The card is set for the National Wrestling Alliance’s “NWA EmPowerrr” event at the Khorassan Ballroom at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel this Saturday and it is projected to be a highly-entertaining and competitive night of mat mayhem.
The all-women’s showcase launches the first of the NWA’s four-night stay at the St. Louis ballroom that was a long-time fixture of the “Wrestling at the Chase” weekly program that aired on KPLR-TV in the early days of black-and-white television.
“We’re going to kick it off, so we’re going to set the bar,” Executive Producer Mickie James told Arch City Media. “There’s so much happening. It’s going to be a really incredible four days.”
“NWA EmPowerrr” marks the organization’s first-ever pay-per-view event that exclusively features female athletes. The NWA, founded in 1948 and with deep ties to the Gateway City, is currently owned and operated by Smashing Pumpkins’ front man Billy Corgan.
“The NWA is living history and the Chase is living history,” Corgan told Arch City Media. “When you put those two things together, it’s like a brushfire.”
Remaining tickets for the 7 p.m. show are scarce but for those that can’t attend the event in person can watch it streamed live on fite.tv.
The seven-match line-up contains a pair of women’s championship matches, a four-team tournament for the vacant NWA women’s tag-team titles and a ten-woman invitational gauntlet that leads to a future title match for the winner.
Current NWA talent alongside wrestlers from All Elite Wrestling (AEW), Impact Wrestling and Lucha Libre AAA as well independent superstars comprise the more than two-dozen competitors that will step into the Khorassan squared circle.
Here is a preview of “NWA EmPowerrr” (card subject to change):
NWA Women’s Championship Match: Kamille (c) vs. Leyla Hirsch
Kamille won the NWA women’s title over former-champ Serena Deeb in June at the company’s “When Our Shadows Fall” pay-per-view event and looks to retain the belt against the Russian-born AEW powerhouse that defeated The Bunny on the August 4 edition of “AEW Dynamite” in a “No. 1 Contenders” match.
On paper, the title tussle might be misleading as the 5-10 Kamille stands mightily over the 4-11 Hirsch. However, any early advantage by the cunning, muscular champion might be thwarted by the challenger’s expertise in mat-based, submission-style wrestling.
Kamille’s quick start out of gates might make this one a fast finish. However, as the match progresses, one could see “All Legit” Hirsch gaining the ultimate advantage by wearing the champion out, leading to a title-switching tap out.
What will be intriguing will be the audience’s impeding allegiance to either the fan-favorite Hirsch or the devilish NWA mainstay that wants to keep the title away from an outside company. Also, don’t be surprised if Kamille’s “Strictly Business” male co-horts, which includes NWA World Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis, find their way to ringside to add additional intimidation to the challenger.
With so much drama heading into this one, this could be realistically the match of the night.
Impact Knockouts Championship Match: Deonna Purrazzo (c) vs. Meilna Perez
The other individual title showcase finds Purrazzo, a two-time Impact Knockouts Champion, defending the strap outside of her home base against Perez, a two-decade veteran than had five title runs overall with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
Within mat journalists, Purrazzo is highly-regarded as one of the most-impressive of the current crop of international female wrestlers, based on her winning track record and impressive skill set that is primarily-based on submission style-wrestling.
Perez, who transitioned from valet to wrestler in the early-2000’s with WWE, also has the savvy and moxie to snare gold. She is not shy to show her vicious side in order to claim advantage.
Key to this match-up will be Purrazzo’s ability to turn a disadvantage to her favor on short notice. Perez might be able to steal a title win utilizing nefarious methods so the Knockouts champ must be keenly aware throughout to retain the title.
NWA Women’s Invitational Cup: Entrants: Chelsea Green, Kiera Hogan, Debbie Malenko, Lady Frost, Tootie Lynn Ramsey, Jennacide, Jamie Senegal, Thunder Kitty, Bianca Carelli & Masha Slamovich.
The main event of Saturday’s card features a ten-competitor, gauntlet-style sprint in which the winner receives a championship title match Sunday night at the “NWA 73” pay-per-view against the winner of the aforementioned Kamille/Hirsch match.
In the format, two entrants compete at the opening bell and with every two minutes, a new participant joins the fray. Combatants are eliminated by either pin fall or submission only (rather than being eliminated by a person being sent over-the-top under the traditional battle royal format).
The NWA’s Lady Frost is slotted as the first competitor of the invitational and the other nine’s order will be determined by random draw prior to the match.
Those projected to go deep in the gauntlet include Green, who competed in WWE on its NXT brand, Hogan, who currently wrestles in AEW and was a prior tag-team champion with Impact Wrestling, the veteran Malenko, who was a star for All-Japan Wrestling in the 1990s, and Carelli, who is the daughter of former WWE Superstar Santino Marella.
Other entrants to keep an eye on will be Jennacide, who will have former TNA Knockouts Champion and current NWA commentator Taryn Terrell at her side as well as transgender grappler Jamie Senegal, who will be managed at ringside by San Francisco drag personality Pollo Del Mar.
A crowd favorite will be St. Louis product Tootie Lynn Ramsey, who has wrestled in various local promotions since 2017. “The Blue Dragon” will have to survive and conquer the greatest challenge of her budding career in order to claim a championship title berth.
As with any gauntlet set-up, predicting a favorite will be extremely difficult but the one who survives the battle will certainly deserve their berth to a title match the following night.
NWA World Women’s Tag Team Championship Tournament: Semifinal #1: The Hex (Allysin Kay & Marti Belle) vs. Hell on Heels (Renee Michelle & Sahara 7). Semifinal #2: The Freebabes (Jazzy Yang, Hollyhood J & Miranda Gordy) vs. Red Velvet & Kilynn King
The NWA World Women’s Tag Team Championship is recognized as the first-ever women’s tag team title, dating back to the 1950’s. It was deactivated in 1984, so a monumental moment will take place Saturday in the four-team bracketed tournament that puts a pair of titles back into play after a 30-plus year absence.
Saturday’s two semifinal matches funnel to a championship finale later that night and all four teams competing are worthy contenders.
Favored is The Hex, which consists of former NWA Women’s Champion Allysin Kay alongside the rapidly improving Belle, who has competed for numerous national promotions, against their semifinal challengers Hell on Heels, led by former WWE talent Renee Michelle and Maryland-based standout Sahara 7.
The other semifinal match sees the pairing of current AEW stars Red Velvet and Kilynn King against the Freebabes, paced by second generation wrestlers Miranda Gordy, the daughter of the late Fabulous Freedbird Terry Gordy, and Jazzy Yang, the daughter of former WWE/WCW star Jimmy Yang.
All four tandems will not hesitate to pull out all stops to claim a high-profile triumph that re-establishes a major tag-team championship. Safe money sides with The Hex vs. The Freebabes in the finale but a semifinal upset wouldn’t be far off.
Triple Threat Match: Kylie Rae vs. Diamante vs. Chik Tormenta.
On her Instagram account this past Sunday, James revealed that “EmPowerrr” added a triple-threat match where a sole pin fall determines the winner.
Rae, who has been a fixture of NWA the past several months, faces Diamante, who won the AEW Women’s Tag Cup in August 2020 alongside partner Ivelisse, and the luchadora enmascarada Tormenta, who has been aligned with Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide since 2018.
True to most three-wrestler tangles, an unsuspecting pin will rear its head. One anticipates this one to contain perpetual throughout.
FRIDAY 8/27 UPDATE: On Thursday afternoon, two additional matches were added to Saturday’s event.
The first singles contest finds Kenzie Page, a 20-year-old independent wrestler who has appeared in AEW, facing Paola Mayfield, who appeared in the cable series “90 Day Fiance”’ on TLC and will accompanied to ringside by Taryn Terrell and Jennicade.
The other has Skye Blue, who competed in the NWA Challenge Series as well as Chicago-based AAW Wrestling, facing Christi Jaynes, who has competed in Japan’s Stardom organization.
After Saturday’s event, the company’s anniversary show, “NWA 73,” follows at the Khorassan Sunday and a pair of television tapings will be held Monday and Tuesday.
Arch City Media will be in attendance at “NWA EmPowerrr” and will have a full report posted Sunday.
By trade, he is a six-time, regional Emmy Award-winning news videographer/editor for KTVI/KPLR-TV. By hobby, he is an announcer and digital content producer for St. Louis-based Arch Rival Roller Derby. Also a webcast announcer for post-season roller derby tournaments on wftda.tv. Yep, this Illinoisan primarily writes about derby, covering Arch Rival, the St. Chux Derby Chix and the STL GateKeepers men's league. He also writes about St. Louis SLAM Women's Football, St. Louis Lions women's soccer and other sports topics.