With the building buzz of Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan taking over ownership of the prestigious National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) on October 1st, alongside former WWE and Impact Wrestling Creative member Dave Lagana, there were plenty of questions about the titles of the NWA. The most concerning was that of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship – after all, at one time this was the world’s most prestigious World title, with a lineage dating all the way back to 1948, when Orville Brown was crowned the inaugural NWA World Champion after beating Sonny Myers.
Throughout the proceeding decades, it became the belt of honour held by such legends as Lou Thesz, Harley Race, Dory Funk Jr., Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair, and many, many more. But following WCW‘s withdrawal from the NWA in 1993, the tarnish began to lose it’s luster – between WCW and the WWF, most of the strongest NWA territories had been absorbed or dried up. In 1994, when a tournament was designed to re-establish the title and crown a new champion, the winner, Shane Douglas, proceeded to throw down the title and the NWA territory he represented, Eastern Championship Wrestling (ECW) announced it’s withdrawal and rebranding as Extreme Championship Wrestling in one of the industry’s most infamous promos.
The NWA tried to build back, first with a short lived association with the WWF in the early stages of the Attitude Era’s prologue, and then working with upstart TNA (now Impact Wrestling) in it’s formative years, but the NWA never managed to reach the same level of tradition, influence or prestige as it had for the over 50 years previously. Following their departure from the TNA alliance in 2007, many great wrestlers have held the NWA World title, including Colt Cabana, Sabu, Adam Pierce, and Hiroyoshi Tenzan, but the NWA’s name has largely fallen out of the on-going narrative of today’s pro wrestling industry.
The current NWA World Champion is most likely one of the least recognizable names of the past 15 years to hold the title. And perhaps one of the most unlikely. It’s currently being worn around the waist of 52-year old Tim Storm, a 20-year veteran of the industry who, like WWE Hall of Famer Diamond Dallas Page, didn’t even enter the ring until his 30s. “Tim has all the characteristics of the prototype NWA champion,” said former NWA Director James Beard in an interview with Slam Sports back in 2016. “And I believe whenever he is done, no matter how long he remains on top, his legacy will be that he represented the NWA in the traditions of the men that preceded him and did so with honor and a style that makes his time as champion fitting to have his name among that elite group of wrestlers.”
From Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Storm himself grew up an NWA fan, being in close proximity to many of the NWA’s top territories, such as Mid-South, Georgia Championship Wrestling and others. “This truly is my mountain top,” Storm told James Walsh recently on Interactive Wrestling Radio. “I grew up an NWA fan. I was very fortunate being in the area of the United States that I was that I got a lot of wrestling every weekend. But, the NWA was where it was at for me. I still look at that as the best time in wrestling history. I know there are a lot of great eras and a lot of the younger people would see other eras as the thing that drew them in. But, the NWA and the talent roster they had is what pulled me in.”
Storm made his start in Arlington, Texas’ Professional Championship Wrestling (PCW) from the early 2000’s through it’s demise in 2009, capturing the PCW Heavyweight title once. In 2007, he made a brief appearance in the WWE’s rebooted ECW brand, losing to Big Daddy V on TV. But following PCW’s demise, Storm began to work around the various remaining NWA affiliates, such as NWA Texoma and Elite Championship Wrestling amongst others.
Last month, Storm made his debut with Championship Wrestling From Hollywood (CWFH), carrying the NWA World Championship he won almost a year ago from Jax Dane. He declared his “mission statement” on what he hoped to do with the title going forward with the new ownership.
NWA is still in a massive rebuilding phase under Corgan and Lagana, rebranding with new Twitter and Instagram accounts to keep people updated as they prepare to launch fully.
History… Legacy… Tradition… Future
This is the @NWA
— NWA Wrestling (@nwa) October 18, 2017