How Blind Arrogance Killed Wrestling's Coolest Cult Promotion

Where did it all go wrong for the National Wrestling Alliance?

Ricky Starks NWA TV Champion

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Wrestling Alliance was as hot as it had been in decades. Under the stewardship of Billy Corgan, the NWA and its weekly Powerrr offering became destination viewing for wrestling fans both old and new.

Coming in at a brisk hour, Powerrr was a fun, entertaining, easily to digest slice of wrestling television. With the nostalgia of a studio setting, characters who were expertly defined, and in-ring action that never overstayed its welcome, the NWA had suddenly become cool again. After years in the wilderness, the one-time industry leader was in full resurgence mode.

While that pre-pandemic NWA was never going to be a serious challenger to WWE or the burgeoning AEW, it provided a hugely enjoyable alternative with a great mix of upcoming talents and seasoned veterans. Unfortunately, the NWA seen today is a hollow shell of its former self, and we're at a point where Billy Corgan is very much steering a sinking ship that's taking on more water by the month.

Upon looking at the current NWA landscape, there are several reasons why the promotion is struggling. With a sprinkling of a history lesson included, too, we take a look at how the NWA went from must-watch to entirely skippable.

Given how your writer was forever full of praise for the NWA for the longest time - including penning 10 Reasons Why You NEED To Be Watching NWA Powerrr back in 2019 - there's no pleasure here in detailing the company's downward spiral.

8. The Previous Iteration

Ricky Starks NWA TV Champion

The National Wrestling Alliance as we know it right now, is a very different beast and model to the NWA of decades prior.

While 2022 finds an NWA that's very much a standard wrestling promotion, those three letters previously represented a governing body that consisted of several promotions. Said governing body's board of directors was made up of the heads of the various territories housed under that NWA banner, and these promotors would get together to trade talent and, just as importantly, vote on who was the best person at any given time to represent the wider National Wrestling Alliance as the roaming NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion.

The roots of the NWA date back to 1948, where Iowa's Pinkie George, Midwest Wrestling Association's Al Haft, Minneapolis Boxing and Wrestling Club's Tony Stecher, Harry Light Wrestling Office's Harry Light, Heart of America's Orville Brown and St. Louis Wrestling Club's Sam Muchnick came together to form the organisation.

As the decades went by, notable promotions such as Championship Wrestling from Florida, Stampede Wrestling, Jim Crockett Promotions, World Class, World Championship Wrestling, and even the World Wrestling Federation all became members of the NWA, with the organisation being the dominant force in the industry.

Of course, Vince McMahon Jr. was quick to pit himself up against the NWA once he took control of the then-WWF in 1982, with McMahon severing ties with the NWA by the following year. Rather than being happy to work under a model where each territory respected the other and trod on no toes, Vince wanted the WWF to be on TV all across the US and beyond - which in turn angered those who worked under the traditions of the long-standing NWA structure and its rules.

Senior Writer
Senior Writer

Chatterer of stuff, writer of this, host of that, Wrexham AFC fan.