Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net, starting today. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?

Hard Times
Date: January 24, 2020
Location: GPB Studios, Atlanta, Georgia
Commentators: Joe Galli, Stu Bennett

This is another show that I’ve been trying to get to over and over but since things are a little wacky at the moment, it’s as good of a time as any It’s another NWA pay per view and this time around we’re focusing on the TV Title, with a tournament to crown a new champion. Let’s get to it.

Opening video, as sung by Billy Corgan, because it helps to have a famous musician as your owner.

We run down the card.

All tournament matches outside of the final have a 6:05 time limit.

TV Title Tournament First Round: Trevor Murdoch vs. Question Mark

It’s still strange seeing entrances with music in this promotion. Murdoch grabs an armdrag into a dropkick to start, only to have Mark get up for a middle rope kick to the chest. They fight to the floor where Murdoch clotheslines the post by mistake, meaning it’s a ram into the corner to stay on the arm. A backdrop sets up a suplex for two but Murdoch gets a boot up in the corner. The top rope bulldog hits Question Mark, but he’s up before Murdoch can even cover. Another top rope bulldog gives Murdoch the pin at 3:11.

Rating: C-. These matches are going to be on a bit of an adjusted scale as you can only do so much in such a short amount of time. The result surprised me here as I would have bet on Mark making a pretty deep run in this thing. That being said, he’s so popular with the fans that maybe they didn’t want to risk him taking away from someone else later on. Fine enough match, but the time limit is going to hurt things all night.

TV Title Tournament First Round: Zicky Dice vs. Dan Maff

Maff is a big guy from ROH making his NWA debut. Dice on the other hand is, uh, 80s. Like, way 80s. After licking the title belt, Dice gets shouldered hard into the corner. A running chop in the corner misses though and Dice grabs a running bulldog for two. Snake Rattle and Roll is broken up and Maff nails a half and half suplex to send Dice sprawling. Dice gets speared out of the air and it’s a Cannonball into a backsplash for the pin at 3:05.

Rating: D+. This was another short and to the point match as Dice did his shtick but got crushed by the monster Maff. What we got here was decent enough but you don’t want someone like Maff out there burning through his energy if he is going to be doing a few matches. Nothing terrible here and Dice is growing on me a bit, which kind of scares me.

TV Title Tournament First Round: Ricky Starks vs. Matt Cross

Cross is another high flier from Ring of Honor. The much bigger Starks (Cross is probably a good five to six inches shorter) runs him over with a shoulder so Cross backflips into Ricochet’s pose to avoid another. A kick to the face puts Starks on the floor so Cross knocks him down again, only to get caught in a reverse helicopter bomb for two. Starks hits a running dropkick to the back for two more but the Buster Keaton is broken up. Cross hits a quick double stomp to the chest but the shooting star misses. The Stroke (Angel’s Wings) sends Starks to the next round at 3:50.

Rating: B-. Easily the best thing on the show so far (as far as you can be twenty four minutes in that is) with Starks being someone they want to push (fair enough) and Cross being a heck of a high flier. These guys started fast and didn’t really stop for the four minutes so well done on offering a change of pace.

Here’s Tim Storm, scheduled for another first round match, for a chat. This is his NWA family and he’s upset that Mr. Anderson isn’t here for some reason. That’s fine with Storm though, because now he needs two wins instead of three.

Here are the updated brackets:

Tim Storm

Ricky Starks

Dan Maff

Trevor Murdoch

Commentary tells us that Anderson is not medically cleared to compete. Better than no explanation.

Bennett has some breaking news (Bennett: “I think that could become a catchphrase.”): the next pay per view, airing at some point in April, will be in a bigger venue than the GPB Studios and will feature the Crockett Cup.

Tag Team Titles: Rock N Roll Express vs. Wild Cards vs. Eli Drake/James Storm

The Express is defending after taking the titles from the Wild Cards (with May Valentine and Kamille) and Drake and Storm are a new team. Drake, Morton and Latimer start things off with Ricky being knocked against the ropes, leaving Drake to neckbreaker Latimer. A double elbow drops Latimer so Ricky and Drake can slug it out as everything breaks down early on.

We settle down to Latimer knocking Storm into Gibson and stomping Storm down in the corner. Kamille gets in some choking from the floor to keep Gibson down as Latimer gets two off a powerslam. The chinlock goes on but Storm powers up, sending him over for the tag to Drake. Not that the referee sees it though, meaning the beating continues. A double clothesline puts Storm and Latimer down so it’s off to Isaacs, who gets slammed onto his partner.

Gibson is back in as Drake gets the hot tag so the pace can pick up. The other hot tag brings in Morton as well as everything breaks down. Morton’s Canadian Destroyer hits Latimer and Gibson cuts off an interfering Kamille. Isaacs breaks up another Destroyer to Drake, allowing him to hit the Gravy Train to pin Morton for the titles at 8:09.

Rating: C. The match was a little messy but that is what you have to expect in something like this. At least they had some good action and got the titles onto the better long term options as champions. The Express was great in their day and they’re still good here, but you also want to get on to something new at some point. The Wild Cards are as generic of a heel team as you can get so this is as good of a move as you can get.

Post match the new champs are glad about winning and think about team names. All you need to calm them right now is champs.

We recap the Women’s Title match, with Allysin Kay defending against Thunder Rosa. Kay wants to face Melina but has to get through Rosa to get there. She already had to beat Marti Belle to get to the match to get to Melina, in case we didn’t have enough hoops yet.

Women’s Title: Allysin Kay vs. Thunder Rosa

Kay is defending. They slug it out right at the bell and Kay grabs a northern lights suplex for an early two. Kay slugs her down in the corner to set up the chinlock, followed by a hard clothesline for two more. That’s enough for Rosa to need a breather on the floor but she comes back in with a running dropkick for two. Rosa unloads in the corner and chokes with the boot a bit, setting up a snap suplex for two more.

This time it’s Kay needing a breather so Rosa baseball slides her down. Rosa starts cranking the arm around the rope and it’s a legdrop to the arm into a Crossface. Kay rolls out into a guillotine but Rosa goes right back to the arm to put her down again. Something close to the Disarm-Her makes Kay’s arm even worse but she fights up and swings with the good arm.

A snap German suplex out of the corner gives Rosa two so Kay bails again. This time Rosa tries a Cannonball but Kay catches her in the air (geez) and hits an apron bomb for her own two. The fans are split here and they get even more into it as Rosa counters a powerbomb into a sunset flip. Code Red gives Rosa two more as Kay looks like she’s trying to hold on here. Rosa grabs something like a Black Widow but Kay spins out into a Tombstone for two with the desperation kicking in.

A quick missile dropkick plants Kay again but she muscles Rosa up into the AK 47 for two more. They slug it out until Rosa pulls her into a guillotine choke. Kay powers out in a hurry and takes her up top, earning herself a sunset bomb back down. Back up and Kay hits a high kick but misses a charge into the post. A double armbar has Kay in even more trouble but she powers out again, only to get caught in the Thunder Driver to give Rosa the pin and the title at 18:06.

Rating: A-. DANG this was awesome and came totally out of left field, which is why I love watching this stuff so much. I don’t remember the last time I saw two people go out there and leave it all in the ring like this but they beat the heck out of each other for almost twenty minutes. They even had a great story of Kay wanting to fight Melina and looking past Rosa, who gave it everything she had and beat the fire out of Kay, who was trying to hold on for most of the match. I loved this and it’s worth checking out if you have the time.

Post match Melina and Marti come in for the celebration.

We look at Nick Aldis invading a Ring of Honor event in Atlanta to set up tonight’s match with Flip Gordon.

Here’s Marty Scurll for a chat. Scurll gets straight to the point: he wants a World Title shot against Nick Aldis. He finds it interesting that Aldis vs. Gordon is non-title when Aldis talks about being strictly business. Isn’t a title match box office and more business? Cue Aldis to say he can’t believe this audacity but he’ll put the title on the line tonight, with one condition. If Aldis retains tonight, he gets to call all the shots with Aldis and Scurll’s business, and Scurll is out of the building for the title match. Scurll agrees and security comes to escort him out. Kind of an unnecessary segment but it was short.

TV Title Tournament Semifinals: Dan Maff vs. Trevor Murdoch

They chop it out to start until Maff spears him in half. Scratching and biting keep Murdoch in trouble and it’s a knee to the back for two. Maff misses a charge into the corner though and Murdoch hits the top rope bulldog for the fluke pin at 3:28.

Rating: D+. That was a little weird with the fast pin and almost nothing from Murdoch until the ending. I can get why you might want to go with someone from your own roster rather than the outsider though and it’s not like it matters if neither of them is winning. Not a terrible match as the time helped them, but it wasn’t all that great.

TV Title Tournament Semifinals: Ricky Starks vs. Tim Storm

Storm powers him into the corner to start but Starks flips out of a hiptoss attempt. A spinebuster gives Storm two but a running dropkick puts him down. Storm sends him back first into a knee and the Perfect Storm connects. The momentum lets Starks roll away though and he’s right back with a Pancake (Neutralizer without the arm between the legs) for his own two. Starks can’t grab a tornado DDT but he can grab a crucifix for the fast pin at 4:53.

Rating: C. Not too bad here with Starks overcoming the odds of not only beating a former World Champion but also having to wrestle twice instead of once. Starks is the kind of guy who was going to be a big deal from the second you saw him around here and him winning the title in the end wouldn’t shock me. Storm is a made man as a former World Champion so it’s not like a quick loss here hurts him.

Video on Aron Stevens’ ka-rah-tay training and issues with Ricky Starks.

National Title: Aron Stevens vs. Scott Steiner

Stevens is defending and has Question Mark with him. After the martial arts display befuddles Steiner a bit, Steiner works on the arm to make Stevens scream. Right hands in the corner have Stevens in trouble and a toss has him out on the floor. Back in and Steiner elbows him in the face a few times, followed by an overhead suplex.

They head outside with Steiner sending him into various things, including the TV Title. Back in and the overhead belly to belly almost drops Stevens on his head. The spinning belly to belly works a bit better but Steiner charges into raised boots in the corner to give Stevens two (the feet on the ropes helped). Steiner knocks him down again and grabs the Recliner, drawing in Mark for the DQ at 5:53.

Rating: D+. That would be your “they’re doing this match?” of the night as Stevens vs. Steiner is more of a curiosity than anything else. Steiner is brought in as a draw for the sake of his insanity and there is nothing wrong with that for him. He’s the biggest name on the show and might draw in some attention so throw him into something like this and have a little fun. Not a good match mind you, but fun.

Post match Stevens bails while Steiner beats on Mark.

NWA World Title: Nick Aldis vs. Flip Gordon

Aldis is defending. The circling doesn’t last long as Gordon takes him into the corner for some forearms. It works so well that Gordon does it again and even knocks the champ to the floor. They’re on the floor in a hurry where they can’t put the other through a table. Instead they head back inside for a hammerlock to keep Aldis in trouble on the mat. A headlock has Aldis in more trouble but he knocks a springboard out of the air.

It’s time for a breather on the floor but Gordon is right there with a running flip dive to take the champ out again. Back in and Gordon slaps on a cross armbreaker until Aldis powers his way out with a powerbomb. A fall away slam stays on Gordon’s back and a super fall away slam does the same, but a super version. We hit the chinlock for a bit, followed by Aldis muscling him up for a suplex. The required Figure Four goes on (makes sense against a high flier) but Gordon is fine enough to escape in a hurry.

A nip up into a spinning kick to the head sets up a middle rope moonsault for two more. Aldis crotches him on top though and a Tombstone sets up a top rope elbow for another near fall. Gordon is back up with a Crossface though, sending Aldis over to the rope. The King’s Lynn Cloverleaf is blocked and the Star Spangled Stunner gets a close two. Back up and Gordon tries a spinning victory roll but Aldis drops down into a rollup and grabs the tights to retain at 15:10.

Rating: B. It was a rather good match with Gordon being a case where you could believe he could have pulled off the big upset. Aldis was his usual entertaining self here and the cheating to retain when Gordon was taking it to too high of a level. Solid match here with both guys looking at a top level.

TV Title: Trevor Murdoch vs. Ricky Starks

For the vacant title and Murdoch has bad ribs coming in. They stare each other down to start as Galli lists off some of the famous champions. Murdoch kicks him down and hits the forearms to the back, only to get hit with a hard jumping shoulder. A test of strength goes to Murdoch and he snaps off a Russian legsweep. They head outside with Starks hitting a 619 on the apron and striking away where he can.

Murdoch gets in a whip to the steps though for nine so it’s time to slap Starks down in the corner. That wakes Starks up but he gets backdropped over the top for another big crash. Another count is beaten so Murdoch BLASTS him with a clothesline for two. We hit the chinlock but Murdoch lets go and hammers away in the corner. A powerbomb out of the corner gives Starks two but he’s back up with the Stroke for the pin and the title at 9:23.

Rating: C. This was fine but you can only do so much with people who are on their third match each. The extra time helped a little bit and Starks fighting from behind again was a good enough story. Murdoch was fine here but his time has come and gone. Go with Starks here, as that’s what makes the most sense in the long run.

Starks gets the title and we’re out in a hurry.

Overall Rating: C+. The tournament was hit and miss for the most part but at least they got the right winner. Then there’s the awesome Women’s Title match to give the show something special and overall, you have a pretty nice show. These pay per views still aren’t required viewing, but for a relatively cheap price and less than three hours, there are far worse things you could be watching.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!


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