REVIEW: National Wrestling Alliance – Hard Times 3 – Hard Times in New Orleans (2022)

A Wrestling Pay-Per-View by the NWA

For many fans, the entire state of the professional wrestling industry has been volatile to say the least these past few years. If one were to characterize 2020, many would say that it was the year of COVID-19 and perhaps the year that forced wrestling companies to work on innovation rather than churn out the same product that was popular in the past. 2021 was the year of “The Forbidden Door”, where anyone could be anywhere at anytime, and somehow it all just worked. With every company, save one major player, seemingly “working together” to try to create some sort of alliance, it was an amazing time to be a fan. Now the question is, what is 2022 so far? I would say that 2022 can be characterized as the year of controversy. Pretty much every company has been mired in some sort of controversial situation this year – everything from Vince McMahon’s avalanche of scandals being leaked that ultimately led to him resigning from his position within the company that he basically built, something many never saw coming. AEW had the now infamous All Out “media scrum” wherein CM Punk seemed to tear into numerous wrestlers in a somewhat unprofessional manner, ultimately leading to and starting an alleged brawl that would claim the job of numerous people, suspend others, and perhaps put Punk himself back in the unemployment line when it’s all said and done. So what about NWA?

The National Wrestling Alliance has not been spared from craziness and has had its own fair share of problems this year. The main problem being a very open feud forming between the company’s owner and chief booker Billy Corgan (also of Smashing Pumpkins fame) and his one time right hand man Nick Aldis. Unless this turns out to be some big storyline, it seems that Nick Aldis is on his way out and perhaps trying to get himself fired from the company due to multiple inflammatory interviews that he has been doing as of late. In one he basically criticized Corgan’s booking by saying it wouldn’t pass the “Harley Race test”:

“I started looking at stuff like gags, the social distancing match where the two wrestlers can’t touch each other, and on and on it went with different wacky, silly comedy, nonsensical stuff. I said how would I have justified this to Harley Race?”

Time will tell if many people’s assumptions are correct and we end up seeing Nick Aldis stepping foot into another company’s doors soon, or if this is all some slow burn storyline that they both have concocted. I wouldn’t put it past either situation to be true but there definitely ends up being a black cloud kind of hanging over the National Wrestling Alliance as a whole lately. If this does end up being fake, does making your booking look bad in media get the right kind of attention? I suppose there is buzz going into this pay-per-view, so there is that.

I’m still a pretty big fan of The National Wrestling Alliance. I mean, I still am a member of NWA All Access and love each and every pay-per-view that they put out. I love how a TON of the “local guys” that always wrestle in Missouri, guys like Dak Draper, Mike Outlaw, Camaro Jackson, and Curt Gannon, have been on NWA Powerrr lately. But I will agree with Nick Aldis that some of the initial magic that the company had, has seemingly has worn off. I’m not going to lie here, but I almost have no interest in the main event of this show because I can basically tell who is going to win, and it’s a person that I’m not sure I’d build a company around personally. That said, the undercard and midcard for this looks solid, and I’m sure it will be amazing show – keeping reading to see what I thought, and let’s hang in there to see where this Nick Aldis situation ends up going!

As always, the pre-show is stacked and absolutely FREE!

For anyone wanting to watch this, I would recommend Fite.TV. you can get some FITE credits (10 dollars I believe) with the following code: “6m6lyyn”. I’m sure there are other ways to watch it, but FITE has a solid interface and has been worth it so far.

You can also watch all NWA content with a subscription to NWA All Access.

The Card:

  • 1P Mims defeated Anthony Andrews by pinfall Singles match
  • 2P Slime SZN (Bu Ku Dao and J. Spade) (c) defeated The Miserably Faithful (Gagz the Gimp and Sal the Pal) by pinfall Tag team match for the WildKat Tag Team Championship
  • 3P Anthony Mayweather, JTG, and The Pope defeated Mercurio, “Magic” Jake Dumas, and Jax Dane (with Christi Jaynes and Chris Silvio, Esq.) by pinfall Hardcore Team War
  • 4P Jordan Clearwater (with BLK Jeez) defeated AJ Cazana (with Anthony Andrews) by pinfall Singles match for the vacant NWA World Television Championship
  • 5 Max The Impaler (with Father James Mitchell) defeated Natalia Markova Voodoo Queen Casket match
  • 6 Davey Richards (c) defeated Colby Corino by submission Singles match for the MLW National Openweight Championship
  • 7 The Question Mark II defeated The Question Mark (with Aron Stevens) by pinfall Mask vs. Mask match
  • 8 Kerry Morton (with Ricky Morton) defeated Homicide (c) by pinfall Singles match for the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship
  • 9 Thrillbilly Silas defeated Odinson by pinfall Singles match
  • 10 The Fixers (Jay Bradley and Wrecking Ball Legursky) (c) defeated The Spectaculars (Brady Pierce and Rush Freeman) (with Rolando Freeman) by pinfall Tag team match for the NWA United States Tag Team Championship
  • 11 Cyon (c) (with Austin Idol) defeated Dak Draper by pinfall Singles match for the NWA National Heavyweight Championship
  • 12 Pretty Empowered (Ella Envy and Kenzie Paige) (c) defeated Madi and Missa Kate by pinfall Tag team match for the NWA World Women’s Tag Team Championship
  • 13 EC3 defeated Thom Latimer by disqualification Singles match
  • 14 Hawx Aerie (Luke Hawx and PJ Hawx) defeated La Rebelión (Bestia 666 and Mecha Wolf) (c) (with Damián 666) by pinfall Tag team match for the NWA World Tag Team Championship
  • 15 Kamille (c) defeated Chelsea Green and KiLynn King by pinfall Three-way match for the NWA World Women’s Championship – This is Green’s Champions Series cash-in match
  • 16 Tyrus (with BLK Jeez) defeated Matt Cardona and Trevor Murdoch (c) by pinfall Three-way match for the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship

My Thoughts:

As I’ve stated before, my methodology for this is to avoid giving arbitrary star ratings or anything resembling the typical ratings people give in wrestling reviews. I usually go through the show and pull a half-dozen or so things that I thought were significant or that I liked. You might think some of my choices are dumb and that’s okay – we all like different things!

Pre-Shows That Matter:

For a long time now, I always got accustomed to wrestling companies having garbage pre-shows (if any at all) that basically just seemed like an extra couple of random TV matches. Most were insanely skippable and had no bearing on the rest of the show in any way. It’s only been within the past few years that companies have been putting this content up for free on YouTube as a way to entice folks to buy the main show. No company does as good as a pre-show as The National Wrestling Alliance as they pack it to the brim with matches. This one in particular has a hardcore tag-team match and a title change FOR FREE which is pretty amazing.

Warlord of the Wasteland:

Despite all the early-TNA-esque silly gimmicks involved in this, mainly all the voodoo stuff, this was a solid beat down that made Max The Impaler look amazing. Most companies aren’t sure what to do with an absolute wrescking ball like Max, but NWA has done a solid job of giving them a voice in The Sinister Minister, and letting them lay waste to other wrestlers. If anyone were a modern-day Awesome Kong, Max The Impaler definitely has the crown.

Some Obligatory “Forbidden Door” Stuff:

With MLW on hiatus at the moment, as they are one of the few wrestling companies to do “seasons”, it was interesting to see this show having an MLW National Openweight Championship on the line. There was actually a LOT of people that I assume are under MLW contract here, so it almost seems like NWA has become their off-season home. EC3 and his Control Your Narrative also has had a pretty big presence in the NWA as of late which is always cool. The NWA seemed to close itself off from some of the bigger companies it was working with for a while, so I’m glad to see some talent exchanges still happening.

For the Honor of Mongrovia:

While nobody will ever be able to replace The Original Question Mark (RIP), this storyline of Aron Stevens dressing Rodney Mack up as a fake Question Mark only to have The Question Mark’s brother don the mantle as Question Mark II, come in from Mongrovia, and fight for his brother’s honor. Yes, it’s an absolutely absurd storyline that should have never been as good as it was when the OG was doing Mongrovian throat singing and other shenanigans, but I’m all for it. Honestly those early NWA Powerrr episodes really hit their stride once they abandoned whatever storyline they had for the character (I assume he was going to reveal himself to be the recently suspended Jocephus and attack Stevens) and just ran with it. Ka Ra Tayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!

SHAME ON YOU!

This is a guy that I would build a company around. Not only does Dak Draper have the look, he talks great on the mic, and has been a “TV wrestler” forever in the Kansas City area. He’s easily one of my son’s favorite wrestlers (I obviously like him as well) just by virtue of having that “larger than life” attitude that most of the big companies want in a performer. With guys like Aldis on their way out, and others like Eli Drake LOOONG gone, Dak is the man and deserves the spot that they will obviously leave behind.

We Shall See:

While I personally would not have picked the outcome of Tyrus winning the NWA World’s Heavyweight Championship, this was obviously the long-running plan and we shall see where it goes. I try not to be negative on my wrestling reviews due to the fact that damn near EVERY wrestling commentator does nothing but bury everything, and I try not to be as cynical as that. I trust that Billy Corgan has some big stuff planned and my reservations will be put to ease. Who would have thought that after Vince McMahon slapped a terrible dancing gimmick on the guy, he would be holding one of the most prestigious belts in all of wrestling history about a decade later. Wrestling is crazy sometimes, and you can never predict where people will end up.

Conclusion:

While not as good as NWA 74 as a whole, at least in my opinion, this was a solid show from top to bottom and had a little bit of everything for everyone. I think my only gripe was the way the Odinson match was handled – dude was supposed to wrestle Nick Aldis, Aldis gets suspended, Thrillbilly Silas is in the mix as a random replacement, and Odinson gets chumped out. Not sure what that was all about, and honestly I would have preferred no match at all. Otherwise, the show was booked pretty well, and even though I am not a big fan of Tyrus as world champion, I’m willing to see what he can do with the strap. With all the, honestly bad, publicity surrounding the The National Wrestling Alliance, this is a time when all hands should be on deck to prove the naysayers wrong and steer the ship to success. I’m excited to see what comes next, and how this all pans out. If the schedule doesn’t change too much from what it was last year, it should be time for the next Crockett Cup in the Spring, and I am definitely ready.

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