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Carnyland!: The NWA Round-Up! (6/8)

This week saw the return of Carnyland to our screens, as people started throwing their hats into the mayoral candidacy race. Nick Aldis had British legend Doug Williams as his guest this week, and Joe Galli hosted David Marquez and Trevor Murdoch in a focused discussion about former eight-time NWA Heavyweight champion and absolute wrestling royalty, Harley Race.

The current schedule is as follows:

NWA schedule - May 2020

There’s no time to waste, so let’s go back to the start of the week and check out what went down!

What’s Causin’ Aldis? (Aired June 8th)

In this week’s ‘What’s Causin’ Aldis?’, Nick talks to his former tag partner and mentor, the British wrestling legend Doug Williams!

Doug is one of the greats of British wrestling. I remember reading about him regularly in the ‘90s in Power Slam magazine, when he would grapple for the likes of Hammerlock and the FWA, early pioneers that don’t get recognised enough for carving out the path the likes of PROGRESS and RevPro would tread.

The genuine affection and appreciation Nick has for Doug is evident throughout, and the two-man discuss some fascinating points, such as whether British Wrestling is really in a golden era and why, and the pros and cons of ‘dangerous’ moves.

What’s Causin’ Aldis? nails it again with the third great episode in a row. Never doubt the ‘National Treasure’!

Notable Happenings:

  • Nick’s nickname for Doug is “Dougie Huggie.”
    • Nick’s one regret is that the last match he had with Doug took place after All In, so it wasn’t a title match, which would have brought things full circle.
    • Nick first met Doug whilst training at a place called ‘Dropkicks’, where Doug was brought in as a guest coach. Doug was a big inspiration to everyone because, at the time, there was only one or two ‘token’ British guys in the big promotions, and Doug had been wrestling in Japan and for ROH and had been plying his trade worldwide.
    • Nick remembers getting a call after the Dropkicks session from Martin Freemantle, a substantial British promoter at the time, wanting to book Nick after a recommendation from Doug himself. Doug himself even said he wanted to wrestle Nick, which was a huge confidence boost for Nick.
    • Doug doesn’t remember the Dropkick session at all, but does remember that at the time in British wrestling (2004/05), there was a lack of “heavyweight, athletic, good looking guys” and so Nick would have stood out, knowing the Dropkicks clientele. He remembers Freemantle was always on the lookout for good looking heavyweights, so if you fit that bill and could have a reasonable match, Doug would put you forward – “as long as you weren’t a complete a******e”.
    • Nick finds it interesting that there’s a trickle-down culture from WWE, so that the look becomes the most important thing to new young people training, rather than the wrestling. Nick says he’s honest when he does seminars, and admits he had opportunities earlier than he should because of his look.
    • Doug believes the look is important and that he tell when people ask him about it at seminars whether they’re trying to get a justification for not having to work as hard.
    • Nick believes the period of ROH where Doug was involved is now the prevailing style of wrestling now (it’s true – look at all the ROH alumni in WWE for instance).
    • Doug recalls he was invited to take part in a tournament in San Francisco in 2001 called APW ‘King of Indies’, where they brought in indie talent from around the globe for a one-night tournament, the remit being “no real gimmicks, everyone go out there, everyone’s slightly different in what they do but they can still present a style or a type of wrestling, and give it some variety and make it interesting.” Doug believes from a cultural point of view, and with the burgeoning internet audience of the time, that it got over huge and was the inspiration for ROH to form and have different styles in display and a more sporting presentation.
    • ROH wanted to utilise the talent from the King of Indies show, so that included Doug and that’s how he ended up working for the company.
    • Doug didn’t consider ROH innovative at the time, or high impact or dangerous, because he’d been working that style for a long time. Where it was different is that the British, World of Sport style hadn’t been seen on a global level for a long time, so it stood out as Doug’s USP at the time.
    • Doug had been trained by the likes of the great Robbie Brookside, John Quin and Steve Grey, and he had access to old videotapes of World of Sport, so he was able to immerse himself in that classic British style.
    • Nick makes the point that earlier in his career, he always had one eye on WWE whereas he should have been focussing on having a USP which would make him attractive to as many different promoters as possible.
    • Nick worries that wrestling has got to the point that, with so many fans knowing wrestling is a work, that guys feel they have to do super-dangerous moves to give it a kind of legitimacy, the risk being guys get hurt more often and more seriously.
    • For Doug, a wrestling match is storytelling, and that, if a dangerous move is done in a match, then the ln consequences of that move need to be felt throughout the match. More often than not, this is not the case.
    • Doug uses the example of the 4-way match in which he won the PROGRESS Atlas title. He took a pile driver on the apron and then stayed down for the rest of the match, meaning the fans thought he was out of contention. This meant that the moment when he snuck the win and took the title was more surprising and dramatic because he had really sold this dangerous move. For Doug, wrestling is storytelling and not a circus act.
    • Nick says he’d take something like, say, a Dragon Suplex in a match, but wouldn’t take one every match because it would impact his ability to make money and it would devalue the move. Doug also points out it would make your character look stupid if you kept taking it over a series of matches and hadn’t shown that you had learned to counter it.
    • Doug says that, of what he’s seen of the NWA, he believes that, that while the matches are all modern in style, they’re stripped back so that when big things happen they have more impact and consequence. He believes this why the NWA have regained so much popularity.
    • Nick says the biggest misconception people have about the NWA is that it’s going to be old-school matches with a headlock worked for 5 minutes. They’re actually trying to give context to modern wrestling and common sense.
    • Doug makes the point that something like Terry Funk pile driving Ric Flair through a table now wouldn’t work because the guys would have killed each other in the match beforehand, so the pile driver wouldn’t have any impact.
    • Doug says there’s room for all styles of wrestling but he takes a three-ring circus approach to wrestling, otherwise, everything looks the same. Move sets should relate to the character. Not everything has to be a hybrid in one wrestler.
    • Doug makes the point that he struggles with matches on TV going too long. TV should be a shop window to the characters, and long matches should be saved for the PPV. He believes it betrays the fact that people don’t know what to do to get themselves over in a short period of time.
    • Doug remembers, when he started in 93-94, the British wrestling industry was dying on its feet, but the holiday camp circuit was still busy, so he was still able to get on 60, 70, 80 shows a year.
    • The industry at the time was full of old promoters from the World of Sport era running weekly tours. You kept busy by working one tour for a few weeks then moving onto another tour for the next promoter for a further few weeks. This was pretty much Doug’s routine, from 1998-2004, alongside taking ROH dates and Japanese work.
    • To Doug, the main difference in the British scene now is that, while there are a lot of shows that are well attended, companies don’t tend to tour now outside of All-Star. They tend to promote in one or two cities, and they use social media to give themselves more exposure than they would have had in the early 2000s.
    • Doug’s busiest year was 2003, with 281 matches wrestled – half in Japan and half in Britain. People talk about wrestling being in a golden age now, but he believes these things are cyclical.
    • Doug and Nick talk about how people talk about a renaissance in British wrestling, but ask the question: would you rather wrestle one show in front of 1000 people every month or a couple of months, or would you rather have 3-4 weeks work of a guaranteed 4-5 shows a week, wrestling in front of anywhere between 500-800 fans a night, as All-Star were in the early noughties? Doug argues the shows have much more exposure now via social media so they seem to be bigger draws than the old shows.
    • Doug does say, however that we shouldn’t take away from today’s British promoters. Business was down in ’08-’10, and a group of new young promoters were able to get global attention and interest a new audience.
    • Nick suggests that in the early noughties, the three big wrestling hubs were the US, Japan and Mexico. Nick thinks the vibe around British wrestling puts it alongside these also. Doug argues you say that for Europe too, especially Germany, which Craig Jenkins of TNA thought he was an expert on…
    • Doug hadn’t really been used by TNA during his first year there, as he had some pre-agreed Japanese tours to finish first. He’d joined TNA to do something different and progress his career. When pitched ‘The British Invasion’ gimmick, Doug thought it would be fun as it was really different to anything he’d done before. He always saw the positives and tried to work out how he could get things over.
    • Nick says he knew his strengths were his selling and his working of the crowd, but his career wouldn’t have progressed as quickly without working with Doug. He deferred to Doug on things like match layout and psychology and just learnt from him.
    • Doug mentions how Nick’s attitude at the time was that he felt Beer Money were taking too much, whereas Doug wasn’t bothered because he knew a great face team needs great heel foils to work against, and they were doing a great job because that was the go-to match each night on tour. Nick remembers feeling that way and doesn’t feel it now. He puts it down to immaturity at the time and feeling that you needed to have lots of offence to look good.
    • Nick remembers meeting Doug for the first time after being put with him and saying, “at least they didn’t make us a duke and earl”. Then he went to the bathroom and Dutch Mantell came to the urinal next time. Dutch turned to Nick and asked, “what’s the difference between a duke and an earl?” Thankfully, nothing came of the conversation.
    • Nick remembers that after the team was split, when Nick was doing well, Doug would be sat at home and vice versa, as if there was only room for one British person to do well. Doug says he blames himself, as he could have pushed management more to use him.
    • Nick remembers ringing Eric Bischoff and saying, “what’s your problem with me?” Apparently, Eric was upset by an interview where Nick had said he’d go to WWE. The question was hypothetical, i.e. if Nick was a free agent, but was published without that context. Once sorted with Eric, Nick found himself on an upward trajectory.
    • Nick says the way he learnt, working with veterans who had different styles, was more beneficial than training in a PC now. Doug says the modern PC doesn’t allow for individuality of style or experimentation with character.
    • Nick recalls how Marty Scurll created the ‘Villain’ gimmick out of complete frustration at being good and no-one paying him any attention. Nick says that everything, from costume to music, came 100% from Marty.
    • Doug says when he got fired from TNA in 2013, he was very bitter and had started to hate wrestling. He carried on around the UK for two years, only wrestling because he didn’t know what else to do. He noticed around 2015 there was a new enthusiasm and excitement in British wrestling, and there he was putting a downer on everything. He knew he was getting older, and his neck was hurt and he decided to bow out in 2018, his 25th year in the ring. He was on a Radio 2 program talking about the resurgence in British wrestling, which PROGRESS heard. They wanted Doug to come in as part of a veteran heel squad, but he suggested they hold his retirement match when they went to Wembley arena, which they loved.
    • Doug says its a soft retirement. He won’t wrestle in the UK again, as he’s achieved everything he can there, but he’ll still do some dates abroad if he can make a vacation out of it. He will also wrestle in America. He feels that’s the one place he hasn’t left a proper legacy. Nick jokes and says he could always come to Atlanta. Doug jokes that he’s never been an American Heavyweight champion – but says he could start by dethroning Aron Stevens first! You read it here first, folks.

Carnyland (Aired June 9th)

NWA Carnyland logo

Carnyland is back, and I think this might have been the best episode of the show yet! The program really benefits from the focus of a topic (the mayoral election) for the skits to revolve around and to give them some kind of narrative to play against.

Certain performers in particular, such as Nick Aldis, Royce Issacs, Jocephus, Allysin Kay and Zicky Dice, are really shining in this comedic arena, and it will be interesting to see how far the NWA can push this concept!

Notable Happenings:

  • We get a beautiful, emotional message from Eddie Kingston regarding racism and how it needs to stop. He says he will never be able to fully understand black anger as a white man, but he does understand anger itself. He was born angry and lived angry for many years, and it was only pro wrestling that eased that pain of constant rage. From now, he dedicates his matches and promos to all those who have lost family members and all those who have died due to racism. This came from the heart, and you could really tell. Good on you, Eddie. Thank you.
    • Stu Bennett, as the invisible narrator, is able to time travel and is now one week in the future, where one of the candidates for Carnyland Mayor that we’ll see tonight is about to actually drop out. The only problem for Stu, is that he can’t go back in time, so he’s going to have to hang out there until we catch up to him next week (surely Stu would still be another week in front of us? Please don’t send me into a time travel paradox hole – I’ll never escape!)
    • Strictly Business discuss how one of them will be running for mayor. Tom Latimer’s campaign features the disturbing line “it will be a legal requirement to wear fanny packs at all time – including intercourse.” I would have thought that was more Zicky Dice’s kind of thing…
    • Kamille’s video makes her look like a machine of retribution. “They say looks can kill. So, vote for Kamille. OR I WILL END ALL OF YOU!” No argument from me! I like breathing.
    • Royce was unable to attend the video making, so the others made a video for him. Everyone is excited to show Royce what they’ve made. The video makes Royce look like a complete hayseed hillbilly. He’s speechless…
    • ‘Future Serial Killer’ Joe Galli will not be running for Mayor of Carnyland. Stu Bennett sends him a telegram from the future telling him off.
    • Eli Drake makes his speech to the masses, announcing himself as a candidate. There was a clever use of footage of audiences from Powerrr to give the impression of Eli addressing his adoring masses. “You all came here for the shoes of a champion”, says Eli, nodding back to his great, ‘drunken’ speech on Powerrr at Christmas.
    • Zicky Dice says he’s going to “throw his fanny pack into the ring” (told ya!) and become a candidate for mayor. How can you get involved and support him? Zicky’s glad you asked: bring a friend (minimum: 8), bring mayonnaise, be able to lick your own back (video proof needed), money, property, thievery, candles, earrings, buy his t-shirt. Most important seems to be mayonnaise, which Zicky starts rubbing over his face, only to be surprised by someone off-camera.
    • Question Mark is hosting a new segment called ‘Talking the Time’, where he takes questions from fans over the phone. The call today was from a lady called Eudora, who wanted to know if she could trust a man she had just started dating. Mark’s strange, grunted reply of ‘pineapple Armageddon’ shouldn’t have been that funny, but I was in stitches! Send your questions to @questionthenwa.
    • Nick Aldis is looking at public feedback to the Strictly Business campaign videos – it’s not good news. Nick enlists the help of Danny Deals to improve public relations. Maybe not the best man for the job after the Momma Storm fiasco…
    • Jocephus, dressed as an admiral, gives us a little rap to “put his name in the ballot”, with a little scat part at the end reminiscent of The Furious Five’s ‘The Message.’ (!)
    • May Valentine tells us a crazy ‘True Carnyland Story’ involving her and a friend from Brazil drinking in a hotel bar when a magician accosts them with tricks and proposes to her friend. It turns out the magician swiped May’s friend’s credit card and maxed it out. They met him at the wedding chapel at 8 am the next day with police to lead him down a different kind of aisle. “But guys, please don’t tell Royce about any of this, ok? ‘Cause what happens in Carnyland, stays in Carnyland”. I really enjoyed that!
    • Thunder Rosa gives a terrifying candidate speech. Sorry, Kamille, I’m going to have to vote Rosa now – she’d kick my a** even harder!
    • We get a quick look at Mongrovian karate. Aron Stevens mispronounces ‘karate’ six times. Garage rock fans might appreciate the line ‘Music by ? and the Mongrovians.’ Aron Stevens throws his hat into the Mayoral race.
    • Allysin Kay dresses up as Ester Addington, a great woman of the people, now in her eighties and going for Mayor of Carnyland.
    • Allysin and Marti Belle talk Ester. Allysin says she’s her biggest competition. Marti says she’s not sure Allysin should run: you need to be personable, approachable and friendly and, in Marti’s words, Allysin has a “resting b***h face”. “What resting b***h face?” asks Allysin, perfectly demonstrating said expression. Allysin tries to smile and ends up doing a great Terminator impression instead.
    • Danny Deals presents his video package for Nick Aldis – a smooth, political epic that ends with the line “I don’t lie – I just stretch the truth!” Nick looks astounded – “I’m gonna win!”

Inside the NWA (Aired June 10th)

Inside the NWA title card

This week, ‘Future Serial Killer’ Joe Galli brought together David Marquez and Trevor Murdoch to discuss one of pro wrestling’s most beloved performers and distinct characters, Harley Race.

Stories about Harley are legendary and legion in the wrestling community, and there were plenty of great ones that cropped up during this chat. This was perhaps the best edition of Inside the NWA, a compelling testament to a man who could be difficult to work with sometimes, but always inspired enormous love wherever he went.

Notable happenings:

  • David Marquez remembers trying to get into the wrestling business in the mid-nineties and badgering Harley to get involved at a Cauliflower Alley reunion. Harley was walking down a corridor at the time, a 24 pack in each hand!
    • Harley taught David a lot, good and bad – how to drink, how to smoke, and the fundamentals of putting together a wrestling show.
    • Harley was very protective of his name and didn’t want it used to promote shows. He was seen at the time (mid-nineties) as an ‘old wrestler’ as opposed to a legend. Harley thought of himself in the same way.
    • The Harley Race Wrestling Academy opened up at Louis Gym in Springfield, Missouri and was actually a boxing gym and had a boxing ring instead of a wrestling ring. Consequently, bumps really hurt!
    • David said that he felt Harley didn’t have a lot of self-confidence at the time. He knew he was ‘the man’ in Missouri, but didn’t feel that reputation carried over to other states, which it did.
    • From this experience, David learnt how to mould people, how to suggest things, and how to produce.
    • David said the original plan was to bring in Harley as a special attraction, like a manager or in a commissioner role. However, as time moved on, Harley and his wife became more and more involved, so as the agreement was made they would all run the company together.
    • According to David, Harley could be quite old-fashioned in his approach to booking, such as not giving younger talent their due. He remembers The Hardy Boyz coming in for a try-out and hitting the ring and Harley saying “get them outta here!” 3 or 4 weeks later, they were on Raw.
    • Trevor remembers early on in his career being scheduled to wrestle Greg Valentine. They were talking by the Gorilla position and Greg was being very kind and was planning on making Trevor look good. Harley hears this, turns around and says, “The kid doesn’t get s**t!” Greg did as he was told.
    • For Trevor, Harley would give the guys who worked hard an opportunity, but he made you earn it.
    • David remembers that if Harley was excited about an idea, he’d draw the peacock feathers from his tattoo over and over and trace them on a legal pad. If he wasn’t impressed, he’d just write his name over and over instead. David could tell what kind of day he was going to have by looking at the pad.
    • David says there are a lot of positive feelings and a lot of negative feelings about his relationship with Harley, but it was “a love affair, for sure.”
    • Trevor remembers thinking many times that he’d had a great match and would come back to the locker room, where Harley would ask him “what were you thinking?” Harley would then break it down.
    • Trevor remembers they’d train for 5-6 hours a day, and they’d do an hour’s focussed cardio and could just smell Harley’s smoke from his cigarettes wafting over while they were trying to do squats! But you weren’t going to tell Harley to stub anything out…
    • There were many times when Harley would grab Trevor in by the neck and give him a hug. “Keep doing what you’re doing, kid.”
    • Trevor remembers Harley stressing the importance of making people believe. “I’m the World Champion in and out of the ring”, he’d tell people. Trevor says he has an old-school style because of Harley – a little aggressive, a little stiff. But that’s because Harley imparted the need to have people believe.
    • Harley always said you needed to go out and have the best match of the night. Be mindful of your place on the card, but work your a** off for the people because they are your real judges.
    • Harley was driving Trevor into a town for a show one night and was telling Trevor, “you need to be respectful to the people when you go to their town and remember you’re representing me.” Harley, as a notorious speeder, missed his turn, so he yanked the wheel hard to the left, cut up a guy going in the other direction and stuck his middle finger up: “f- you!” When Trevor questioned Harley about this, in light of his speech about respecting the people of the town, Harley responded: “do as I say, not as I do.”
    • David says Harley never really thought that he had much competition and that he always considered himself the best. He remembers Harley saying he couldn’t double-cross the Crocketts back in the day because he still had to look at himself after in the mirror. David said he always carried himself through that attitude – whatever he did, he still needed to be able to live with himself after
    • David said he’d hear all the stories from Harley in the car, and some days he’d hate Flair and Dusty, and some days he’d like them.
    • Trevor says Race was able to adapt to others’ styles and accentuate the positives of his opponents. When you wrestled Harley, you both came out being over, no matter who you were.
    • David remembers that the stories of Harley driving with a pistol on his lap were completely true. Harley used to drink whilst driving and had a cooler behind his seat. If you were behind the seat, you be responsible for handing Harley his beer and if he didn’t hand it to him in the ‘correct’ way, you’d hear about it for hours. He also had a strange collection of toothpicks.
    • David remembers Harley knocking out Butch Reed backstage at a show. He also remembers him and Abdullah the Butcher at a bar after a show, absolutely hammered, having a legit fight outside and Harley hip tossing Abby onto the hood of a Mustang and leaving a huge dent. Harley signed the dent, and the owner was so happy he drove away and they never heard from him again.
    • David remembers Harley was a big fan of jewellery and he wasn’t. Harley asked him how he expected people to take him seriously if he walked in a room and wanted people to think he had ‘it’? Harley then bought David a ring to wear, which David still has.
    • Trevor recalls Harley wasn’t interested in the numbers as long as they were making money, so it was Harley’s wife BJ who was the business person. BJ always had Harley’s backing, so if you heard the news from BJ, you knew she was speaking for Harley too.
    • Like Harley with his legal pads, you knew if you were going to have a good or bad day in training by BJ’s mood. If BJ was happy, Harley was happy. If she wasn’t, Harley wasn’t.
    • Harley told David he had skinny wrists and needed to scrunch up copies of The New York Times to build up his forearms!
    • Harley and BJ once dyed David’s hair bright blonde after getting him drunk on Jack Daniels.
    • David says Harley didn’t feel like a star in the nineties because of the way WWE treated him more like a comedy character and not the tough guy he was, and how he ended up managing. He didn’t go out in the way he wanted to.
    • WCW didn’t put Harley with Lex Luger and Vader because they needed managers; they needed someone to ensure that they got to the matches. There were times when Harley had to wrestle in their place because they didn’t turn up.
    • David says he’s not sure what Harley’s legacy with younger fans now. He knows people are in awe of him, as he used to see that at the conventions. He does remember Lou Thez telling Harley that the TV-era wrestling Harley was a part of was too clowny and worked, to which Harley replied ‘how many works were you a part of? David makes the point that the older generation picking at the younger one’s wrestling has been going on for decades.
    • Joe asks Trevor about taking over Harley’s role a little bit in being an influence in the locker room and with the girls when they’re putting their matches together. Trevor says he didn’t realise he had the ability until he came back to wrestling for the NWA. He says their company tries to focus more on the wrestling where some other companies don’t. So he tries to get the locker room to keep that in focus and get that balance between wrestling and character right.
    • David feels that younger wrestlers new to TV and studio wrestling can sometimes lack confidence in terms of how to interact with the cameras, or they’re mistrustful of the production crew. He says they just need confidence and trust. Trevor adds that they just need to slow down too, so the cameras can capture all those little facial expressions and mannerisms.
    • David says that, yes, he is influenced by Gordon Solie, but he’s also influenced by how Walt Disney used to hold himself on camera (his facial expressions, the way he would hold objects). Mr Rogers is also in there somewhere. He doesn’t to be an old-school host, but a good presenter. He effectively acts as a television director, floor director, stage manager.

The Eli Drake Show (Aired June 11th)

The Eli Drake Show title card

YE-AH!

Eli gave us a more paired down show this week, taking in more low-key topics such as his diet, and running at a lean 53 minutes (which I didn’t mind – an hour’s probably the optimum length for a show of this nature ).

Where the show succeeded this week, though, was with Eli himself. He’s such a warm, charismatic host, using his humour to disarmingly put across some interesting ideas. I’d certainly say, based on his commencement speech at the end of the episode, that his heart is in the right place.

Notable Happenings:

  • Eli is in front of a red curtain-style screen, ‘Class of 2020’ written in big white letters: “everything happens for a reason. Usually, you’re the reason. You’re probably the one f*****g everything up!”
    • Eli goes on a Twitter-unfollowing spree: “why does your baby look like my Grandmother?”
    • Eli’s title caption reads, after his name, ‘King God of The World’.
    • Eli talks up the ‘100 challenge’ – 100 squats, 100 push-ups, 100 crunches or sit-ups. Eli says the excuse of ‘I haven’t got time’ doesn’t wash anymore in a lockdown.
    • Eli says his splurge last week on Eggo cereal and cinnamon rolls is something that he would just do once a week or once a fortnight.
    • Eli is stunned by the “amazingly crazy” response he’s received to ‘100 challenge’. It wasn’t something he planned, rather he dropped it on the fly and is amazed by the response.
    • Eli says gyms are starting to reopen in L.A., but he doesn’t know how that will work – it’ll be a lot “hot breath under a mask.”
    • Eli says his hair is reaching 2012/2013 levels – we see a photo of Eli then with comparatively long hair – and he’s not ready for all those curls again.
    • Eli passes us over to his correspondent – himself – in his kitchen to go over his diet and meal prep (I won’t go into details – I’ll only end up thinking about how my diet is in comparison – but please do give it a watch. I certainly learned some useful things!)
    • We get a montage of Black Lives Matter protests. There’s no caption or message, refreshingly allowing the protests to speak for themselves. Besides, with last week’s Girl Powerrr and Eddie Kingston’s speech this week, the NWA has been very clear where they stand on the matter.
    • Eli talks about the importance of moderation to stop your body from elastic banding from one extreme to the other. Eat clean for 6 days, and treat yourself on the 7th to the sugary, bad stuff. It also gives you a weekly goal to focus on.
    • Eli has been watching Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich on Netflix – and he wants people to start naming names!
    • Eli is not a big drinker – he was always goofy enough that he didn’t need it. He didn’t have his first drink until he went away to college. That night, he spent the whole night talking like Scarface (he’d watched the film about 4-5 times that week). Later, he went back home from college and was drinking vodka with his friends, and got up on a table in a bar and started doing the whole “you ain’t got the guts” speech from Scarface! Brilliant.
    • Eli said he didn’t like the hangover feeling, and never had the live-for-the-weekend, let’s get messed up! attitude. His vice was never drink or drugs, but girls.
    • Eli doesn’t drink often, so when he does, he wants something with a good flavour. He’s a tequila man. He drinks it with water.
    • How to counteract the taste of watered-down tequila? Eli throws us to his colleague ‘Hugh Jassoll’ (Eli in a flat cap and an accent that dips in and out), who tells us that calorie-free drink enhancers are your friend.
    • Eli’s audience questions this week are asked by clips of people talking and moving in very odd ways. My favourite was the guy moving across the screen sideways like a crab.
    • He will not be playing his keyboard on the show – he only found out what chords were in January! And then he can only remember two of them!
    • The Impact title he has at home has not got an Impact bumper sticker on it – it’s metallic plate. He says, apart from Austin Aeries for about two weeks, he was the only wrestler to hold that version of the belt, so it’s synonymous with him. It’s like his version of the ‘Smoking Skull’ belt.
    • Eli has only met Vince 3 times, on handshaking basis only. He thinks Vince is a genius, especially in marketing. He’s been doing this for 40 years, so yes, some ideas will suck. But you only need 4 or 5 great ideas to stick to be a genius. Eli can see how Vince is a little eccentric and difficult to work with.
    • Eli’s favourite gimmick match is the ‘Monster’s Ball’, although he has no desire to ever take a thumbtack spot again.
    • He says fans talk a lot about the promo he cut on EC3 but he’s always been uncomfortable with it. It wasn’t planned, so it felt like it got a little personal and it kinda gave Eli a babyface edge when he was working heel at the time.
    • Eli gives his own Commencement speech for those unable to attend graduation. It veers from hilariously poking at the disadvantage in American society to trying to give hope by telling people to surround themselves with others that inspire them and to go for their own businesses to make something of themselves.

Girl Powerrr (Aired June 12th)

NWA Girl Powerrr title card

After two weeks of very intense discussion, we got a little more of a laid back edition of Girl Powerrr this week, with Kamille chairing a chat with Duke Women’s Basketball player Jenna Frush and WBNA Atlanta Dream player Elizabeth Williams.

Laidback doesn’t mean there’s no depth, however. Focussing on the challenges female athletes face in a male-dominated sports industry, the show made some interesting points, such as women athletes, especially in college, feel more pressure to excel at everything, their major subjects included, than their male counterparts. They also discussed how on female sports team the experience has been that everyone wants their teammates to exceed and that, as a member of the board of the WBNA and as a black woman, Elizabeth Williams feels extra pressure to give a positive representation for young girls and young black girls in particular. Kamille also makes the great point that, not just in wrestling but in all sports now, it’s personality that sells people on the desire to attend a live event. She says that vignettes showing the personalities of sportspeople are really important now to drive interest and ticket sales for all sorts of different sports. It made me think how the ‘Ten Pounds of Gold’ series made me want to see more the rebooted NWA, and now here we are.

The only criticism I’d have (constructive, I hope) is that some of this great points weren’t followed up or expanded upon as they had been in previous weeks, which left me wanting more. But it’s better to be wanting more than wanting less, and Kamille was certainly a very enthusiastic host. I do like how Girl Powerrr has a strong identity of its own, and I look forward to more from the fabulous ladies of the NWA.

Final Thoughts

Another week, another series of great content from the NWA. Carnyland is really starting to find its feet, Eli Drake has really found his feet as host and Girl Powerrr offers quality programming that really stands out amongst the week’s shows.

The real stars this week, though, were What’s Causin’ Aldis and Inside the NWA. Both shows featured real in-depth, fascinating discussions that really gave great insight not only into the world behind the curtain of wrestling but how its participants feel about that world. In particular, the focussed chat about Harley Race and Nick and Doug’s chats about British wrestling were top notch. The NWA is really excelling with these areas of their content, and I genuinely get excited each week to learn more and hear more wonderful stories.

On that note, I’ll bid you farewell. Join me next week for more exciting NWA content – I’ll meet you on the streets of Carnyland!

Written by Chris Flackett

Wrestling obsessed since '91. Lived through the Monday Night Wars and is still here to tell the tale. Major fan of Strong Style, technical and Super Jr. Wrestling, as well as big versatile hosses smacking the hell out of each other. Lives in Manchester, England.

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