Founded in September 1999, NWA Wildside quickly became a popular independent promotion based out of Cornelia, Georgia. Several notable names came through Wildside including the likes of AJ Styles, Abyss, Jimmy Rave, Matt Sydal and many others. At one point, Wildside became the developmental system for World Championship Wrestling (WCW). Wildside ceased operations in April 2005 when Bill Behrens joined WWE.
In this series, I’ll be looking at past NWA Wildside matches and matches that were a spinoff of Wildside over the years.
Match #1: Abyss vs. NWA Wildside Champion Onyx – 2/7/2004
Reason For Review: An interesting match on paper for me. Onyx got some buzz through the PWI magazine during this time and outside of his very brief TNA run, I haven’t watched a lot of Onyx. Abyss had finally gotten some momentum in TNA and seeing two power guys going at it could be interesting.
Onyx ducks a clothesline and hammers away on Abyss before the bell sounds. Abyss gets a few right hands in on Onyx. Onyx clotheslines Abyss over the top to the floor. Abyss misses a splash in the corner, but catches Onyx on a crossbody attempt. Onyx sends Abyss into the ropes and Abyss trips over Onyx. Onyx locks in a dragon sleeper, but Abyss rams Onyx into the corner. Onyx elbows Abyss, but is press slammed to the mat gut first. Abyss scares the referee to the floor and works over Onyx with strikes on the mat. Onyx delivers a few strikes to the midsection, but Abyss knocks Onyx to the mat. Abyss overhand chops Onyx in the corner and taunts the crowd. Onyx chops Abyss several times, but Abyss stops Onyx with a splash in the corner. Abyss sends Onyx into the guard railing a couple of times. Abyss sends Onyx face first into the ring post. Abyss goes under the ring and grabs a table and sets it up on the floor.
Onyx stops Abyss on the apron with right hands to stagger Abyss. Abyss stops a charging Onyx and throws Onyx away. Abyss gets in the ring and signals for a chokeslam, but Onyx elbows free. Abyss boots Onyx and tries for Shock Treatment, but settles for a big boot as Onyx comes off the ropes. Abyss chokes Onyx in the corner to maintain control. Onyx hammers away on Abyss and avoids another splash in the corner. Abyss hits the corner groin first and crashes to the mat. Onyx ducks a clothesline to hit a shoulder block. Onyx plants Abyss with a spinebuster for a near fall. Onyx shoulder rams Abyss in the corner. Abyss boots Onyx in the corner, but runs into a powerslam leading to a near fall. Abyss avoids a DDT by ramming Onyx into the referee in the corner. Abyss plants Onyx with a Black Hole Slam, but there’s no referee. Jeff Bailey, Abyss’s manager, gives Abyss a chair. Abyss wedges the chair in the corner. Onyx counters and sends Abyss into the chair face first. Onyx hits a DDT, but there’s still no referee. Abyss grabs Onyx hitting the Shock Treatment for a two count. Abyss goes for a chokeslam, but Onyx counters with another DDT for the clean win. (**1/2. Not too bad of a match and much better than anything Onyx ever did in TNA during 2004. The clean finish was a bit of a shocker, but I love it as it gives Onyx a credible win over a known name.)
Match #2: Kenny Omega vs. NWA Wildside Television Champion Todd Sexton – 2/19/2005
Reason For Reviewing: Omega competing in Wildside is something I was not aware of. Omega is one of the best to ever compete and checking out his early work in Wildside is a no brainer. I have not seen anything involving Sexton before, but there’s no better introduction than a match against Omega.
Omega goes behind Sexton to start the bout, but Sexton counters with a headlock. Omega gets a hammerlock on the champ for a moment. Sexton counters with a hammerlock and takes Omega down to the mat. Omega keeps wrist control, but Sexton counters. Omega goes back to a hammerlock, but Sexton gets a rollup for a near fall. Sexton keeps a front face lock on Omega. Omega continues with a hammerlock on Omega. Sexton shoulder blocks Omega and ducks a kick. They trade headlock takedowns and Sexton goes to the floor to regroup. Sexton kicks Omega and delivers an uppercut in the corner several times. Omega boots Sexton in the corner and hip tosses Sexton a couple of times. Omega slams Sexton followed by an elbow drop for a two count. Sexton atomic drops Omega and delivers a swinging neckbreaker. Sexton stomps Omega in the corner and chokes Omega. Sexton forearms Omega in the corner and crotches Omega on the top rope. Omega is put in the tree of woe and Sexton hits a dropkick. Sexton keeps a headlock on Omega as the show goes to commercial.
Omega elbows free and boots Sexton a few times. Omega sunset flips Sexton for a two count. Sexton kicks Omega on the side of the head for a two count. Sexton locks in a cobra clutch. Omega breaks free, but Sexton clotheslines Omega. Omega forearms Sexton followed by a running high knee and a bulldog for a two count. Omega chops Sexton against the ropes followed by forearms. Omega blocks a kick and hits a full nelson suplex for a near fall. Omega forearms Sexton in the corner. Omega splashes Sexton in the corner, but runs into a superkick. Sexton locks in an STF in the middle of the ring. Sexton pummels Omega with a flurry of strikes to the back and locks in the STF again. Omega can’t reach the ropes and is forced to submit. (**1/2. You can’t go into this match expecting peak Omega, obviously. Still, it’s a solid match with Omega impressing more so than Sexton. Sexton isn’t a bad wrestler, but he’s much more basic and mat based. Omega didn’t display his trademark offense that fans grew to love, but it’s a fine match despite that.)
Match #3: Amazing Red vs. Slim J – 8/3/2002
Reason For Reviewing: I’m a big fan of Amazing Red around this time as his offense was incredible and was a fantastic babyface. Slim J was a guy I had completely forgotten about since early TNA and ROH when he reappeared in AEW. It had been so long that I didn’t and don’t really remember his work. So, this is a perfect match to see Red at his best and get reminded about Slim J.
Red controls with a drop toe hold and a front face lock on the mat. J counters with a wrist lock, but Red counters with one of his own. J yanks Red down to the mat, but Red delivers leg sweep for a near fall. They trade arm drags and they both go for dropkicks leading to a standoff. Red wants to shake hands, but J kicks Red’s hand away. J ducks a clothesline and goes to the apron where Red knocks J to the floor. Red takes J out with a somersault dive to the floor! Red rolls J into the ring and manages a two count. Red sends J chest first into the corner and dropkicks J. J leg sweeps Red and misses a running corkscrew splash. Red arm drags J followed by a heel kick for a two count. Red decks J with a right hand. Red boots J in the corner, but J hits a spinning kick off the middle rope. J goes for a cover managing a two count. J backdrops Red coming off the ropes for a near fall. J kicks Red on the back of the head for a near fall. J works over Red in the corner with a right hand. Red goes to the apron and hits a swinging flatliner for a near fall.
Red works over J with right hands against the ropes, but is met with a low blow. J hits a swinging fisherman buster DDT for a two count. J spikes Red with a brainbuster followed by a leg drop for a two count. J has Red on his shoulders, but Red hits a reverse hurricanrana for a two count. Red leg sweeps J and hits the Red Star Press for a near fall. Red stomps on J in the corner before hitting a forearm in the corner. J hits the Victoria Driver, but Red kicks out at two. J hammers away on Red and hits a spinning heel kick. J delivers a low blow to Red. J kicks Red two times with one to the back of the head for a near fall. J slams Red to the mat and goes to the top rope. J misses a 450 and lands on his feet where Red delivers a kick. Red misses the Infrared. J has Red on his shoulders and hits Anger Management for the win. (***. A good match with some big spots to pop the crowd. I was a bit surprised by J getting the clean win, but clean wins always get bonus points from me. They worked the kind of match you’d expect with some crazy spots and a good pace.)
Match #4: Mike Sanders vs. Lazz – 12/14/2000
Reason For Reviewing: Lazz is a unique character and had one showing in TNA a few years later that is something that I remember for some odd reason. This match is intriguing because WCW was still going on and Sanders had been a regular character for months. In fact, Sanders was the WCW Commissioner at the time of the match. Wildside was a developmental for WCW at this time, which I find interesting, too.
Lazz backs Sanders into the corner, but backs off cleanly. Sanders complains of a hair pull that didn’t happen. Sanders backs Lazz into the corner, but Lazz rubs his butt on Sanders. Lazz punches Sanders followed by a crossbody for a two count. Lazz yanks Sanders out of the corner and delivers a headbutt to the groin two times. Sanders low blows Lazz two times and taunts the crowd. Sanders drops Lazz with a right hand. Sanders hits a pump handle suplex. Sanders stomps Lazz on the mat to keep control of the match leading to a near fall. Sanders kicks Lazz on the chest followed by a fist drop. Sanders eye rakes Lazz and keeps a sleeper on Lazz. Lazz elbows free, but is yanked down to the mat. Lazz almost wins with a rollup, but Sanders delivers a clothesline to regain control. Sanders keeps a sleeper on Lazz. Lazz puts a sleeper on Sanders, but is rammed into the corner and clotheslined to the mat. Sanders chokes Lazz on the mat. Sanders puts a cobra clutch on Lazz, but doesn’t get a submission. Lazz breaks free and spears Sanders. Lazz taunts Sanders in the corner. Sanders sends Lazz into the turnbuckle and hits the 3.0. Sanders taunts fans in the front row. Sanders ends up being counted out. (*. What a bizarre finish to the match. I guess you’re not going to have a WCW wrestler lose to a Wildside guy, but losing by count out in the way that Sanders did was just silly.)
That wraps up the first installment. Thanks for reading.
34-year-old currently living in Syracuse, New York. Long-time fan of the New York Mets, Chicago Bulls, and Minnesota Vikings. An avid fan of professional wrestling and write reviews/articles on the product. Usually focusing on old-school wrestling.