The second night of the National Wrestling Alliance’s four-night stay at the Khorassan Room at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel features the promotion’s 73rd Anniversary Show that will showcase present, past and potential future champions and an appearance by legendary Hall of Famer, “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.
Sunday’s “NWA 73” eight-match card marks the eleventh event in the NWA Anniversary Show chronology and the first anniversary show since their 70th anniversary show in 2018. All 865 tickets for the event have been sold and those wrestling fans on the outside can watch the event online on fite.tv.
Founded in 1948, the NWA is currently helmed by Smashing Pumpkins’ front man Billy Corgan, who anticipates non-stop action from bell-to-bell at the venue that was synonymous with the “Wrestling at the Chase” television series that aired locally on KPLR-TV.
“This is the circus,” Corgan recently told Arch City Media. “It’s loud. It’s noisy. It’s fast-paced and it’s like riding a tiger. And hopefully, you don’t fall off. And by the end, you’re like ‘Oh my God, I hope I don’t have to do that that again.’ And literally the day you get home, you’re like. ‘Well, next time.’ And you start all over again.”
Within Sunday’s ride are title defenses of all four NWA championships, a 12-man battle royal that determines a new #1 contender for the promotion’s national title and the live stylings of Flair, a 10-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion.
“There are people in this area for whom this is such a huge part of their cultural fabric,” said current NWA World Champion Nick Aldis of the company’s connection to the Gateway City. “They’re just so excited that it’s back. They never thought that they would see that Wrestling at the Chase is back.”
Here is a preview of “NWA 73” (card subject to change):
NWA World Heavyweight Championship Match: Nick Aldis (c) vs. Trevor Murdoch
There is plenty of intrigue going into this one as Aldis, a two-time NWA World Champ whose current reign is over 1040 days in length, puts the title against Murdoch, who vows to hang up the boots after a 20-plus-year career if he is unsuccessful Sunday night.
Murdoch, a star student of former NWA World Champion Harley Race, has recently twice tried to snare the title from Aldis but fell short. The Fredricktown, Missouri native is a three-time tag team champion for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and a former NWA National Championship holder, so the pedigree is certainly there to potentially claim his highest singles achievement yet.
Meanwhile, Aldis looks to continue the traction that extends his non-stop reign since he re-claimed the coveted NWA World’s title over Cody Rhodes at the aforementioned 70th Anniversary Show. “The National Treasure” currently sits sixth all-time in combined number of days as champion (1,305 days-plus). He was also trained by Race in his early years of developmental.
Emotions will run high as Murdoch, considered the hometown hero for the St. Louis set-up, will put everything on the line in order to win newfound gold and keep his in-ring career intact while Aldis looks to keep the crown jewel of his “Strictly Business” foundation in place.
With the wealth of international experience each combatant possesses, this one is projected to be a coin-flip.
NWA National Championship Match: Chris Adonis (c) vs. James Storm
A pair of seasoned veterans fight for the belt that has roots established in 1980. Adonis, who previously competed for WWE as Chris Masters, became a two-time National champ by winning an eight-man tournament for the vacant title in July.
The fan-favorite Storm is a former National title holder, sporting a 94-day title reign in 2019, so the incentive is there for a return to familiar glory.
With comparable attributes in size, power and skill sets, this tussle is also hard to predict, as either could post a pin in surprise fashion.
NWA World Tag Team Championship Match: Aron Stevens and JR Kratos (c) vs. La Rebelion (Bestia 666 and Mecha Wolf 450)
Unlikely belt-fellows Stevens and Kratos claimed their first NWA tag team title last November with a win over former champs Eli Drake and James Storm. They will have their hands full Sunday against the current Crash Tag Team Champions of La Rebelion Amarilla.
Stevens, who previously competed with WWE as Damien Sandow, and Kratos, a 6-2, 286-pound powerhouse, have occasionally been at odds during their current title reign on recent episodes of “NWA Powerrr,” so all potential friction must be corralled for tag-team title retention.
The veteran tandem of Bestia 666 and Mecha Wolf 450 are well-versed in the lucha libre style that defines clearly them and can quickly throw the power-based champions off their game.
The clash of styles make for an intriguing match-up. Key will be the nefarious length that Stevens, who’s not afraid to cheat to gain advantage, will implement to give his team the upper hand.
NWA World Women’s Championship Match: Kamille or Layla Hirsch (c) vs. NWA Women’s Invitational Cup Gauntlet Match Winner
The combatants for this title match will be based on a pair of results from Saturday’s “NWA Empowerrr” event. Kamille, the current NWA Women’s Champion, meets Hirsch, a standout from All Elite Wrestling (AEW), in a pivotal match-up on that card to determine the current NWA champion that will defend the title on Sunday’s show.
The opponent will be based on the winner of the ten-woman gauntlet that highlights the “NWA Empowerrr” pay-per-view.
All bets are off for a Sunday match-up due to the unpredictability of Saturday’s two qualifiers. Nonetheless, the ensuing meeting at “NWA 73” will be solid, regardless of who fills to two slots as champion and challenger.
Brawl in the Lou: Tim Storm vs. Thom Latimer vs. Crimson
Although the rules of the match are uncertain at this time, it is projected that the three-way between wrestling veterans will be all-over-the-road and entertaining.
The 57-year-old Storm is a former NWA World Heavyweight Champion and a fan-favorite going in, Latimer is a former NWA World Tag Team Champion, and Crimson is a former tag team champion with Total Nonstop Action (TNA).
All three athletes possess solid size and strength so the projected winner is based upon on the one who takes advantage of the “hardcore” boundaries that will be permitted during the match.
12-Man Battle Royal to determine the #1 contender to the NWA National Championship: Entrants TBD
The dozen-man kerfuffle determines a contender for a future match against the winner of the aforementioned Chris Adonis/James Storm match. Entrants for the over-the-top battle royal were unknown as of press time.
Six-Man tag team match: Tyrus, The Masked Man and Jordan Clearwater vs. Da Pope and The End (Odinson and Parrow)
The focal point of this match will the ensuing friction and fallout between Tyrus, the current NWA Television Champion, and Da Pope, who dropped the belt recently to the 6-9, 365 behemoth. Their reactions to each other might influence the outcome.
Also at ringside in the corner of the heels is former NWA National Champion, “The Universal Heartthrob” Austin Idol, who won’t be afraid to get involved to give his team an advantage.
Mickie James vs. Kylie Rae
Sunday’s other women’s match features James, a former WWE champion that is also the Executive Director of Saturday’s “NWA Empowerrr” event, against the rising Rae, who has competed nationally in various promotions.
Safe money has James, who is miles ahead in experience and skill set compared to her adversary, claiming the duke.
Appearance by 10-time NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair
The NWA announced a special attraction late last week in anticipation of the event as Sunday’s show will be an live appearance by Flair.
A fixture of “Wrestling at the Chase” during the early-1980’s, Flair is a multiple Hall of Famer whose overall career is about to reach five decades overall. He won his first NWA World Title over Dusty Rhodes in September 1981 and would go on to reclaim the title nine times until the title was vacated in 1991.
He was inducted into the St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2007 and inducted twice in the WWE Hall of Fame (individually in 2008 and as a member of the “Four Horsemen” faction in 2012.
This will be Flair’s first televised appearance domestically since parting ways with the WWE earlier this month. Two weekend’s ago, he accompanied future son-in-law Andrade El Idolo at ringside in his match against Kenny Omega at Luche Libre AAA Worldwide’s “Triplemania XXIX” in Mexico City, Mexico.
His direct involvement at “NWA 73” is unknown as of press time, but given the immediate buzz surrounding “The Nature Boy,” expect it to be newsworthy.
Following Sunday’s show, the NWA will hold a pair of television tapings at the Khorassan Room Monday and Tuesday for their weekly series that airs exclusively on fite.tv. Tickets for those events are available at Ticketmaster.
Arch City Media will have a full recap of Sunday’s event posted on Monday morning.