The winners of the 2019 Crockett Cup will be crowned in Concord, North Carolina tonight.
Eight teams will face off in a one-night tournament, with the winners also becoming the NWA Tag Team Champions. The left side of the bracket has The Briscoes vs. The Rock 'n' Roll Express and Satoshi Kojima & Yuji Nagata vs. PCO & Brody King. The right side has Stuka Jr. & Guerrero Maya Jr. vs. Flip Gordon & Bandido and Crimson & Jax Dane vs. the winners of a wild card battle royal.
Three other title matches are also set for tonight. NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Nick Aldis puts his title on the line against Marty Scurll, Allysin Kay and Santana Garrett face off for the vacant NWA World Women's Championship, and Willie Mack defends the NWA National title against Colt Cabana.
The NWA and ROH are partnering for tonight's show. It begins at 7 p.m. Eastern time and will air live on HonorClub, Fite TV, and pay-per-view.
Joe Galli, Ian Riccaboni and Jim Cornette were on commentary for tonight’s event. The ring used for this Crockett Cup looked different from the one they used at the 70th Anniversary show in November, with the plain old school NWA logo in yellow on the blue canvas, with the old ROH logo — the one that wasn’t inspired by tribal tattoos -- on the apron. The graphics were very ‘80s throughout the night, too, and gave the show a nostalgic feel.
Royce Isaacs & Thomas Latimer won a tag-team battle royalty qualify for the Crockett Cup tournament.
The Boys, Will Ferarra & Rhett Titus, Royce Isaacs & Thomas Latimer (Bram in TNA), Jay Bradley & Jocephus, Zane and Dave Dodson, and a handful of other young talent were included in this match. Everyone was in the ring before the bell rang and were each briefly introduced by the ring announcer.
In the ring, Rhett Titus flexed in front of all the teams until the Boys eliminated him, and here is when the match really kicked off.
The Dodsons, the local team from North Carolina, were put over on commentary for being the kinda-sorta hometown heroes. They were the two biggest contestants in the battle royal, but were ironically eliminated by some of the smallest wrestlers in the match with a double clothesline.
The other teams were eliminated quickly, and the last two groups in the ring were Bradley and Cephus vs the Boys. The Boys thought they got the upset win until Royce Isaacs and Tom Latimer, who feigned elimination, jumped back into the ring to eliminate the Boys and win the battle royal.
This wasn’t great but it was quick and painless. I’m not sure how familiar the crowd was with the teams outside of the ROH teams or locals.
Crockett Cup Round 1:
Flip Gordon & Bandido (ROH) defeated Stuka Jr. & Guerrero Maya Jr. (CMLL)
Really nice match to kick off the tournament. Gordon wore Bandido’s sombrero and Bandido wore FLIP t-shirt to the ring. People sounded really excited for the ROH team here.
Jim Cornette’s mini-history lessons during dead spots during the broadcast are just terrific. He gave an abridged version of EMLL/CMLL in about a minute or two before the match. It’s one of the best parts of these NWA specials, actually.
This wasn’t as lightening-fast as you’d imagine it might be. Guerrero Maya Jr. was the first wrestler to really shine in the match and used four tilt-a-whirl backbreakers in a row on both Gordon and Bandido. Stuka and Maya did a very cool double-team lucha-styled submissions on both Gordon and Bandido. At one point they did a double Romero Special to Bandido but Gordon slid in and pinned both for a quick two-count.
The CMLL team dominated much of this match. Stuka did a torpedo plancha onto Bandidoto the floor; Maya did a tope con giro through the ropes onto Gordon.
Team ROH made a comeback halfway through the match and started diving all over the place. Gordon used a big moonsault to the floor and landed on his feet. The crowd was very much into Gordon tonight. He and Bandido together had good chemistry together despite not having teamed all that much.
Stuka mounted a comeback for his team and hit a string off flying and power moves, including a giant torpedo splash. Maya used innovative offense here as well and got a very close count after a modified neckbreaker.
Towards the end of the match, Stuka went for a cross body from the top rope. Bandido caught the stout luchador mid-air and passed him off to Flip Gordon who hit a modified TKO on Stuka for the win.
Crockett Cup Round 1
Royce Isaacs & Thomas Latimer defeated Crimson & Jax Dane (NWA)
Solid and hard-hitting match but a bit short. The crowd was pretty into the NWA team for obvious reasons. The heels, Isaacs and Latimer, controlled much of the match in their corner, beating down Crimson until Jax was tagged in. Jax took both Latimer and Isaacs from the top rope and did a double-Samoan Drop. As the NWA team mounted their comeback, Isaacs was able to score a roll-up pin with his foot on the ropes to advance to the next round.
Crockett Cup Round 1:
The Briscoe Brothers (Jay & Mark Briscoe) defeated The Rock 'n' Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson)
Jim Cornette went to the ring to introduce the Rock ’n’ Roll Express, who received a warm reaction from the crowd. Cornette interviewed the team in the ring, specifically Morton, who was so fired up at points during this promo his face turned red. He explained how it’s been their goal to win the Crockett Cup, that that’s what they’re all about, and then Morton got the crowd to chant “Rock and Roll.” The Briscoes’ music hit midway through the chant as Jay and Mark came to the ring to cut a promo of their own. Their reaction was really loud and positive.
Jay threatened to whoop Cornette’s ass if he didn’t give him the mic. He then cut a promo offering them to forfeit the match. Morton responded by decking Jay and the match was on. Morton hit a frankensteiner on Mark just after the bell. Wow. RNR knocked him to the floor with their patented double dropkick after this and the chants for the NWA legends started over again.
Gibson opened the ropes for Morton to dive through them moments later, hitting a tope suicida onto both Briscoes. This happened in 2019.
The Briscoes were able to gather themselves on the outside and started abusing Morton back inside the ring. Morton had already bladed at this point. The Briscoes kept the flash to a minimum here and controlled the match with forearms, chin locks and neck cranks. They screamed at the crowd and at Robert Gibson as he yelled for Morton to get to the opposing corner.
The crowd was split here, and there were equal chants for both teams. Gibson did get a tag that the ref didn’t see so he was ordered back to the apron, which got a lot of heat. He did finally get himself tagged into the ring where he cleaned house. He and Morton did the Rocket Launcher spot into the ring onto Mark Briscoe for two.
The Briscoes were able to make a quick comeback and put the Express away after Mark pinned Morton after a Froggy Bow. Like the others, this was a short match though both teams looked great, and that’s after we’ve shelved our nostalgic feelings for the Rock ’n’ Roll Express. I never had the feeling like either were struggling in the match despite their ages and states of their bodies, and the Briscoes always know what they’re doing, so yeah, this was good stuff. Briscoes were awesome heels in this, as well.
PCO & Brody King (ROH) defeated Satoshi Kojima & Yuji Nagata (NJPW)
This was another solid match that had a slower pace than the others so far tonight. Nagata and King started the match off, but the crowd really seemed to perk up for Kojima and PCO together. After PCO no-sold a shoulder block from Kojima, he used a discus lariat to knock him out of the ring and followed up with a tope suicida. This is turning into the Night of Amazing Middle-Aged Men.
Nagata entered the ring in House of Fire Mode and hit all of his signature moves, including an exploder suplex and the extreme arm breaker where he rolls his eyes into the back of his head, the shiro-me (“white eyes” in Japanese) spot. PCO broke it up.
Kojima and PCO traded machine gun shops in opposite corners. They traded big spots after this, Kojima with a Koji Cutter, PCO with a Michinoku Driver II. It’s almost strange to see King and PCO in a regular wrestling match; these days they tend to be booked exclusively in gimmick matches.
Back in the ring, King landed a fireman’s carry into a Michinoku Driver on Kojima for the clean pin. They’ll face the Briscoes in the next round.
NWA Womens’ Championship match: Allysin Kay defeated Santana Garrett
Madusa came out with the NWA Women’s Championship. She called herself the Queen of Carnage and said she wasn’t going to trash any titles tonight. It was unfortunately quite awkward. It sounded like she kept forgetting what she was going to say. Just as she was wrapping up, Allisn Kay’s music hit.
The story for those who haven’t heard is that Jazz, the former NWA Women’s champion, vacated the titled earlier this week due to health and personal reasons.
Earlier on in the broadcast aired a selfie promo from Kay, formerly Sienna in TNA. She dominated much this one. Kay is a good heel and abused Garrett throughout. Garrett used some acrobatic offensive moves towards the end of the match, but Kay used a spinning lariat to pin Garrett to become the new NWA Women’s champion. This wasn’t bad, but it sure didn’t feel important.
Crockett Cup Semi-Finals:
Royce Isaacs & Thomas Latimer defeated Flip Gordon & Bandido (ROH)
The teams started things off at a medium pace. Isaacs and Latimer were knocked to the floor early on, but instead of diving onto them, Flip and Bandido did a dance inside the ring. As Team ROH were flossing (I swear) in the ring, Madusa was out at ringside and whispering something into the freelancers’ ears.
Latimer and Isaacs made a comeback midway through the match and worked over Gordon towards their corner. Not all that much happened in this match, actually, because Latimer scored an a quick upset win on Gordon with a schoolboy to advance to the finals of tonight’s Crockett Cup. What a swerve.
Crockett Cup Semi-Finals:
Brody King & PCO (ROH) defeated The Briscoe Brothers (ROH) by DQ
PCO and Mark Briscoe had a chop-off early on. PCO’s chest was still red from his match with Kojima and Nagata. Mark hit a huge corkscrew senton to the floor which popped the very pro-Briscoes crowd.
PCO used a thrust kick to counter the Briscoes offense. From here, he had his partner, King, chop him a number of times to fire him up, and was whipped by King into the opposite corner. King followed up by cannonballing himself into the then prone Mark Briscoe in the same corner.
The Briscoes did a lot dives in this match. Jay did a pescado to the floor but then King chokeslammed him onto the edge of the apron. Mark dove through the middle ropes with a dropkick. PCO did a tope con giro through the ropes, but then missed a somersault senton onto the edge of the apron. It looked brutal, as per usual. Mark did a running elbow drop to King on the floor, just like Cactus Jack used to do.
The match morphed into another version of the Briscoes vs. Villain Enterprises matches that we’ve seen on the big ROH cards over the past two months. They circled ringside, brawling, until each wrestler found a chairs. Both teams were then in the ring with chairs until everyone started smashing each other. Referee Scott Turner then called for the bell and DQ’d the Briscoes, allowing for Villain Enterprises to advance to tonight’s finals.
After the match, the Briscoes jumped their opponents and ref Scott Turner. Jay used a not-great looking Jaydriller on Turner, then Mark hit a somersault senton onto PCO, who had a chair across his chest, on the apron. Jay then grabbed the mic and essentially said to hell with the NWA and they left.
NWA National Title match: Colt Cabana defeated Willie Mack (c)
This wasn’t bad but was again another short one making it harder to judge fairly. Both wrestlers shook hands before the match. Mack hit a big swinging bodyslam on Cabana early on. He attempted a running dropkick to Cabana in the corner but Cabana moved out of the way and Mack slid right through the ropes and bumped back-first onto the floor, in essence doing a modified Chris Hamrick bump. Cornette sold it as purely accident and worked it into the story of the match.
From here, Cabana took control for a couple of minutes until Mack was able to counter the attack with a Samoan drop and standing moonsault for two, and later a deadweight upside-down cannonball for another two.
Cabana landed a quebrada for a two of his own. Mack landed some really stiff looking kicks and forearms and seemed to be picking up momentum when Cabana, basically out of nowhere, used his Superman Press pin to score what some might consider the upset victory. The crowd was shocked but didn’t seem to love the result. Colt Cabana is your new NWA National champion.
As Mack walked to the dressing room, a tall fellow in a hood walked by him, who happened to be James Storm. Storm got into the ring and grabbed the mic. He congratulated Cabana on his win and then cut a promo about how the “management” holding him down when he held the NWA title and that the “management” only wants a certain type of person to hold the title, not a hell raiser like himself. He then challenged Cabana to a match and did his catchphrase, which a good portion of the crowd already knew, and walked to the back.
-- Billy Corgan and Joe Koff came to ringside with members of the Crockett family. Bobby Cruise then announced Nikita Koloff who came to the ring. He boasted about how he is now a preacher and has toured the world preaching. Magnum T.A. came out and he put over the NWA fans.
Crockett Cup Finals:
Brody King & PCO defeated Royce Isaacs & Thom Latimer (w/ Madusa)
Isaacs and King were first in. They exchanged strikes up front, lots of fists and chops. Isaacs inched his way back towards his team’s corner. He and Latimer pounded down on King, slowing things down with forearms and wear-down submissions. After a few minutes of punishment, King back body dropped Latimer into the corner and inched his way to the corner and tag PCO.
PCO here started screaming “Brody, fix my arm!” on the apron, so King did an arm breaker across the top rope to “set” his arm back into place. He then unloaded a few lariats and then passed Latimer off to King. King did that fireman’s carry driver again and set Latimer flat, prone and ready to take a monstrous PCO moonsault and easily walk away with the victory. Villain Enterprises win the Crockett Cup and are now the new NWA Tag Team champions. The crowd chanted for PCO after this. Nikita Koloff and Magnum TA congratulated the team and presented them with the gigantic Crockett Cup trophy.
NWA Heavyweight Title match: Nick Aldis (w/ Kamille) (c) defeated Marty Scurll
Both wrestlers got really long entrances. They showed the Ten Pounds of Gold mini-docs before and during the broadcast. They made it a strong point to make this match feel like it meant a lot, on commentary, in the ring, and with regard to the match’s live programming. Legendary NWA referee Tommy Young came out and gave both wrestlers instructions before the match, noting that it’s a wrestling match and not a fight, and that the fans paid to see these two wrestlers wrestle, not to see him referee. This got a few boisterous albeit scattered cheers.
They exchanged holds for the first few minutes of this one. Cornette digressed a bit on this style of chain wrestling, the World of Sport-inspired style these two often employee. For me, these little tidbits throughout the broadcast are always fascinating to listen to and enhance the overall experience on television.
I want to note that here Cornette claimed that Billy Robinson invented what’s known in the BJJ world as a cartwheel guard pass, which I’m not entirely sure if that’s true or not. Kazusashi Sakuraba was one of the first people I saw use it in a pro fight, before the term “guard” was so frequently used, and Sakuraba is a Robinson devotee, so it could in fact be true.
After being whipped into the ropes, Scurll bumped face-first onto the mat and acted as though Kamille tripped him. Referee Brian Hebner ejected her from ringside, even though Tommy Young, officiating from the floor, claimed not to see her do anything. Scurll tapped his temple with his finger to let the audience just how villainous he is.
It didn’t matter for long, though, as Aldis powered back to control much of the middle part of this match. He used a super fall-away slam from the top turnbuckle, and later chokeslammed Scurll clean through a ringside table.
Aldis continued to dominate for a bit longer until Scurll summoned some sort of inner fire, first spitting in Aldis’ face, later landing a tornado DDT and later a low thrust kick from the apron into Aldis’ face. The two brawled around the ring for a while here, with Scurll getting the better of this second spill to the floor. Aldis bled a ton here and Cornette called it as though Scurll popped him in the eye with a fist.
Scurll put Aldis into a figure-four leg lock back inside the ring. Aldis was bleeding heavy now. He came back with a tombstone piledriver, a Michinoku Driver II off the ropes and then a diving elbow drop from the top rope.
The two exchanged strikes on the top rope. After a few more moments of fisticuffs, Scurll was able to reverse Aldis’ offensive attempt into a big superplex for two. Much of the crowd in attendance was on their feet at this point.
Aldis went for the Cloverleaf but Scurll snapped Aldis fingers before he could lock the submission in. Scurll hit a CrossRhodes. Scurll went for the chicken wing but ended up crashing into ref Brian Hebner. Kamille then ran out and went to spear Scurll in the ring while the ref was out, but Aldis got in the way and insisted she get out of the ring because he wanted the honorable win. Despite this, Scurll then gave Aldis a low-blow and went for a pin but couldn’t finish.
Aldis fought from behind for much of the end of this. Scurll had him locked in the chicken wing for a minute or two but Aldis countered out with a pinning attempt. He was finally able to lock in the cloverleaf, and after dragging Scurll to the middle of the ring, the bloody Nick Aldis was able tap Scurll for the win. The two shook hands after the match, and Scurll raised Aldis’ hand to celebrate his victory.
This was excellent. The crowd was going wild towards the end of this. Both wrestlers busted their asses not only physically but in terms of match layout, pacing, structure and aesthetic. It was competitive and had drama pulled from a pretty strong backstory.
Afterwards, Scurll grabbed the mic and put Aldis over huge. He explained how he not only helped him at the beginning of his career but he helped Scurll become the man that he is today. He put over the match tonight, to the delight of the crowd, and put Aldis over once more. Aldis then took the mic and said Scurll is the biggest self-made star today. He said that tonight was for the one’s that laughed at the idea of the NWA coming back, and that the NWA is filled with people who had courage and valor and such. Everything felt authentic and classy, both from he and from Scurll.
-- Final thoughts
This was a good card that had not only solid wrestling quality television production. Compared to the 70th Anniversary show back in November, this was leaps ahead in terms of production quality, without any major technical issues or on-screen flubs. The custom ring looked really nice, especially on camera, and entrance area lighting looked high-calibre. The announce team was terrific, especially Cornette, who knew how to fill dead spots in matches with either logical kayfabe-centric storytelling or miniature crash courses in pro-wrestling history.
The matches themselves, aside from the battle royal and weaker women’s match, were all quite good but short, though that’s the nature of the programming with these tournaments, especially if the plan is to go long in the main event, which they did do. The main event was also terrific in that it always felt important on television because of a combination of the ringside pageantry beforehand, the great job of the announce team and the conviction both Aldis and Scurll displayed in their promos and in the ring.