When the NWA announced that they were going to be starting a professional wrestling promotion on YouTube, I have to admit that I was probably one of the more skeptical people out there. What the hell does Billy Corgan know about running a wrestling promotion? What are they going to be able to bring that isn’t already fulfilled by countless other promotions out there in the world today? How on Earth will they bring prestige back to championship titles that have been tossed aside by so many promotions of the past?
A few days ago I pre-ordered Into the Fire, the first PPV of the NWA since they started on YouTube. Not only is this their first major PPV since they redebuted but it also happens to be the very first PPV that I have ever pre-ordered. As of yet not a single match has been announced but the pre-order was a no-brainer, not because of what the NWA will do but because of what they don’t do.
For the last 20+ years professional wrestling has become so formula driven as to make watching the product completely unnecessary in order to know what occurred on the program. The first 20 minutes are given to some asinine cookie cutter promo given by one of the promotions top stars, this ends in a challenge for a match at the end of the night. Next up you’ll have a match that’s almost always meaningless which will be interrupted by one of the heels in the company, almost never does this actually lead to anything, it’s just done to get the crowd going. Another tag or singles match will follow, this one may or may not progress a feud but it will almost never end cleanly.
Once you reach the second hour you might as well turn it off and find some better use of your time because nothing happens during the second hour. It’s primarily filled with backstage segments, maybe a squash match, and hype for the next PPV.
The third hour begins much like the first, another promo, usually given by the opposing side of the earlier promo. Once again it’s cookie cutter, so you don’t get any passion or excitement from it as it could have been given by any of the hundreds of wrestlers in the promotion. We get another filler match or two, done to make the main event seem spectacular.
Finally we reach the main event and by this time you’re just ready for it to be over but it’s generally a decent match but almost never does it end cleanly, you don’t tend to care because we’ve been trained to believe that this is how it’s always been and you only get clean finishes on PPV’s. By the end of it, if you’re like me, you look at the clock, wonder why you spent the last three hours watching a program you didn’t like, and realize work is just a few hours away.
So what does the NWA do here that the other promotions don’t? Well it’s one hour of wrestling for starters. The interviews forward the stories but they’re short and to the point. Somehow the NWA fills one hour with more wrestling than other promotions put into a two or three hour program. What the NWA has done is create an entertaining wrestling program instead of an entertainment program that happens to feature some wrestling.
Secondly, I care about the people in the ring. We’re not seeing a roster of hundreds but a select group of wrestlers, much as it was in years past. From my understanding workers will come and go in the promotion on short term deals which will keep the promotion fresh while also constantly feeding new challengers to their top stars. Ricky Starks, Thunder Rosa, Nick Aldis, Tim Storm, Marti Belle, The Dawsons, each and every one of these wrestlers have been introduced to us in such a way as to make them both down to Earth but also still larger than life.
Newer fans will be taken back by the lack of elaborate entrances, entrance music, and long celebration sequences with that same music blaring. However this is actually a blessing as it equates to more time for wrestling. Your average entrance sequence is between 3 and 5 minutes on TV, consider that on a three hour program you’re seeing 15-20 entrances and you realize, damn that’s a lot of watching people walk to and from the ring. Older fans will remember when the big entrances were something special, seen only at big events and I’m hoping that is the case with the NWA. Even if it’s not it’s something that I’m perfectly happy to give up in exchange for more wrestling.
Lastly, I’ve yet to see any sort of spot heavy match in the NWA. All of these workers know how to wrestle and they don’t need a triple threat burning table on a ladder match to highlight their capabilities. It’s wrestling plain and simple, which I absolutely love. If you would have told me that the key to an excellent promotion would be to strip away everything we’ve become so used to and go back to the very basics of professional wrestling, I would have called you a liar, but that’s exactly what the NWA has done.
The future is bright for the NWA!