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WRESTLING COLUMNS

Future Of The NWA Title
September 20, 2006 by Anto G.


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If you are a knowledgeable wrestling fan like myself, you will know that the NWA World Title is the most prestigious wrestling belt in the world. Not the famous WWE title (which has a lot of history) and definitely not the ROH Title which has been around for four years (although it has had some creditable champions like Samoa Joe, CM Punk, Bryan Danielson, James Gibson etc.) Yes the belt that has lineage dating back to 1905 and recognised as a World Title in 1952 when it was unified with four titles from around the world to become the NWA World Title. When you look back to the stature of men whom had worn this gold in their prime like Harley Race, Lou Thesz, Dory Funk Jr, Terry Funk, Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Dusty Rhodes, Jack Briscoe, Sting etc, it’s not hard to realise why wrestling historians consider the NWA Title the best. Sure it has been devalued over the years by letting people like Shane Douglas and Gary Steele hold the belt (thank God Steve Corino and Shinya Hashimoto held it in those “dark years”). Now it is held in TNA, the future of Pro Wrestling, and is rightfully called that for a reason. If TNA are going to be a threat to WWE, they need to push fresh home-grown talent to become a proper alternative and not been a promotion filled with also-rans. This is my shortlist of fresh, home-grown talent who could be a possible NWA Champion in the future.

Samoa Joe: Easily the best choice and my favourite for new NWA Champion. The former ROH champion has the in-ring skills, promo skills, toughness and look about him to be a long-term champion. (watch him in ROH of you don’t believe me) He also is good at carrying opponents to a higher level and can have consistently good to great matches on a PPV stage. Has won numerous singles titles in numerous promotions and has legitimised himself in the NWA title mix by beating Jeff Jarrett, Scott Steiner, Monty Brown and Rhino. My only complaint however, is that he doesn’t have the champion’s look which all NWA champions should have as the casual audience’s perception is important.

Verdict: Should be the man soon and hopefully he will have a six month to a year title run to keep his undefeated streak going.

Chris Harris: Unless you have been watching TNA for most of it’s existence, you won’t agree with me. Chris Harris came so close to beating Jeff Jarrett for the NWA title on several occasions a few years ago when James Storm was injured. As well as wearing plenty of tag team gold with James Storm, (six NWA World tag team titles) he has won singles gold in NWA Cyberspace where he has competed against Jeff Jarrett, Abyss and Bobby Roode so he has experience against actual TNA talent. Turning heel has helped out his career as his promo skills have improved and has a champions aura about him too, not to mention having endless quality matches in singles and tag team bouts in TNA. He will have to prove himself on a national stage as a legit contender to the title, Harris and Storm have done all they can as a tandem.

Verdict: Could be a fresh ingredient in the title mix as he has had both singles and tag team success. Could be the next Bret Hart in that sense.

Bobby Roode: If you have seen the hype on Impact, Roode is set for a push in the NWA title mix with a manager guiding his career. Bobby Roode has had plenty of singles success in Border City Wrestling and NWA Cyberspace to name a couple. He has the promo skills, finishing move, personality and look to stand out from the pack. He also revels in being a heel. However his matches and work rate will have to improve if he is going to prove to me (and the audience) that he will become NWA champion. Won’t happen

Verdict: An established manager will help him getting out of the mid-card but it’s hard to see him come up trumps against the more established veterans in the division.

Abyss: An interesting dark horse for the NWA title, the monster has a charismatic manager to do his talking (much like Paul Bearer but has a better mug) and Abyss quietly and slowly goes up the ladder of contention. While he is not technical marvel, he is a very good worker and can blend well with various styles of wrestlers (high-fliers, hardcore, big men etc.) His ability to dish out and absorb punishment is breathtaking at times and although he looks dangerous in those sideshow matches, he tends to get lost in the shuffle and can be put in contenders matches where he is nearly always against the odds. Much like Kane, he can be an upper-card to top card wrestler who can always be a threat to the title mix.

Verdict: Big, imposing and very dangerous to anyone, but it’s hard to see him be anything more than a possible transitional champion.

Monty Brown: The former New England and Buffalos linebacker has a lot going for him, he has top-drawer verbal skills, a superstar look and a great physique amongst a roster of smaller wrestlers. His explosive power moves and surprising agility makes it easy for fans to notice him and not to mention he has that NFL background for the mainstream to pick up on. His wrestling skills have a lot to be desired as in lengthy bouts, he tends to be exposed as an average talent and this must be rectified or he won’t get close to the NWA title which is a shame as he has the other tools necessary. The fact that WWE have shown interest in him shows he is a talent worth having around and if he does stay in TNA, I hope he can work towards his NWA title dream.

Verdict: If he stays in TNA, he will only reach upper-mid card status until his PPV matches improve. If he goes to WWE, he could become the next Rock and looking at the similarities, it’s not hard to see why.

These five are my best bets for home-grown talent to become household stars in the near future and erase that rejects tag that doubters claim TNA is. Note that I have not included A-1 or Lance Hoyt as they are too raw and bland to be worthwhile candidates. Slowly but surely TNA is getting just a little bit closer to being a legitimate rival to WWE and if house shows, potential international tours and a future two-hour Impact show is anything to go by, I think that could happen sooner rather then later. TNA hasn’t come close to it’s peak, just remember that. I would give it three years and see if it is as good as TNA fans say it is to compete with WWE.

by Anto G. ..


Jon Rosaler wrote:
These 5 would make great NWA Champions, but I have an additional 2 you could add.

Christopher Daniels: His partner, AJ Styles is already the first Triple Crown Champion in TNA, if Daniels wins it, he will become the second, him or Joe. When AJ Styles first won it, people would question this outcome of events as AJ Styles would dominate as the best Face Champion, but now we have Sting to fill in that spotlight.

Jay Lethal: I know for a fact Lethal would make a great NWA Champion, just watch his match with Jeff Jarrett and you'll see. He's all ready a Former AWA Champion, it's only a matter of time until he gets that push that will make him the underdog Champion.
Harry Katsaros wrote:
How could you not include Chris Daniels in that list? He is IMO the most worthy for the title and could definitely prove to be one of the greatest NWA champions in recent memory. Just look back at his X- title run, how much credibility did he give to that title. He is one of the best talkers in wrestling at the moment, he is one of the best in-ring performers and can carry anyone in a match and besides all that, he has that X factor. There is something about him that people like and something that allows for him to put over other guys. Along with Joe, Chris Daniels is the best choice for NWA Champion both now and for the near future. He would give the title some much needed credibility and I think even return the aura of prestige to it, just like he did the X-Division belt.
Jonathan Preston wrote:
For starters, as a knowledgeable wrestling fan like yourself, how could you forget about AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels. And as far as Monte Brown goes, he deserves to be the champ. He has been held down since he's been in TNA. It is absolutely ridiculous that Monte Brown hasn't had a title since he's been with the company. I definitely agree with you that he needs to go to the WWE and let them give him a push and he'll rise to the occasion over there. I also agree that Samoa Joe is going to be an NWA champion real soon. He is probably one of the most talked about wrestlers in all of Pro Wrestling. But, the new leader of TNA and the next champion is the wrestling machine Kurt F'n Angle!!! Oh its true, its true!!!!!!!
TAZ23JS wrote:
I totally agree with you about abyss I believe he would be a perfect body and he has the ability to put on great matches being one of TNA!'S trainers he knows the talent they just have to calm the monster thing down and stop letting him squash people or lose because of how stupid he is supposed to be kind of like Kane did.
Anto G. (Original Author) wrote:
Thanks for the replys to my column. Here is what I think of some of your choices for NWA champ. Chris Sabin will never be NWA champ as he seems destined to be just an X-Division player. Jay Lethal although talented, has no real personaility but I wouldn't rule him out. OK the reason why I didn't include Christopher Daniels is because I don't think that TNA management won't push him into the heavyweight bracket fior which I don't know why. AJ Styles has been NWA champ three times and this was about possible future champions. The five are the most obvoius (at the moment) to be pushed considerably for the NWA title chase and because I felt they should be there ( so should Christopher Daniels). Anyway thamks for those reply and catch my new column; Ups and downs of the X-Division. Laters
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