The National Wrestling Alliance launched the first of their four consecutive events at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel Saturday night and the evening was significant for numerous reasons.
The “NWA EmPowerrr” showcase held at the Khorassan Room marked the first time in 37 years that the company had presented professional wrestling matches at the venue that was synonymous with the “Wrestling at the Chase” franchise that aired locally on KPLR-TV
The event also was the NWA’s inaugural show that featured exclusively female talent. Close to thirty athletes were featured in a pay-per-view event that spanned over three hours in length that was presented streamed globally on fite.tv digital platform.
Finally, “NWA EmPowerrr” marked the first time a major national wrestling company presented a live event in the St. Louis market since the pandemic began. Saturday’s enthusiastic sellout crowd of 850 was the largest audience to witness in-ring action since February 2020.
Alongside the NWA women’s roster were participants from All Elite Wrestling (AEW), Impact Wrestling, Lucha Libre AAA as well as national independent talent.
The end result was a solid, nine-match event that saw a pair of world champions retain their respective titles, the crowning of new women’s tag-team champions for reactivated titles that were discontinued in 1984 and a new #1 contender for the company’s primary women’s title.
Here is a recap of Saturday’s “NWA EmPowerrr” evnet:
PRE-TELEVISED DARK MATCHES
Skye Blue defeated Christi Jaynes at 5:10 via pinfall.
Blue, a Chicago-based wrestler who had competed in the NWA Challenge Series, went move-for-move with Jaynes, a veteran who has competed in Japan’s Stardom organization.
Blue capitalized after Jaynes missed with a springboard moonsault at the five-minute mark and claimed victory with a surprise roll-up mere seconds later.
Paola Mayfield defeated Kenzie Page at 3:56 via pinfall.
Mayfield, accompanied to the ring by dastardly manager Taryn Terrell, was stifled early as Page displayed plenty of move sets to make the former star of “90 Day Fiance” on the TLC cable network take notice.
Late in the match, a referee distraction by Mayfield allowed Terrell to snap Page’s neck across the ropes, leading to the tainted pinfall victory.
MAIN TELEVISED SHOW
Mickie James Welcoming Segment
James, the Executive Producer of the “NWA EmPowerrr” event, came to the ring to launch the pay-per-view. The veteran spoke about how she was told by others in the past that women’s wrestling would not draw money and this event would prove everyone wrong. She became emotional as she continued her opening rally, who responded with “Thank you, Mickie!” chants.
Three Way Match: Dimante defeated Kylie Rae and Chik Tormenta at 8:10 via pinfall.
The hot opener saw AEW’s Diamante gain the duke in fast-paced match over NWA rep Rae and AAA’s ruda Tormenta.
In the match’s final sequence, Tormenta missed a dive on Rae midway through the seven-minute mark and Rae locked on a crossface submission. Diamante came in to break up the attempt, subsequently pushed Rae out of the mix and hit a Code Red on Tormenta to notch the victory.
NWA Women’s Tag Team Tournament Semifinal: The Hex (Allysin Kay & Marti Belle) defeated Hell of Heels (Renee Michelle & Sahara 7) at 7:01 via pinfall.
The first of two semifinal matches saw The Hex, fixtures of the NWA, net a win to advance to the finale held later that night.
The start out of the gates was furious as all four women brawled outside the ring. Once action settled down, Hell on Heels worked heavily on Belle. Belle made a hot tag to Kay at the six-minute mark at the former NWA Women’s Champion went on flurry.
The conclusion saw Kay and Belle combine on a Hexecution facebuster on Michelle to claim the Final Four win.
NWA Women’s Tag Team Tournament Semifinal: Red Velvet & KiLynn King defeated The Freebabes (Miranda Gordy & Jazzy Yang) at 6:30 via pinfall.
The other semifinal saw a surprise victory claimed the AEW exports that featured plenty of impressive power moves displayed by Gordy and King, respectively.
The match saw plenty of outside interference from Freebabes’ cornerwoman Hollywood Haley J, which lead to plenty of near falls for Gordy and Yang over a weakened Velvet.
Late in the battle, Velvet hit an enzuguri on Gordy that led to a hot tag to King, who proceeded to run house on the challengers. King hit the Kingdom finisher on Yang to claim the semifinal win in an overall solid match.
Gail Kim In-Ring Segment
Kim, an Impact Wrestling Hall of Famer and associate executive producer of Saturday’s event, addressed the crowd and talked about the history of women’s wrestling before being interrupted by Tarrell, who was accompanied by stablemates Jennacide and Paola Mayfield.
Terrell told Kim that the show was really about her and threatened Kim. Prior to a potential three-on-one attack, veteran women’s wrestler Awesome Kong, a long-time of rival of Kim, made her way to the ring and quickly dispatched the villians by hitting a chokeslam on Jennacide and an Implant Buster on Blaze to the audience’s approval.
After Tarrell, Jennacide and Blaze cleared the ring, Kong grabbed the microphone and spoke, which is a rarity for the six-foot, 270-pound superstar. She proceeded to show her affection and respect for Kim, announced her retirement after a two-decade career, and embraced Kim in a special moment for the evening.
Impact Knockouts Championship Match: Deonna Purrazzo defeated Melina Perez at 14:40 via submission to retain the title.
Purrazzo, the two-time Impact Knockouts title champ, used unmerciful methods to retain the belt over Perez, a two-decade veteran that held multiple championships in World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
Smartly, Purrazzo primarily focused on submissions attacking Perez’s right knee, which had a history of tear in the past, in order to wear the challenger down. A chop block at the ten-minute mark almost forced the referee, sensing potential lifelong affects, to stop the match.
In tears, Perez begged the referee to continue and the match proceeded. Twelve minutes in, Perez hit Purrazzo with the Play of the Day finisher for a near-fall.
Purrazzo was able to thwart the late surge with a double-arm, arm bar on Perez, who tried to reach the ropes for a break. In the configuration, Purrazzo then reached back and pulled Perez’s right leg in to a half crab that put additional pressure on the damaged right knee.
Trapped and with no other options available, Perez tapped out to Purrazzo’s submission at the 14-minute mark and the defending champ retained. The audience gave both competitors a respectful round of applause afterwards due to the solid effort.
NWA Women’s Tag Team Tournament Finals: The Hex (Allysin Kay & Marti Belle) defeated Red Velvet & KiLynn King at 9;40 via pinfall to win the vacant titles.
Saturday’s tourney finale saw Velvet and King, fan favorites earlier in the evening, change attitudes in quest of championship gold, wrestling a more-aggressive style. Prior to the match, WWE Hall of Famer Medusa Michelli (Alundra Blayze) came to ringside in order present the winners their championship belts after the pinfall.
Solid action throughout. Late in the match, King slammed Kay to the mat and Red Velvet went to the top turnbuckle for a frog splash. Kay moved and Velvet missed, hitting the canvas and knocking the air out of her. Kay and Belle then hit an assisted AK-47 on Velvet in order to claim the championship victory for the Hex.
NWA World Women’s Championship: Kamille defeated Layla Hirsch via pinfall at 12:55 to retain the title.
Prior to the title tussle, NWA Owner, Smashing Pumpkins’ front man Billy Corgan, came to ringside to reveal the NWA Women’s Championship belt that was held by legendary wrestler Mildred Burke that had been absent for decades.
On paper, the match-up favored the champion as the 5-11 Kamille held a one-foot advantage in height over the challenger from AEW. Also adding intrigue was Kamille’s “Strictly Business” associates – current NWA World’s Champion Nick Aldis, NWA National Champion Chris Adonis and Thom Lattimer – who sat at ringside in order to support. To their credit, the trio was never directly involved in the title match.
As projected, Kamille was able to gain an early advantage by throwing the smaller Hirsch all over the mat. Hirsch was able to use her explosive power to throw the champion off her game as the match progressed.
Even play throughout the match. At the ten-minute mark, Kamille attempted her signature spear finisher but Hirsch floated over, hit a backstabber and locked the champion in an arm bar submission. Kamille was able to break out.
Hirsch then attempted to knock the champion out with running knee strikes. On the third consecutive attempt, Kamille avoided the rush and proceeded to counter with her spear, leading to championship title retention.
Chelsea Green Wins The NWA Women’s Invitational Cup at 24:40
The ten-women gauntlet style match-up saw a pair of entrants begin the fracas, and with intervals, new participants would join. Those in the mix would be added timed intervals and eliminations could only be done via pinfall or submission.
Order of entry
- Chelsea Green
- Kiera Hogan
- Sophia Carrelli
- Thunder Kitty LeFluer
- Lady Frost
- Debbie Malenko
- Jaime Senegal
- Masha Slamovich
- Tootie Lynn Ramsey
Early action saw both Green and Hogan look dominate throughout. Carrelli, the daughter of former WWE Superstar Santino Marella, came in the third slot, followed by LeFluer and all four remained in the match at the five-minute mark.
The muscular Jennacide entered fifth and scored the first elimination at 6:25 with a pinfall over Carrelli. Lady Frost came to the ring in the sixth slot but remained at ringside as Jennacide notched her second pinfall of the gauntlet at 8:25 over LeFluer.
Malenko, a star with All-Japan Wrestling in the 1990s, entered seventh and threw Frost into the ring to make her pin eligible. Senegal, with manager Pollo Del Mar, entered eighth and Slamovich entered ninth. Jennacide was eliminated 17:40 as she was pinned by four-person pile-on.
St. Louis product Tootie Lynn Ramsey entered tenth to a tremendous response from the crowd. The finish saw Green and Ramsey as the final two participants as the gauntlet went beyond the 20-minute mark. After a quick flurry, and a couple of near falls, Ramsey was eliminated at 24:40 after Green hit her “Killswitch” finisher.
Green wins the inaugural Women’s Cup Invitational and earned a match against NWA World Champion Kamille at the “NWA 73” event.