Larry Goodman sent this report in:
NWA Charlotte returned to action at the NWA Coliseum with ?Final Destination? ? a night that saw Truitt Fields crowned as the first NWA (Charlotte) United States Champion and the reigns of the company turned over to special guest, Jim Cornette for the evening.
It was a show where the positives outweighed the negatives to make for an overall entertaining, if very lengthy (3:15 running time), evening. Cornette had a lot to do with that. He was out a lot. It would have been too much for anybody else, but he’s so entertaining that it worked, and all of the talent that got to do segment with him was better for the rub. The negatives were once again mostly in the booking, but if anybody could lend credibility to the nonsense that sometimes passes for booking in NWA Charlotte, it would be Cornette. A major plus was the energy put into setting up matches for the return date.
Attendance was 450. Not bad considering that the Highspots show with Ric Flair and Roddy Piper had drawn a paltry 200 Friday night before in Charlotte at the Grady Cole Center.
Eddie Rich introduced the grand poobah of NWA Charlotte, JD Costello. He called Lodi into the ring from the announcer’s table to take care of unfinished business. Costello then introduced the man himself Jim Cornette. His entrance got a bigger pop than any of the legends that have appeared for NWA Charlotte. Cornette kissed the hand of long time Charlotte fan Peggy Lathan.
As his first order of business, Cornette addressed Lodi about his situation with Raven. Cornette said he had a Fed Ex message from Raven. The gist of it was Lodi had let him down for the last time (by losing in his stead on March 28 thus knocking Raven out of contention for the US title). As punishment, Lodi would have a special match tonight. However, Raven’s message left off the name of his opponent. Cornette advised Lodi that he wouldn?t trust Raven if they were cremated together. Cornette thanked the fans for keeping the tradition of Charlotte wrestling alive.
(1) American Gangsters (Frank & Nicky) beat Team Ego (Abel Adams & Will Snapp) and New Wave (Steven Walters & Derrick Driver) in 8:45. Gangsters got a ton of heat. New Wave used quick tags and a plethora of double teams on Adams. Nicky tagged himself in at the 4 minute mark. Gangsters destroyed Driver. A segment of the crowd was into their ultra stiff looking offense. Nicky kept pulling Driver up to prevent the pin. Adams said Team Ego wanted no part of Gangster’s thuggery and walked out. New Wave hit a devastating double chestcracker on Frank, who rolled out of the ring without even allowing a pin attempt. Walters went for a flip dive. Nicky made the catch and tossed Walters back in over the top rope like he was nothing. Frank speared the bejeezus out of Driver for the pin. Gangsters are being booked like the Road Warriors. They ain?t selling nothin? for nobody. I guess the idea was present Team Ego as fair-minded tough guys capable of handling Gangsters. Whatever. The only sure thing is New Wave were killed dead.
Cornette ordered security to intervene to save New Wave from total decimation. Gangsters wasted the first guy and none of the others made a move. Cornette said they were gutless. Finally, the one big security guy got in the ring and Gangsters backed off. Cornette said if Gangsters wanted to bully somebody, they should bully him because he controlled their paychecks. Costello was getting all red in the face. Cornette warned Costello to watch his blood pressure.
NWA National Champion Phil Shatter did prematch mic work. With Shatter, it’s not so much what he says, but the way he says it that makes him come across as a good talker. Shatter said he, Ryan O?Reilly and Mikael Judas were there to say otherwise about Cornette’s edicts. Cornette called them a cancer. In so many words, he said they were selfish pricks. Cornette said it made sense for Costello to protect his company, and he was there to keep an eye on them. Shatter got in Corny’s face. Cornette said he wasn?t there to get physical with anyone. Shatter told Cornette he wasn?t taking over without a fight.
(2) Phil Shatter beat Michael Youngblood in 6:38. After an early flurry from Youngblood, Shatter took a leisurely time out. Youngblood’s offense was heavy on the striking with lots of Indian knife edge chops. Shatter blocked a sunset flip and nailed Youngblood with a leg drop to take over. Shatter busted out the high impact stuff with Youngblood trying to use maneuverability to stay out of harm’s way. Shatter missed a flying elbow drop, and Youngblood made the full-fledged comeback. Youngblood mounted the ropes to rain down the 10 punches of doom. Shatter brought Youngblood off the ropes with a variant of his PTSD powerbomb for the pin.
Lodi interviewed Truitt Fields about what happened two week ago that prevented him from making the show. Fields said that when he stopped for gas, somebody slashed his tires and attacked him. The next thing he knew, he was in Gwinnett Medical Center with IV in his arm. Fields said he knew it was O?Reilly’s doing but he forgot to finish the job. Out came O?Reilly. He asked Fields how his head was, then said he wanted to apologize. ?I?m sorry’sorry I didn?t do it sooner.? With that, O?Reilly kicked Fields in the shoulder to leave him laying. Fields must be a very trusting soul to believe for one second that O?Reilly came out to make amends – admirable but dumb.
(3) Dylan Kage & Caleb Konley beat Zach Salvation & Josh Magnum (15+ minutes). Kage pinned Salvation to earn a five minute free pass in the inaugural NWA Charlotte Cruiserweight Title match (with TLC rules) on May 23. The usual craziness when this group gets together, but the internal logic held up since it was, in essence, a four way. Crowd was quiet early but picked up bigtime as the match unfolded. Kage and Salvation kept their feud going with an exchange of sucker punches. Salvation and Magnum pancaked Kage with a something akin to a double team Styles Clash. They argued about the pin, and played it for comedy, pausing to clothesline Kage over the top and play matador for Konley, who took a brutal bump on the floor. Salvation and Magnum both hit spectacular dives. Konley was gutting it out. Back inside, Magnum leveled Salvation when Kage ducked a lariat. Kage gutbustered Magnum and the rudos worked on his ribs. Magnum fought off a superplex and hit a flying bodypress, but Kage rolled through for a near fall. Costello made a two minutes to go call. The dreaded collision of lariats ensued. Salvation cleaned house. Another technico miscue saw Magnum superkick Salvation. Kage and Konley hit a flapjack on Magnum. The bell rang at 15:13. Enter American Gangsters to beat up everybody. Frank blocked a chairshot from Magnum with one hand, like Superman with dreads. Cornette suspended Gangsters for 30 days without pay. They made a big tadoo over getting Gangsters out of there. After all that, Kage hit the Kevork Kick to pin Salvation. Very strange. Gangsters missed their cue or something. Well-timed or not, my question is why? They’re treating all of their hot babyface prospects like dirt.
Cornette introduced an injured Ricky Steamboat Jr. Cornette spread the ropes for Steamboat’s entrance into the ring. Cornette explained that Steamboat had 14 stitches in his arm from a match the previous night. Therefore, he did not have medical clearance to wrestle. Steamboat said he would be ready to wrestle on the April 25 show. Vordell Walker came out and said a few stitches wouldn?t stop him from wrestling ?but you?re not the man I am.? Cornette asked Walker if wanted to face Steamboat in two weeks. Walker said he would end Steamboat’s fledgling career.
(4) Damian Wayne beat Vordell Walker in 5:36. Another one of NWA Charlotte’s unconventional booking concepts – beat the guy you just finished setting up as a badass challenger at the next show. Walker attacked Wayne before the bell. Walker dominated. He hit an explosive vertical suplex. Fans weren’t into Wayne. He looked rusty and outclassed athletically. It didn?t help that he botched a ropes move so badly fans busted out laughing. Wayne redeemed himself with a top rope elbow drop for a near fall. Walker hit a running double knee that liked to have crushed Wayne’s sternum and followed with a Tiger Driver for a near fall. Wayne answered with a german suplex. Walker speared the post and Wayne caught him with a small package.
(5) Kimo (with Attorney Jeff G. Bailey) beat Eric Adams via submission in 2:32. If this was the 80s, instead of a crappy jobber like Adams, a guy like Kimo would be fed Rocky King or one of the Mulkeys, guys that understood the role and took pride in doing it well. Kimo locked in the Information Extractor. Adams tapped right away, but that wasn’t enough to suit Bailey. Security hit the ring. Kimo the first two guys a double judo throw and chopped the third guy dead- cool stuff and much better than the match. He did eventually obey Cornette’s order to release the hold.
Cornette said being that Bailey was a person with no compassion for his fellow man, he had another opponent for Kimo. Someone he couldn?t take advantage of. Timber came out to a huge pop.
(6) Kimo (with Bailey) and Timber were both counted out at 2:40. This was out of control. Neither man was going down. Neither man was giving an inch. They did the Frye/Takayama exchange. The action spilled to the floor, through the seating area, and back to the concession stand. Timber bashed Kimo with a full can of Coke. Timber fired a trash barrel at Bailey. Dude wasn’t playing. Bailey went ducking for cover. Timber said it was just the beginning. Cornette made the rematch for April 25. This segment got over great. Crowd was loving Timber.
(7) Reid Flair & David Flair & Brad Anderson beat Jeff Lewis & CW Anderson & Masked Superstar in 12:58. I expected Reid to be green and he was. What I didn?t expect was his less than stellar physical conditioning. David has filled out and then some, but he does come across like a veteran guy. I liked his wrestling . Match opened with Lewis tattooing Reid, who took an awkwardly timed bump. Lewis taunted Reid. He went into his bombastic bow, and Reid caught him with an uppercut. Reid throws a solid chop in the Flair tradition. David and Reid teamed up for a double vertical suplex. CW took two rounds of punches in the babyface corner and fell on his face. Funny stuff. CW hooked the ropes to block Brad’s Russian legsweep. Reid made a blind tag and Lewis raked his eyes to start the heat. Reid takes the same bump no matter what the blow. Superstar did his trademark lariat. Superstar also tossed a chair at Reid on the outside. Reid grazed CW with a lariat and hot-tagged David. Match broke down to six way action, and it was far from smooth. Lewis gave Reid a low blow. CW by accident superkicked Lewis. CW then spinebustered Brad, while Reid covered Lewis. Tommy Young counted Brad’s shoulder’s down. Second referee Tim Smith counted three on Lewis. The refs argued. Confusion reigned. Cornette ruled that Reid’s pin counted. Costello grabbed Lewis? Heritage Championship belt and awarded it to Reid. Cornette raised Costello’s hand. Lewis spit on CW and walked off.
Match had its moments both good and bad. The story was way better than the action.
(8) Mikael Judas beat Lodi in 14:21. Lodi’s entrance, where he goes all over the building holding up signs, was way over with the fans. It’s like Charlotte’s version of the hokey routine ?Boogie Woogie Boy? Gary Valiant does in Nashville. Cornette informed Lodi that he had a text message from Raven and would inform him of his fate based on the outcome of the match. Lodi got the jump on Judas during his grand entrance. A huge Lodi chant ensued. Lodi was giving it everything he had. A stinging chop drove Judas to his knees. Inside the ring, Lodi missed a guillotine leg drop. Judas took over. Things were looking grim for Lodi, but he ducked a Yakuza kick and Judas got all hung up in the ropes. Lodi hit a swinging neckbreaker for a one count only. Judas caught Lodi coming off the ropes with a fallaway slam. Judas punished Lodi’s back with a surfboard. Judas brought a chair in, but referee Josh Cash took it away. Lodi fought off a powerbomb and the momentum sent Judas through the ropes ? a hell of an athletic bump for a guy that stands 6-7. Judas barely beat the 10 count. Lodi scored a trio of near falls, the last one with an Evenflo DDT that had the crowd believing. Judas hit a powerbomb into the turnbuckles, but Lodi managed to kick out. Lodi slipped away from a chokeslam and hit another Evenflo, but Judas got a shoulder up at 2.9. Lodi tried to come off the ropes using the chair. Cash was ready to DQ him if it connected. It didn?t. Chokebreaker by Judas and it was over. The pin got a pop from the fans that are into cool heels. Good match, but with all the near falls and such, seems like it should have been placed right before intermission. In this spot, it overshadowed the title match.
Cornette said since Lodi lost, he was honoring Raven’s request for a Clockwork House of Fun Match against him on April 25. Cornette cut an awesome promo here. He said Lodi lost because Raven was in his head, where he had been for the last 10 years. Cornette said Lodi needed to listen the fans because they were behind him. ?I?m giving Raven what he wants because it’s the best thing for you.? Cornette said it would be the worst hell Lodi had ever known. ?The choice is yours. Be your own man.?
(9) Truitt Fields beat Ryan O?Reilly in 7:05 to become the first NWA United States Champion. O?Reilly’s two-tone Wolfman beard is something else. Definitely adds to the aura of evilness. Fields came out with his shoulder bandaged and selling it big. Not great heat. It was late and the crowd was somewhat spent after the last match. Fields attacked with his one good arm. O?Reilly knocked him off the apron with a clubbing blow. They traded ringside. O?Reilly sent Field’s bum shoulder crashing into the ringsteps. O?Reilly ripped the bandages off and tore into Fields? shoulder. BIG high boot by O?Reilly for a near fall. Fields hit the Killing Fields out of nowhere. Both men up at the count of nine. O?Reilly cut off Fields? comeback with a Saito suplex and shoulder shots into the post. O?Reilly made a mad charge into the corner, and Fields went up and over with a sunset flip (called a Gibson roll after Rick) to win the title. They did a big postmatch deal with kids in the ring celebrating with Fields.
NOTES: The return date is April 25 with Lodi vs. Raven, Timber vs. Kimo, and Steamboat Jr. vs. Walker already announced?NWA Executive Director Bob Trobich was in attendance. He said there definite plans to tape NWA Showcase in Charlotte either in late May or June?NWA Showcase will tape some matches at a show in Tyler, Texas on May 2 featuring Blue Demon defending the NWA World Heavyweight Title against Super Crazy?Lewis was out doing commentary with Tim Dixon during the second half of the show.