It was the night the NWA family had been anticipating for a long time—for nearly 12 months in fact. After the COVID pandemic had halted the momentum the promotion had been riding since Billy Corgan became the owner in 2017, subsequent losses of talent and the release of then-Vice President Dave Lagana only seemed to further derail the company.
So when the promotion’s entire YouTube channel suddenly removed its content, it got tongues wagging. Finally, on March 2nd, the NWA confirmed their return via social media with the announcement of Back For The Attack, a live PPV to be aired exclusively on Fite (and Virgin Media in the UK).
It was exciting news but also a little bit of a step into the unknown again. What would the NWA look like now, what with all the changes? As it happens, a lot like the Powerrr of old. An energetic opening video brought us to GBP Studios in Atlanta once again, although one of the smaller studios this time to compensate for a smaller audience (a small, invited audience were there to give the show atmosphere, although they did not appear on camera). The familiar blue and yellow ring and retro interview podium were waiting for us once again like old friends.
Reminiscent of the first episode of Powerrr, we got an excellent Nick Aldis promo to kick us off with, welcoming us back and thanking us for sticking the course. Aldis is a masterful speaker and this was no exception. It felt like a general (a ring general?) rallying the troops before sending them over the top.
But what about the new talent? How did they fare on the night? Read on as I take a look over the night’s big matches.
Slice Boogie vs. Jordan Clearwater vs. Jax Dane vs. Crimson
Fatal four-ways are strange matches. They only really work if there’s a reason all four men are duking it out at once. Having said that, this was a fun opener that, while it could have done with a little more time, was entertaining and got me warmed up nicely for the show ahead.
Commentary acknowledged Crimson and Dane’s past as The War Kings, which was nice, and the two men did actually work together at points, giving me hope that The War Kings might be a fixture in the NWA tag title scene moving forward. Jordan Clearwater looked a little lost on occasion, having to wrestle a match that doesn’t really lend itself to his style. Still, he was able to deliver enough to show people why he is such a popular fixture on Championship Wrestling from Hollywood.
But it was Boogie that perhaps came out looking the best, his energetic brawling style suited to the chaos of a four-man match. He took the win with a (slightly clumsy) Gotch-style piledriver, giving the newcomer to the Alliance the seal of approval and some nice momentum to begin his time in the NWA.
JR Kratos vs. Tyrus
Ok. I tried to watch this one objectively and put any concerns about the hiring to Tyrus to one side (I know some of you may not share those concerns). But, when it came down to it…this just wasn’t a good match. I like Kratos, and he tried his best, but the problem really did seem to lie with Tyrus.
I appreciate Tyrus isn’t young anymore (he’s 48). But, for comparison, Tim Storm is in much better shape than Tyrus was in here. He really didn’t seem ring-ready at all. Consequently, this was a stumbling, plodding ‘big boys collide’-type match, reminiscent of, say, Earthquake vs. Tugboat—not the kind of match any promotion should be really pushing anymore, never mind the NWA.
I liked that Tyrus is not being pushed at us as a face. With the attitude towards him amongst the fandom presently, that wouldn’t have worked in the slightest. But if the NWA is really hot on the guy, even with the controversy, then they need to make sure he looks like he should be in the ring. On this night, he really did not. That will not buy him any goodwill from those who are already predisposed against him.
NWA TV Champion ‘The Pope’ Elijah Burke vs. Tom Latimer
This was a match that was very eagerly anticipated amongst the NWA family, and I’m happy to say it did not disappoint. In fact, it was the second-best match of the night.
There’s a sense that people still sleep on Pope. They shouldn’t. This was a fast-paced, hard-hitting encounter that benefitted from its 10 minutes 5 seconds time limit (the time limit previously was 6 minutes and 5 seconds on Powerrr to pay tribute to the famous 6:05 pm show start time). The great thing about the time limit is that it means title defences have to be wrestled with a sense of urgency, especially by the challenger. That reduced time to capture the title means there’s no time for rest holds and lingering side headlocks.
Latimer gave as good as he got, matching Pope on speed and bringing his bad-tempered physicality to proceedings. On the flip side, I thought Pope broke Latimer when he nailed him with a particularly brutal buckle bomb. That one looked like it really hurt!
As we got to the last minute, the tension was palpable. The pace increased but there was nothing doing. The match was called as a time-limit draw, much to Tom Latimer’s chagrin. I was happy with the result, though. Neither man looked weak and if this leads to the relaunched Powerrr’s first big feud, I’m all for it.
Thunder Rosa vs. Kamille
This was a curious match. Rosa is one of the best wrestlers in the world, regardless of gender, and is perhaps the only other name, outside of Nick Aldis, that immediately evokes the modern NWA when mentioned. Kamille, on the other hand, is an absolute machine and has been synonymous with Nick Aldis since the 70th Anniversary show. The NWA clearly has big plans for Kamille, so I didn’t know how this one would go.
While it’s fair to say Kamille is still green and a little rough and ready, she has clearly got a lot of potential and there’s no doubt she will be a big star. I liken her currently to late-80s Lex Luger: she’s got the look, the charisma, and the enthusiasm, but she just needs the right opponent to bring the best out of her.
Rosa is absolutely the right opponent and she made Kamille look great, selling Kamille’s power offence well with those great facial expressions only Rosa can do. Rosa fought fire with fire, tying Kamille up in knots on the mat and throwing some stiff strikes. A fierce fight on the floor was exhilarating but this opened up a wider problem.
The ref during this match was useless. He didn’t count either woman out as they fought at ringside, nor did he intimate any risk of disqualification as things turned nasty. Looking at social media, it took a lot of people out of the match, and I’m not surprised. We as fans want to suspend our sense of disbelief; to do that, the presentation really has to play by the rules.
Despite this, it was a solid match that was never less than entertaining. It took Kamille not one but two spears to finish Thunder Rosa off, something that made both women look good. By virtue of this surprise victory, Kamille now has the opportunity to face NWA Women’s Champion Serena Deeb at an unspecified date in the future. Will this be the way the NWA brings the woman’s title back home from AEW? With the (at least potential) chance that Thunder Rosa will sign full-time with AEW once her NWA contract is up, is Billy looking to make Kamille the face of his women’s division? If so, I certainly wouldn’t complain.
NWA National Heavyweight Champion Trevor Murdoch vs. Chris Adonis
This was the match on paper that I was looking forward to the most. Whilst we didn’t get the hoss fight I was expecting, this was still a good match, even if it was a little slow to get going.
In fact, it was a lot more old-school than I was expecting. The early parts of the match saw Trevor Murdoch ground Masters with a series of side headlocks that lent a languid pace to proceedings initially. Things perked up when Masters took control as he began bullying Murdoch with his aggressive edge and managed to avoid a Murdoch top rope bulldog. He also attempted the Master Lock but Murdoch luckily reached the ropes.
Murdoch was able to come back though with a flying crossbody from the top before countering another Master Lock attempt with a roll-up for the pinfall victory.
Perhaps more exciting than the actual match was the aftermath. As the two men shook hands, Masters turned and attacked Murdoch, finally cinching in the Master Lock to put a world of hurt on the champ. Although I wasn’t a big fan of the early parts of this match, I liked the rest enough to be excited by the prospect of a feud between these two.
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis vs. Aron Stevens
Earlier in the night, Stevens cut an excellent, highly charged promo and promised us he deserved to be in this match, even if he was the underdog. He had also, in recent weeks, promised that the wisecracking, comedy version of him would not be on display. Tonight he was going to be strictly business.
Well, he was true to his word. This match was a revelation. In fact, I would say this was the best I have ever seen Stevens wrestle, and if he was to give up the comedy (which, for the record, I enjoy) and present us with this side of his abilities instead, I would be overwhelmingly behind such a move. He was that good.
Coming out in simple black trunks and bringing an intensity I had never seen in him before, Aron Stevens came across like a legitimate NWA main eventer from the 70s or 80s. He attacked Aldis with real determination, as well as taking him to the mat and tying the champ up. There was a real bite to his strikes, especially his Roaring Elbow, and his execution was crisp.
There was great psychology on display too. Whereas Thunder Rosa had worked on various body parts during her match with Kamille rather than focussing on one key area and exploiting the weakness, Stevens sensibly focussed on Aldis’ back, the reasoning being that Aldis couldn’t cinch the Kings Lynn Cloverleaf in deep enough if his back was hurt. Even when Stevens whipped Aldis into the ring post on the outside, Aldis went back first. Aldis, for his part, worked the back and the legs of Stevens in anticipation of locking in the Cloverleaf.
There were some brilliant near-falls in the closing moments and if I have only one complaint about this match, it was that Aldis’ victory-clinching roll-up at the end seemed a little anti-climatic and out of nowhere. But it’s a minor quibble. This is the kind of match I want to see for the Ten Pounds of Gold. More than that, this is the Aron Stevens we need to see moving forward: p****d off and driven to prove himself.
A very classy tribute to the late Joseph Hudson (Josephus/The Question Mark) took place afterward, as the locker room entered the ring and everyone did a Mongrovian salute. I believe Joseph’s wife was the one holding the Mongrovian flag. Stevens looked genuinely emotional and we went to black on this powerful, lump-in-the-throat image.
While the card hadn’t looked that exciting on paper, Back For The Attack was actually a very strong return to action. New feuds were set up in Pope/Latimer and Murdoch/Masters; Kamille earned an opportunity to challenge for the NWA Women’s Championship, and Aron Stevens put in a performance of a lifetime in the main event. The tributes to Joseph Hudson were classy and not overdone. There were two really great matches in the World Heavyweight and TV title matches, three other good matches, and only one bad match really in the form of Tyrus and JR Kratos.
Whilst it’s prudent to be cautious, with Back For The Attack the NWA proved that, after all the recent upheavals, they still have a lot to offer.
Once more into the fire we go. I can’t wait.