The NWA hosts their first-ever all-women's pay-per-view Saturday with Empower -- the kickoff to two back-to-back PPVs in St. Louis, Missouri, at the famous Chase Ballroom.
The Mickie James-produced show will feature the first-ever women's Invitational Cup that will see ten women compete in a gauntlet match for the chance to face the NWA Women's Champion on Sunday at NWA 73. That opponent will be determined by a title match between current Women's Champion Kamille and challenger Leyla Hirsch.
The first NWA Women's Tag Team Champions since 1983 will be crowned in a four team tournament featuring The Hex (Allysin Kay and Marti Belle), Hell on Heels (Sahara 7 and Renee Michelle), Red Velvet and KiLynn King and The Freebabes.
The event will also see Deonna Purrazzo defend the Impact Knockouts title against Melina; a three-way dance between Kylie Rae, Diamante and Chik Tormenta; Kenzie Paige vs. Paola Mayfield; and Skye Blue vs. Christi Jaynes.
Our live coverage begins at 8 PM Eastern.
Preshow Match: Skye Blue defeated Christi Jaynes
Decent little opener her outside of a few awkward moments, especially the botch near the end. That said, I think Jaynes and Blue both have a lot of potential, and working shows like this are only going to help them both.
Blue and Janyes exchanged some arm drags to open the show. Jaynes hit a kick to the head of Blue who was draped over the apron. Jaynes locked on a submission. Jaynes hit a shotgun dropkick as Blue was laying in the corner for a 2-count. Blue ducked a clothesline and hit a flying hurricanrana and then a kick in the corner.
Blue went to the top rope and hit a big flying crossbody for a 2-count. Blue went for a triangle, but Jaynes powerbombed her into the corner and then hit a big knee to the face for another 2-count. Near falls were exchanged until a botch at the end when Jaynes went for a powerbomb or gutwrench. Jaynes picked Blue up and hit a fireman’s carry into a neck breaker, but after dodging a springboard moonsault, Blue rolled her up and scored the pinfall.
May Valentine was backstage with Melina, and they talked about the historical significance of this show, and what the show meant to her. Melina talked about how she wished her dad was there.
The preshow stream cut off here, and the main show started on Fite before the preshow ended, so we did not see any part of Kenzie Paige vs. Paola Mayfield, unless that is what is opening the show.
On the Fite feed, we heard Joe Galli working with the production crew to try and get the audio working, so this is off to a rough start.
The opening video aired with Mickie James putting over the talent and historical significance of this show, showing clips of Mildred Burke.
They then aired a mock promo from the 1950s with Aron Stevens and Kratos talking about how women's wrestling could never have a whole show, then flashed forward to todaay at the Chase Ballroom.
Mickie James came out and cut a promo about how people told her that women’s wrestling didn’t draw money, and tonight they were proving everyone wrong, as wrestling returns to the Chase Ballroom, and it’s women’s wrestling. This was very good.
Diamante (AEW) defeated Kylie Rae (NWA) & Chik Tormenta (AAA)
Nice fast paced opening match here. It was beyond clear that Rae and Diamante were the best workers in the ring, as things fell apart a few times when Tormenta was in there. Rae is absolutely fantastic, and Diamante is great as always. Good match to open the show.
Diamante and Rae superkicked Tormenta after an opening exchange, and Tormenta dropped to the floor. Diamante and Rae had some quick exchanges, with Rae hitting s top rope armdrag. Rae hit an uppercut and then a cannonball in the corner on Tormenta.
Rae had Diamante in a fireman’s carry, and Tormenta grabbed Rae and German suplexed her to drop both of them. Diamante hit a Russian leg sweep and a splash for a 2-count, and then followed up with a German suplex on Tormenta, who landed wrong, and ended up accidentally having Diamante’s shoulders on the mat.
Diamante chopped Rae in the corner and put her on the top rope. As a fan chanted for Rae, Diamante flipped off the fan. This gave time for Tormenta to powerbomb Diamante and Rae off the ropes with the Tower of Doom for a 2-count. Diamante hit a cannonball on Rae, and Tormenta hit running knees, but went for the pinfall right in front of Diamante.
Rae went for a backslide on Tormenta, but Diamante kicked their legs out and rolled both of them over for a 2-count. That was a clever spot. Rae did a roll through and superkicked Diamante who rolled outside. Tormenta missed a dive on Rae, who rolled her up and locked on a cross face. Diamante came in and made the save before hitting a Code Red (and not a Canadian Destroyer, as Velvet Sky called it) for the pinfall on Tormenta.
The Hex (Allysin Kay & Marti Belle) defeated Hell on Heels (Renee Michelle & Sahara 7) in a NWA Women’s Tag Team Championship semifinal
This was not good. Kay was the best worker in the match, by far. I will say this – they tried very hard, and I appreciate the effort. They really wanted this to be a good match, and there were some good moments.
The match started with all 4 participants brawling, but it ended up breaking down quickly to Belle and Kay working over Michelle in the corner, stomping her down in the corner. The referee had a hard time controlling the match here, and I was a bit worried as the wrestlers almost hit her several times.
Sahara 7 choked Belle on the top rope, and Belle bumped for a Rude Awakening neckbreaker by falling flat on her back. Yikes. Sahara 7 and Belle struggled here a bit, as it seemed like they weren’t on the same page. Belle hit a discus forearm on Sahara before tagging out to Kay. Michelle tagged in, but Kay was running wild, and it was clear she was the best worker in the match.
Marti Belle hit a weird move that was supposed to be like a Skull Crushing Finale or The Stroke, but it looked bad. Renee Michelle tried to hit an elbow but missed, but Belle sold it anyway. Kay booted Michelle. It wasn’t long after that Kay and Belle hit the Hexectution for the pinfall on Michelle.
Red Velvet & KiLynn King defeated The Freebabes (Miranda Gordy & Jazzy Yang) w/ Hollywood Haley in a NWA Women’s Tag Team Championship semifinal
This was way better than the last tag match. I really liked Gordy and Yang. This was the first time I’ve ever seen them, but they looked great. I liked the characters too. I hope we see more of them in the NWA. Velvet and King worked a good tag match here, and it’s clear that QT Marshall working with them is fantastic.
Velvet and Yang started the match, but it wasn’t long before Gordy and King were in the match. Both women exchanged power holds, and this was already quite a bit better than the previous match. Hollywood Haley J threw a coat at Red Velvet and Gordy responded with a big boot and a Gorilla Press. They started to get the heat on Velvet here, cheating behind the referee’s back.
Velvet came close to a tag, but got caught by Gordy. Velvet hit an enziguri and tagged out to King, who ran wild over everyone. This was a great hot tag. King hit the Kingdom on Jazzy Yang for the pinfall.
May Valentine was with The Hex, and the talked about their return to the NWA. Kay talked about how much it would mean to her to win the NWA World Women’s Tag Team Championship.
Gail Kim came out to a nice reaction from the crowd and talked about the history of women’s wrestling before Taryn Terrell came out with Paola Blaze and Jennacide. Terrell grabbed a mic and talked about how the show was really about her, and the women surrounded Kim before Awesome Kong’s music hit!
Kong came out and destroyed Blaze and Jennacide, clotheslining Blaze, chokeslamming Jennacide, then hitting the Implant Buster on Blaze. Kong came face to face with Gail Kim, and beckoned her into the ring to a great reaction from the crowd. Kong grabbed the mic to talk, which is rare.
Awesome Kong talked about how she had a very hard year, and one of the only things that could motivate her to come out tonight was Gail Kim. She said that Kim was her greatest foe, and that she loved her, and that there was no other way she wanted to end her career than being in the ring with Kim. Kong has announced her retirement. This was an amazing moment.
Impact Knockouts Champion Deonna Purrazzo defeated Melina to retain
This match was fantastic. Easily the best match of the night so far. I know I have been hard on Melina in previous matches in the NWA, but she was good here. The fans wanted this to be an outstanding match too, so they kept the energy up making it feel like a big deal. Purrazzo is so good, and I’d like to see her cross through that Forbidden Door soon. I especially want to see Purrazzo vs. Serena Deeb, Riho, and Shida.
Melina and Purrazzo kept it basic in the opening exchange. Melina took over with a submission attempt, and then drove Purrazzo’s head into the turnbuckle. Melina went for a hurricarana off the top rope, but Purrazzo caught her in mid air and hit a powerbomb.
Purrazzo started working over the arm, and Melina sold quite well while this was happening. Purrazzo bent Melina’s arm back and placed it on the mat before stomping the elbow. Melina tried to make a brief comeback but Purrazzo caught a kick and started working over the knee of Melina, which she has had injuries with in the past.
Purrazzo locked on Figure Four Leglock, but Melina made the ropes. Purrazzo went right back to the leg with a toe hold, honouring both Terry Funk and Ric Flair in the early parts of the match. Purrazzo went for a corner charge, but Melina dodged and Purrazzo crashed shoulder first into the ring post and spilled out of the ring onto the steps.
Melina took advantage, getting a few near falls here, and hitting double knees in the corner for a 2-count. Purrazzo ducked a clothesline and hit a Russian legsweep and transitioned into a half crab. Melina made the ropes, and both women exchanged kicks before Melina botched a Code Red, but Purrazzo covered her to make up for it. The crowd was very kind here, chanting “This is awesome.” I honestly love how kind they were there, and they played off it well with Melina's knee.
Purrazzo did a chop block to Melina, who started selling the knee. Melina hit the ropes but fell right over because of the knee injury. The referee was going to throw the match out, but Melina grabbed the arm and told the ref to not throw it out. Purrazzo ate a few strikes from Melina before Purrazzo kicked the knee and began to taunt Melina. Melina managed to stand up and hit the Play of the Day for a 2-count. Purrazzo countered into an armbar and grabbed both arms, bending them as Melina struggled to make the ropes. Purrazzo then reached back and pulled back the leg in a half crab and finally forced the tap out. This was a great match.
The Hex (Allysin Kay & Marti Belle) defeated KiLynn King & Red Velvet in the NWA Women’s Tag Team Championship tourney final
This was another good match, and far better than the first tag match of the show. Kay and Belle worked very well with King and Velvet, and the crowd was ridiculously hot for this match. They wanted this to be an epic moment for the winners, and the women worked very hard to make this a stand out match. This was very good.
Medusa came out to do guess commentary for this match. Kay started the match with King, and they had a good exchange, but once Belle and Velvet were in the ring, Belle hit three suplexes but Velvet was able to tag out. King hit a German suplex on Kay after Velvet pulled Belle from the apron, and they started to get the heat on Kay here for a bit.
I wasn’t expecting them to get the heat on Kay here, but it was working for the crowd, as the AEW women played the heels subtly in this match. Velvet got caught by Kay and almost ate a powerbomb, but countered into a hurricanrana. Velvet locked on an Octopus Stretch, but Kay was able to hit a huge spinebuster on Velvet before making the tag to Marti Belle for the hot tag.
Belle hit a kick to King and then went for a pinfall, but Velvet broke it up. King slammed Kay and Velvet went for a frog splash, but Kay moved. Kay and Belle then hit an assisted AK-47 on Velvet for the pinfall, and they have won the NWA World Women’s Championship. Excellent match.
NWA Women's Champion Kamille (w/ Strictly Business) defeated Leyla Hirsch to retain
Holy cow, this match was great. Leyla Hirsh is outstanding, and Kamille easily had the best match of her career here. The selling was wonderful from Hirsch, and the timing was perfect for the comeback. The false finishes had me believing that Hirsch was going to win, and I bought almost all of them. Absolutely fantastic match.
Before the match began, the NWA honoured Mildred Burke as the first real Women’s World Champion, and they displayed Burke’s original title, that went on to be the main title in AJW. This was very nice. The crowd popped huge for Burke’s title, and it’s wonderful to see her being honoured here.
Hirsch tried to shoot for a takedown, but Kamille just picked her up and threw her across the ring. Hirsch floated behind, but Kamille shrugged her off as well. Hirsch changed tactics to lucha, and ran up the ropes and hit a huge hurricanrana and then a suicide dive to the floor on Kamille to a huge pop from the crowd.
Kamille caught a hurricanrana attempt on the floor and swung Hirsch into the stairs, which looked ugly. That one had to hurt. Kamille grabbed Hirsch and dragged her eyes over the guardrail like it was the ropes. Strictly Business was at a table just behind the guardrail cheering her on.
Kamille continued to use her power to throw Hirsch around the ring here, including tying her up in the ropes and hitting big strikes to the chest of Kamille. Kamille tried to pick Hirsch up, but Hirsch locked on a sleeper and then pulled the arm over the top rope into an armbar on Kamille. Hirsch came back in and got hit with a fireman’s carry though.
Kamille hit a big backbreaker before hitting a snap suplex. Kamille hit a European uppercut to drop Hirsch. Hirsch didn’t stay down though, and tried to hit a few strikes, but it wasn’t enough to keep Kamille at bay. Kamille went for a superplex, but Hirsch drove her head into the turnbuckle and then cartwheeled over Kamille’s back into a German suplex. That was incredible.
Hirsch finally started hitting suplexes, hitting another 3 German suplexes and two flying knees for a 2-count. The crowd went absolutely nuts for this. Hirsch went for the armbar, but Kamille managed to drag herself to the ropes to escape. Kamille hit a pump kick to drop Hirsch, and then picked her up with a Torture Rack into a powerbomb for a 2-count.
Hirsch hit a Saito suplex and then a lariat after an exchange of forearms, and the crowd was all on their feet. Hirsch went for a moonsault, but Kamille moved. Kamille went for the spear, but Hirsch floated over, hit a backstabber, and locked on the armbar again. Kamille fought out, caught Hirsch after a 3rd knee attempt, dumped her over, and then hit a spear for the win. This was fantastic.
NWA Women’s Invitational Cup Gauntlet: Chelsea Green defeated Bianca Carelli, Debbie Malenko, Lady Frost, Jamie Senegal, Jennacide, Kiera Hogan, Masha Slamovich, Thunder Kitty & Tootie Lynn
This wasn’t a bad match at all, but it did have some lower points. That said, the key stories coming out of it were how awesome Masha Slamovich was, Kiera Hogan looked awesome, Debbie Malenko was a legend to come out. Tootie Lynn looked fantastic here as the hometown hero, but just came up short after getting a huge pinfall over Slamovich. I would love to see those two have a feud on NWA Power.
Chelsea Green and Kiera Hogan were the first entrants in the gauntlet. Green and Hogan exchanged pinfall attempts early on, but with quick kick outs. Hogan hit a superkick on Green, but Green dodged a corner charge and hit a knee in the corner. Bianca Carelli was the 3rd entrant and immediately slammed Hogan for a 2-count.
Thunder Kitty was 4th into the ring, and the announcers talked about how she was 100 years old. She was not. Jennacide was 5th, and she came out with Taryn Terrell. Jennacide hit big right hands on all the other women before catching Carelli and hitting a swinging DDT to eliminate her from the match.
Hogan jumped onto Jennacide’s back, and she still overpowered Green and Thunder Kitty. Lady Frost was next, and took her time waiting outside the ring. The production crew kept the camera on Lady Frost on the outside, and we missed something that Joe Galli was yelling about. They kept the camera on her for way too long with Lady Frost’s lower third on the screen.
Jennacide somehow eliminated Thunder Kitty, but I couldn’t see it. Joe Galli commented that they weren’t going to take off Frost’s graphic until she got in the ring, which was a nice cover. The floor camera was obviously told to look at the ring so we didn’t miss anything, which is good, but the lower third was still stuck on the screen.
The women paused in the ring for a bit as this happened, as something must have led to them losing the camera. They finally managed to switch back to the hard camera and send out the next opponent. They waited until they had that back for the next person. Debbie Malenko came out next and she threw Lady Frost into the ring.
Malenko started throwing suplexes, German suplexing Hogan and Green. Jamie Senegal was next. Frost and Senegal exchanged some armdrags. Frost hit a cannonball into the corner on Senegal and Jennacide before hitting a Sky Twister Press on Senegal for a 2-count. Malenko rushed in and put an STF on Frost and got the tapout.
Malenko put a surfboard stretch on Green, but as she locked it on, Kiera Hogan slipped in between the two and pinned Malenko. Hogan then hit a suicide dive on Jennacide and Green. Senegal hit a moonsault on all of them, and Masha Slamovich was next and hit a dive off the top rope onto everyone.
Slamovich, Senegal, and Green had to triple team Jennacide to finally eliminate her from the right. Tootie Lynn was the final competitor, and she was the hometown hero in this match. Lynn came in and ran wild on everyone hitting kicks and clotheslines. Lynn hit a bulldog on Senegal but ate a dropkick from Slamovich. Slamovich hit a package piledriver on Senegal and scored a pinfall.
The final four were Kiera Hogan, Chelsea Green, Masha Slamovich, and Tootie Lynn. Slamovich ran over Green as she hit the ropes. Hogan pulled Lynn from the ring and hit a kick on Slamovich. Hogan hit a shotgun dropkick on Slamovich, but Slamovich cut her off and they hit a Tower of Doom on Hogan and Slamovich, but Slamovich rolled through and pinned Hogan.
Slamovich hit a Tiger Suplex on Green for a 2-count. Lynn reversed a powerbomb from Slamovich into a hurricanrana and pinned Slamovich. We were down to the final two,and Green went for the Unprettier, but Lynn countered into a backslide. Green hit a ripcord back elbow, and then hit the Unprettier for the pinfall.
Chelsea Green celebrated as the show went off the air with the Invitational Cup.
This was a very good show. Outside of one rough match in the tag tournament, everything else on this show was good to great. I wasn’t sure about finishing the show with the Invitational, especially as Kamille and Leyla Hirsch was so good, but the crowd was really into the Invitational, and they popped huge for all the major moments.
Mickie James got to see her vision for an all women produced show come true, and it delivered exactly what she promised – great wrestling. The match of the night was easily Kamille and Hirsch, but Denonna Purrazzo and Melina was also fantastic. The tag team tournament final was an excellent tag team match.
The first wrestling show at the Chase in 37 years was NWA Empower, and I can’t help but feel that is going to be a significant part of the history of that storied venue. The NWA knocked it out of the park with this show, and I cannot recommend it enough.