After much speculation and anticipation, the day has finally arrived for When Our Shadows Fall, the NWA’s second PPV since their post-pandemic relaunch. With a big title match between Nick Aldis and Trevor Murdoch set for the main event, Kamille getting her shot at the Women’s title, and the tag titles up for grabs in a big three-way contest, there’s plenty of intrigue around this circus-themed PPV (check out Kyle Davis in his ringmaster’s gear!)
So, without further ado, let’s step into the big top and step once more…into the fire!
Four-Way Tag Match: The End vs. La Rebelion (Bestia 666 & Mecha Wolf 450) vs. Sal Rinauro and El Rudo vs. Slice Boogie and Marshe Rockett
I can see this one not being to everybody’s tastes in the NWA Fam but I really enjoyed it. It was an energetic, fast-paced and—dare I say it—fun start to the PPV. El Rudo, the former Sam Adonis, looked good and happy to be there, while Slice Boogie brought his usual thuggery to proceedings and Parrow and Odinson brought the beef. La Rebelion were perhaps the obvious element of Lucha here but, as a big dive sequence proved, that saw El Rudo, Marshe Rockett and even big Parrow take flight over the top rope, it was anyone’s game here.
Marshe Rockett looked to take the win with a cutter on Odinson but Bestia broke up the cover and nailed Marshe with a muscle buster before Mecha Wolf hit a 450 splash to make their NWA debut a very successful one.
It may be not to everyone’s tastes, but that definitely got me pumped up.
Pope vs. Tyrus
Before the match, Pope cut a promo for Kyle Davis explaining that he is anti-stupidity and so he decided to mess with Tyrus and Austin Idol. Well, it’s as good a reason as any. Tyrus then came out and squeezed Kyle’s head, describing Pope’s words as fake news. Tyrus dedicated the match to Pope’s charity, which he has run for ten years but that Tyrus claimed he is the new CEO of as it was failing.
This only infuriated Pope, even more so when Tyrus went to blow his nose on the charity’s t-shit he was wearing. Pope launched himself at Tyrus and battered the big man with heated fists and boots. Tyrus took up a boxing stance and started throwing jabs but Pope cracked him in the face with some nice shots, Tyrus falling down like Andre the Giant. Tyrus kicked out of the cover by throwing Pope into the ropes. Pope tried a crossbody and literally just bounced off the big man. Tyrus hit a crossbody of his own and near-crushed Pope for a near-fall.
Tyrus tore at Pope’s head before standing on his back, putting all his weight into crushing the TV champ. A shot to the gut and a slingshot sunset flip saw Pope attempt a comeback but Tyrus just countered it by sitting down on Pope, Earthquake-style. Tyrus kept the pressure on by squashing Pope in the corner before trying to lock in a bear hug and dropping the champ with a big clothesline.
Trash talking Pope, Tyrus danced around a little with a couple of boxing shots before slamming him right into the mat and standing on the ribs. The crowd got right behind Pope as Tyrus gave the last rites, Pope moving out of the way of an elbow drop before chopping the big tree down with a wild series of fists and a DDT. A kick to the head that saw Pope slide out to the floor looked sweet, as did an elbow drop from the top. Tyrus caught Pope as he moved for the running knee though and took him to the mat with a Tongan death grip for a two count.
Another sunset flip attempt saw Tyrus stand on Pope, but Pope was able to drop Tyrus down onto the buckles with another running knee. At this point, Idol distracted Pope and, as the ref backed Pope away, Idol gave Tyrus a foreign object. One weapon-assisted heart punch later and Tyrus was the winner. I really enjoyed that. Tyrus looked like a monster and Pope was full of heart and spirit in his performance. The ending made sense, as Pope will come back and take revenge, possibly in match seven to qualify Pope for a World title shot.
What a swine Tyrus is, though. He even took Kyle Davis’ hat after!
Thunder Rosa & Melina vs. Taryn Terrell & Kylie Rae
Thunder Rosa was not impressed by a David LaGreca sign in the audience. Oh dear. Rosa’s face paint was absolutely on point tonight, I must say. Meanwhile, this is Kylie Rae’s second match in nine months (the first being last night) and I was definitely excited about seeing her back in the ring. She seemed in good spirits, as much as you can tell on camera, and you know what? I really do hope this is making her happy because she deserves some happiness.
Melina and Terrell started off, Melina working the arm and sending Terrell sliding out of the ring under the bottom rope. Terrell ran straight away from Rosa at ringside and tagged Kylie Rae in. Here we go! Rae was excited, telling the fans “I’ve got her” as she had Melina in an armbar. Joe Galli revealed on commentary that Kylie Rae has actually signed a contract with the NWA, which is exciting news. I don’t know what that means re: Impact, but I’m just happy to see Kylie back.
One person not happy to see Kylie back was Thunder Rosa, who twisted Kylie’s arms to some very perturbing angles. Kylie used her speed to arm drag Rosa but Rosa just kicked her right in the chest for a two count. Stereo kicks from Melina and Rosa kept the pressure on but Terrell hit Melina from behind, allowing Kylie Rae to drop her with a suplex. Kylie then demonstrated her own brutal skills, falling back and snapping Melina’s arm back in the process.
Rosa tagged back in and dropped Kylie with a clothesline before hitting double knees and a running dropkick on Terryll in the corner, hitting Kylie with the same before landing a double underhook suplex. Rosa came out on top of an exchange of strikes and a double flapjack earned Melina a two count. Terrell came in to admonish Melina, who just rag dolled her across the ring. Rosa dropped Terrell on her head on the studio floor before picking her up and carrying her through the curtains to the back. The distraction allowed Kylie to roll up Melina with a handful of tights for leverage to take the win. Wow! I like when you see hints that Kylie might have a little bit of a heelish edge beneath the smiley Kylie facade.
An enjoyable match, with Kylie and Thunder Rosa, in particular, looking strong as hell.
JTG vs. Fred Rosser
JTG’s NWA debut here, so this should be a good one. They have history from their time in WWE, of course.
JTG caught a shot on Rosser early on but Rosser took him to the mat and worked the wrist. JTG smashed the grip away though and pushed Rosser against the ropes. Another lockup saw Rosser roll JTG up for a one-count before Rosser sent JTG to the floor.
JTG started swiping Rosser to mat by the legs and took him down with a vicious headlock (honest!) and a dropkick. Rosser halted the momentum being built though by dropping JTG face-first onto the top turnbuckle before dropping him with a hard clothesline to the back of the head. Knees and a legdrop followed before Rosser locked on a chin lock. JTG elbowed his way out but he was worse for wear. A pair of gut shots gave JTG some space but a belly to belly suplex put him right back at square one.
Rosser was heard to tell JTG that this is “my house” before pounding JTG on the apron. JTG managed to flip out of a suplex and land on his feet, dropping Rosser with a massive clothesline. Both men were down at this point. Back up, JTG knocked Rosser down with a clothesline, elbow and a neck breaker before stalking Rosser and blasting him with a cool-looking spinning slam for a near-fall. Rosser slipped out of an Outsider’s Edge though and both men began kicking each other in the calves from a backslide position—that’s a new one on me. Rosser tried to hoist JTG up again but JTG transitioned to a roll-up for the 1-2-3.
This was a hard-hitting, well-paced, technical, competitive encounter that I enjoyed very much. I’d love to see a rematch, to be honest. I think they’ve got a good series of matches in them. Time will tell, of course, but both men did very well here.
NWA Tag Team Champions Aron Stevens & JR Kratos vs. The War Kings vs. Thom Latimer & Chris Adonis
Kratos and Stevens seemed to be on the same page as they made their way to the ring, nodding to each other in a sign of respect, however slight.
One man from each man would be in the ring at any one time, which is an interesting move. Kratos, Dane and Latimer started off, the two bigger men taking Latimer out with a double suplex before turning one ach other with boulder-like fists. Chris Adonis tagged in and nailed a double clothesline but realised when both men got up that he may have made a mistake. As Adonis distracted Kratos with a handshake attempt, Dane took out Kratos from behind. Adonis then nailed a DDT on Dane. A tag was made to Crimson but the ref didn’t see it and as he tried to get Crimson out of the ring, Latimer smashed Kratos’ leg between the ring steps and the apron—ouch!
Meanwhile, the War Kings dominated Adonis before Dane rolled a limping Kratos back into the ring. Kratos was still able to throw Crimson over the top rope to the floor though and tag Stevens, who took Latimer out. Stevens went to swing a punch and nearly cracked Kratos in a tense moment—would they fight?—but Adonis used the moment to lock in the Master Lock, which was only broke up by Crimson attacking Adonis. Phew. That was close.
The War Kings nailed Stevens with their suplex-elbow drop combo but Adonis broke it up. Latimer tagged in and stomped Stevens out of the ring before beating on Jax Dane. Stevens crawled to tag out but was stopped by both Latimer and Dane. Latimer sent the big man to the outside and got a two count with a neck breaker, Dane breaking the pin up. Stevens kept trying for the tag but his opponents were not going to make it easy for him.
Kratos could be heard shouting “fight back” and “get up” to Stevens, the first time I think we’ve heard Kratos ever show Stevens support. Stevens did indeed try to fight back but Latimer and Dane kept him grounded, taking turns to kick at his limbs in an uneasy alliance. An STF from Dane saw Stevens writhing in anger but Latimer broke it up. Dane broke up a Latimer roll-up in return. A double suplex looked beautiful but the ref couldn’t count the double cover.
Latimer turned on Dane, screaming at Dane that he thought he was a big man, but as the two exchanged blows, Stevens came back to life with kicks, taking out both Latimer and Dane before Crimson knocked him down and dropped Latimer with a sit-down powerbomb and Adonis with a Death Valley Driver. As Crimson turned his attention back to Stevens, Kratos ran in with the tag belt, looking to use it as a weapon. As the ref took the belt way, Kratos kicked Crimson right in the mini-Crimsons, allowing Stevens to get the pinfall for the surprise win! After the match, the champions shook hands in a sign of respect.
Ok, I did not expect that. But apart from perhaps the suddenness of the ending, this was really good tag match with Aron Stevens doing his best “Ricky Morton in peril” impression and getting really sympathy from the crowd and from Kratos too! Very, very good, old-school tag match.
NWA Women’s Champion Serena Deeb vs. Kamille
Although Serena Deeb has been the NWA Women’s champion since October, this is Deeb’s first appearance in GPB Studios, which is crazy when you think about what the pandemic did to wrestling last year.
Kamille showed her strength, to begin with, shoving Deeb down and not allowing Deeb to take her down with a leg sweep. She backed Deeb into the corner and threw some hard elbows, making it clear to Deeb that she was not here to play. Deeb ducked out of a charge into the other corner though and slid back in through the bottom rope before unleashing some hard European uppercuts and a sleeper, Deeb having to jump up onto Kamille’s back. Kamille threw Deeb off over her head before dragging her between the ropes and landing some hard, hard clubbing blows. Never let it say that Kamille is ever intimidated.
Some back kicks in the corner kept the pressure on as did a vertical suplex for a two count. Kamille drove her knee into Deeb’s back and pulled back on the arms. Deeb forced her way out but Kamille resumed control with more clubbing blows. A big back brake left Deeb writhing in pain. A big bear hug saw Deeb screaming in agony before trying to elbow her way out. Kamille didn’t like that so she transitioned into a big suplex instead.
Kamille returned to the bear hug before nailing a power slam for another two count. Not satisfied with that, Kamille picked the champ up and ran her into the buckles before nailing another power slam for another two count. Deeb returned fire by dodging a charge into the corner and chopping at Kamille’s legs with hard kicks and a dragon screw to take the bigger woman down. European uppercuts followed before Deeb locked in a guillotine choke over the second rope and a neck breaker over the rope too—it still didn’t drop Kamille though!
A running clothesline did though and earned Deeb a two count before she went back to the legs. Kamille kicked her out to the floor, although another dragon screw as she re-entered the ring looked nasty. An absolutely vile-looking Octopus lock followed but Kamille was able to hoist Deeb up onto her shoulders and nail her with a steamroller. Deeb countered the Spear though with a dropkick. Kamille tried to fight back but the leg buckled, suggesting a weakness for Deeb to exploit. The champ went for a half crab but Kamille reached the ropes before applying a half crab of her own, using her height to really stretch the champ’s leg out. For a moment, it looked like we might have a tap out but Deeb was just able to reach the ropes.
A roll-up earned Deeb another two but Kamille caught her with another steamroller and as Kamille hit the spear, the place exploded. 1-2-3: NEW CHAMPION!
This is going to be a big moment in NWA history. Not only was it a genuinely great match, but Kamille has also long been speculated to be the next women’s face of the NWA and that moment finally came to fruition here. Congratulations not only to the champion but to both women: they really left it all out there on the mat tonight.
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis vs. Trevor Murdoch
Main event time. This was it: could Trevor Murdoch claim that which his mentor, the late, great Harley Race, said was his: the NWA World Heavyweight Championship? Both Aldis and Murdoch looked serious as they entered the ring. Both men knew this was going to be a big match for the NWA.
The tension was palpable: Murdoch even snapped and pushed Aldis aggressively as the ref demanded a good, clean match. Wow. It was a fast pace to start, with each man getting shots in before Murdoch sent the champ to the outside with an elbow. Aldis eventually came back in and backed Murdoch into the corner, shouting in his face “you will never be the world’s champion!” That only fired Murdoch up more, as he bashed Aldis with fists and elbows. Aldis lost his temper and pushed the ref down so, with shades of the old Ric Flair spot, the ref shoved Aldis back in return. Murdoch elbowed Aldis to the outside but wasn’t about to let him rest, bringing him back in to the ring very quickly.
Murdoch must have been tasting the gold early as he went up top for the bulldog. Aldis fell back against the ropes though, dropping Murdoch on the apron before sending him to the floor with a baseball slide. Back in the ring, Aldis utilised a couple of big suplexes to blast the challenger before throwing him to the outside, where the champ pushed Trevor back into the apron and bodyslammed on the hard, concrete studio floor. That looked painful.
Back in the ring, Aldis choked the challenger on the ropes before working the back. A massive Irish whip shifted the ring and sent Murdoch crashing to the mat. Aldis was working with a rare sense of viciousness as he ground Murdoch down with a camel clutch. Murdoch was able to stand up out of it and drop Aldis back into the buckles but the champ was able to dodge a charge, Murdoch sending himself into the buckles.
A slap to the face seemed to wake Trevor up and he retaliated with two tough clotheslines for a two count. Murdoch went for the top rope bulldog and hit it! 1-2-NO! Aldis kicked out. Murdoch was stunned. He tried to grab the champ but Aldis dropped Trevor over the top rope.
At this point, Thom Latimer came out with a chair. As the ref tried to send Latimer away, Aldis got a chair of his own and cracked the ref in the back, sending him out of the ring. He then nailed Trevor with a shot to the back before smashing Murdoch with a big top rope elbow. The champ went for another one but this time Murdoch moved! Murdoch drilled Aldis with a chair shot of his own and locked him in the Cloverleaf, Aldis’ own move. The ref crawled back in and called for the bell—had Murdoch done it?
No. He’d won—but by DQ. The ref knew Aldis had hit him and had called for the DQ. Murdoch was a mixture of livid and distraught. As Aldis crawled off, Murdoch went over to the podium and asked Kyle Davis in a broken voice, “what else have I got to do?” He told everyone how hard he’d worked and this is what he gets? He doesn’t know if this will ever happen for him. The audience screaming “you can do it!” and “Trevor” was genuinely heartwarming. Commentary sold it unbelievably well, with Joe and Tim Storm raging at the champ, while Velvet Sky had tears in her eyes at Trevor’s Murdoch.
Look, I don’t usually like DQ finishes to PPV’s. I usually find them cheap. But it really worked here, because for a moment, it really felt like Big Trev was going to win the Ten Pounds of Gold here and to have it snatched so underhandedly and so blatantly by the champ was heartbreaking. Trevor’s promo was the icing on the cake, personally. It must have worked because now I REALLY want to see Murdoch pull Aldis’ head off. That’s what good wrestling is meant to do. I applaud both men. This was a dramatic, hard-worked main event that left us wanting more. Brilliant. Very happy with that.
After a patchy but improving season of Powerrr, When Our Shadows Fall was the PPV the NWA needed to cap it off and show that they’re heading in the right direction. The show had a little bit of everything, just like a circus: Lucha Libre, big man-small man, women’s action, an old-school tag match in a modern format and a dramatic piece of storytelling in the main event. There was a little bit of something for everyone here and the buzz that has apparently been felt around the current TV tapings suggests things have only just begun (again) for Billy Corgan’s NWA.
I’m very much looking forward to the next chapter. In the meantime, if you haven’t, watch this show. You won’t regret it. Roll up, roll up…