Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Saving The NWA From Itself

This was supposed to have gone up after this week’s “Monday Night Raw”, but got delayed because something much more important happened during that show. Get well, Lawler.

I’m also aware this is two straight rasslin’ posts, which--I’m sorry, but not a lot else is going on in other realms right now. But between monitoring the Davey Richards saga and this, it’s an interesting time for non-corporate-owned rasslin’.

Now then, news from my old stomping grounds:

It was announced by Dave Marquez at the latest NWA Championship Wrestling from Hollywood TV Taping [on 09/09/12] that they have left the National Wrestling Alliance. The promotion was considered to be the biggest NWA member in terms of TV awareness, airing across Los Angeles.

The move appears to be due to the recent change in ownership in the NWA where Bruce Tharpe gained control of the name. Marquez had been a supporter of the NWA for many years. The promotion will now be known as Championship Wrestling from Hollywood.


Now, anyone familiar with all this is gonna have the immediate and typical “LOL NWA iz alredy DED” reaction - which, no, it’s not. See, in order to be “dead”, you have to be no longer in existence. As you can see above, the National Wrestling Alliance is indeed still around and thereby still in existence. Hell, I interviewed the at-that-time-soon-to-be NWA World Champion! Glad we could clear that up.

The problem is that it could be dead very soon. And some feel that maybe it should be. The NWA has always been a governing body with several promoters colluding under one banner to provide security and, in later years, competition to the bigger companies like WWE. The fact that I’m having to convince people that the NWA is still around kinda speaks for itself.

Part of the problem is with this very story. When I started this piece (before Jerry Lawler had his heart attack), the news was that Championship Wrestling from Hollywood left the NWA. According to The Wrestling Blog (highly recommended, by the way), not so fast:

Some big news broke over the weekend at the NWA Hollywood tapings, in that the promotion was splitting with the National Wrestling Alliance. It will now be known as Championship Wrestling from Hollywood. There really wasn't a whole lot of detail about the reasoning behind it, except for blurbs about David Marquez not being too happy about the power structure changing hands to a group headed by R. Bruce Tharpe, noted in on the F4W site most notably. However, I did some digging and found something pretty interesting.

As it turns out, the decision wasn't Marquez's to make. According to Dr. Jerry Wiseman of the Charlotte Examiner reports that Tharpe and the NWA has sent Marquez a cease and desist on using the NWA name. Tharpe loaned Marquez $2,000 back when the promotion was on the verge of becoming the showcase for the alliance. When he called for the tab plus the interest and "other provisions", Marquez failed to pony up. Furthermore, Adam Pearce was advised against taking bookings in Hollywood.

So, Championship Wrestling from Hollywood got a loan to set them up as the flagship for the NWA and then got kicked out when they didn’t pay back up. They didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on them. Just like anything else in wrestling, that collusion is a loose alliance due to egos and outdated business practices getting in the way of what should be an actual Alliance.

To those clinging to the days of yore that the NWA name invokes, please realize that the NWA can still survive - and even thrive - in 2012. But, to do so would mean letting go of those old days of doing business. It would mean letting some younger and fresher ideas on pro wrestling into the fold. It would mean actually using the internet for marketing and brand-building purposes like two-time NWA Champion Colt Cabana has done to great success. It would mean embracing a new day and age of the business.

I’m not sure the NWA would embrace any of that, though. The name carries value, but it also carries some notion of tradition that those that govern the Alliance are either too scared or too stubborn to let go of. The fear is that, once that tradition is abandoned, then the NWA truly will die. My thinking is that it’s the opposite - The NWA could meet its demise if they don’t let go of that outdated thinking and step into 2012 with the rest of us. I hope that R Bruce Tharpe and the NWA realizes this before I’m put in a position that I can no longer prove the NWA is still alive.

P.S. My bet for which promotion I think will be chosen as the next NWA “showcase” promotion in place of Championship Wrestling from Hollywood (no need to shorten; I can copy and paste that all day)? NWA Ring Warriors. They’re owned by Paul Jones (not the former manager of “Ravishing” Rick Rude, RIP, and Manny Fernandez, far as I can tell), Larry Brannon (aka Vito DeNucci of the “New Heavenly Bodies” and Between The Ropes) and...Howard Brody, former President of the NWA from 1996 to 2001. Aside from the obvious connections, Ring Warriors has been getting quite a bit of play in wrestling media circles lately. It’s a “hot” product, as those in the business would put it, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see that happen.

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