In the last decade we have seen the rebirth of the National Wrestling Alliance from the advancements made by former owner Bruce Tharpe to the continued advancements made by current owner Billy Corgan. There is no disputing all the important steps that were made by Bruce Tharpe who took the brand to a level it hadn't been since the 1980's truthfully. Following the cluster**** that was Billy Corgan's time in Impact Wrestling it was announced soon after that Billy has bought the National Wrestling Alliance. One thing that Corgan has changed about the NWA is providing a very big rise in a social media presence using the "Ten Pounds of Gold" Youtube series.
One thing that made 2018 a very special year for the NWA is the part they had in the Indy super event known as All In. The event saw the exceptional match between champion Nick Aldis and Cody Rhodes this match was built up unlike most matches on the show due to Cody and Nick not being a part of the same company, but still needed to build interest for the match which they did 100x's over. In my opinion the match between Cody & Nick was helped tremendously by the "Ten Pounds of Gold" series.
For years during the height of the National Wrestling Alliance they would have a flag bearer and someone who could lead the brand. In December of 2017 at Cage of Death we saw Tim Storm drop the NWA Worlds Title to Nick Aldis and this would change things for the brand heading into the new year. Nick would hold the championship for most of the year before dropping it to Cody in September, and then would win the NWA Title back the following month at the NWA 70 Anniversary event. At this point Nick Aldis had held the World Title for a combined 344 days and is truly a throwback competitor to champions of yesteryear.
Overall now with a "Face of the Franchise" and a more mainstream year in 2018 then they've had in a long time. After seeing Nick Aldis at the Final Battle event last month it will be very interesting to see the part that he could play in not just Ring of Honor, but wrestling as a whole. I think that with the rise in popularity for Independent wrestling and the announcement of All Elite Wrestling it will be interesting to see the type of year the brand has in 2019.
Over the summer the build for the biggest independent wrestling event outside of WWE. Now with All In in the rear view the impact that the event had on the wrestling world is really still unclear, but it did really help the NWA brand bringing attention to the NWA 70th Anniversary event. One of the highlights of the event was the most anticipated NWA World Title match in the last decade. Cody shocked the wrestling becoming the first father/son combination to win the Worlds Championship.
This rematch was just as anticipated as the first match between these two men thanks in part to the "Ten Pounds of Gold" series that kept the interest high & the build going after All In. The amount of a difference that the series has made in raising the amount of eyes that are on the NWA is incredible as you now have a way to know what big feuds are in the company. This feud between Cody & Nick was unlike anything else going on in the wrestling world and made the summer time especially interesting; this was the culmination of all the build.
Looking back at the list of Top 10 NWA World Champions there is any number of different competitors we can talk about, but after picking out Orville Brown & Lou Thesz last time I will do something similar this time. During the 1990's and into the 2000's the National Wrestling Alliance had fallen so far from grace that many fans didn't know that the NWA even still existed when names like Mike Rapada, Steve Corino, Dan Severn, or various others held the championship. Things would begin to change around the time that TNA Wrestling had been founded as the Jarrett's united with the NWA which brought the brand into the mainstream for the first time since the territories.
Though only Jeff Jarrett landed on my Top 10 list this article is really meant to focus on the period following the NWA/TNA agreement. The first wrestler to hold the NWA World Championship following TNA leaving the Alliance was "Scrap Iron" Adam Pearce. Prior to his time as champion Adam was really below the radar completely based around the period of his title victory, but after his win the stock Pearce held began to rise.
Even though most people believe that the championship shouldn't make the wrestler it should be reversed where the wrestler makes the title. I would say in most cases I agree with this expression, but I do think sometimes with good booking it could be different. The best modern example I can give is before Nick Aldis won the NWA World Title he was just another independent wrestler who missed his chance on the big stage. However, once he became champion we saw the potential that he could've realized elsewhere given the same chance. In opinion Adam Pearce & Nick Aldis are very similar in that regard as the National Wrestling Alliance gave these two men the opportunity that nobody else would to realize their potential and I think that is what the NWA is now known for giving talent a chance.
Recently, I looked into various championships and figuring out various top 10 lists and I started with the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Though for the better part of twenty years the National Wrestling Alliance was very far away from the limelight mostly being featured on small independent events and overseas. Even with that being the case though it didn't change the fact that the champions during that time were not bad choices, but more not covered so fans didn't know who the champion was at one time or another. Fact is once the NWA brand was paired together with TNA it was the first time that the Alliance was back in the spotlight since the days of Jim Crockett Promotions.
As fas as the list that I put together I tried to construct a list based on longevity and overall impact of their title reign. In my opinion names like Kerry Von Erich, Buddy Rogers, Nick Aldis, Dory Funk Jr, Whipper Watson, and others didn't have the impact or longevity of a run to make the list. I do feel like though that I constructed a fair list including some of the greatest champions to ever hold the "ten pounds of gold."
Now it is clear that the first champion does have to be included in any list when talking about the top ten champions. I do understand there could be a difference between the impact of the first champions had on establishing the status of their newly created championship. It is also fair to say that upon the creation of the NWA championship & Orville Brown holding the title. The reality is that the NWA Worlds Championship didn't really start gaining a ton of prestige until Lou Thesz won the gold and started traveling with the championship. Overall i don't think that the National Wrestling Alliance could've selected two better names to help set the foundation of the oldest championship in wrestling.
I don't know how hype I will be able to build over the next week, but I will attempt to build some as this is a major event. One thing that the WWE never does is run an anniversary event, though some might point to the age of the company as the reason why the NWA proves it's not age... it's desire. The reality is the NWA has always found ways to honor tradition and never loose sight of the past or those who paved the way. Fact is this anniversary event is happening at the height of a rebirth for the National Wrestling Alliance. Even though I do agree with Jim Cornette that there is a variety of reasons that the NWA never truly disappeared and just really went to sleep.
In my opinion the reason that the NWA was able to survive was because of someone always wanting to keep history alive. The "Ten Pounds of Gold" represents the most prestigious Worlds Championship in the history of professional wrestling and look no further then the lineage of the title to see all the proof you need. Though for the better part of a decade most wrestling didn't even know that the brand still existed as it was truly under the radar. This doesn't mean that anything has changed because year to year has always been celebrated as much as the last, but this year will be even bigger then usual.
On September the first we saw the most highly anticipated independent wrestling event in history when the NWA went All In. This will be the first major event since the All In show and will be a big test for the National Wrestling Alliance to see if they can continue building momentum from All In. Since his victory Cody has really got long road ahead of him due to the historical significance of his title win. At this point there are a number of other matches set for the event but for all things having to do with the 70th Anniversary event visit: Here
At one point Impact Wrestling had a perfect roster that could set them up for the future, but as we know now things changed and didn't go as planned. The company had a good balance between veterans and talent that could be future stars. During this period of time TNA had one of the best tag team divisions and once again a very talented roster in general. One of the tag teams on the roster at the time was British Invasion which included Magnus, Doug Williams, and Rob Terry.
Following the end of British Invasion we would see Magnus attempt a run as a good guy, but that run only showed how comfortable he was as a heel. The highlight of his run with TNA came in December 2013 when captured the TNA World Title defeating Jeff Hardy in the tournament finals. Though Magnus would go onto have a solid run as champion it was clear that something was missing, but maybe just maybe his run proved that timing is indeed everything. I don't think his run was bad as champion, but just at a time when fans were more interested in what was going on behind the camera as opposed to what was in the ring.
His departure from Impact Wrestling was seen as a failure, because a number of fans believed that Magnus had a lot of untapped potential. Surprisingly we would see the freshly named Nick Aldis appear at Championship Wrestling from Hollywood officially joining the NWA. Within three months Nick would defeat then NWA Worlds Champion Tim Storm at Cage of Death 19. Though this might not seem like a big deal for some the recovery of the NWA has been happening since the height of Tim Storm's run and Aldis just continued the success. Think about this the most talked about & hyped Independent wrestling event of the last decade saw the NWA World Title match be the most anticipated match on the entire event.
Overall seeing the man that he became after winning the title he truly did look like a champion. It was also extremely interesting seeing the short partnership that we saw early on between Nick Aldis and Memphis legend Austin Idol. In my opinion this reign as World Champion came at a much better time helping the brand gain more attention and Aldis seem like more of a star. It will be interesting though to see what Cody can do to help bring more attention to the oldest championship in wrestling.
One moment that I don't know that most people expected to see at "All In" or maybe it was just me because of his association with non NWA companies. I am one of many that think it is surreal to see Cody as the NWA Worlds Champion. In some ways I think they made the switch to attract some more attention to the 70th Anniversary show coming in October which this is the perfect way to do it considering Cody's association with New Japan and ROH.
However, I'm not 100% sure that this is the only reason that they made the change as someone might've just thought it was time for someone new to hold the ten pounds. It is announced that Nick Aldis will cash in his rematch on October 21 at the NWA 70th Anniversary event. As Cody announces though that match will not be his first title defense as champion with his being at a Ring of Honor event. Cody's first defense will be at the ROH event in Las Vegas on September 29 against Willie Mack. Overall this will be a fantastic match between two very talented performers for a worthwhile and prestigious championship in the game.
The National Wrestling Alliance has been the oldest governing body in the world of wrestling. The territory system held one championship above all others that was the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship. During its height names like Jack Briscoe, Harley Race, Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, and others kept the title prestigious and on the top of the wrestling world. However, once Jim Crockett Promotions got sold the mainstream attention on the World Title immediately dropped because the title wasn't in the public eye anymore.
Following the "Birth of Extreme" the NWA and it's world title really lost everything and needed to built back from the ground up. Starting with Dan Severn the brand would bring some stability during his reign, but not much mainstream attention. Things really didn't start to change as far as the attention is concerned until this decade. To be clear Bruce Tharpe did help bring about a new era for the NWA, but when Billy Corgan took over things changed even more. In the past the NWA was really the only brand that never had any social media presence, but that really changed when Billy Corgan too control.
A few weeks ago at the incredible "All In" event we saw the newest NWA Worlds Champion crowned that being Cody Rhodes. It is incredible to think after two years on the independents following his departure from the WWE he has become the World Champion. Fact is that many thought that Cody could and should've been World Champion during his time in the WWE, but never did. At "All In" Cody became the first son to win the NWA World Title like his father. It will be very interesting to see now what the future is like for both Cody & the NWA as I don't think someone like Cody has held the title in a very long time. This is not meant to discount the reign that Nick Aldis had it is just meant to say that Cody might be able to take the title to another level.
I don't do this often, but with the biggest event in the last decade taking place this weekend it was hard for me not to share this episode of "Ten Pounds of Gold." For anyone that hasn't been paying attention Cody & Nick Aldis have been engaged in the best feud in the business and a total old school feud with there being no fighting only talking. These two men have embodied what it means to talk the fans into the arena, because that is all they have been able to do and well they have only been face to face a few times. Now I am not saying that every feud needs to be this way, but seeing a feud not having a reliance on in ring action is a breath of fresh air. Seeing the continued build of this match is one of things that has kept me excited for the All In event.
After watching this video it is clear that Nick Aldis needed to leave Impact Wrestling to really become a star and change the perception people may have had of him. Honestly, I remember Nick in Impact and he never came off the way he does now as he seems a lot more professional, and like he could be a major league champion. There is no doubt that this event has gotten more attention for the NWA then any event or match in the last decade plus which adds to how important this event is on Saturday. When Tim Storm held the NWA Title he was the NWA & carried the banner proudly and once Aldis won the gold he took the NWA flag and ran with it. I don't think I've seen Nick this confident and this well like someone who found his place in the world of wrestling and where he can be a star.
The challenger on the other hand has his backstory and his past, but this has nothing to do with the WWE and has everything to do with what Cody has accomplished since he left the WWE. One thing that the WWE has never been good at doing is sharing glory and letting fans be aware of talents past & how important someone was to a past employer. It would be tough to say that anyone was more important to the NWA then the "American Dream" Dusty Rhodes and now Cody has a chance to continue that legacy. Cody has his reasons to show the passion that he never got the chance to show in the WWE, but has shown in every promo especially in this feud; he said it in the video "I could say this isn't about Dusty and it isn't, but I can't say it has nothing to do with him." Overall this match may headline this event on Saturday, but if it does or not that doesn't matter because Saturday September 1, 2018 will change wrestling forever.
For the last few months not one non WWE has had such hype in the last decade plus like we have seen the hype for the upcoming All In event. It is nuts to think about the fact that in two days all the hard work will come to ahead and we will get to see a sold out crowd for an independent wrestling show. In a way this does reflect just how much wrestling has changed in the last few years with Ring of Honor, New Japan, and others leading the charge. In my opinion it's worth noting that with the in fusion of NWA Worlds Champion Nick Aldis to the discussion makes this event unlike anything we have seen ever before.
Seeing the final build for the match that they should on Ring of Honor television makes this match feel even bigger then it did before with it getting TV attention as well which is something unfamiliar for the NWA. Since Billy Corgan purchased the company we have seen a tremendous shift in the development of a social media presence for the NWA that didn't exist before and though it started with Tim Storm it went a step further and has continued with Nick Aldis. There is absolutely no doubting that this match is one of if not the most anticipated NWA World Title match in the last decade plus.
Overall the Rhodes family has deep roots in the wrestling business and specifically within the National Wrestling Alliance. During the territory era Dusty Rhodes was one of the top stars in the wrestling world and would lead the charge for the NWA carrying the belt on three different occasions. Cody has always had the potential to be a top star and change wrestling being a leader because it's in his blood and he got it from Dusty. I know that Dusty will be looking down on September 1 with a smile on his face knowing that his son has finally made it where he always thought he should be.
Speaking on the other side of the coin Nick Aldis has absolutely never been as good as he has been right now. I don't know if it was something within TNA at the time that just didn't work and limited the former Magnus from finding his true potential. Either way Aldis has found himself and found his potential because he has become the leader of the NWA. It would be an incredible moment on September the 1st if when that bell rings Cody is announced as champion because you know he will have tears in his eyes. Cody said it best the "Wrestling economy will change" and for the first time since 2001 the wrestling world will be shaken to it's core. Saturday September 1, 2018 in Chicago, IL will change everything when the world of wrestling goes ALL IN!!!!