On paper, I didn’t think much of a good chunk of the card, but I’m very happy to say I was wrong: NWA Alwayz Ready was a very enjoyable show with some big title changes, impressive rough-and-tumble grappling and intrigue over the injured Matt Cardona’s championship reign leading to a big surprise to close the night. I might have my issues with how Powerrr and NWA USA are booked, but credit where credit’s due: the NWA always tends to deliver on PPV.
Let’s look at the 5 biggest talking points from NWA Alwayz Ready!
1. Matt Cardona Relinquishes The Ten Pounds of Gold (and Trevor Murdoch Reclaims It!)
It looked to be a bit of a disaster: the whole branding for Alwayz Ready, from the name to the graphics and colour scheme, was all built around the then-NWA World Heavyweight Champion Matt Cardona. So how do you get around that when your champion suffers a torn bicep at a GCW show just a little over a week before he’s meant to appear at said PPV?
While the segment that was used to change the main event went on far too long for what it was trying to achieve, and it would have been better if they’d given Billy Corgan a mic so we could all hear what he had to say, it did achieve several things: that Matt Cardona genuinely loves being the NWA champion and was sad to have to give up the belt. Cardona played that up beautifully, I thought. It really sold the importance of the company and its feature title. When Cardona reluctantly handed Billy the title and walked off quietly without his usual noise and swagger, it was actually a little bit moving.
It also sets things up nicely for when Cardona comes back. He won’t necessarily feel forced back into the title situation because he’s sold us here on the idea that the title actually does mean a lot to him and he will want it back. Nicely done.
As for the match that replaced the Cardona-Aldis main event, the fatal four-way between Nick Aldis, Trevor Murdoch, Thom Latimer and Samuel Shaw worked well in establishing old and new faces in the NWA main event scene and was a hell of a lot of fun in and of itself, with surprising alliances, surprising high spots to the floor from Trevor Murdoch, a Memphis/Philadelphia-style brawl over the barricades to start and some cool exchanges made a very enjoyable main event.
Trevor Murdoch becoming a two-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion was a surprise, what with his lacklustre first run (which, being honest, I do put down to how his run was booked more than anything else), and with a section of the NWA fanbase wanting either Latimer or Pope to claim the gold, it’s perhaps a slightly risky proposition, but if Trevor’s given a really strong feud here to get his teeth into and he carries on leaning into his new mean, aggressive and hungry attitude, instead of trying to replicate ‘Hard Times’-era Dusty, then I really think this might work.
2. Pretty Empowered Are Your New NWA World Women’s Tag Team Champions
While the fact that Kenzie Page was the home town girl for this match should have probably tipped me off to the result here, it still felt like a genuine shock when Pretty Empowered defeated The Hex here to claim their tag team titles, especially with how dominant the team of Allysin Kay and Marti Belle have been. But shock is not a bad thing always, especially where moaning little hacks like me think we’ve seen it all and can predict everything. It’s nice to be surprised.
What’s even better is when you get a title change after a genuinely competitive, well-wrestled match. And that’s what we get, with Kenzie Page really shining in her exchanges with Kay and Belle (Ella Envy noticeably less so). That Envy used a low blow on Belle, unbeknownst to Page, to secure the victory for her team adds a little bit of intrigue to—what will Page do when she realises how the titles were really won, and will The Hex try to use the foul play to leverage a rematch?
3. The Commonwealth Connection Are Your New NWA World Tag Team Champions
In what was a great night for the NWA’s tag team divisions of both genders, the team of Doug Williams and Harry Smith claimed the NWA World Tag Team Championships from La Rebelión, the team of Mecha Wolf and Bestia 666, in an exciting, fast-paced and well-executed tag team banger. Smith seemed to lean slightly into heel moves at times, and both he and Williams were laying in some hard blows, and lucky for the champs that they were more than game to throw bombs right back at the challengers! Doug suffered a bloody nose part way through the match, and it’s not often you see Doug bleed.
I did have to question why the ref was just letting all four men run amok in the ring near the end of the bout without trying to remove the illegal men, but I guess he thought ‘I’m not muscling up to these boys!’ Otherwise, it was a solid old-school formula with modern wrestling within it.
La Rebelión have had a solid run as champions, especially with their recent match with the Briscoes, although I would have liked to have seen them defend the belts more. Still, I do hope that their loss here doesn’t mean they’re done with the NWA, as they do add a lot to the promotion. In the meantime, the Commonwealth Connection, off the back of performances such as this, are going to kill it as tag team champs.
4. Homicide Proves That PJ Hawx and Colby Corino Are The Future of the NWA
There’s a lot of young, fresh talent in the NWA that you could argue the NWA doesn’t quite utilise in the best way it could. However, in PJ Hawx and Colby Corino, their appearances and use at Alwayz Ready showed that they really could be big and that matches like these are the reason they’re going to be big.
Having both men wrestle Homicide was clever. The clever, much-experienced veteran is just the man to get the best out his opponents and make them look good, even in defeat. This was certainly the case in his match with PJ Hawx. PJ is showing a lot more charisma and personality now and if he still needs to work on that a little, then he’s come a long way in the space of 15 months since the return of the NWA. Homicide really wrestled Hawx here, which played to PJ’s strengths and as such made him look like he could stand up to Homicide and hold his own. A few more performances like that and the right victory against the right person, and PJ could be a made man in the NWA.
As for Colby Corino, he played more into the Corino-Homicide feud of times past and leant more into Homicide’s brawling, which worked well as their match was different to the Hawx one and gave a bit of variety to proceedings. Again, like Hawx, Corino is extremely talented and his chemistry with Homicide is strong. More matches like this and, again, the right victory over the right person at the right time, and Corino is going to be a made man in the NWA also. The future’s bright with these two.
5. Aron Stevens Says Farewell
I honestly don’t know if Aron Stevens is finished with pro wrestling; he seems to mix sincerity with humour in his statements on the subject. Alwayz Ready was no exception, with Stevens taking a loss to Trevor Murdoch before calling for a mic as the crowd chanted “Thank you Aron!” Again, Stevens played for humour, telling the crowd “you’re welcome!” before leaving the ring. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism, maybe it really is a work. Who knows?
But judging from his promo later with May Valentine, I suspect Aron wore his heart on his sleeve a little. Amongst all the jokes about taking May to Brazil were some genuinely wounded comments about loving something that doesn’t love you back and never being able to go to his trainer Killer Kowalski’s grave as a world champion and tell him that he did it. There seems to be genuine hurt there, and so perhaps this is the last time we’ll see Aron Stevens in the ring. If that is true, and as we said before, we’re going to miss you Aron.
And if that wasn’t enough from Alwayz Ready, I’d like to throw in an honorary mention to Max the Impaler coming out to confront Kamille after the champ’s title defence against Kilynn King, only for security to hold her back and Kamille to taunt her. Now, if anyone can finally dethrone the champ, it’s gotta be Max…