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by Samoa Rowe
February 4, 2020
Episode 17: "Pride vs. Thunder."
The Dokken theme has been replaced by a Pantera track. I don't like it. "Into the Fire" just set a perfect tone for this program.
From GPB Studios in Atlanta, Georgia. Our hosts are Joe Galli and Stu Bennett.
Joe Galli hosts Tim Storm at the podium, and the fans love him more with every passing day. Storm puts over all NWA fans as his family. Galli brings up Storm's upcoming match with Thomas Lattimer, which means he's going to cross paths with Kamille at ringside. Storm says Lattimer is one of the best, despite being part of Strictly Business, and he's got to prove himself against him. Galli heard that Storm is considering retirement and wants the record set straight. Storm denies the rumors, because his passion and love is in the NWA. Lattimer and Kamille interrupt, stating that nobody cares about Storm. Galli gets surprising news over his ear piece and introduces "Mama Storm" to the audience! The crowd pops and then groans. As Austin Powers would say "That's not a woman, that's a man, baybey." Storm can't decide if he's more angry or bemused, but won't stand for the disrespect. This got pretty stupid at the end, but I chuckled, so I'm part of the problem.
The Crockett Cup returns in April 2020. No date or venue yet, but it's coming. Hope they know what they're doing.
TV Champion Ricky Starks scouts his competition on commentary.
Matt Cross vs. Caleb Konley
Crowd gives them an ovation as they sprint to a stalemate. They run the ropes and Cross hits a head scissors takedown. Elbow drop by Cross gets 2. Enziguri by Konley, and he wrenches Cross off the top rope for a head bump on the buckles. Basement dropkick by Konley gets 2 so he applies a bow and arrow. Back senton by Konley gets 2. Cross rallies with clotheslines and a springboard crossbody gets 2. Superkick by Konley and a tornado DDT, but Cross kicks out! Konley pops up for an uppercut, but Cross bounces off the ropes for a DDT. Cross finishes with the SSP at 5:52! I loved the pacing and length of this match. I wish more televised wrestling shows took this approach, as both guys looked good, there was no downtime or filler, and it felt like they were trying to WIN and not just fill time, ***½.
Winner: Matt Cross
NWA World Champion Nick Aldis cuts a promo from his living room. It's been seven days since he dared Marty Scurll to refund the fans if he should lose at the Crockett Cup, and suggests that Scurll is realizing that he's entered treacherous territory. Aldis is losing his patience and demands that Scurll respond by ROH Free Enterprise. Ah crap, now I have to watch that. Looks like I'm signing up for Honor Club again.
David Marquez hosts The Pope and the Dawsons at the podium. Pope suggests he's backing up the Dawsons because they have ambition, unlike Eddie Kingston and Homicide. They put the NWA on notice, and you don't cross a cashier who is handing out change. Eddie Kingston limps out for a rebuttal. NWA officials kept talking him down as he had weapons in his pocket. Eddie tells them off for disrespecting Homicide, because he's made stars and prevented him from committing suicide. Eddie says he's brought some "young, high fliers" with him, and the punchline is that it's the Bouncers of Brian Milonas and Beer City Bruiser! They dare Pope and the Dawsons to a fight and stand tall in the ring.
We get the debut edition of May Valentine's Diary! She gushes that Royce Isaacs won a match and she made a friend. It was disappointing when Royce lost at Hard Times, but she looked good in her outfit. She says Royce is actually very sensitive (to footage of him attacking a camera man) and wonders why he got so jealous at Sal Rinauro. May is too busy to say anything more, but hopes we'll keep watching. This was different, with May coming across as somewhat passive aggressive and teasing self-awareness at how vapid she sounded.
NWA National Championship:
Aron Stevens © (with The Question Mark) vs. Trevor Murdoch
They trade quick head scissors and side headlocks. Murdoch hits a series of power slams and the fans love it. The Question Mark shields Stevens and gets ejected for his effort. Stevens capitalizes with a baseball slide dropkick. Murdoch regroups, but misses a head of steam as Stevens pulls the ropes under him. Stevens tosses Murdoch again and demands to know the time. Murdoch returns and Stevens works him over like any good heel should. The beatdown continues for several minutes, and Murdoch gets fired up when given a 2 minute warning. Full Nelson slam by Murdoch gets 2. Stevens pokes the eyes and applies a sleeper. Murdoch reverses the sleeper, but Stevens counters with a jawbreaker. The time expires at 10:00. Match kind of dragged, but that was the point, as Stevens got the result he wanted, **¼.
Murdoch hits Stevens with the flying bulldog to gain a visual pinfall. This looks like the beginning of a beautiful rivalry.
Sean Mooney thanks fans for reaching out after his NWA debut. He announces that Nick Aldis will team with Rush to face Marty Scurll and Flip Gordon at ROH Free Enterprise. Ricky Starks compared himself to a tempur-pedic mattress, because so many people slept on him, and he got re-Tweeted by the actual company.
NWA Tag Team Champions James Storm and Eli Drake vs. Jocephus and Mims
Fans cheer from Jocephus, as it's a poorly kept secret that he's the Question Mark. Storm controls the arm of Jocephus and serves him up for Drake's dropkick. Jocephus scores a body slam on Drake and tags in Mims, but Drake pops up for a clothesline. Storm and Drake hit a double back elbow on Mims. Storm chops the back of Mims and hits a low clothesline for 2. Storm whips Mims into Drake's power slam. Elbow drop by Drake and he tosses Mims into Storm's backcracker for the win at 3:16. Lively squash that puts Storm and Drake over as a cohesive unit.
Winners: James Storm and Eli Drake
Melina joins commentary but refuses a headset and doesn't look interested in talking.
NWA Women's Championship:
Thunder Rosa © vs. Allysin Kay
Kay scores a waistlock takedown and transitions into a front headlock. Rosa reverses into a crossface. Rosa slaps the face and they trae many face palm thrusts. Kay snapmares Rosa into place for a stiff kick to the back. Rosa misses a penalty kick and almost gets pinned on a roll-up. Rosa hits an armbreaker and stretches Kay's arm around the ropes. Kay fights back to her feet with hard strikes, but Rosa spins around into an armbar. They trade closed fists to a nice ovation and both go down on stereo big boots. Rosa hits a clothesline and slingshot double knees to the chest. Marti Belle shows up at ringside and Rosa shouts her off. Tasha Steelz and Ashley Vox show up to neutralize Belle. Rosa tries to steal a roll-up, but Kay pops up for a neckbreaker. Kay's suplex gets 2. Rosa blocks AK-47 and hits a Stunner for 2! Overhead suplex by Rosa gets another 2 count. Rosa hits a GORY BOMB but KAY KICKS OUT! Death Valley Driver by Rosa, but Kay kicks out yet again! Rosa flapjacks Kay into the ropes and rolls her up for the win at 9:26! Not on the level of the Hard Times match, but they displayed excellent chemistry again and had the fans popping for everything down the stretch, ***½.
Winner and still NWA Women's Champion: Thunder Rosa
Rosa quickly takes off while the fans chant "You don't need them."
Final Thoughts: The NWA has made me care about Ring of Honor again. Never thought I'd type such a statement.
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