Posted November 26th, 2017 by 1Wrestling News Team

Tim Storm Is The Champion The NWA Needs & Why The Independents Should Care

By “Trapper” Tom Leturgey

In recent weeks, the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) has been in the wrestling news due to musician and long-time wrestling fan William Patrick Corgan’s purchase of the name, rights, trademark and familiar Ten pounds of Gold championship belt.

The Backstory

The developments have also lead to the resurgence of the current NWA Heavyweight Champion, Tim Storm. As multiple outlets have reported, Storm is a 53-year-old school teacher of history by day who has wrestled as the NWA Champion since winning the first World Title from Jax Dane on October 21, 2016 in Sherman, Texas. As of 11/23/17, Storm’s reign has extended 398 days. Aside from Dane’s 419 day run, Storm’s is the longest in the NWA since Blue Demon Jr.’s 505-day rule from 2008. This is the same NWA that hosted Dan Severn’s 1,479-day title run that ended in 1995 (Tim Storm unsuccessfully challenged Severn for the belt back in the day).

Even though only the most astute professional wrestling fans realize that Corgan is a wrestling fan, even fewer know who Storm is or where he came from. According to Wikipedia, the  Pine Bluff, Arkansas native is a 27-time champion, and was #159 in the PWI Top 500 wrestlers of 2017. He debuted in 1995 and has wrested in some capacity in some wing of the NWA since 2010. The perpetual gum-chomping champion is also only the 54th wrestler to hold the most prestigious title in the history of professional wrestling, and his the 92nd reign. Mostly a heel, Storm has also wrestled as a fan-favorite from time to time. When he lost the NWA North American Heavyweight Championship to Dane, Storm used underhanded tactics and clobbered NWA President Bruce Tharpe to the carpet of the packed ballroom where the ring was set up.

Storm Becomes NWA Champion

Ever since winning the prestigious Ten Pounds of Gold, the 6’3”, 252-pound “Perfect” Storm (the oldest athlete to win the title) has successfully defended the title on a number of occasions, most in abject obscurity. At “NWA Big Apple Black, Blue & Proud,” on 1/27/17, Storm retained against Rodney Mack in Hackensack, New Jersey. Mack, 47, is a former WWE hand who debuted in 1998, and has primarily succeeded on the independent scene since 2005. Mack’s Wikipedia page posts 17 championships to his name.

While the numbers seem to change a lot, NWA Big Apple is one of the 29 independent wrestling organizations that still maintain a branch of the brand. As is customary with small promotions (it was formed in June 2016), almost no details—aside from a list of results—can be found from the event. (Association case in point: The federation appears to have halted operations in early 2017.)

It’s interesting to note that even in 2017, an NWA Heavyweight Champion in 2017 can be tossed in a tag team match of little consequence. At “VIP Love Steel Hurts,” at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Arlington, Texas, on February 2, Storm and independent veteran Adam Asher were defeated by Aaron Solow and Ricky Starks in tag team competition.

On February 23, 2017, Storm defeated Ryota Hama to retain the title in Tokyo, Japan. Not much can be found about this match (and Storm declined to comment for this retrospective), but Hama is an interesting competitor. At 5’9” and nearly 500 pounds, the sumo wrestler is an imposing force. Storm defeated the challenger at 5:54 with a school boy roll up. Diamond Stars Wrestling/NWA called the event “Overcrowded” with 331 spectators. Road Warrior Animal was at ringside for the NWA tag team contest that served as the Main Event of the evening.

Approximately 300 fans were in attendance for Storm’s title defense against “Loverboy” Matt Riviera at Championship Wrestling of Arkansas. Here, Storm defeated Riviera after in-ring interference from his own valet Lily, as well as Riviera’s dastardly second Boyd Bradford, the “Manager For the Ages.”

VIP Kings of the South, April 29, at The Gym “Warrior Warehouse” in Arlington, Texas, Graham Bell and Luke Langley beat NWA Champion Storm and Asher by disqualification in tag team competition. This put Storm at 0-2 in tag team matches in the young year.

Also in April, Storm took part in a 55-man Battle Royal, but the NWA Champion did not come out victorious.

On July 21 at the Elks Lodge in Sherman Texas, Storm and Dusty Gold were defeated by the tag team of Charlie Haas and Randy Wayne.

In September, at IPW “A Hero Never Dies,” at the Austin Sports Center, J.C. Re. S., Stacey Slade and Bruno De La Rosa defeated Davey Vega, Delilah Doom and Tim Storm for the IPW Tag Team Titles.

On September 16, at Wrestle Raise III in Arkansas, Storm turned heel and dispatched manager Lily for Boyd Bradford. Ever the opportunist when a lovely lady is at hand, opponent Jerry “The King” Lawler snapped up Lily’s managerial services for the evening. The match was a 12-minute contest that saw Riviera interfere in the late going and snuff Lawler unconscious with a rag full or aerosol poison. Storm retained in the Main Event at the respectively-attended Hot Springs Convention center.

The New Era For NWA And Storm

On September 23, 2017, Championship Wrestling From Hollywood (CWFH)-hosted United Wrestling Network TV tapings. Based at KDOC TV in Los Angeles, CWFH, which has broadcast since 2010, is available on cable outlets all over the country. The events are filmed in a small, free-ticket venue that’s great for a televised wrestling offering. During the first taping at the Oceanview Pavilion Performance Arts Theater in Port Hueneme, California, Storm was introduced to the welcoming audience. The applause was huge for Storm, who undoubtedly is now a fan favorite. Storm defeated the jiggly, tattooed Ziggy Dice in a non-title contest. Storm won with his “Perfect Storm” side suplex in two minutes.

After the easy victory, Nick Aldis, in a tailored suit, made his appearance and challenged Storm for the first of the “Billy Corgan” era. Storm accepted and listed the Ten Pounds of Gold into the Los Angeles air.

Corgan And The NWA

For most of 2017 rumors circulated that Corgan (who had dabbled in small independents, and attempted to purchase a flailing TNA Impact brand) was purchasing the NWA, but no details were ever made public. “What was he buying?” is a common refrain. A Sports Illustrated story asserts that Corgan bought some recent tape library; however, it has long been established that the WWE owns all of the well-known content, such as Ric Flair’s reign and everything from that time. In a Jim Cornette podcast, former NWA President Howard Brody revealed that it’s his understanding that the WWE owns all things NWA and has since 1998. Brody also said on the podcast that he believes that WWE might not realize it still has control of the brand, and may not act on it at all.

There were also legal concerns that former NWA Owner Bruce Tharpe didn’t have anything to sell, as his trademark on the brand expired. Interestingly, the once-popular rap group N.W.A. also was known to have interest in the acronym. No details of any deal have ever been made public.

Regardless, Corgan persisted and moved on, along with business partner, and NWA Vice President Dave Lagana.

Ten Pounds Of Gold Digital Videos

Soon, a series of compelling Ten Pounds of Gold digital videos started to circulate. In the very first seconds of Episode One, Storm and Championship Wrestling From Hollywood executive and former NWA promoter David Marquez marvel at the trophy. Later in the first video, Storm called his NWA reign “My Mountain Top.” From this time forward, the phrase became common for the Champion.

In a follow-up video, an elated and enthusiastic Marquez interviews Storm in the Championship Wrestling From Hollywood ring. Storm, smiled from ear-to-ear, pointed to the championship belt and held it skyward. The men emphasized the importance of the belt’s legacy and Storm’s immense pride in holding it.

This lead up to the Sunday evening, November 12, 2017 title defense against Nick Aldis. In some ways it seemed as if Storm were the underdog in this CWFH TV-Taping from Port Hueneme. To mainstream wrestling fans, the former Magnus was the bigger name. Aldis, 31, a former 8-time champion elsewhere known primarily for power and precision, made his way to the ring. In real life married to WWE’s Mickie James, Aldis joined the NWA in September of 2017.

(In a Ten Pounds of Gold video promoting the showdown, Corgan was heavily featured. The Smashing Pumpkins front man shook hands with Storm saying it was nice to finally meet Corgan. They took together before an adoring crowd and Corgan waved and thanked them for attending.)

Storm approached the ring to much aplomb from the crowd, introductions were made in a very old school way and the match began. The 14:26 contest was the antithesis of the aerial acrobatics favored by some modern-day fanatics. It was grounded, technical, psychological and at times featured power moves. The ending came with Storm reversing a cradle. He momentarily had his feet stuck in the ropes and made the unconventional cover for the three-count in the near center of the ring. Some observers (in addition to Aldis himself) tried to make something of the entanglement, ultimately, the pin was hardscrabble but clean.

Afterwards, Corgan Tweeted that the NWA title was “open for business” and any challenger would be welcome. Corgan suggested that anyone interested should tweet Lagana. Some like veteran deathmatch star Matt Tremont and former ROH wrestler Mike Elgin responded. Storm posted a NWA video responding to the CZW invitation for “Cage of Death 9” in Sewell, New Jersey. Storm said he will appear there on December 9. It is assumed that this will be his next wrestling appearance, as any other defense could end in defeat before then.

Instead of those most-recognizable names, Storm immediately accepted a video challenge from a self-professed professor Jocephus Brody. The match was scheduled for Tried and True Pro Wrestling, Friday, November 17 at the Wilma Rudolph Event Center in Clarksville, Tennessee. Jocephus Brody, the “Shelby Street Brawler,” is 6’3,” 280-pounder from Nashville who debuted in 2009. According to online research, Jocephus has held about regional championships to his name. Brody primarily wrestled for Resistance Pro Wrestling of Illinois, a federation co-owned by Corgan that shuttered November 19, 2017.

Jocephus once made hometown headlines because he enrolled in an audio technology program at SAE Institute in Nashville. It was during his confrontation with Storm that Jocephus made reference to Storm’s “19 grandchildren.” In an audio follow-up, Jocephus launched into a vulgarity-riddled tirade against the NWA, Storm and his grandchildren.

Although almost no details currently stand as of November 23, Storm was successful against Jocephus. In one photo, a fan noted that it was good that a World Heavyweight Champion defended the most prestigious title in wrestling twice in one week. There is a promise that the match will be featured on a “future” episode of Ten Pounds of Gold.

On November 18, Storm appeared with Tommy Dreamer during an in-ring promo at House of Hardcore in South Philadelphia. Dreamer introduced Storm during the premier episode of H of H’s TV show on Twitch TV. Dreamer was quick to point out that the NWA World Title last appeared in that same former ECW Arena on August 27, 1994 when Shane Douglas won the championship in a tournament, defeating 2 Cold Scorpio in the final. Douglas earned the title after it was vacated in 1993 when WCW split from the National Wrestling Alliance. Douglas won and immediately vacated the title. He had already held the NWA-Eastern Championship Wrestling division title. Eastern Championship Wrestling broke free from the NWA and became Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW).

Dreamer promoted Storm and how the NWA Champion was eager to wrestle anywhere he could at any time. Then, Dreamer talked about past NWA Champions, such as his mentor Terry Funk. Dreamer, 46, said that he would like a shot at the NWA prize. He also invited Corgan to the House of Hardcore. Storm quickly accepted the challenge, “anyplace and at any time.”

As soon as the challenge was accepted, Nick Aldis appeared from the locker room. Aldis effectively noted that Storm offered a rematch and even if Dreamer would beat the current champion, Aldis would win against the “Innovator of Violence.”

Since that video, Storm posted a Thanksgiving message with his wife at his side. Storm thanked his family, Corgan, Lagana and everyone associated with the Ten Pounds of Gold episodes. He noted that for the first time in his wrestling career, his “relevance” has extended from Arkansas and Texas to “the big picture of wrestling.” And in a moment of retrospect, Storm said that “if this is the end, this is a great way to go out.”

Unless a match is made between Storm and Dreamer or Aldis, the NWA Heavyweight Champion is next expected at CZW in New Jersey on December 9.

In a few short weeks, Storm (with an assist from Corgan) has made the NWA Heavyweight Championship relevant again. There’s a buzz, growing interest and crowds. With an emphasis on the legitimacy of the title, its history, and its current champion, for the first time in more than a decade, fans have cared about the Ten Pounds of Gold again.

“Trapper” Tom Leturgey is the Editor of KSWA Digest, Ring Announcer for Pittsburgh’s Keystone State Wrestling Alliance (KSWA) and Community College of Allegheny County Adjunct Professor who taught “The History of Professional Wrestling in Pittsburgh” this past October in Pittsburgh.

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