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Csonka’s NWA Hard Times 2020 Preview

January 24, 2020 | Posted by Larry Csonka
NWA Hard Times 2020 Preview

WELCOME back to column time with Larry! Today, I am going to discuss and preview the NWA Hard Times 2020 event, which airs tonight . The show features Champion Nick Aldis vs. Flip Gordon, the conclusion of the TV Title tournament, and much more. So today I will breakdown and preview the event. Feel free to make your picks in the comment section. Thanks for reading! It’s wrestling, we love it and will disagree. The only rules are “have a take, be respectful, and don’t be a dick.”

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TV Title Tournament Match: Tim Storm vs. Ken Anderson: Tim Storm is one of the best babyfaces in all of wrestling, and on top of his lovable personality and great promo work, fans are behind him since he can no longer challenge for the NWA championship; he’s a great, sympathetic character. Zane Dawson was the original opponent until his “broken hand” took him out of the match. Ken Anderson won Last chance gauntlet to earn the spot here as they look to go heavy with his heel turn. I love wholesome Tim Storm and wanted him to move on, but looking at the layout of the tournament it doesn’t feel likely. WINNER: Ken Anderson

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TV Title Tournament Match: Ricky Starks vs. Matt Cross: Ricky Starks is someone the NWA looks to have a lot of plans for, especially after his TV draw with NWA Champion Nick Aldis. Matt Cross is one of the outside names brought in for the tournament, and while he’s 39, I find he still has a lot to offer and have been surprised that post Lucha Underground he didn’t end up signed or at least used by ROH, Impact or AEW. He’s a reliable veteran that has TV & PPV experience, and the kind of guy that can worm a fun sprint with Starks here. Starks is signed and primed for bigger things so he picks up the win and advances. WINNER: Ricky Starks

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TV Title Tournament Match: Zicky Dice vs. Dan Maff: Zicky Dice is a completely unlikable, sleazy little heel that people want to see punched in the face in the worst way. Dan Maff is another outsider brought in for the tournament, and has been delivering since returning to and signing with ROH. The short timeframe of the tournament matches (the 6:05 time limit) will work to Maff’s strengths, and I think he makes short order of Dice here to advance. WINNER: Dan Maff

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TV Title Tournament Match: The Question Mark vs. Trevor Murdoch: The Question Mark, through the power of KARATAAAAAAAAAAY has unexpectedly become the most over performer in the NWA. He’s a really fun act and the match here with Trevor Murdoch makes sense. Murdoch is a great, old school guy who is still a good performer, and I like this match because Murdoch previously beat Shooter Stevens, the student of the Question Mark on TV. The Question Mark is good, The Question Mark is fun, The Question Mark will succeed for all Mongrovians through the power of KARATAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! WINNER: The Question Mark

TV Title Tournament Semifinal Match: Ken Anderson vs. Ricky Starks: I have these two moving on because it gives us a strong heel vs face dynamic, Ken Anderson is far from my favorite but he has heel heat with the NWA crowds and will have more after defeating lovable Tm Storm. As previously mentioned, Ricky Starks is someone the NWA has big plans for and has been killing it since his debut. I really think that this tournament is perfectly designed as a vehicle to get Starks over and give him his first big NWA accomplishment and with that being the case, he moves on. WINNER: Ricky Starks

TV Title Tournament Semifinal Match: The Question Mark vs. Dan Maff: The Question Mark is the most over guy in the NWA, and is a tremendously fun act. Dan Maff. I think the juxtaposition of him vs. the killer Dan Maff will make for a fun dynamic. Mongrovian karataaaaaaaaaaay or Shooter Stevens will be the difference here, but the Question Mark moves on. WINNER: The Question Mark

TV Title Tournament Finals: Ricky Starks vs. The Question Mark: When I saw the entire field, Ricky Starks vs. The Question Mark immediately felt like the perfect final. Starks has been on the rise, but every time he looked to go to the next level, Shooter Stevens & The Question Mark were there to ruin things. This final makes sense as it brings things full circle, and not only places Starks in position to rise into a position of prominence, but also should give him revenge at the same time. WINNER: Ricky Starks

Champions the Rock & Roll Express vs. Wild Cards vs. Eli Drake & James Storm: Following Ricky Morton’s failure to win the NWA Championship from Nick Aldis, this match was announced for the PPV. The Rock & Roll Express winning the tag tiles was a great feel good moment and it’s lasted longer than I expected as I thought they’d drop them at the first PPV. Storm & Drake have aligned into a strange bedfellows style team, who both want Sweet Charlotte, but have come together to battle Aldis and his boys, Strictly Business. I think that the Rock & Roll Express lose here in what looks to be a big night for Aldis & Strictly Business as the Wild Cards win and Drake & Storm chase them for the titles post PPV. WINNER: Wild Cards

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Champion Shooter Stevens vs. Scott Steiner: This as a late addition to the show, and on paper looks like a lamb being led to the slaughter. Shooter Stevens has been really fun in the gimmick and with his pairing with the Question Mark, but the match doesn’t inspire me in terms of possible match quality. Stevens is pure gimmick, which while fun is limited. Steiner is limited, plays the hits, and when you look at this honestly, it doesn’t look great. It feels like Steiner walking in and winning the championship to strengthen Strictly Business, but I could see Stevens sneaking out and retaining via DQ or some such bullshit. WINNER: Scott Steiner

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NWA Women’s Title Match: Champion Allysin Kay vs. Thunder Rosa: Allysin Kay came into the Powerrr era of the NWA as the women’s champion, and Kay is good and has some name value which was good. But I feel she’s been very lacking since Powerrr started, she’s been fine, but has never felt important as the champion or performer. She’s fine, but as the champion you have to be more than fine. Meanwhile, Thunder Rosa has been absolutely great and has come of like a big star not only in the ring, but as a whole. She looks great, she can work, she pops off the screen like a star and also comes off as a badass. The NWA women’s division is a work in progress, there is potential there but they really feel like they have been spinning their wheels with Kay as champion as they slowly built up to this match. I think Rosa should win here, we need some movement in this division and Rosa is a great choice to do so. Plus, it adds layers with her relationship with Melina, who is delusional and thinks she’s a great legend and will win the championship at some point, what will her feelings be if her “underling” wins the championship before she does? WINNER: Thunder Rosa

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Champion Nick Aldis vs. Flip Gordon: This match is an extension of the Scurll vs. Aldis feud, and obviously the rebirth of the ROH & NWA relationship, which I think is great for both parties as the NWA can mix in some fresh and at times bigger names, and they honestly worked extremely well together until the NWA pulled out of the original deal due to preparing for the launch of Powerrr and feeling they needed to move on alone. I have seen a lot of people upset that they didn’t do Scurll vs. Aldis here, but I think they made the right call for this show. You don’t rush Scurll vs. Aldis UNLESS you have too, but with Scurll re-signed with ROH and heavily invested in the angle from a personal and booking perspective, you let that play out and give it a proper so that you have the chance to sell the most PPVs possible. Both men have a stable, Aldis invaded ROH and Gordon stepped up to him, so it makes sense to for lack of a better term to have one of Marty’s minions fire the first shot in terms of having a match, and I expect at some point Marty will have to work Isaacs or Lattimer en route to facing Aldis. It’s a smart and simple build. Flip has been a mainstay on ROH for the last few years, and while sidetracked by injuries at times, has shown flashes of greatness in the promotion. Flip has transitioned well to a heel role within Villain Enterprises, changing up his style to stay healthy and also reflect the heel turn. While there aren’t as many flashy flips in Flip’s game these days, he still delivers and it’s also rematch from ROH Honor for All 2018. where Aldis won to retain the NWA championship. That match was low key good, but had drastic room for improvement. But Aldis has gotten better and way more confident since than, and they, in theory, should have a great environment as the NWA faithful will likely embrace Aldis as their babyface hero while hating Gordon as the invading heel. They have history, they have a good angle and the NWA crowds have been great and should add to this one for sure. This match is one of the many early chapters in the second book of the Scurll vs. Aldis feud, the build to their Crocket Cup clash being the first book. That match was really good, the story going into it was great and I am honestly excited that they are revisiting his as it opens up some really fun possibilities for both ROH & the NWA. I wouldn’t be surprised if Villain Enterprises & Strictly Business get involved during or after the match. but this should be an Aldis victory and as clean a one as possible heading into match with Scurll. WINNER: Nick Aldis


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The 411 on Wrestling Podcast returns to the 411 Podcasting Network for episode 84. On the show, 411’s Larry Csonka & Steve Cook review the latest between AEW & NXT, and then preview NWA Hard Times, WWE World’s Collide, & The WWE Royal Rumble. The show is approximately 144–minutes long.

* Intro
* AEW Dynamite (1.22.20) Review: 7:45
* NXT TV (1.22.20) Review: 39:05
* The Head to Head Comparison: 53:30
* NWA Hard Times Preview: 57:55
* WWE World’s Collide Preview: 1:19:35
* WWE Royal Rumble Preview: 1:45:56

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– End scene.

– Thanks for reading.