REVIEW: NWA Empowerrr (2021)

A Pay-per-view event from NWA

While no means the first all-female wrestling Pay-Per-View, The national Wrestling Alliance has taken a HUGE step with bringing eyes to women’s wrestling with their first ever PPV of the type. Both TNA Wrestling (Now Impact Wrestling) and WWE have done shows like this, but were largely treated as cheap house-show sort of situations that received no follow-up. I felt like the WWE one felt especially hollow despite having a handful of quality matches on their card. In a landscape where you will still see idiots at live shows make it a point to loudly proclaim “PISS BREAK” when a women’s match starts, something like this is good to hopefully move women’s wrestling forward and show that it’s not just some novelty that can be tacked onto a show and draw simply because of that. I will give credit to WWE that they did finally have a women’s match headline WrestleMania a few years ago, but it wasn’t too long ago that they were routinely having bra and panty matches with holiday themes every once in a while and not much else.

The thing that sets this NWA show apart from the others is the legacy put behind everything that went into it. Billy Corgan (front man of The Smashing Pumpkins and President/owner of NWA) acquired the original NWA women’s Championship belt as worn by Mildred Burke from 1935 to 1954, a title largely ignored by the men running the NWA from that time period. Things were so tense then that Burke had to hire a bodyguard in order to avoid any sort of mafia-styled attacks from members of the NWA that felt she was “ruining wrestling”. Corgan has made it a goal to help get Burke the recognition she deserves, even 33 years after her death. Another cool thing at this event was the re-activation of the NWA Women’s tag team championships, last used in 1983 before Wendi Richter went to the WWF. The show showcases talent from a handful of different promotions including AEW, NWA, and AAA, all working together to put over women’s wrestling as a whole, in every style and every way.

The Card

  • Pre-show – Skye Blue defeated Christi Jaynes Singles match 5:11
  • Diamante defeated Chik Tormenta and Kylie Rae Triple Threat match 8:14
  • The Hex (Allysin Kay and Marti Belle) defeated Hell on Heels (Renee Michelle and Sahara Seven) NWA World Women’s Tag Team Championship tournament semi-final 6:54
  • Red Velvet and KiLynn King defeated The Freebabes (Jazzy Yang and Miranda Gordy) (with Hollyhood Haley J) NWA World Women’s Tag Team Championship tournament semi-final 6:44
  • Deonna Purrazzo (c) defeated Melina Perez by submission Singles match for the Impact Knockouts Championship 14:38
  • The Hex (Allysin Kay and Marti Belle) defeated Red Velvet and KiLynn King Tournament final for the NWA World Women’s Tag Team Championship 9:41
  • Kamille (c) defeated Leyla Hirsch Singles match for the NWA World Women’s Championship 13:03
  • Chelsea Green defeated Bianca Carrelli, Debbie Malenko, Lady Frost, Jamie Senegal (with Pollo Del Mar), Jennacide (with Taryn Terrell), Kiera Hogan, Masha Slamovich, Thunder Kitty, and Tootie Lynn NWA Women’s Invitational Cup Gauntlet 24:08

Thoughts

I won’t go through each match one by one and assign ratings or anything, my name isn’t Dave Meltzer or Bryan Alvarez, and I don’t like looking at matches like that. What I will do, is look at my top moments during the show, and talk about what I enjoyed about them. These are in no particular order of significance:

Deonna Purrazzo vs. Melina Perez

Melina has been plagued with injuries in the past, a fact that kept her out of competition for the longest time. Going into this match, that was the story being told – a broken down wrestler like Milena fighting a renowned double champion that sees everyone as beneath her. Milena gave a great show of heart and came close to winning a number of times, showing that she still has it despite the injury.

Leyla Hirsch vs Kamille

This was easily the match of the night for me. With Leyla being so comparatively small to a lot of other competitors, it would be easy to do the “small underdog overcoming the odds” trope. However, whomever booked this match went with her being somewhat similar to somebody like Taz in the 90’s – small, but the master of suplexes and submissions. Even though she lost, this match made Leyla look like a million bucks and I hope this sort of booking continues. If AEW gets a steady group of female wrestlers soon, I could see their women’s division exploding.

Awesome Kong’s Retirement

Awesome Kong is one of my favorite wrestlers of all time, whether male or female – seeing her come to the aid of Gail Kim in order to stop a possible beat down, then cut a promo (!!) announcing her retirement was an awesome but bittersweet moment. I actually kind of teared up for a moment, seeing the bitter rivalry those two always had in TNA over the years. It’s no secret that Kong’s health has been waning in these last few years, with her dealing with weight issues and the rigors of wrestling for two decades piling up. She initially stepped back from AEW due to an acting role in Netflix’s GLOW, which was sadly cancelled due to the ongoing Covid-19 global pandemic. Hopefully she can take part in the wrestling business in some manner, hopefully behind the scenes or possibly as a manager.

Tootie Lynn

Outside of Missouri, many may not have been familiar with Tootie Lynn, one of the competitors in the NWA Women’s Invitational Cup Gauntlet. She entered last, and got the hometown pop that she deserved being from St. Louis and having her family in the crowd. I have watched her bring the house down a few times when she wrestled for New Breed Wrestling out of Eldon, Mo, and she was easily the match of the night each time. Hopefully this appearance brought more eyes on her, and can get her a spot at one of the bigger federations out there.

Conclusion

Aside from a few technical hiccups including cameras and miscues, this was a solid event. The entire night was a love letter to women’s wrestling, and did fine work trying to repair some of the misdeeds in the NWA’s past. Some matches were better than others, but there were enough big moments for me that I quite enjoyed the show. Hopefully this becomes a standard thing that Billy Corgan does; maybe not monthly, but at least a few times a year. Rather than acting like they single-handedly brought equality to male and female relations worldwide, then regressed slowly back to the status quo like some other company did, NWA looks to be a new beginning for the real women’s revolution. Let’s see if it sticks.

I have yet to watch NWA 73, please stay tuned for my thoughts on that this week, as well as AEW All Out next week.

One comment

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