This year has been a monumental one for the professional wrestling scene. Major seismic shifts has taken place with the emergence of All Elite Wrestling on Wednesday Nights, NXT debuting on the USA Network, and the resurfacing of the National Wrestling Alliance have all changed the wrestling landscape. I’ve skipped over NXT, tuned into the first two episodes of AEW Dynamite and over the course of this weekend (Saturday more specifically), I decided to wake up and head to YouTube to watch the first episode of NWA Power.
I had no idea what to expect going into my viewing of Power. I threw it on, as I remembered it popped up the week prior. So, in the interest of giving everything a shot once, I seeked it out. Why not!?
Now, before getting into that, I’d like to give my quick take on everything else currently.
To say that tuning into the first two episodes of AEW left me unsatisfied would be an understatement. I was hoping to be blown away with something super exciting and vastly different from WWE programming. Much to the disagreement of friends, that is not what I experienced. Instead, it just felt like another wrestling program with a slightly different coat of paint slapped over the top. An alternative to WWE? Sure. But, not a total departure from it. Which is what I was hoping for, honestly.
After watching the first two episodes, I’ve decided that I may not watch the third, because for me, there is a larger problem at work here. While I really enjoy the work of guys like Maxwell Jacob Friedman, The Young Bucks, Chris Jericho, and Jon Moxley, watching a basic, weekly wrestling show just doesn’t interest me anymore. I haven’t watched weekly wrestling like WWE television (including NXT), in at least three years. Quite simply, I gave up. Bland stories, the destruction of characters I loved, and the quick departures of logic left me disenchanted with the current product as a whole. So, I left it.
I fear that by inserting and heavily featuring third-string WWE outcasts, relying on those we know instead of those we have yet to know, and competing production value, AEW will just ultimately end up being a second-rate competitor.
With that clearly stated, I expected nothing from NWA Power.
There is no denying the fact that the NWA has been virtually the butt of every joke for the last twenty years, or so. Gone were the days of big-time stars, ushering in the days of no-names and glorified indy status.
But, after sitting down and giving Power a fair shake for the first episode, I am once again excited to watch current wrestling.
I knew as near nobody as possible. I had heard of Nick Aldis, naturally. Almost everybody else was new to me. And I liked it that way. No preconceived notion of past successes or failures made for a fresh watch of all new guys. Even the guys I was loosely familiar with, I knew I didn’t like or have a set feeling towards, but was able to look beyond as they blended making the overall product shine.
The first thing that popped off the screen was the ode to wrestling’s heyday. Old school graphics, studio style setup, and even an 80’s tune to crank in the intro grabbed me immediately. It felt super cool, riding that line of homage and parody (sometimes a little too finely), and I was into it.
The promos feel real, uncanned. The interviewer as well as commentary (which includes Jim Cornette) forgets getting themselves over and just does their job, and most importantly, the wrestlers wrestle. No need for quick and fancy camera cuts, big LED screens, or over-the-top entrances… Just fighting, plain and simple. Which, I really enjoyed.
I really liked the Tag Champs, The Wildcards, I was able to be impressed and drawn in by Nick Aldis (despite not being the biggest fan of his), and I was sold on the old school face work of Tim Storm! Hell, I don’t like James Storm, but he came across like a legit badass, too!
Nearly every talent featured on NWA Power was delivered perfectly. Storytelling was there and nobody was playing wrestler, they just were one. If I was a current talent, this is where I’d want to be.
NWA Power didn’t feel like just another wrestling program, it felt special. A breed unto its own that taps into the old school fan in me, while staying steady in the raging current that is 2019 professional wrestling. This is no easy feat, but NWA came through, big time.
I will be watching from here on out. If you are a fan of the old school professional wrestling style and presentation, I suggest you do the same.
I walked in expecting to be disappointed and walked out impressed.
And dammit, it feels good to be truly excited about pro wrestling again!