Preview by Josh Nason
The NWA returns for their second post-pandemic pay-per-view with Sunday's When Our Shadows Fall, featuring three title matches and some familiar names.
The main event will feature NWA World Champion Nick Aldis against Trevor Murdoch. The build for this match began in late-April with a promo on NWA Power and continued with Murdoch winning a battle royal to earn the the title shot against Aldis' wishes.
In a quirky situation, Women's Champion Serena Deeb will make her promotional debut despite being the champion when she defends against Kamille. Deeb won the title on a UWN Primetime Live show and all of her title defenses and appearances have been in AEW.
In a three-way, Tag Team Champions Aron Stevens and JR Kratos will defend against Chris Adonis and Thom Latimer and the War Kings (Crimson and Jax Dane) while TV Champion The Pope will face Tyrus in a non-title match where there must be a winner.
The rest of the card features former Women's Champion Thunder Rosa teaming with Melina against the debuting Kylie Rae & Taryn Terrell; JTG vs. Fred Rosser in a battle of former WWE stars, and The End (Odinson and Parrow) vs. MechaWolf and Bestia 666 vs. Marshe Rockett and Slice Boogie vs. Sam Rudo and Sal Rinauro in a four-way.
Our live coverage begins at 4 PM Eastern.
Joe Galli, Tim Storm, & Velvet Sky opened the show by running down the card, and it’s noticeable that there were some fans in the audience, which was great.
La Rebelion (Mecha Wolf & Bestia 666) defeated Slice Boogie & Marche Rockett vs. The End (Odinson & Parrow) vs. Sal Rinauro & El Rudo w/ Danny Deals in a Lucha Rules Tag Match
This was a really fun tag match to open the show, and it stood out as different from their usual fair. The NWA seemed to inject some new life into their tag division with the addition of La Rebelion, who were very impressive. Slice Boogie and Rockett are a good team, and I’d like to see more from them as well.
Mecha Wolf and El Rudo started the match, exchanging some fast paced lucha to open the match, which was a refreshing change of style than what you usually get in the NWA. Bestia 666 tagged in and wrestled with Rinauro. Sal was wearing Macho Man style tights that said “Mega Pals” on the back of them, and I love it.
Rinauro tried to make friends with Bestia 666, but he wasn’t interested. Really, the name should have been an indicator for poor Sal Rinauro. Slice Boogie and Mecha Wolf exchanged some holds, ending with Boogie hitting a big German suplex on Wolf. Odinson and Parrow made themselves known, taking out Rockett and Boogie.
Boogie went for a lionsault, but Odinson and Parrow dodged. The End hit Hell on Earth on Boogie, but Mecha Wolf broke it up. The End then locked in stereo torture racks, and slammed La Rebelion into the top turnbuckles. Rinauro went for a handshake with El Rudo, but he refused and grabbed Rinauro’s hand and used it to balance a climb on the ropes and hit a moonsault.
Sal Rinauro went for a dive, but Rockett cut it off and then hit a dive of his own. Rinauro got up and went for the dive again, but he got cut off by Parrow, and Rinauro yelled “Come on!” in frustration. Rinauro then tried to chokeslam Parrow, and he realized it wasn’t going to work and let go. Parrow then powerbombed Rinauro to the floor onto everyone.
For a guy with Rockett in his name, he sure likes cutting off people from diving into the air, as he stopped Parrow from diving. Rockett then hit a cutter on Parrow for a 2 count, but Bestia broke it up. Bestia hit a Muscle Buster on Rockett and then Mecha Wolf hit a 450 splash on Rockett for the pinfall.
Pope came out for an interview, and he cut a promo on Austin Idol and Tyrus, saying he had to take on all 3 men, because Tyrus was big enough to be two. That made me chuckle.
Tyrus came out and said it was Pope’s fault that he wasn’t challenging for the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship, and said he was going to dedicate his win to the Love Alive Charity, saying he was taking it over, which is actually Pope’s charity. Tim Storm informed us that Pope had been running that charity for 10 years, helping people in need in Jacksonville. Galli and Storm put the charity over before the match, which was great.
Tyrus w/ Austin Idol defeated The Pope in a non-title grudge match
This match was way better than it deserved to be, given how bad Tyrus is, but he got gassed less than five minutes into the match and struggled at that point. It peaked at the flying crossbody by Tyrus.
Pope went right after Tyrus and started beating him down in the corner before Tyrus went to the floor to get away. Pope hit a series of hard punches, and Tyrus fell to the mat. Pope went for a cover, but Tyrus immediately kicked out.
Pope hit a crossbody, but he bounced right of Tyrus. Tyrus then hit a crossbody of his own, which surprised me, and Pope sold it like his ribs were crushed. Tyrus worked over the ribs a bit after this, getting the heat on Pope.
Tyrus hit a clothesline that turned Pope inside out, and then a suplex that sent Pope flying across the ring. Pope continued to take some attacks on his ribs, but he managed to make a comeback and hit a flying elbow off the top rope, despite the injured ribs. Pope went for the Elijah Express, but Tyrus caught him in a Tongan Death Grip.
Tyrus tried to pin Pope with it, but Pope kicked out. Tyrus was completely gassed here. Pope went for a float over sunset flip, but Tyrus lazily stomped on Pope to break it up. Tyrus went for a Banzai Drop on Pope, but Pope got his knees up and hit the Elijah Express. Idol slipped a gimmick to Tyrus and Tyrus delivered a heart punch on Pope and pinned him.
The referees helped Pope out, as they put over the heart punch stopping the heart for one beat, which is ridiculous, but it’s good that they’re trying.
Taryn Terrell & Kylie Rae defeated Thunder Rosa & Melina
Thunder Rosa and Kylie Rae need to have a long singles match. They were outstanding in this match. They also set it up for each woman to have singles matches with each other, with Rosa and Terrell having a reason for a singles match built into this one, and Melina looking for revenge against Rae. This was a good match.
Terrell started the match with Melina, which immediately worried me about the quality of the start of it, given Melina’s performances before the pandemic. While Terrell hasn’t wrestled for a long time, she looked good in her limited start, hitting the ropes, and running from Melina until she tagged in Rae.
Rae exchanged some basic wristlocks and exchanges with Melina, and this was quite good. Melina sticking to the more basic stuff is clearly the best way for her to go, and she pushed Rae back to her corner and tagged out to Rosa, who started working over Rae with submissions.
Rae’s selling was perfect here, and Rosa did a great job making it look like she was trying to rip Rae’s arm off. Rae and Rosa exchanged a series of pinfall attempts, ending with Rosa dropkicking Rae. Great sequence.
Rae worked over Melina’s arm for a bit, showing her own technical ability. Rosa, however, ran wild on both women, hutting a huge corner dropkick on Terrell and Rae, dropkicking Rae right in the arm that she was targeting earlier. Fantastic stuff. Rae sold it by moving her fingers and holding the arm, indicating that it struck a nerve and her arm is numb.
Rosa picked up Terrell and took her backstage, but as she did this, Rae rolled up Melina and hooked the tights to get the pinfall victory.
JTG defeated Fred Rosser
Great match between both of these guys, and while JTG got a little tired towards the end, both guys had their working boots on and they were determined to go all out. Excellent showing from Rosser, and JTG getting highlighted after years of working mainly indies was really nice to see. JTG could be a big star for the NWA, and this was a great start. Rosser, of course, should be in the conversation too. Both men are extremely talented, and this was great to see.
The match opened with some good action from both men, finally ending with JTG hitting a big dropkick after a dropdown. Rosser slipped under JTG’s legs and pulled JTG off the middle rope, causing him to head into the turnbuckle. Rosser then leveled JTG with a lariat to the back of the head.
Rosser then kept the advantage for several minutes, trying to get the submission on JTG, but JTG refused to give up. JTG ended up on the apron, and he floated over a suplex attempt into the ring and hit a lariat. JTG fired up and hit a series of clotheslines and a neckbreaker, and then swinging uranage for a 2 count.
JTG went for a crucifix bomb, but Rosser slipped out, and then they had what can only be described as an epic battle over a backslide. After neither man were able to win, JTG managed to get a small package and scored a flash pinfall on Rosser.
Aron Stevens & Kratos defeated The War Kings (Crimson & Jax Dane) vs. Strictly Business (Thom Latimer & Chris Adonis) to retain the NWA World Tag Team Championship
This was a very good tag match. I’ve gotten more and more impressed with the War Kings as the weeks have gone on, as Crimson and Dane are a great tag team, but I am enjoying this “effective team even though we don’t like each other” stuff with Stevens and Kratos. It’s not a quick break up, as they are trying to make it work, which is what makes it compelling.
Latimer, Dane, and Kratos started the match, with Latimer attacking both Dane and Kratos. This was a mistake, as they decided to work together to suplex Latimer, and then faced off with each other in a MEAN GUY MATCH~! Adonis tried to sneak up behind them and hit a clothesline on both men, but they did not like that.
Dane attacked Kratos’ knee, but Adonis hit a DDT on Dane. As the referee was distracted, Latimer kicked the stairs into Kratos’ knee, leaving him in a rough shape. It was not explained before the match that this match wasn’t being contested by the lucha rules from earlier, though it would be difficult to see these guys in a lucha match. With that said, it would have been nice if they explained that.
Crimson got into the ring, and Kratos was left selling his knee, but Kratos was not one to give up, and managed to dump Crimson to the floor and tag out to Stevens. Latimer ran from Stevens, but Kratos came up behind him, and Stevens almost punched his own partner, but just stopped. As Kratos and Stevens discussed the near blow, Adonis locked on the Master Lock on Stevens, but Crimson broke it up.
War Kings managed to get the heat on Stevens here for the next few minutes, with Latimer playing heel spoiler, but while Latimer and Dane went after each other, Stevens made a dive towards Kratos. Latimer and Dane both stopped him, in a brief show of teamwork. Kratos yelled at Stevens, actually encouraging him, which was interesting.
The temporary alliance between the War Kings and Strictly Business didn’t last forever, as both teams wan to win the match. After Dane and Latimer hit a suplex on Stevens, neither man allowed the other to go for the pinfall. Stevens tried to take advantage of this, but Dane and Crimson managed to cut him off.
Kratos climbed into the ring with a belt and tried to hit Crimson, but the referee took the belt. As the ref turned away, Kratos booted Crimson low, and Stevens scored the pinfall. Kratos and Stevens exchanged a high five after the match, which was really interesting to see.
Kamille defeated Serena Deeb for the NWA World Women’s Championship
This might be the best match of Kamille’s career, as Deeb made her look like a complete monster. Deeb’s selling was perfect in this match, and Kamille stayed right there with her. I’d like to see Deeb continue in the NWA if AEW is willing, because she adds so much to the division. A feud between Deeb and Rosa would be big money, regardless of where it happens, given the talent of both women. Hopefully Kamille will also take outside bookings with the title, which will help her too.
Kamille used her size and power to initially get the advantage on Deeb, while Deeb attempted to chop the giant down and wear her out with her technique and ability. Kamille didn’t go donw for a drop toe hold, failing to overpower her. Kamille hit elbows in the corner on Deeb in response.
This makes sense in the story of the match, as Deeb is smaller than Rosa, so she shouldn’t be able to take Kamille down the same way as Rosa can. Deeb locked on a sleeper hold and tried to bring Kamille down to the mat. Deeb’s selling throughout this part of the match was excellent.
Kamille mauled Deeb for a few minutes here, attacking the back and arms in particular, but just destroying Deeb with strikes and throws. Kamille hit a running power slam for a 2-count, as Deeb continued to make Kamille look like a million bucks. Kamille hit an Oklahoma Stampede for a 2-count.
Kamille went for it again, but Deeb slipped out and started to attack the knee of Kamille. This benefits Deeb due to keeping Kamille off her feet, and helping setup Serenity. Deeb hit a neckbreaker across the middle rope and then hit a flying clothesline to finally bring Kamille to the mat.
Deeb locked on an Octopus Stetch but Kamille almost powered out of it, so Deeb floated over into a sunset flip attempt. This didn’t work though, as Kamille just picked up Deeb and hit a steamroller. Kamille went for a spear, but Deeb managed to dropkick the knee.
Deeb went for a straight jacket piledriver, but Kamille backdropped out of it and went for a spear. Deeb rolled through into a half crab, but Kamille made the ropes. Deeb went for a backslide, but her knee went out, which was what she was out with for months. Kamille locked on a half crab of her own, but Deeb made the ropes.
Kamille hit another steamroller and then hit a spear on Deeb, and managed to score a pinfall, becoming the new NWA World Women’s Champion.
Nick Aldis defeated Trevor Murdoch via DQ to retain the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship
This wasn’t a bad match, but the Dusty finish left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. It looks like Aldis is going to remain champion. It was a good match overall, though Deeb vs. Kamille was likely the best match of the show.
Two of Harley Race’s prized students face off in the main event here, in a very personal match. Murdoch got in shape for this match, trimming down for this one and being able to keep pace with Aldis throughout the match.
Murdoch splashed Aldis in the corner and went for his top rope bulldog, but Aldis fell back into the ropes, causing Murdoch to get caught on the top rope. Aldis sent Murdoch to the floor with a baseball slide dropkick.
Aldis slammed Murdoch on the floor and started to work over the back with elbows, and using the ring against Murdoch by whipping him into the corner hard. Aldis used a Camel Clutch to continue to stretch the back out, and applied pressure to the back too. Murdoch tried to stand with Aldis on his back and fell into the turnbuckle, breaking the submission, but Aldis stayed on offence.
Aldis slapped Murdoch, who asked for a second one, and Murdoch fell back into the ropes and hit a clothesline on Aldis. Murdoch hit another and Aldis kicked out. Murdoch managed to hit the top rope bulldog, but Aldis barely kicked out at 2.
Tom Latimer brought out a chair and distracted the referee. As the referee was dealing with Latimer, Aldis nailed the referee with the chair, sending him to the floor, and then nailed Murdoch with the chair too before hitting an elbow drop off the top rope on Murdoch.
The announcers lost their mind, saying that Aldis saw Murdoch as a threat and he decided to take the referee out to avoid losing. Murdoch dodged another elbow and nailed Aldis with the chair and locked on a Texas Cloverleaf. The referee came back into the ring and blamed Murdoch for the chairshot, and he called for the bell, meaning Aldis retained the title via DQ. A Dusty finish to close the PPV, which I was not a fan of.
Murdoch went to the podium and he cut a promo about how he was heartbroken. He said he worked so hard to get there, and apologized to the fans, saying he tried everything he could to win, but he doesn’t know if it’s ever going to happen for him. Murdoch thanked the fans for being there, and he left upset.
The show closed with Velvet Sky fake tearing up, but Tim Storm was great here. He looked right in the camera and said that this was not the way things should end in the NWA and Strictly Business owes everyone an apology and Murdoch should have been the champion, but he got blamed for Nick Aldis’ actions. Joe Galli then promised that the situation would be addressed on the next episode of NWA Power.
Here’s hoping this leads to the babyface overcoming the heel in the end, because I’ve been burned by WWE and others one too many times with these Dusty finishes. If it results in Murdoch coming back and overcoming, then we can point it out as a good finish to build heat. I’m still willing to let it play out, but it was questionable booking right at the end.
This was a very good PPV, overall, and I give it a strong thumbs up. Every match on the card was fun, for the most part (aside from Tyrus) and every match had something that was worth remembering. The women really stole the show, but seeing La Rebelion win also added some much needed fresh faces to the tag division.
Overall, this was a great show. The Dusty finish to close it is questionable, but I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and see where this goes next. If the NWA does several of these finishes at PPVs going forward, then a discussion needs to be had if the PPVs are worth watching, but a one off every now and then to build a story is okay. We shall see how they handle this on NWA Power, as I hope there are consequences for what Aldis did in screwing Murdoch out of his title win. This kind of finish usually leads to people not buying the next show.