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    Tuesday, December 17, 2019

    The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: NWA Into The Fire


    This is it.

    All the controversy in the back half of Powerrr's first season and all the disjointed storytelling that was borne out of Jim Cornette making a tasteless fried chicken joke has come to this. It's on NWA's first PPV in their weekly YouTube content era to solidify whether the embattled company can get its shit together and stand as a thing in the populated pro wrestling landscape in 2019 Anno Domini.

    The short answer is that NWA's heavy hitters pull it through. What's wonderful about the show is that at two hours and 20 minutes, it doesn't overstay its welcome, making me wish all big wrestling events were this tight. The first hour and a half feels like an extended run of Powerrr, with all the random undercard matches and a debut; but once it gets into the meatier stuff past the halfway point, the stories get more compelling.

    Extremely notable is the complete shade of gray NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis is painted in—all throughout the Powerrr season he fluctuates between likable gentleman and ducking champion, and the fuzziness doesn't stop at this show. There's no better partner for him to have than James Storm, who just wants to fight but is totally abrasive about it, barely making him the babyface in this equation. All you need to know is that Aldis retains the title in a completely morally ambiguous manner, and as someone who's always wanted pro wrestling stories to clearly define who is good and who is bad, I'm completely enthralled by the promise of seeing the National Treasure's true colors.

    And just when you think the night is over, NWA isn't done throwing out its surprises. You've probably already seen it by now, but a new challenger in the form of "The Villain" Marty Scurll enters the battle, making him the first guy in the company who isn't a TNA or Lucha Underground castoff.

    If we're measuring Into the Fire by how much interest the show drummed up for Powerrr and the rest of its brand, I'm calling it a success. Not a major success by any means, but I'm excited to see where the second season goes after this.

    Into the Fire Grade: B+

    Match of the Night

    While the main event is some top-level storytelling from Nick Aldis and James Storm, I felt like it was the one match they didn't need to rush. So I'll give this one to the three-way match for the NWA National Championship between Colt Cabana, Ricky Starks, and Aron Stevens—much more fun to watch.

    Other observations

    • Definitely thought Stu Bennett was a serviceable replacement for Jim Cornette here. It doesn't sound like the old NWA, but who needs the old NWA when they're working toward the future?
    • Really glad to finally hear some entrance music on this show. If they proved that themes are possible in a studio setup, then they should be playing that shit on ordinary episodes of Powerrr.
    • That said, I'm still not over the Rock 'n' Roll Express's theme not being a rock song. Come on, guys. All it takes is some generic classic rock-sounding track, guys.
    • Not really sure I agree with keeping the RnR champs. The moment was nice, but it shouldn't have been good for more than a nostalgic one-off. The other tag teams being managers (or lumberjacks) didn't really do much because... they didn't really do much, except for that one spot.
    • Not sure we needed this Question Mark/Trevor Murdoch match on PPV, which also just made Murdoch look like a dick because everyone loves Question Mark.
    • One thing I'm extremely disappointed in is the weird moment involving Kamille in the main event. After all that intrigue, she just comes out and gets promptly sent to the back by Aldis, and doesn't even figure in the finish. Of course, I don't know what they're planning, but wouldn't it have been better if she was involved in the ambiguous finish somehow just to increase her presence? It looks like she's turning face anyway, but now it feels like they're a little lost on how to do this storyline.
    Photo from SEScoops


    *****

    Romeo Moran (@roiswar) is the Editor in Chief of Smark Henry and one of the three hosts of the Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He gets by in this hard knock life through working in publishing. Smark Henry was his and Stan Sy's original vision of a watering hole for local wrestling fans. He roots for the undersized guys who hit hard, but really hates Davey Richards with his entire soul. He likes taking your wrestling questions over on his CuriousCat account.
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    Item Reviewed: The Smark Henry Pay-Per-Review: NWA Into The Fire Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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