National Wrestling Alliance

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National Wrestling Alliance
NWA
Private
IndustryProfessional wrestling
Streaming media
FoundedJuly 18, 1948; 71 years ago (July 18, 1948) in Waterloo, Iowa, United States
FoundersPinkie George
Orville Brown
Al Haft
Harry Light
Sam Muchnick
Don Owen
Tony Stecher
Headquarters,
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
OwnerLightning One, Inc.[2]
Websitewww.nationalwrestlingalliance.com/ Edit this on Wikidata

The National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) is an American professional wrestling promotion and former governing body operating via its parent company Lightning One, Inc.[2]

Founded in 1948, the NWA began as a governing body for a group of independent professional wrestling promotions, the heads of which made up the Board of Directors. The group operated a territory system which sanctioned various championships, recognized one world champion, participated in talent exchanges, and collectively protected the territorial integrity of member promotions. Prior to the 1960s it acted as the sole governing body for most of professional wrestling. It remained the largest and most influential body in wrestling until the mid-1980s by which time most of the original member promotions went out of business as a result of the World Wrestling Federation's national expansion.

In September 1993, the largest remaining member promotion, World Championship Wrestling (WCW), left the NWA for the second and final time.[3] The NWA would continue as a loose coalition of independent promotions,[4] with NWA: Total Nonstop Action (NWA:TNA) given exclusivity over its World Heavyweight and Tag Team championships from June 2002 to May 2007.[5]

In August 2012, the NWA discontinued its memberships and started licensing its brand to wrestling promotions.[6] As of 2019, the NWA is no longer a governing body and has since become a singular wrestling promotion.[7][8][9]

History[edit]

Formation[edit]

Before the NWA was founded, many regional professional wrestling promotions existed across North America with each promoting its own world champion. However, none of them had backing or recognition outside of their own respective geographic areas.

In 1948, Paul "Pinkie" George, a promoter from the Midwest, founded the original version of the National Wrestling Alliance with the backing of five other promoters: Al Haft, Tony Strecher, Harry Light, Orville Brown, and Sam Muchnick. The concept of the NWA was to consolidate the championships of these regional companies into one true world championship of professional wrestling, whose holder would be recognized worldwide. This newly formed NWA Board of Directors decided on Brown to be the first-ever NWA World Heavyweight Champion.[10]

The extinct NWA territory system in North America

NWA member promotions were divided up into territories that each promoter would "own" and operate while the NWA President's territory usually served as the main territory of the entire alliance. Having a territory meant that no other NWA member promotion could promote wrestling in that area unless special arrangements were made between the promoters involved. Reportedly, threats of violence or physical retaliation were used against any promoter (and/or talent) who disregarded the territory system. If any NWA member promotion broke the rules, it faced expulsion and thus risked missing out on having nationally known wrestlers appear on their local shows. Promotions that were not members of the NWA were often labeled "outlaw," and while they didn't have to adhere to NWA rules, they were still subject to members' retaliation if they tried to invade territories.

Each territory received periodic guest visits from the NWA World Heavyweight Champion. The champion did not have a "home territory" as such, but instead traveled from territory to territory, defending the title against the top stars of each territory. Many NWA member promotions would build-up to the appearance of the NWA World Heavyweight Champion weeks or months in advance, making the local world title matches that much more special, and the shows they headlined more lucrative. In addition, each NWA member promotion usually produced a TV show that aired in their territory only, meaning that the local fans only saw the world champion when he came to their area and not year-round.

Wrestlers from one territory could come into another territory (often the heels or "bad guys") and run an angle or two with its top local faces ("good guys"). If the local fans ever got tired of a wrestler, the wrestler could go to a whole new territory and perform the same act for new audiences who would think the act was brand-new. This storyline was often advanced in the territory from which the wrestler was departing as a result of an especially highly promoted "loser leaves town" match.

For most NWA member promotions, the benefits of membership were well worth the dues and the rules.

In 1949, Lou Thesz was the National Wrestling Association World Heavyweight Champion when a deal was made to unify his title with Orville Brown’s NWA World Heavyweight Championship. On November 1, 1949, with just weeks before the scheduled bout, Brown was involved in an automobile accident that ended his career, and he was forced to vacate the championship. The NWA then awarded the unified titles to the No. 1 contender, Thesz.

As a Governing Body[edit]

1950s[edit]

In 1950, Sam Muchnick, one of the original promoters of the NWA and Thesz’s booker, was named the new NWA President, a position to which he was unanimously re-elected and held until 1960, making him one of the longest-tenured presidents in the organization’s history.

Following the advent of television, professional wrestling matches began to be aired nationally during this time, reaching a larger fanbase than ever before. This was a time of enormous growth for professional wrestling, as rising demand and national expansion made it a much more popular and lucrative form of entertainment than in decades previous. This was called a "Golden Age" for the wrestling industry.[11][12] From 1948 to 1955, each of the three major television networks broadcast wrestling shows; the largest supporter being the DuMont Television Network.[12]

Up through 1956, during Thesz’s first reign as NWA World Heavyweight Champion, the title was further unified with several more previously competing world titles including the American Wrestling Alliance’s heavyweight title in Boston and the California World Heavyweight title from Baron Michele Leone in Los Angeles. As NWA World Heavyweight Champion, Thesz became the closest any wrestler had been to be the undisputed world heavyweight wrestling champion since Danno O'Mahony in 1936. This legitimized the NWA's claim that its title was a "unified world title" and its lineage continues to this day.

With Thesz as unified world champion, Muchnick as NWA President, and the power of television’s reach, the NWA became the dominant governing body in pro wrestling during this time. Nearly every major wrestling promotion across the country joined the NWA in order to gain access to the treasure chest that was the NWA World Heavyweight Champion, who was universally recognized as the industry's premier star.

The NWA’s presence in Japan was established in 1953, when Japanese wrestler/promoter Rikidozan founded the Japan Pro Wrestling Alliance, (JWA) which quickly became the main promotion in Japan later that year the Empresa Mexicana de la Lucha Libre became the NWA territory in Mexico.

The NWA experienced their first major challenge in 1956 when allegations were made that the NWA was an illegal monopoly blocking competition. An extensive investigation led by the US Department of Justice resulted in the infamous NWA Consent Decree of 1956 (The U.S. v. National Wrestling Alliance). Sam Muchnick had strong political connections and was able to negotiate the consent decree which prevented the investigation from ultimately resulting in the dissolution of the NWA. The judgment marked the end to the Justice Department's concerns with the National Wrestling Alliance.[13]

Other challenges soon appeared in the late-1950s. There were disputes over the number of dates wrestled by the champion in various parts of the country. There were also competing factions who wanted to replace Thesz as champion with different wrestlers, such as Verne Gagne.

It was during this time that several promoters found reasons to leave the organization, managing to find niches in the United States. The first break within the organization occurred in 1957 when Montreal promoter Eddie Quinn walked out of the August NWA meeting in St. Louis. Quinn had fallen out with Muchnick over a number of issues. At the time Quinn walked out, a wrestler of his named Édouard Carpentier was involved in an angle where he and Lou Thesz were both being presented around the NWA as world champion after Carpentier had a disputed win over Thesz on June 14, 1957.[14] The original idea was to build the "disputed" NWA World Heavyweight Championship title into a high-profile rematch. When Quinn left the NWA, Muchnick announced that Carpentier had never been an official champion and had no claim on the title. Afterward, Quinn saw the financial possibilities in the Carpentier situation and began to negotiate with NWA member promotions that continued to recognize Carpentier as champion. He offered to have Carpentier lose a title match to their prospective champion thus giving them a legitimate claim on the world title if they decided to break away from the NWA. While some took up Quinn’s offer, and title switches took place in those territories, none would match the impact of the title change in Nebraska. Verne Gagne became world champion when he defeated Carpentier in Omaha on August 9, 1958 for what would become the World Heavyweight Championship of Omaha.

As the 1950s came to an close, professional wrestling had lost its high ratings, and producers, realizing that they had overexposed it, soon dropped most wrestling shows from their lineups.[15] The remaining televised wrestling promoters had small, local syndicated shows, which network producers placed as late-night fillers rather than signature programming.[16] Promoters started using localized television as a weapon for eliminating the competition by purchasing airtime from rival territories, effectively putting some of them out of business.[17]

1960s[edit]

Challenges continued for the NWA as it entered the 1960s. After defeating Carpentier in Omaha, Verne Gagne tried for two years to work things out with the NWA. Finally settling on breaking away from the NWA, the Minneapolis territory (as it was known) gave a "story-line only" edict to the NWA in May 1960: Unless Pat O'Connor, the NWA’s world champion at the time, defended his title against Gagne in 90 days, then Gagne would become the recognized AWA World Heavyweight Champion by default. Gagne’s new American Wrestling Association unilaterally recognized O’Connor as the first AWA world champion. There was never any intention of such a match taking place, and ninety days later, on August 16, 1960, the AWA recognized Gagne as the new AWA World Heavyweight Champion. The AWA would go on to be a dominant professional wrestling organization throughout the 1960s.

In the same month of 1960, Sam Muchnick stepped aside as NWA President. Three NWA Presidents followed over the next three years: Frank Tunney from the Maple Leaf Wrestling promotion in the Toronto territory (1960-1961), Fred Kohler, owner of Fred Kohler Enterprises promotion in the Chicago territory and producer of the popular DuMont Television Network program Wrestling From Marigold (1961-1962), and Doc Sarpolis from the Western States Sports promotion in the Amarillo territory (1962-1963). During all three administrations, Muchnick served as the NWA’s executive secretary.

On January 24, 1963, at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Lou Thesz defeated Buddy Rogers in a one-fall match and was declared NWA World Heavyweight Champion for the third and final time (official). However, after the event, Vincent J. McMahon and Toots Mondt from the Capital Wrestling Corporation promotion in the Northeast territory refused to recognize the title change since Thesz as the NWA World Heavyweight Champion was not a strong draw in their territory. They then withdrew CWC from the NWA.[18] As a result, McMahon and Mondt formed the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF, now WWE) with Rogers as its first world champion in April 1963. Although both Gagne and McMahon promoted their own world champions, their promotions continued to have representatives on the NWA Board of Directors and regularly exchanged talent with NWA promotions during this time.

Consequently, Sam Muchnick was unanimously re-installed as NWA President in 1963 and held the office until 1975, thus contributing a total of 25 years as the industry's most influential promoter. During his second reign, Muchnick maintained the NWA’s position as wrestling's top power while he also displayed an uncanny eye for scouting future talent.

1970s[edit]

As pro wrestling's popularity declined in the 1970s, Sam Muchnick’s second reign as NWA President would prove beneficial for the organization’s future. Muchnick scouted new talent through the rest of his tenure, grooming eventual champions such as Harley Race, Dory Funk Jr., Terry Funk, Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes and many others in the process. Moreover, he expanded the NWA globally by inking agreements with territories in Mexico, the Far East, Europe, and the Caribbean.

The WWWF quietly rejoined the NWA in 1971 after their biggest draw, Bruno Sammartino, left the promotion. While still an NWA member in 1979, they changed their name from World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) to World Wrestling Federation (WWF).

In 1972, the JWA’s two top draws Giant Baba and Antonio Inoki left to form their own promotions, All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) and New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) respectively. As a result, the JWA soon folded. AJPW became an NWA member upon its inception in 1973 and NJPW was also a member of the NWA at various points starting in 1975.

By the end of his tenure, Muchnick reportedly declared Atlanta, Georgia as the “leading wrestling city” for its “drawing capacity and near-capacity crowds at the City Auditorium or the Omni every Friday.”[19] Once Muchnick’s second term ended, Fritz Von Erich (1975-1976), Eddie Graham (1976-1978), and Bob Geigel (1978-1980) would fill the role as NWA President for the remainder of the decade. However, it was Muchnick’s declaration that would pay in dividends for the NWA when they made Atlanta their home base.

While the American Wrestling Association (AWA) and World Wide Wrestling Federation/World Wrestling Federation (WWWF/WWF) both faltered during the 1970s, the NWA once again took over as the top promotion and gained huge dominance with their program, Georgia Championship Wrestling, which would become the first nationally broadcast wrestling program on cable television, or more specifically the TBS Network, in 1979. They brought in Gordon Solie, dubbed “The Walter Cronkite of Professional Wrestling,” from former NWA President Eddie Graham’s Championship Wrestling from Florida territory to be lead commentator and host.[19]

1980s[edit]

The 1980s would prove not only to be a major turning point for the NWA but for the entire professional wrestling industry itself.

Videotape trading and cable television paved the way for the eventual death of the NWA's inter-regional business model, as fans could now see for themselves the plot holes and inconsistencies between the different regional storylines. Also, the presence of stars like Ric Flair on TV every week made their special appearances in each region less of a draw.

After nearly 40 years of mostly success, the NWA's territory system was dying.[20]

The WWF left the NWA for good in 1983. Vincent K. McMahon (who bought the WWF from his father in 1982) saw the dying territory system as an opportunity to turn his family's Northeastern United States territory into the first truly national promotion. McMahon worked to get WWF programming on syndicated television all across the United States, angering other promoters and disrupting the well-established boundaries of the different wrestling promotions not seen since its inception.

In 1983, Jim Crockett Promotions and the NWA created its primary supercard, Starrcade, the first to be broadcast via closed-circuit networks and regarded as their flagship event of the year on Thanksgiving Day.

On Saturday, July 14, 1984, in what would become known as Black Saturday, McMahon bought NWA member Georgia Championship Wrestling (GCW) and merged it into the WWF, with the WWF taking over GCW's long-time TV slot on TBS which had been home to GCW’s flagship weekly program, World Championship Wrestling, for 12 years.[21] McMahon's purchase led to a longstanding rivalry between himself and WTBS owner Ted Turner, who would later enter the professional wrestling promotion business by the end of the decade. This moved proved disastrous for the already established GCW audience and the new WWE/GCW program’s ratings plummeted. Losing money on the deal and desperately looking for help, McMahon turned to Jim Barnett, who directed him to NWA President Jim Crockett, Jr., the owner of Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP), who then bought the World Championship Wrestling program from McMahon for $1 million (US) and returned NWA programming to TBS.

Wrestling promotions across the United States feared being forced into bankruptcy by the WWF. They began to unify and conglomerate under more centralized leadership rather than continue independently. Competing promotions aired better talent and attempted to regain their audiences.

During this time, various NWA promoters and Verne Gagne’s AWA attempted to co-promote shows under the Pro Wrestling USA brand to combat the national WWF threat. It didn’t last long as disputes over control, power, and revenue led the brand to fall apart, leaving it with the AWA to own the timeslot on ESPN for AWA programming.

In early 1985, Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP) was becoming the center of the entire NWA. After the WWF gained huge dominance with Wrestlemania, Crockett responded by successfully acquiring time slots on TBS.[22] JCP decided to unify certain NWA territories and "go national" itself. Accordingly, Jim Crockett, Jr. began buying out some of the other NWA member promotions or, in some cases, allowed them to quietly fold and moved into those territories. JCP controlled many NWA territories and limited championship matches to performers under contract with JCP thus making titles exclusive to the promotion. JCP continued to buy out NWA promotions between 1986 and 1987 as well.

In February 1986, promoter Fritz Von Erich withdrew Dallas-based World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW) from the NWA in a bid to become a national promotion. Abroad, Empresa Mexicana de Lucha Libre (EMLL), All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW), and New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW) all seceded from the NWA in the mid-1980s.

By this time, the top three national promotions were WWF, NWA, and AWA. With NWA’s Starrcade, WWF’s WrestleMania, and AWA’s SuperClash, the professional wrestling industry entered what became known as the “Wrestling Boom” or “Golden Age.”. All three also had network television programs and were now in direct competition with each other.

Throughout the 1980s, the position of NWA President would go back and forth between Jim Crockett Jr. of Jim Crockett Promotions based in Charlotte, North Carolina (1980-1982, 1985-1986, 1987-1991), and Bob Geigel of Central States Wrestling based in Kansas City, Missouri (1982-1985, 1986-1987). As Geigel began his third term as NWA President, he would sell his promotion to Jim Crockett, Jr. By the time 1987 rolled around, and Geigel’s final term ended when Crockett’s third and final term began, Crockett’s promotion had begun acquiring many territories and attempted to make the NWA a full national promotion. Geigel bought his promotion back, left the NWA and went on to create his own competing governing body: World Wrestling Alliance. It was too little, too late as the World Wrestling Alliance would fold by 1989.

After WWF’s massive WrestleMania III event in 1987, the WWF scheduled a pay-per-view, Survivor Series, on Thanksgiving night to compete directly with NWA’s Starrcade event, and demanded exclusivity from cable providers on carriage of the event. In order to prevent such a problem, Starrcade was moved to December the following year and the show was held around Christmas Day, mostly in the days following, beginning in 1988. The WWF then scheduled their first Royal Rumble event in January 1988 to counterprogram against the NWA’s Bunkhouse Stampede.[23] The Royal Rumble originally aired on the USA cable networks the first year before finally transitioning to pay-per-view in subsequent years. The NWA responded by creating Clash of the Champions on TBS to compete against WrestleMania IV. The WWF also became an international success at this time.

By 1988, Jim Crockett Promotions was facing bankruptcy. JCP’s ambition to have NWA compete directly with the WWF led to more detriment than success. Along with the acquisition spree, JCP failed to consistently match the WWF's ambitious marketing, TV production values, and merchandising. This left no viable option other than selling. On October 11, 1988, under the direction of owner Ted Turner, TBS, which had replaced the WWF with JCP, bought the assets of JCP and renamed it World Championship Wrestling (WCW) after the popular TV show on TBS.[24] Originally incorporated by TBS as the Universal Wrestling Corporation, Turner promised fans that WCW would be the athlete-oriented style of the NWA. The sale was completed on November 2, 1988, with a television taping of NWA World Championship Wrestling that very same date in WCW's hometown of Atlanta.[25]

Turner’s NWA/WCW continued to challenge McMahon's monopoly of the sport. Turner promised a more athletic approach to the product, making Ric Flair the promotion's marquee wrestler and giving young stars big storylines and championship opportunities. With the backing of Turner’s money, NWA/WCW grew into a national promotion as JCP had originally intended. WCW, like JCP before it, became the main NWA territory. Still a member of the NWA, WCW toured the entire country instead of staying within a confined territory. NWA/WCW would not only compete with the WWF on the national level, but it was about to compete with the WWF on the international level as well.

1990s[edit]

In January 1991, WCW officially began to recognize a WCW World Champion, with Ric Flair, who had just defeated Sting to regain the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, as the first title holder. Ric Flair was simultaneously recognized as the World champion of both the NWA and WCW until he left WCW over a dispute with WCW president Jim Herd (with the actual title belt in his possession) to join the WWF. Upon leaving, Flair was immediately stripped of the WCW World title but continued to be recognized as the NWA World champion, causing the separation of the WCW and NWA titles. He was officially stripped of the NWA World title upon his arrival in the WWF a few months later. Afterwards, the NWA World title lay dormant for a year until New Japan Pro-Wrestling hosted a tournament to crown a new champion. In September 1993, WCW withdrew completely from the NWA and despite Flair's possession of the physical belt made no mention of the NWA name on air after the split.

In August 1994, Philadelphia-based Eastern Championship Wrestling (ECW) withdrew their membership from the NWA in somewhat surprising fashion. As one of the most popular independent promotions of the early 1990s, they hosted a tournament to crown a new NWA World Heavyweight Champion after WCW had withdrawn from the NWA. The finals of the tournament saw Shane Douglas defeat 2 Cold Scorpio for the world title. In a surprising turn, Douglas threw the title belt to the ground, claiming that he did not want to be the champion of a promotion that died "seven years before" (when JCP became WCW). Shane then grabbed the ECW Heavyweight Championship belt and declared himself the ECW World Champion. ECW owner Tod Gordon then renamed the company to Extreme Championship Wrestling and officially withdrew ECW from the NWA.

After the secession of WCW in 1993, the NWA was not what it once was. Through the mid to late 1990s, the organization was left with a small collection of independent promotions during the peak of the Monday Night Wars between WCW and the WWF. In order to have joined the NWA, a promoter must have been operating for at least one year in a territory uncontested by any other NWA member, and their application had to be approved by a majority vote of the Board of Directors — with some exceptions.

In 1998, the World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment) reached an agreement to use the likeness of the NWA world title and other titles, the NWA branding and its history, initially to create what was known as the NWA invasion storyline.[26] It was later claimed that WWE still owned the rights.[27] (The sale of the NWA to Billy Corgan in 2017 was completed without any claims made by WWE).[28] The NWA received international television publicity during this time of the late 1990s, however the storyline was considered a failure due to low viewer interests.[29][30]

2000s[edit]

In June 2002, Jeff and Jerry Jarrett launched NWA: Total Nonstop Action (NWA:TNA), a new promotion that aired a weekly, two-hour pay-per-view series. Due to the terms of TNA's agreement with the NWA, and despite not actually being an NWA member, NWA:TNA was given creative control over the NWA World Heavyweight and World Tag Team championships. In 2004, having been rebranded as Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), the promotion launched a weekly television program, Impact!, but continued to use the NWA titles until the relationship ended in 2007.

The NWA established the NWA Hall of Fame, an American professional wrestling hall of fame, in 2005 to honor select wrestling personalities, mostly alumni of the NWA.

In August 2005, the presidency of the NWA was dissolved and the duties of the office assumed by the Board of Directors, following the resignation of Ernie Todd (NWA: Canadian Wrestling Federation). It was announced on the NWA's website on Monday, October 10, 2005, that NWA legal counsel Bob Trobich would become its new Executive Director.

In January 2008, Colours TV on Dish Network and the NWA announced that they would begin airing an hour-long show entitled NWA Wrestling Showcase, featuring the NWA's current lineup of stars in action. The show was hosted by David Marquez (with Rob Conway co-hosting the first four episodes) with match commentary by announcers Todd Kenneley, Kris Kloss and Rick Otazu. Ten episodes were shown before re-runs began. All the matches were taped at the Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. In January 2009, NWA Wrestling Showcase started airing new episodes, this time the tapings took place in Hollywood California.

On July 12, 2010, NWA Pro Wrestling, Inc. and KDOC-TV Los Angeles announced a partnership in producing National Wrestling Alliance branded television programming beginning September 2010. NWA: Championship Wrestling from Hollywood (CWFH) would premiered on September 17, 2010.

In April 2012, North Carolina businessman and NWA Carolinas promoter David Baucom took over as the Executive Director after the resignation of Trobich.

Under Bruce Tharpe (2012-2016)[edit]

In August 2012, International Wrestling Corp, LLC, a holding company run by Houston-based attorney and wrestling promoter R. Bruce Tharpe, sued Trobich, Baucom, the NWA, and its then-parent company, Trobich's Pro Wrestling Organization LLC, claiming insurance fraud regarding the NWA's liability insurance policy. A settlement was negotiated that transferred the rights to the NWA name and trademarks from Trobich's company to Tharpe's.[6] The new organization moved from a membership model to a licensing model,[31] which caused many promotions to immediately cut ties with the NWA, including Championship Wrestling from Hollywood. On September 9, 2012, Championship Wrestling from Hollywood announced it had left the NWA.[32] CWF Hollywood was the unofficial home promotion of both the then-current NWA champion (Adam Pearce) and the most recent previous champion (Colt Cabana), both of whom publicly left the NWA, with Pearce vacating the NWA World Title while exiting.[33] Other major NWA territories like NWA Pro/NWA Pro West, NWA Georgia, NWA Pro East, NWA Southwest and NWA Midwest folded.

In 2013, the NWA re-established a relationship with New Japan Pro-Wrestling, where Bruce Tharpe became an on-screen character, portraying a villainous manager of wrestlers representing the NWA. Over the next two years, the NWA World Heavyweight, World Tag Team and World Junior Heavyweight Championships all changed hands at NJPW events.[34][35][36]

In September 2016, NWA signed a deal with the new Japanese Diamond Stars Wrestling (DSW) promotion to promote shows in not only Japan, but also other parts of Asia. As part of the deal, DSW chairman Hideo Shimada was appointed the NWA Vice President of the Asian Pacific region while Jimmy Suzuki was appointed senior NWA consultant.[37]

Under Billy Corgan (2017–present)[edit]

On May 1, 2017, it was reported that Billy Corgan, lead singer of the Smashing Pumpkins, had agreed to purchase the NWA, including its name, rights, trademarks and championship belts.[31] The report was confirmed by Tharpe that same day.[38] Over the following weeks, the NWA trademarks were moved from Tharpe's International Wrestling Corp. over to Corgan's Lightning One, Inc. production company.[28] According to multiple sources, as part of his acquisition of the NWA, Corgan would also purchase Tharpe's stake in the NWA's "On Demand" VOD service and licensing of the Paul Boesch wrestling library.[39] Corgan's ownership of the NWA took effect on October 1, 2017. All licenses granted by Tharpe to use the NWA branding expired the previous day, putting Corgan in complete control of both the brand and its championships. Corgan forms the organization's new leadership alongside Dave Lagana.[40][2][1]

Aldis as the NWA World Heavyweight Champion in April 2018

On September 23, 2017, Nick Aldis made his debut for Championship Wrestling from Hollywood defeating Will Roode. Later on after the match, Aldis challenged Tim Storm for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.[41] The match took place on November 12 and saw Storm retain the title. This was the first title match under the new NWA regime headed by Billy Corgan.[42] On December 9, Aldis defeated Storm in a rematch at Cage of Death 19 to become the new NWA World Heavyweight Champion, making him the second British-born champion after Gary Steele.[43]

In 2018, the NWA briefly allied with Impact Wrestling (the former NWA: Total Nonstop Action) to hold an Empty Arena match at the Impact Zone at Universal Orlando in Orlando, Florida. It was contested by Tim Storm and Jocephus and served as a qualifier to challenge then-NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis. The match was recorded on January 14, 2018 and uploaded to YouTube the next day.[44][45]

Starting in 2018, NWA allied with Ring of Honor (ROH). NWA wrestlers such as Aldis, James Storm, and Eli Drake appeared at several ROH events, with ROH-contracted talent even winning NWA titles.[46][47] On September 1, 2018, the NWA World Heavyweight Championship was featured at All In, with Cody defeating Aldis for the title.[48]

After All In, the NWA would return to hosting its own events. The NWA 70th Anniversary Show, which took place on October 21, 2018, at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, was the first to be produced directly under the NWA banner since Corgan became the new owner of the organization.[49][31] The event was co-produced with Global Force Entertainment and was streamed live on FITE TV.[50] The main event saw Aldis defeat Cody to recapture the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and Willie Mack winning a tournament for the vacant NWA National Championship. During the event, the NWA announced the return of the Crockett Cup, an eight-team, single-elimination tournament which would take place on April 27, 2019, at the Cabarrus Arena in Concord, North Carolina. The event was another collaboration between the NWA and ROH. The original Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament was held in 1986, 1987 and 1988 by Jim Crockett Promotions.

In July 2019, the NWA ended their partnership with Ring of Honor and subsequentially announced in August they would host tapings in Atlanta on September 30 and October 1 for a new television series, later announced to be titled NWA Power.[51][52][53]

In January 2020, Marty Scurll, and other Ring of Honor talent, began to appear at NWA events once again as part of an inter-promotional angle. In addition to re-signing with ROH, Scurll would join the company's booking team, enabling him to appear for both NWA and ROH.[54][55] Nick Aldis was scheduled to face PCO at Supercard of Honor XIV on April 4, 2020 before the event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[56]

Personnel[edit]

Leadership[edit]

All held the title of President except where footnoted.

# Name Term Home Promotion
1 Paul "Pinkie" George 1948–1950 NWA Iowa
2 Sam Muchnick 1950–1960 Sam Muchnick Sports Attractions /
St. Louis Wrestling Club
3 Frank Tunney 1960–1961 Maple Leaf Wrestling
4 Fred Kohler 1961–1962 Fred Kohler Enterprises
5 Karl Sarpolis 1962–1963 Western States Sports
6 Sam Muchnick 1963–1975 St. Louis Wrestling Club
7 Fritz Von Erich 1975–1976 World Class Championship Wrestling
8 Eddie Graham 1976–1978 Championship Wrestling from Florida
9 Bob Geigel 1978–1980 Central States Wrestling
10 Jim Crockett, Jr. 1980–1982 Jim Crockett Promotions
11 Bob Geigel 1982–1985 Central States Wrestling
12 Jim Crockett, Jr. 1985–1986 Jim Crockett Promotions
13 Bob Geigel 1986–1987 Central States Wrestling
14 Jim Crockett, Jr. 1987–1991 Jim Crockett Promotions
15 Jim Herd 1991–1992 World Championship Wrestling
16 Seiji Sakaguchi 1992–1993 New Japan Pro-Wrestling
17 Howard Brody 1993–1995 NWA Florida
Dennis Coralluzzo Championship Wrestling America
Steve Rickard All Star Pro Wrestling
18 Steve Rickard 1995–1996 All Star Pro Wrestling
19 Howard Brody 1996–2001 NWA Florida
20 Jim Miller 2001–2002 NWA East/Pro Wrestling eXpress
21 Richard Arpin 2002–2003 NWA Tri-State
22 Bill Behrens 2003–2004 NWA Wildside
23 Ernie Todd 2004–2005 Canadian Wrestling Federation
24 Robert Trobich[a] 2005–2012 N/A
25 David Baucom[b] 2012 NWA Carolinas
26 R. Bruce Tharpe 2012–2017 NWA World Class
27 William Patrick Corgan 2017–Present N/A

Programming[edit]

NWA Power[edit]

NWA Power (stylized as NWA Powerrr) is a web television program that airs Tuesdays at 6:05 pm ET on the NWA's YouTube channel and Facebook page,[57] and is available on-demand the following Saturday on FITE TV.[58] The series debuted on October 8, 2019.

Ten Pounds of Gold[edit]

Ten Pounds of Gold is a documentary series chronicling the journey and career of the current NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion as well as others in the division. Debuting on October 20, 2017, it was the first series to be produced since the organization's acquisition.[citation needed]

Events[edit]

This is a list of NWA pay-per-view events produced while under the ownership of Lightning One, Inc. (2017–present)

Event Date Location Venue Main event Ref(s)
70th Anniversary Show October 21, 2018 Nashville, TN Tennessee State Fairground Sports Arena Cody Rhodes (c) (with Brandi Rhodes) vs. Nick Aldis (with Kamilla Kaine) for the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship. [c]
New Years Clash January 5, 2019 Clarksville, TN Wilma Rudolph Event Center Nick Aldis (c) (w/ Kamille) vs. James Storm for the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship. [59] [d]
Crockett Cup 2019 April 27, 2019 Concord, NC Cabarrus Arena Nick Aldis (c) (with Kamille) vs. Marty Scurll for the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship. [60][61] [e]
Into the Fire December 14, 2019 Atlanta, GA GPB Studios Nick Aldis (c) vs. James Storm in a two-out-of-three falls match for the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship. [62] [f]
Hard Times January 24, 2020 Atlanta, GA GPB Studios Ricky Starks vs. Trevor Murdoch in a tournament final match for the NWA World Television Championship. [63]
Crockett Cup 2020 TBA Atlanta, GA Gateway Center Arena TBA [64]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Championships[edit]

Championship Current champion(s) Reign Date won Days held Location Notes Ref(s).
NWA World Heavyweight Championship Nick Aldis 2 October 21, 2018 592+ Nashville, TN Defeated previous champion Cody at NWA 70th Anniversary Show. [65]
NWA World Women's Championship Thunder Rosa 1 January 24, 2020 132+ Atlanta, GA Defeated previous champion Allysin Kay at Hard Times. [63]
NWA World Television Championship Zicky Dice 1 January 26, 2020 130+ Atlanta, GA Defeated previous champion Ricky Starks on NWA Power.
Aired on tape delay on March 3, 2020.[66]
[67]
NWA World Tag Team Championship James Storm and
Eli Drake
1
(8, 1)
January 24, 2020 132+ Atlanta, GA Defeated previous champions The Rock 'n' Roll Express and The Wild Cards at Hard Times. [63]
NWA National Championship Aron Stevens 1 December 14, 2019 173+ Atlanta, GA Defeated previous champion Colt Cabana and Ricky Starks at Into the Fire. [68]

Accomplishments[edit]

This is a list of NWA accomplishments under the ownership of Lightning One, Inc. (2017–present)

Accomplishment Latest winner Date won Location Notes Ref.
Crockett Cup Villain Enterprises (Brody King & PCO) April 27, 2019 Concord, North Carolina Defeated Royce Isaacs and Thom Latimer (with Madusa) [69]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Held title of Executive Director.
  2. ^ Held title of Executive Director.
  3. ^ This event was co-produced with Global Force Entertainment (GFW).
  4. ^ This event was co-produced with Tried-N-True Pro Wrestling (TNT) for the inaugural NWA Pop-Up Event.
  5. ^ This event was co-produced with Ring of Honor (ROH).
  6. ^ This event was the first to be produced exclusively by the NWA since becoming a singular wrestling promotion and since its existence.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Billy Corgan has plans to be the next Vince McMahon". Sports Illustrated. October 2, 2017. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Johnson, Mike (October 2, 2017). "Corgan's reign as NWA owner begins, full details". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved October 2, 2017.
  3. ^ Schadler, Kyle (January 4, 2012). "Abandoned: The History of the WCW International Heavyweight Championship". Bleacher Report. Retrieved December 29, 2019.
  4. ^ Loverro, Thom (May 22, 2007). "The Rise & Fall of ECW: Extreme Championship Wrestling". Simon and Schuster – via Google Books.
  5. ^ The History of TNA: Year 1 (DVD). TNA Home Video. 2006.
  6. ^ a b "NWA Lawsuit Settled, Promotion to Transfer to New Corporation". PWInsider.com.
  7. ^ "Report: NWA & ROH No Longer Working Together; Nick Aldis Not Advertised For Summer Supercard". Fightful. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  8. ^ Jamie Greer (July 24, 2019), NWA Looking To Join Weekly TV Line Up, Last Word on Wrestling, event occurs at 01:11:50, retrieved July 19, 2013
  9. ^ NWA Announces First TV Tapings For Planned Series, August 7, 2019, retrieved August 13, 2019
  10. ^ Shaun Assael. Sex, Lies, & Headlocks (p.8)
  11. ^ Thesz, Lou. Hooker. p. 101.
  12. ^ a b Assael, Shaun. Sex, Lies, and Headlocks. p. 10.
  13. ^ United States vs. National Wrestling Alliance http://wrestlingperspective.com/legal/consentdecree.html
  14. ^ "Canadian Hall of Fame: Edouard Carpentier". SLAM! Wrestling. Retrieved April 30, 2008.
  15. ^ Assael, Shaun. Sex, Lies, and Headlocks. p. 11.
  16. ^ Assael, Shaun. Sex, Lies, and Headlocks. p. 13.
  17. ^ Thesz, Lou. Hooker. p. 103.
  18. ^ "NWA World Heavyweight Championship". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. July 20, 2011.
  19. ^ a b Mileur, Ray (June 25, 2017). "Georgia Championship Wrestling (GCW), the Holy Grail of Wrestling Television Programs". Sportskeeda. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
  20. ^ "WrestlingTerritories.png". Freakin' Awesome Network Forums :: Freakin' Awesome Wrestling Forum :: (w)Rest of Wrestling. Retrieved March 25, 2012.
  21. ^ Shaun Assael. Sex, Lies, & Headlocks (p.61)
  22. ^ End of an era on TBS: Crockett, Flair and 'The Clashes'
  23. ^ "The Royal Rumble - Wrestling".
  24. ^ Eric Bischoff (2006). Eric Bischoff: Controversy Creates Cash. Simon & Schuster. p. 60. ISBN 1-4165-2729-X.
  25. ^ "JCP 1973". Retrieved June 2, 2016.
  26. ^ Labbe, Michael J. "The 1998 NWA Invasion of the WWE". Retrieved January 1, 2019.
  27. ^ "Former President Claims NWA is WWE Property". Online World of Wrestling. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  28. ^ a b Johnson, Mike; Fernandes, Steven (June 23, 2017). "Billy Corgan-NWA purchase update". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved June 23, 2017.
  29. ^ Blankenship, Hands of Stone. "Pro Wrestling: Jim Cornette and the 1998 NWA Invasion of the WWF". Bleacher Report. Retrieved December 27, 2018.
  30. ^ Editor (August 22, 2018). "Well That Didn't Work: NWA Invades WWF". Ring the Damn Bell. Retrieved January 1, 2019.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  31. ^ a b c Johnson, Mike (May 1, 2017). "Exclusive: Billy Corgan finalizes deal to purchase..." Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  32. ^ Johnson, Mike (September 9, 2012). "NWA loses major member". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
  33. ^ "NWA Video: Colt Cabana and Adam Pearce leave the NWA Championship in the ring". Prowrestling.net. Retrieved November 3, 2012.
  34. ^ Caldwell, James (November 9, 2013). "NJPW news: Double title change in IWGP Tag Title vs. NWA Tag Title match, Young Bucks add Tag Title gold". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  35. ^ Caldwell, James (January 4, 2014). "Caldwell's NJPW Tokyo Dome results 1/4: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of New Japan's biggest show of the year - four title changes, former WWE/TNA stars featured, more". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved March 18, 2014.
  36. ^ "Power Struggle". New Japan Pro-Wrestling (in Japanese). Archived from the original on November 11, 2014. Retrieved November 8, 2014.
  37. ^ "Breaking news: the NWA & Diamond Stars Wrestling form new Asian Pacific Wrestling Partnership!". NWA Ringside. September 24, 2016. Archived from the original on September 27, 2016. Retrieved September 25, 2016.
  38. ^ Johnson, Mike (May 1, 2017). "NWA president Bruce Tharpe on Corgan acquiring NWA". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved May 2, 2017.
  39. ^ Gerweck, Steve (May 31, 2017). "Corgan's plan to buy the National Wrestling Alliance may have a serious bump in the road". Gerweck.net. gerweck.net LLC. Retrieved March 31, 2017.
  40. ^ Johnson, Mike (September 24, 2017). "National Wrestling Alliance ownership updates". Pro Wrestling Insider. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  41. ^ "CWFH « Events Database « CAGEMATCH - The Internet Wrestling Database". www.cagematch.net.
  42. ^ Keller, Wade (November 12, 2017). "NWA World Hvt. Title Results: Results (w/Keller's Analysis): Tim Storm defends NWA World Hvt. Title against Nick Aldis in Hollywood, Calif". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved December 10, 2017.
  43. ^ Keller, Wade (December 9, 2017). "Breaking News: Nick Aldis captures NWA World Hvt. Title tonight on CZW event in New Jersey, ending Tim Storm's YouTube chronicled reign (w/Keller's Analysis)". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  44. ^ "NWA Video: Watch the Impact Zone empty arena match with Tim Storm vs. Jocephus for a shot at the NWA Championship (no match result spoiler) - Pro Wrestling Dot Net". January 15, 2018.
  45. ^ NWA (January 15, 2018). "Tim Storm vs. Jocephus - Empty Arena Match - Impact Wrestling / NWA (2018)" – via YouTube.
  46. ^ "ROH Honor For All - Pro Wrestling Dot Net". January 15, 2018.
  47. ^ NWA (January 15, 2018). "Billy Corgan on Nick Aldis vs. Flip Gordon Cody Rhodes Plus Tim Storm Update (2018)" – via YouTube.
  48. ^ Mike Chiari (September 1, 2018). "Cody Rhodes Beats Nick Aldis, Wins NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title at All In". Bleacher Report. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  49. ^ "NWA Set To Run 70th Anniversary Show". prowrestlingsheet. August 23, 2018. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  50. ^ "GFW Presents NWA 70th Anniversary Event In Nashville". August 23, 2018.
  51. ^ "Report: NWA & ROH No Longer Working Together; Nick Aldis Not Advertised For Summer Supercard". Fightful. Retrieved August 4, 2019.
  52. ^ Jamie Greer (July 24, 2019), NWA Looking To Join Weekly TV Line Up, Last Word on Wrestling, event occurs at 01:11:50, retrieved July 19, 2013
  53. ^ NWA Announces First TV Tapings For Planned Series, August 7, 2019, retrieved August 13, 2019
  54. ^ "Marty Scurll re-signs with ROH, joins booking team". WON/F4W - WWE news, Pro Wrestling News, WWE Results, UFC News, UFC results. January 12, 2020.
  55. ^ "411MANIA". UPDATED: Marty Scurll Confirmed to Take Over Booking With New ROH Contract.
  56. ^ "ROH Cancels All Upcoming Events Through May Due To The Coronavirus Pandemic". Wrestling Inc. March 17, 2020.
  57. ^ Martin, Garrett (October 22, 2019). "Billy Corgan Revives Wrestling History with NWA Powerrr". Paste Magazine. Retrieved October 22, 2019.
  58. ^ "NWA POWER | EVERY TUESDAY 6:05PM | STARTING 10/8/19". NWA.
  59. ^ "NWA World Heavyweight Championship >> Reign 96". CageMatch. Retrieved January 7, 2019.
  60. ^ National Wrestling Alliance (February 9, 2019). "Breaking Nick Aldis asked Marty Scurll to be his partner for #CrockettCup". Twitter. Retrieved February 10, 2019.
  61. ^ "411MANIA". Various News: MLW’s Full Battle Riot II Video Online, NWA Crockett Cup Bracket Reveal. Retrieved December 30, 2019.
  62. ^ MacDonald, Josiah (December 14, 2019). "NWA Into the Fire Live results: Nick Aldis vs. James Storm". Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Retrieved December 29, 2019.
  63. ^ a b c Ravens, Andrew (January 24, 2020). "NWA Hard Times PPV Results". sescoops.com. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  64. ^ Defelice, Robert (January 24, 2020). "The 2020 NWA Crockett Cup Will Take Place In April". Fightful.com. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  65. ^ Carey, Ian (October 21, 2018). "Nick Aldis Defeats Cody, Wins Back NWA World Heavyweight Championship". SEScoops Wrestling News. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  66. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kT2kCUgbL8I
  67. ^ "NWA Television Championship Title History". Genickbruch.com. January 26, 2020. Retrieved January 27, 2020.
  68. ^ Lee, Joseph (December 14, 2019). "Aron Stevens Wins NWA National Championship At Into the Fire (Pics, Video)". 411 Mania. Retrieved December 14, 2019.
  69. ^ "NWA Crockett Cup 2019". Wrestling Inc. April 27, 2019. Retrieved January 25, 2020.

References[edit]

  • Tim Hornbaker (2007). National Wrestling Alliance: The Untold Story of the Monopoly that Strangled Pro Wrestling. ECW Press. ISBN 978-1-55022-741-3.
  • Shaun Assael and Mike Mooneyham (2002). Sex, Lies, and Headlocks: The Real Story of Vince McMahon and World Wrestling Entertainment. Crown. ISBN 1-4000-5143-6.

External links[edit]