ESPN, and, though I could not cite you where it aired or when, I also had a moderate exposure to Memphis, Mid South, and Florida wrestling as well. I mention this because I loved, and still do, the larger than life, rock and roll show environment of the WWE at the time. But, the art and the believable nature of all the other wrestling is what completed the package for me. Frankly, without all those other territories and what we now consider "Southern wrestling", I doubt I'd have devoted my whole life to obsessing over this stuff. After all, Al Snow once told me I get too worked up over men pulling up their socks and fake fighting. I don't view wrestling as that. And, I think it goes without saying that Al believes it to be far more than that also. But, to strip it down to the most minimal description of what wrestling is, it does bring it home... Does it not?

While AEW unleashed a major competitive vibe to WWE's overly produced nature and WWE unleashed a new, sports shot style of their brand with their debut on FOX, no one is delivering anything that goes back, fully, to believable, logical, Southern wrestling. Sure, Cody has a lot of that in what he does in AEW. But, watching NWA Power could give those who lived through the 80's wrestling scene goosebumps. And, for me, it did.

Kicking off with Dokken's "Into the Fire", the show had a very cool vibe going right away. Dokken is actually one of my top 10, maybe even top 5, bands of all time and some of my Facebook profile pictures even feature me wearing a Dokken T shirt in front of the Wrestling Epicenter office wall of wrestling history. I must admit, I was surprised a company owned by Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan would choose Dokken as their show's theme music. But, it somehow fit for the direction they were going for.

Featuring a set that reminds you immediately of the glory days of Georgia, Memphis, and Florida wrestling in a studio setting, you almost immediately question what year it is. That happens again as Jim Cornette welcomes you to the show with as much glee in presenting a return to wrestling the way it should be as the viewers, or at least this viewer, watching at home.

Featuring a blue ring that looks a great deal like the style of ring the NWA used in the glory days, one almost can't help but feel that nostalgia. Watching the Dawsons beat on a team of enhancement talent where the enhancement talent spends most of the time on their back or being held upside down by the obvious winners of the match before the match started reminded me of watching 6:05 wrestling with my sister eating a Happy Meal and seeing the Nasty Boys beat up jobbers in the very early 90's before anyone knew who they were on a grand stage. I really had that memory flow back to me in seeing it and I thought that was really a neat thing.

My concern was that the nostalgia feeling could turn some off. Time will tell if that is the case. But, for the first week, it certainly drew me in more than had me think, "Gee, I wonder if this is TOO old school?"

Stars will shine in this environemnt. Nick Aldis' command over the audience and the presentation was stunning from the start. Eli Drake comes off as a veteran performer ready to take his spot - Oh, and Eli also is the best talker in the entire industry which doesn't hurt anything either. And, Tim Storm came off as believable. In fact, his promo might well have been the most believable thing on the entire broadcast.

James Storm might well have been made for this show as well. Storm is a Tennessee guy and seeing him approach the desk unannounced to confront a call out had such a Memphis feel to it, it was absurd. As the weeks go on, I can see "Cowboy" James Storm emerging as one of the top 3 guys in the company if he isn't already.

One criticism I do have is the video packages of the fans celebrating this style of wrestling does give away a few spoilers as to who will appear in future episodes. The spoilers for the tapings are all online. And, I did skim them because I can't help myself. But, I do think that someone who is watching and doesn't know might not want to know that legends like the Rock and Roll Express appear or win the Tag Titles before they see them show up and do so on the show.

Overall, the talent used makes sense for the show presented. It is veterans, which does not mean over the hill by any means, who can both speak and work. It is believable. And, it has a lot of nostalgia feeling. I am excited to see what this show could turn into or become over time. But, I will be watching every Tuesday at 6:05 for sure.