By Dr. Jerry Wiseman. Photo courtesy of the National Wrestling Alliance.
In the annals of history there has always been that one person who remains behind the scenes, almost unrecognized for what they accomplish and more importantly the success they bring. Working not so much in the shadow but in a more clandestine capacity the day-to-day activities and game changing business decisions are often theirs alone to make, knowing that those decisions can mean the difference between success and failure. Almost every sporting group and business has their unsung hero and for the National Wrestling Alliance the man in that role is current CEO Chris Ronquillo.
The NWA, one of the oldest governing bodies in professional wrestling, became a different entity when Ronquillo and Bruce Tharpe took over the company. Over the course of the last 18 months the company has undergone a major structural change, adding new promotions, dropping those who were underperforming or that did not fit well with the business plan and solidifying the NWA roster as whole with some of the best talent on the indies including current NWA World Heavyweight Champion “Ironman” Rob Conway.
As much as Bruce Tharpe has been at the forefront of the NWA, not only as a “character” (heel manager) but fostering a relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling, Ronquillo has been working feverishly behind the scenes and helping to strengthen the NWA as a brand. Ronquillo has diligently endeavored to restore respect and presence to the NWA.
Much of the responsibility for doing the research and background on prospective NWA promotions fall upon Ronquillo’s shoulders. The importance of selecting which promotions join the NWA is far reaching and can greatly impact the integrity of the company. Ronquillo must be cautious in his selection for inclusion in the NWA and also has to conduct annual reviews of current promotions to make sure they are performing to the standards set forth by the bylaws, For some it may seem like little more than simple juggling things around or mixing and matching promotions but for Ronquillo it is more of a chess match where every move is calculated and one step further to securing checkmate.
Ronquillo is no stranger to promoting and running quality shows since he is part of NWA Houston, one of the premiere promotions carrying the brand. While NWA Houston may be the “hometown” promotion for the NWA a number of national talent has come in to wrestle for or defend major titles including the NWA World Championship, the NWA National Championship, the NWA World Jr. Championship, the NWA World Ladies Championship and others.
Since Ronquillo likes to work behind the scenes with the NWA he is often overlooked or rarely mentioned for what he does and what he brings to the NWA organization. With Ronquillo overlooking the day-to-day operations of the NWA it frees up Tharpe to further progress the NWA as a brand by solidifying the relationship with NJPW, working toward getting the NWA a national TV presence and making appearances at shows across the country to meet one-on-one with the promoters, the boys and the fans of the NWA.
While both men have been working hard to dispel the goings on of the naysayers and they have been actively involved in the progress of building the NWA brand back to one of respectability the toll it takes on their personal and professional lives is enormous. Rebuilding the NWA brand is a 24 hour job meaning time away from friends, family and loved ones so that the NWA will be restored to its once former glory.