National Wrestling Alliance President Bruce Tharpe has made no effort to endear himself to fans or promoters. But that's hasn't been his top priority from day one, it seems.
To catch you up on the controversial Tharpe, he's a lawyer that finagled all the rights of the NWA out of the hands of the previous owners and taken it for himself. Crushing promotion and promoters who were not ready to work towards his vision, he even went as far as changing the outcome of the NWA world title match by allowing Kahagas to enter the finals of the elimination tournament fresh and defeat Chance Prophet and Damien Wayne.
At any rate, his NWA has moved forward, and is proving prosperous in the state of Texas as well as other satellite franchises around the country and even outside the continental US (Kahagas is even defending his NWA title in the Dominican Republic).
But now, Tharpe is yanking the chain of one of the big dogs of international pro-wrestling notoriety: New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Yes, that NJPW.
Check out this video Tharpe sent to the organization, talking trash to non-English speakers and one of the world's leaders in outstanding pro-wrestling and threatening an invasion:
Clearly, Tharpe's holding his cards to the vest by not identifying who will be the NWA's choice to pit against all challenges in NJPW. But holding the 10lbs. of gold makes it clear its probably going to be TokyoMonster Kahagas.
Or will it?
Tharpe has proven himself to be a shady mother f**ker, so who knows what he has up his sleeve.
But is he writing a check the NWA can't cash? Not necessarily.
People have been writing off NWA as a joke for years now, and people can have their opinions, which is fine. Just because some big names in indy wrestling took a big dump on the title and tradition (yes, I'm pointing out the talented Colt Cabana and Adam Pierce) doesn't mean the people hoisting the mantle of the NWA are bums. Here's my opinion based off of what I've actually seen from the organization live and in person.
The heavy hitters in the NWA are legit. Look at this list (as of this writing 3/5/13):
NWA World Heavyweight Champ: Kahagas
NWA World Tag Team Champs: Kings of the Underground Scot Summers and Ryan Genesis
NWA National Heavyweight Champ: Damien Wayne
NWA North American Champ: Byron Wilcott
Regional Title holder out of San Antonio, Texas, NWA-Branded Outlaw Heavyweight Champ Jax Dane
Any of these champs could hang with the best NJPW has to offer. So Tharpe might be talking trash, but he has talent that can actually back it up.
Tharpe might be a ruthless jerk, but the promotions that don't want to follow his lead can do their own thing. Many have. The one's that stick with it will reap the benefits. And the NWAs probably better off letting the ones that cashed out go their own way. The less shitty backwoods wrestling promotions who can't hang with the standards the NWA is touting, the better.
Let's face it: Vince McMahon didn't get to the place that he got to by being nice.
I, for one, want to see it flourish again. The NWA and its long tradition is one of the most beautiful pieces of wrestling history. And even though one of the biggest assholes in pro-wrestling history might be at the helm of the organization, he's doing what it takes to bring respect back to the NWA franchise. The respect Kahagas has show to the history of the title he holds (read: Picture of the belt by Kerry von Erich's grave), and the respect the KotU have shown to Tharpe (who seemed proud to be pictured with the new champs) demonstrate the kind of respect the NWA is earning from fans and wrestlers alike.
That is, the fans that are paying attention and not just walking lock-step with what one clever and talented indy guy said.
Nice guys finish last. We'll see how the Tharpe regime continues to progress and build up the oldest organization back to prominence once again. This run on the NJPW promotion needs to be successful.
We'll wait and see.
BOWIE V. IBARRA is the author of the 'Down the Road' zombie horror series from Permuted Press and Simon and Schuester. His combat sports themed book, PIT FIGHTERS: BAPTISM BY FIRE, features a luchador from Mexico who transitions to mixed martial arts competition. It is available in paperback and on Kindle for .99 cents.
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