In May 2007
TNA ended their relationship withdrawing from the NWA and creating their own
new World Heavyweight and Tag Team Championships. TNA had brought the NWA national recognition
by featuring the World Championship on their weekly show and monthly PPV’s.
the ELLBOW Productions documentary on the History of the National Wrestling
Alliance, TNA was looking to renegotiate their deal with the NWA and it was
unfavorable to the Alliance. Also the
NWA was looking to regain control of their championships once again, as the NWA
World Champion under the TNA banner rarely if ever worked the smaller NWA
The NWA was
at the highest peak visibility wise that they had been in 14 years thanks to
TNA and they needed to work hard to keep that momentum going. None of the NWA Promotions at that time had
national television distribution however in 2007 with the capabilities of the
internet and resources such as You Tube and Facebook it’s much easier to get
yourself in the public eye than ever before.
Championships vacant the NWA announced their intention to crown a new World
Heavyweight Champion with a 16 man tournament starting on June 2, 2007 and
culminating with the final match on September 1, 2007. The tournament featured 4 mini brackets where
the winners would advance to the final bracket.
The called it “Reclaiming the Glory!”
Lou Thez Bracket
Salyersville, KY Brent
Albright defeated Osamu Nishimura
Meza, AZ Fred
Sampson defeated Glamour Boy Shane
Chula Vista, CA Brent
Albright defeated Fred Sampson
Terry Funk Bracket
Danvers, MA Claudio
Castagnoli defeated Pepper Parks
Lebanon, TN Sicodelico
Jr. defeated Roughneck Ryan
Wallingford, CT Claudio
Castagnoli defeated Sicodelico Jr.
Jack Brisco Bracket
Vancouver, NC, CN Bryan Danielson
defeated Nelson Creed
Qunicy, MA Fergal
Devitt defeated Mikey Nicholls
North Tonawanda, NY Bryan Danielson
defeated Fergal Devitt
Harley Race Bracket
Cornelia, GA Chad
Parham defeated Damian Wayne
Lodi, NJ Adam
Pearce defeated Aaron Aguilera
Covina, CA Adam
Pearce defeated Chad Parham
Charlotte, NC Brent Albright
defeated Claudio Castagnoli
Vancouver, BC, CN Bryan Danielson
defeated Adam Pearce
Bayamon, PR Adam Pearce defeated
|"Scrap Iron" Adam Pearce 5 time NWA World Champion|
A week prior
to the finals Bryan Danielson was injured in a match with Takeshi Morishima
fracturing his orbital bone.
was unable to compete in the finals so the man he defeated Adam Pearce was
placed in the match.
Danielson was made
the special enforcer and ended up counting the pinfall after the referee was
I remember watching the
promo videos and all the hype when this first happened and I always got the
feeling the Bryan Danielson was going to win the tournament
World Championship would remain in the public eye thanks to Adam Pearce working
hard to keep the title relevant by being a touring champion and on June 7, 2008
Ring of Honor officially recognized the championship at their Respect Is Earned
2 PPV taping.
go one to defend the NWA World Championship at Battle for Supremacy in Dayton,
OH on June 27, 2008 against ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness. The match would end in disqualification when then
NWA rule of no throwing your opponent over the top rope was enforced.
On August 2,
2008 at Ring of Honor’s Death Before Dishonor VI event in New York City and
culmination of a near year-long feud would take a new turn as Brent Albright
would defeat Adam Pearce for the NWA World Championship. The feud would end at ROH’s Glory By Honor
VII in Philly when Pearce would capture his second championship on September
|Brent Albright NWA World Champion 8/2/2008 - 9/20/2008|
In the 16
months since the NWA World Championship left the national exposure of TNA, the
NWA had done a great job in keeping it a premier championship. After winning the tournament Adam Pearce
would tour with the title, bring it to ROH and maintain an excellent feud with
Brent Albright. But then the NWA Board
of Directors decided to put the championship on Blue Demon Jr. and the NWA
World Championship lost all footing it had gained in recognition and relevance.
25, 2008 in Mexico City Blue Demon Jr defeated Adam Pearce to win the NWA World
Championship becoming the first Mexican and Masked Luchador to win the title,
it is also the first time that the Championship changed hands in Mexico. Blue Demon Jr. is the adopted son of Blue
Demon a legendary Mexican luchador. Blue
Demon Jr. is an excellent wrestler having debuted in 1985 and headlined arenas
all over Mexico. I can see why putting
the championship on Demon Jr. would be a way to jump start recognition of the
Championship in Mexico, however, it was not worth the damage it did to its
recognition in the United States.
|Blue Demon Jr. NWA World Champion 10/2/2008 - 3/14/2010|
held the Championship for 505 days rarely making an appearance in the United
States primarily competing in his own promotion NWA Mexico. In my eyes this hurt the NWA World
Championship because it was now essentially exclusive to Mexico. Historically the NWA World Championship was
always defended around the world but it always maintained its strongest
presence in the United States, especially the Southern United States and now it
wasn’t even being defended there.
On March 14,
2010 Adam Pearce defeated Phil Shatter and Blue Demon Jr. in an elimination
match to win his 3rd NWA World Championship. Pearce once again began touring as Champion
to bring recognition back to the title in the United States.
Championship Wrestling from Hollywood promoted by Dave Marquez, premiered on
KDOC-TV Los Angeles on September 17, 2010.
It is a 60 minute, multi-camera studio wrestling show that is crisp, has
great production, and is a throw-back to old studio wrestling days of Georgia
Championship Wrestling and Mid-Atlantic Wrestling. This show is also available on the internet
World Championship was prominently featured on the show and an excellent feud
was built between Adam Pearce and Colt Cabana culminating in Cabana winning the
NWA World Championship on March 6, 2011 on the show.
|Colt "Boom Boom" Cabana 2 time NWA World Champion|
short days later The Sheik defeated Cabana for the Championship in
Jacksonville, FL. There is a lot of
controversy behind this title change.
It’s been said that The Sheik bought the title while others refute
that. Bill Behrens stated in the
documentary “7 Levels of Hate” that Sheik winning the title was previously
decided before Cabana winning the belt.
On July 11,
2011 the NWA stripped The Sheik of the Championship. Much controversy surrounds this with many
different versions of what really happened.
It’s been said that the Sheik didn’t know about the match or what his
pay off would be. That was refuted by
the NWA stating that the date was known and that the pay for the Champion is a
preset amount that has to be met by the promoter to book the Champion. Others feel that Sheik didn’t want to lose as
it would hurt his position in Zero-1 where he was getting a push.
|The Sheik NWA World Champion 4/23/2011 - 7/11/2011|
At the end
of the day the Sheik was stripped and Adam Pearce started his 4th
reign as champion defeating Jimmy Rave, Chance Prophet, & Shaun Tempers in
a fatal four way match at the Ohio State Fair on July 31, 2011.
Adam Pearce the NWA basically said we made a mistake let’s just redo the feud
with you and Cabana. When Cabana was
approached about this he was hesitant to do it.
They had built a feud for 10 months to result in a short reign when
Cabana was ready to take the title around the world using is already
In my opinion as a fan you’re watching and
following a great feud with Cabana and Pearce that meant something and then
after it culminates in this exciting moment of Cabana winning is all for naught
as 6 weeks later with no build or rhyme or reason you switch the championship
to someone else, and there is no follow up after that.
made a deal with the NWA that he would take the Championship but Cabana would
get it back and have a year-long reign.
Eventually Cabana agreed and they started a program where Pearce saved
Cabana and they teamed in a feud with Stu Stone and the Stone Family that
eventually lead to Pearce turning on Cabana.
Then on April 8, 2012 Cabana defeated Adam Pearce for his second NWA
title win Cabana and Pearce entered into a Best of 7 Series called the 7 Levels
As a wrestling fan this was so
exciting to anticipate because each match was a special stipulation and it was
going to take the NWA World Championship to a huge level of recognition as
these two would battle across the country and around the world in this series.
The 7 Levels
Stage 1 May
13, 2012 First Blood Match, NWA Wrestling From Hollywood, Glendale, CA
Winner: Colt Cabana
Stage 2 June
8, 2012 Boston Street Fight, New England Championship Wrestling, Bridgewater,
Winner: Colt Cabana
Stage 3 July
7, 2012 I Quit Match, Steel Domain Wrestling, Hopkins, MN
Winner Colt Cabana
Stage 4 July
21, 2012 Best 2 out of 3 Falls Match, Metro Pro Wrestling, Kansas City, KS
Winner: Adam Pearce – NEW
August 18, 2012 Dog Collar Match, NECW,
Winner: Adam Pearce
September 30, 2012 Texas Death Match, West Coast Wrestling Connection, Salem,
Winner: Adam Pearce
October 27, 2012 Steel Cage Match, NWA Warzone Wrestling, Berwick, Victoria,
Winner: Colt Cabana
Stage 6 was
set to take place in at NWA Legends Fan Fest in Charlotte, North Carolina and
needed to be changed. Stage 7 was to
conclude at NWA Wrestling From Hollywood in Glendale, CA however the NWA had
other things in mind.
|E. Bruce Tharpe|
middle of this Series the law suit filed by R. Bruce Tharpe against Bob Trobich
and Pro Wrestling Organization LLC was settled and the ownership of the NWA and
all its entities were now in the control of a new LLC headed by Tharpe.
To read more about it follow this link to
Mike Johnson’s article at PWInsider
the documentary “7 Levels of Hate” after Stage 6 Fred Rubenstein contact Adam
Pearce and stated they were no longer interested in doing business with Colt Cabana.
Another issue was after the lawsuit and the way the structure of the NWA
changed Championship Wrestling from Hollywood withdrew from the NWA on
September 9, 2012.
State 7 was to finish in Glendale, CA where it started, now that Championship
Wrestling from Hollywood was no longer part of the NWA they didn’t want the
match to happen there. Eventually Ben
Gilbert of NWA Warzone Wrestling in Australia agreed to host the final
match. To Pearce and Cabana this was good
for the feud and for the NWA because now the “7 Levels of Hate” was going
international and it would be the first time the NWA World Championship would
change hands in Australia.
strongly objected to Cabana becoming the Champion and told Pearce to drop the
title the first week of October while he was in Virginia. Pearce refused for several reasons. First he was already book on several shows as
Champion including a show for new NWA head Bruce Tharpe. Pearce felt that the other promoters had
already spent money on advertising, paid for airfare and paid deposits to Pearce
for his appearances. Also the feud with
Cabana had running for two years and to have Pearce drop the title cold to
someone else made no sense.
strongly felt that Cabana had to win this feud and deserved the be the NWA World
Champion and that Cabana was the right man to lead the NWA especially
considering his large following and fan base.
As it was their right, the NWA felt different. It was agreed that the match would be a
non-sanctioned match by the NWA and that it would no longer be for the
All of these
actions drove Pearce to want to leave the NWA and he decided that he would step
down as Champion after the match with Cabana, and that’s exactly what he
did. Cabana won and Pearce said that
Cabana was the rightful champion. Cabana
cut a promo basically saying the NWA was the past and he was the future and
that he didn’t want it. Pearce also
stated that because he lost the match he would honor his agreement that if he
lost he would leave the NWA forever and if Cabana didn’t want the title, then
neither did he. The both dropped the
belt in the ring and left it.
fallout the Vice-President of the NWA Fred Rubenstein went on the Kayfabe Radio
show in November 2012 and said the reason the NWA would not sanction the match
was because the promoter of NWA Warzone had not paid his licensing fee, even
after he was given two extensions to pay it.
When R. Bruce Tharpe became the owner of the NWA they switched from
having shareholding members to having licensees. According to the documentary “7 Levels of
Hate” a licensing fee had nothing to do with it.
|Kahagas NWA World Champion 11/2/2012 - 3/16/2013|
quickly crowned a new champion in Kahagas on November 2, 2012 in Clayton, NJ
when he won a multi-person elimination match.
Rob Conway won the title in San Antonio on March 16, 2013. NJPW rejoined the NWA where currently R.
Bruce Tharpe is a heel manger leading a faction of wrestlers representing the
NWA at NJPW shows.
|Rob Conway 2 x NWA World Champion|
Conway has had
several matches in NJPW on their major cards defending the Championship in many
high profile matches against Satoshi Koima, Manabu Nakanishi, and Jushin
Thunder Liger while at the same time defending his title in the States.
| Satoshi Kojima NWA World Champion 1/4/2014 - 6/2/2104|
4, 2014 at Wrestle Kingdom 8 Conway lost the Championship to Kojima. Kojima successfully defended the title in
Japan, Taiwan, and the United States before losing it back to Conway on June 2
in Las Vegas.
NWA World Champion is Hiroyoshi Tenzan having won the Championship on February
14, 2015 in Sendai Japan.
|Hiroyoshi Tenzan NWA World Champion since 2/14/2015|
World Heavyweight Championship has certainly suffered it’s up and downs over
the years and while it is not currently being featured on a weekly nationally
televised wrestling company in the United States it is still a very active
championship and one only need to turn to the internet to keep up to date on
it. Most casual fans do not do that
though, they look no further than what is fed them on television each week to
get their wrestling fix.
Maine, in the Northeast the WWE has been king since 1963 and most casual fans
aren’t familiar with anything that isn’t the WWE. The NWA has always and will always been more
highly regarded in the south and in Japan were in Japan professional wrestling
is always held in a higher standing there than it is here in the United States,
also Japan believes heavily in history and tradition.
|The basis of my tattoo|
die-hard fan like my friends and I we watch good wrestling no matter who is
producing it. We follow it on the
internet and social media. We watch the
shows on You Tube and buy the DVD’s.
When I think of the NWA I think of Ric Flair, I think of Jim Crockett
promotions, I think of Georgia Championship Wrestling, Starrcade 1985 “I Quit”
match with Tully Blanchard and Magnum TA inside the steel cage. Hell, I have the NWA ring skirt logo tattooed
on my arm because that to me is my favorite time of wrestling.
|Magnum TA vs. Tully Blanchard "I Quit" Match for the NWA United States Championship Starrcade November 28, 1995|
question is, is the NWA World Heavyweight Championship still a Premier
Championship in wrestling? When I
started this I thought I already knew my answer which was no, not any more. That answer though is why I started down this
path writing this article. I didn’t like
that answer, I want the NWA World Championship to be highly regarded as a premier
championship in wrestling.
The NWA is
alive and well just not up here in the Northeast or in the whole country for
that matter. The NWA is highly active in
the South East from Ohio/West Virginia down to Florida and Texas area and to
those fans the NWA World Heavyweight Championship is THE premier
doesn’t need a national television deal to be a premier World
Championship. It only needs the fans
that believe in it, the wrestlers that strive to compete for it, and the
history that is behind it. With this it
will always be a premier World Championship, and that makes me very happy.
personal note I would like to see the NWA start a YouTube show where the NWA
Champion is featured weekly. It doesn’t
need to be a full hour of wrestling, just a 15 minute documentary style show
like the Candice and Joey Show, Brian Myers Making Towns, or Kevin Steen’s
Weekend Escapades that would show us what the Champion is doing, where he’s
going, life on the road as champion.
I think the
NWA Champion needs to tour and hit every state in the country. I don’t think the NWA World Championship has
ever been defended in Maine, I think it should be.
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