The National Wrestling Alliance has boasted some of the greatest worlds heavyweight champions like Ric Flair, Harley Race, Dusty Rhodes, and Lou Thesz. The decline of the NWA in the last twenty years has been long and steady. When Ted Turner created his own World Championship Wrestling they crushed what was the NWA.
Then when “The American Nightmare” Cody challenged Nick Aldis for the NWA worlds heavyweight title at ALL IN things changed. The championship mattered again. The story through Ring of Honor and Ten Pounds of Gold was well done leading up to the match. It took me back to the days when the match mattered, and there was value to telling a great story and the match was the culmination of the story.
Now the matches happen while the story unfolds. We’ve watched the combatants step in the ring several times before the “big match” thus taking the steam out of it. This didn’t happen. The build was great and the story was well told. The match was good, and I loved the finish. Cody won the title, and then lost in the rematch.
Why was the NWA title relevant again? Yes the story was great, but they had Cody. He stole the show. Cody was the reason that match and the heavyweight title mattered again. Dusty Rhodes said “the man makes the title,” and that was the case this time. Cody has shown just how talented he is since he left WWE. He is a bigger star now than he ever was in New York.
I hope that the NWA is able to build off the momentum they gained from Cody and the ALL IN pay per view. Nick Aldis is a good champion, but he isn’t putting butts every 18 inches, or getting them to buy pay per views.
It’s great seeing the NWA get some positive publicity and have champions that have name recognition among the masses instead of only among the most devoted. With the NWA, ROH and New Japan working together they are building up a groundswell of momentum not just for the independent scene, but nationally.