Eight different titles will be on the line at NWA Hard Times 2 in Atlanta, Georgia, headlined by NWA World Champion Trevor Murdoch vs. Mike Knox.
Kamille will defend the NWA Women's title against Melina while Impact Knockouts Champion Mickie James will return to defend the gold against Kiera Hogan.
Both Tag Team titles will be on the line as La Rebelion will defend the men's titles against The End while women's champions The Hex will defend their titles as well. Originally slated to be a three-way featuring Kylie Rae & Tootie Lynn and Natalia Markova & Lady Frost, Frost was pulled from the match and they have yet to announce what the plan is.
The ROH Tag Team titles will also be defended as The OGK (Matt Taven and Mike Bennett) defend against former NWA Tag Team Champions Aron Stevens and JR Kratos.
TV Champion Tyrus defends against Cyon in a no DQ match featuring Da Pope as special referee while National Champion Chris Adonis defends against Judais.
The rest of the 13-match card will feature two NWA Junior Heavyweight title qualifying matches with Austin Aries returning in one of them, former World Champion Nick Aldis returning against former stablemate Thom Latimer, an appearance by Mick Foley, and more.
Our live coverage begins at 8 PM Eastern.
Pre-Show Match: Mims w/ Anthony Mayweather (FKA Crimson) defeated Jax Dane
The former Crimson accompanied Mims to the ring for this match and it was revealed that he's now going by the name Anthony Mayweather. After the bell sounded, Dane rolled out of the ring to taunt Mayweather, which would end up being the story of the match. Dane got the early advantage on Mims and continued to turn his attention to Mayweather between moves. He gave his opponent his version of the Garvin stomp during this period.
Dane continued to taunt Mayweather after delivering a clothesline to Mims. He then went for a lackadaisical cover which Mims countered into a pinning combination and got the 3-count for the surprise win. The story here was that Dane had the advantage but he was too concerned with his rival and former tag partner Mayweather on the outside.
Pre-Show Match: The Hex (Allysin Kay and Marti Belle) defeated Kylie Rae and Tootie Lynn vs. Missa Kate & Natalia Markova vs Jennacide & Paulo Blaze
Before the bell sounded, Taryn Terrell came out and announced that her team of Jennacide and Paulo Blaze would be in the match as well. They were cashing in a title shot owed to Jennacide since she was on the winning team of the Champions Series. Lady Frost was supposed to be in this match as well but she was replaced by Missa Kate due to illness and not being able to travel.
Each team had one person in the ring at all times and it got a little chaotic in the beginning. Jennacide got in a lot of offense before the Hex seemed to take over and the match settled down a bit. After multiple wrestlers did diving spots to the outside, Kylie Rae landed a nice fireman's carry into a cutter.
Jennacide then hit a big slam on Markova before taking a spine buster from Allysin Kay. The Hex then hit the Hex Marks The Spot on Lynn for the win. The two wrestlers that seemed to be featured the most here were Allysin Kay and Jennacide. It was fine and the Hex came away looking like a strong team.
Darius Lockhart Interview Segment
It was revealed before the junior heavyweight gauntlet match that Darius Lockhart was not medically cleared to compete and wouldn't be in the match. Lockhart announced that he will be in the upcoming junior heavyweight tournament which will air on the brand new online show "NWA USA". Ricky Morton was announced as replacing Lockhart in the gauntlet match.
Jaden Roller then came out and complained about not being booked on the show. He blamed Tim Storm for this and called the former champion a cheater.
Pre-Show: NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship Qualifying Gauntlet match: Homicide defeated Alex Taylor vs. Ariya Daivari vs. CW Anderson vs. Darius Lockhart vs. Jeremiah Plunkett vs. Jamie Stanley vs. Kerry Morton vs. Luke Hawx vs. PJ Hawx vs. Sal Rinauro vs. Victor Benjamin vs. Ricky Morton
Kerry Morton and Luke Hawx were the first entered into the match. A new competitor would enter every 90 seconds. Sal Rinauro was the next one out followed by Ariya Daivari. Hawx hit a pump-handle slam on Rinauro to pin and eliminate him shortly after Daivari entered.
PJ Hawx then entered the match, joining his father. The Hawx hit a double back-breaker on Daivari and pinned him. This left Morton to face the father-son combo on his own. Luke and PJ decided not to go after him 2-on-1 and allowed PJ and Kerry to go 1-on-1 until CW Anderson entered the match.
Alex Taylor joined the match next but took a spinebuster from Anderson and was eliminated after. Homicide entered next. Shortly after Homicide entered, Kerry Morton landed a sunset pin on Anderson and got the 3-count. Victor Benjamin was the next to enter and he landed offense on pretty much everyone until Homicide hit him with a suplex then a clothesline and pinned him.
Ricky Morton then entered the match, so we had two father-son combos in the ring. Jeremiah Plunkett entered next. Ricky Morton rolled up Plunkett and eliminated him just as Jamie Stanley was entering in the final spot. Stanley tried to pin Ricky Morton with just one boot on his chest. Morton then countered this into a roll-up and eliminated Stanley.
The two father and son teams then seemed to all team up against Homicide for a period until Luke Hawx rolled up Ricky Morton and eliminated him. Kerry Morton then landed a pinning combination on Luke Hawx and got rid of him.
This left us with Kerry Morton, PJ Hawx, and Homicide as the final 3. Homicide then hit a Koji cutter on PJ and got the pin. Homicide would later hit a cutter off the top turnbuckle to eliminate Morton and win the match. Homicide then went straight to the back as the fans cheered Morton.
This was a good way to introduce the wrestlers who will be in the division. Kerry Morton was built up as one to watch even though he didn't win. Homicide coming out with the win was definitely the right choice.
Trevor Murdoch Hard Times Promo
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Trevor Murdoch gave his version of the Dusty Rhodes Hard Times promo backstage to kick off the PPV. Murdoch said "hard times" for him means having to look into his son's eyes and talk to him about Mike Knox assaulting him with a chair in the cage after By Any Means Necessary. Murdoch then promised Knox will get "hard times" tonight. This was the perfect way to start the show.
NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship qualifying match: Austin Aries defeated Rhett Titus
It was mentioned on commentary that Austin Aries had a hand in training Titus 15 years ago. After some back and forth grappling, Aries seemed to grab the first advantage hitting a suicide dive and a senton. Aries then hit a shinbreaker into a suplex. Titus fought back and hit a facebuster. He followed that up with an identical looking shinbreaker and suplex combo to what Aries did earlier. It was mentioned on commentary that Titus must have learned that move from Aries.
Titus was then firmly on offense for a period hitting several running boots and a belly to belly suplex. Aries then hit him with a discus forearm, a dropkick in the corner and then followed that up with a brainbuster and got the pin. So now, both Austin Aries and Homicide have qualified for the fatal 4-way title match which will take place on the NWA's next PPV.
This was good. Everything Aries does always looks so crisp.
ROH Tag Team Champions The OGK (Matt Taven and Mike Bennett) defeated Aron Stevens and JR Kratos to retain
It was revealed that the winners of this match will face the Briscoes at ROH Final Battle later this month. Stevens landed an inadvertent thumb to the eye of Bennett early in the match. He then allowed his opponent to tag out to Taven as a show of good sportsmanship. It feels like we probably saw that for some reason. Kratos hit Taven from the apron and then Stevens aggressively attacked Taven with strikes. This was not good sportsmanship. The story seems to be that Kratos wants Stevens to be aggressive.
Kratos then tagged in and got some sustained offense on Taven with a flying clothesline and a suplex. Kratos and Stevens isolated Taven for a period and prevented him from tagging out. Stevens continued to act more aggressive than he normally does as Kratos yelled "that's what I want!" from the outside.
Finally, Taven ducked a clothesline and made the hot tag to Bennett. After clearing house for a bit, Bennett hit a Death Valley driver on Kratos for a 2-count. Kratos later battled back and hit a Death Valley of his own for a 2-count.
Stevens made a blind tag but shortly found himself going 2-on-1 against the OGK. Stevens then aggressively raked the eyes of Bennett as he had a crazed look in his eyes. The finish of the match came shortly after when Stevens rolled up Taven but then took a shot to the face from Bennett. Taven reversed the pin and got the 3-count for the win.
Stevens then got up in the face of the commentary team after the match. He kept repeating that he's "never been better" as he exited the ring area.
The OKC looked good as usual. This match was fine and it told a story. It seems like some type of gimmick or attitude change is upcoming for Stevens.
Colby Corino defeated Doug Williams
No surprise here but this match started off with a lot of technical wrestling. It was noted on commentary that Corino will eventual start taking shortcuts, however, and that's exactly what he did. He gained the advantage by tripping Williams so he landed throat first on the middle rope. He then used closed fists to the head on Williams shortly after. He got a 2-count after his Colby crush flipping standing senton.
As Williams rolled to the outside, the members of the Fixers came out but Corino told them to back off. Corino then went for a suicide dive but took a forearm to the face from Williams. Williams got a 2-count off an exploder suplex. Colby then got a 2-count off a double foot-stomp. Williams then got a 2-count with a tiger-driver. The Fixers then grabbed at Williams leg from the outside preventing him from hitting Chaos Theory. Williams then charged at Corino in the corner but missed and went shoulder first into the post. Corino then landed a pinning combination and got the win.
I was pretty surprised that Colby Corino got the victory here but it looks like the NWA is high on him. He looked good and Williams doesn't look like he's missed a beat.
Impact Knockouts Champion Mickie James defeated Kiera Hogan to retain
The story heading into this one is that Hogan grew up idolizing James. Atlanta is also her hometown. The two hugged after the bell sounded and the opening moments was very much a story of two babyfaces being respectful of each other.
James hit a headscissors on Hogan and it looked like Hogan landed head first. She rolled to the outside after but appeared to be okay. She'd hit a suicide dive shortly after and go on offense for a period. James battled back and the two both hit head kicks at the same time and both went down.
After some more back and forth, James gained the advantage with a flapjack. Hogan then hit a thrust kick and went to the top rope. Hogan hit a crossbody but James rolled through and landed on top of Hogan and got a 3-count.
For a match that wasn't built up on television, they told a good story here.
NWA TV Champion Tyrus defeated Cyon in a no DQ match to retain
Former champion Da Pope was the special referee.
Pope sent Jordan Clearwater and BLK Jeez to the back before the match started. Cyon then got all the early offense after giving Tyrus a dropkick to the knee. Cyon then brought a bunch of chairs and garbage cans into the match. Tyrus then gained the offense after dropping him on the commentary table and then slamming him to the concrete. The defending champ then went on offense for quite awhile.
After Tyrus hit an avalanche, suplex, a big elbow drop and some other moves, Cyon hit a DDT for a 1-count. Cyon then landed a chair shot and went on offense for a bit. Tyrus fought back and ended up placing a garbage can over Cyon's head and hitting an elbow drop for a 2-count. Tyrus then slammed Cyon on top of four chairs that had been set up. He then ripped off a chunk of Cyon's mask.
Cyon battled back and went to set up a table. Austin Idol tried to take the table away which caused Pope to eject him from ringside. Cyon set up the table and not long after was able to powerslam Tyrus through it for a 2-count. Jordan Clearwater and BLK Jeez then came back out and attacked Cyon.
Pope was upset that Clearwater and Jeez came back out and he ended up going face to face with Tyrus. Tyrus got right in his face and Pope hit him with a series of strikes. Pope then charged at Tyrus and missed, hitting Cyon instead. Tyrus then hit Cyon with a heart punch and Pope had to reluctantly count the 3-count.
This looked like it was a bit of a struggle for Tyrus.
Mick Foley Segment
Mick Foley comes out in a Santa hat. He mentioned that he's going to be watching the monitors closely in the back and he's going to look to see who is being naughty and nice. Foley then said that this might not be the last time he's out there tonight.
NWA National Champion Chris Adonis defeated Judais (w/ James Mitchell) to retain
Judais won the battle royal at NWA 73 to earn the right to challenge Adonis here. After some back and forth, Adonis started to focus on Judais' leg. Judais eventually fought back and locked Adonis in a sharpshooter. Shortly after getting out of the hold, Adonis went for the Masterlock but Judais fought him off.
Judais hit a flying clothesline but then clutched at his leg after and was unable to go for the pin. Adonis then locked in the Masterlock, Judais went out and the ref called for the bell. The story here was that Adonis chopped down the legs of the big man and fought a smart match to get the victory. It was okay.
NWA Tag Team Champions La Rebelión (Bestia 666 and Mecha Wolf 450) defeated The End (Odinson and Parrow) to retain
The challengers isolated Bestia 666 pretty early on. La Rebelion would later make a hot tag and isolated Odinson for a period. Odinson then battled back and made a tag to Parrow and they set Bestia up for their version of the Doomsday Device called Hell on Earth. Bestia got out of it, however. La Rebellion was on offence for a little bit until Parrow and Odison picked them up and power bombed them into each other, a move the End calls the Super Collider.
The End went for the Hell on Earth again but Mecha Wolf got out of it and gave an enziguri to Parrow. Bestia then tossed Odison into Parrow before Mecha Wolf hit a 450 splash on him and got the 3-count.
After the match, Dirty Dango (fka WWE's Fandango) came out with JTG and motioned that they want a shot at La Rebellion.
Nick Aldis defeated Thom Latimer
The stipulation here was that if either guy was DQ's, they would be suspended for two months.
After some back and forth early, we got a "full moon" spot where Aldis pulled down Latimer's trunks as he was trying to get out of the ring. Latimer then poked Aldis in the eye and hit a pile driver for a 2-count. Later, Latimer looked like he wanted to hit Aldis with the hammer used to ring the bell but thought better of it due to the stipulation. As the ref was taking the hammer back to the timekeepers table, Latimer hit a low blow.
Aldis fought back and hit a Michinoku Driver for a 2-count. Latimer then hit an implant DDT for a 2-count. Aldis would lock in a figure four shortly after. Latimer would then lock in his own version of the King Lynn cloverleaf. Shortly after, Aldis hit a piledriver on Latimer, so they've each used the other's moves against them.
Latimer went for another piledriver but Aldis countered into a pinning combination and got the 3-count. The commentary team played up that this match could have gone either way.
For what was built up as quite the grudge match, it didn't seem to have the aggressiveness to it you would expect. It was still fine. They clearly wanted to keep Latimer strong rather than giving Aldis a definitive win.
Celebration of Jazz's career
All the women on the roster came out to celebrate Jazz as she has now retired from in-ring competition. She thanked the WWE for allowing her to be the last WWF Women's Champion and the first WWE Women's Champion and the first African American woman to go into WrestleMania as the champion and walk out as still the champion. Jazz thanked Tommy Dreamer and Paul E for believing in her.
She thanked Billy Corgan for trusting her to be the NWA World Women's Champion for over 900 days. Jazz then said she's looking forward to starting her new career working behind the scenes. Madusa came out briefly after Jazz thanked her as well.
NWA Women's Champion Kamille defeated Melina to retain
Melina got the early offense before Kamille cut her off with a big spinebuster. The crowd started to get behind Kamille a little here. She hit a couple of gut wrench suplexes and some fans started showing her some appreciation.
Melina fought back and ended up choking the champion with her own hair in the corner. Melina hit the Eat Defeat and started focussing on Kamille's shoulder. Melina went on offense for quite a bit with submission holds focussed on Kamille's shoulder.
Melina locked in her California Dream submission hold. Kamille eventually got to the ropes, which some fans cheered for. Kamille hit a steamroller but couldn't capitalize right away because of her shoulder. She then missed a spear in the corner and Melina went for a code red. Kamille held on to the ropes to block the move, however.
Kamille locked an ankle lock on Melina but Melina ended up biting her to get out of it. Melina is fighting dirty and some fans are now cheering for Kamille. Melina took off a knee brace and went to hit Kamille with it but the champion came out of nowhere with a spear and got the 3-count.
The fans are getting behind Kamille. She's starting to become one of the biggest stars in the promotion. This match played out in a way to get the fans behind her too with her overcoming the shoulder injury and not taking shortcuts even though her opponent was.
NWA World Champion Trevor Murdoch defeated Mike Knox to retain
Murdoch came out and got the early offense forcing Knox to escape to the outside. Murdoch continued to have the advantage until Knox dropped him on the top turnbuckle. The challenger then went on offense for a period.
Murdoch fought back and landed a spinebuster followed by a couple of big clotheslines and a DDT. Murdoch then motioned that he was going for his bulldog finish but Knox pushed the ref into the ropes and that knocked Murdoch down. Knox then hit a superplex for a 2-count.
Knox tried to go for another suplex but Murdoch knocked him off the ropes. Murdoch then hit his diving bulldog and got the pin.
Matt Cardona then walked out to a surprised reaction from the fans and got in Murdoch's face. Knox then hit a low blow on the champion. This brought out Mick Foley who said that's not how we do things in the NWA. He told Cardona he's an embarrassment to Long Island. Foley then said he had a surprise for Knox and Pope came out and attacked Knox. Cardona then attacked Pope, however, so it seems there is some allegiance between Cardona and Knox.
After Knox took Murdoch out with a kick, Cardona picked up the NWA title and held for awhile before placing it on top of a knocked out Murdoch.
I wasn't expecting much from the match but figured it would just be a feel good win for Murdoch. That's what it was up until the big angle with Cardona. Looks like the big angle will be Cardona and Murdoch now with Knox and Cardona possibly aligned. Pope will likely be in there in some fashion as well.
I really felt the closing angle was strong and will have people wanting to see the fallout on Powerrr. Cardona feels important and kind of edgy right now because of his work in GCW. Having all eight champions retain was interesting. You'd think at least one or two belts would change hands when you've got that many title matches. It definitely feels like we are moving into a new era with new storylines now. A fun show.