NWA Smoky Mountain presented "Collision Course 10", the most ambitious event in the company's history at the historic Kingsport Civic Auditorium.
Attendance was in the 500 range and just shy of a complete sell out, shattering the company's attendance and gate records.
The event was clearly a feather in the cap of the National Wrestling Alliance. The three high profile matches were compelling, each of them in a different way, with AJ Styles vs.. Chase Owens being the blowaway crowd-pleaser of the evening.
The undercard featured the regular Smoky Mountain roster. Their wrestlers generally employ a high work rate style similar to Anarchy Wrestling of my Georgia stomping grounds.
The event will be available as on iPPV at Go Fight Live for $9.99 starting tonight at 8pm with Matt Rhodes and John Morehouse as the broadcast team.
Read further for the spoilers. Here's what went down.
There was a 6pm meet and greet with AJ Styles and John Morrison for golden circle ticket holders.
Preshow (and for good reason)
Saradox (with Mad Hatter & Jeff Connelly) defeated Roni Nicole (with Timmy Lou Retton) in 6:25. The ref’s attention was drawn to Retton fighting with Connelly. Meanwhile, Saradox whacked Nicole with Mad Hatter’s cane to score the pinfall. Saradox might be the worst female wrestler on the planet.
Ali Shabazz won a 20 man rumble royal in 18:24 to earn a future TV title shot. Other competitors were Christian Ramsey, Andrew Boyd, Tyler Jett, Vinnie Conley, Brian Montgomery, Rick Savage, Zin Fortune, Big John Z, Mike Cooper, Giant Arawn (with Mad Hatter), Cody Blade, Logan Mills, Josh Crawford, Aden Brodie, Drew Incredible, Daniel Mulligan, Rick Razor, Scott Cardinal and Travis Dykes. Giant Arawn was throwing guys out right and left. Blade and Dykes worked with Arawn as part of the Kaos faction. Mulligan started to go with Kaos but switched sides to help Cardinal and Shabazz. Cardinal is also a big dude. He was able to pick Giant up but couldn’t hold him. Cardinal got rid of Dykes. He and Mulligan worked together to eliminate Arawn. The Giant was a sore loser and pulled Mulligan and Cardinal out together. Shabazz used Blade’s momentum to send him out. They don’t call Shabazz “The Human Action Figure” for nothing. He’s got the most upside and was the right choice to go over. This was an ugly match filled with not ready for prime time players.
Rhodes opened the iPPV introducing promoter Tony “The Dragon” Givens to a huge “thank you Tony” chant. Givens said he did this for the fans and would continue to do so and introduced NWA President R. Bruce Tharpe. Givens gave Tharpe credit for turning the NWA around. Tharpe said Smoky Mountain was the flagship of the NWA.
Tharpe announced the induction of the Wright Brothers into the NWA Hall of Fame. Don Wright received a standing ovation. Don said Ron went down in September and he couldn’t get up. His voice was filled with emotion. He said Ron was a hoss in his day. Don said they were lucky to beat people he didn’t think they could touch and they held their own everywhere they went. “Ron’s gone but you still remember what he did.” A touching segment. It was something else to experience the attachment East Tennessee fans still have to stars from 40 years ago.
(1) The Agency (Shawn Shultz & Gavin Daring & Jordan Kage with Dylan Sizemore) defeated Skylar Cruze & Wayne Adkins & Axton Ray via DQ in 9:45. Down the stretch it turned into a series of big moves and saves with all competitors getting a chance to shine. It boiled down to former teammate Daring and Cruze. Cruze kicked out of Daring’s standing sliced bread. Sizemore jumped up to complain and hold Cruze for Daring. Cruze slipped away and superkicked the both of them. Cruze had Daring pinned but referee Brandon Cox spied the foreign object introduced by the Agency and mistakenly DQed the good guys. Typical indytastic action – lots of hot moves, some looked good, some not so much with Shultz being a level above the other guys in the match.
(2) Nick Hammonds defeated Jeff Conneilly (with Saradox & Giant Arawn & Cody Blade & Travis Dykes & Mad Hatter) and Timmy Lou Retton and Ez Money to win the the vacant Mountain Empire Title in 12:02. Hammonds was by far the most over guy in the match. Money got a fleeting “ECW” chant. Retton capped off a dive sequence with a corkscrew that took down a whole mess of guys. Giant chokeslammed Hammonds on the apron and Connelly went to town on him. A round robin of big moes ensued. Hammonds took a tower of doom suplex that almost turned into a train wreck. The crowd response had been strong up until this point but it started to fade here. Money got things back on track with a series of his signature moves. When Money tried for a moonsault, Hammonds caught him with a stunner just before he hit the mat. Hammonds then pinned Connelly with a TKO. See match #1 regarding the quality of the action. It was fun seeing Money and he can still go. Good decision not to do elimination rules. They put the belt on the most popular guy in the match.
(3) The first time ever single match between Rob Conway (with Bruce Tharpe) and Jax Dane was a no contest. Tharpe advised the fans that if they treated Conway with the respect he deserved, they would not have to witness another brutal attack like the one Conway inflicted on NWA Southeastern Champion Jason Kincaid. Conway turned his back on Dane the way the ungrateful Smoky Mountain fans had turned their back on him. Conway recounted all the wonderful things he had done for Dane and wanted to know what made Dane the number one contender for what everyone knew was his (the NWA World Heavyweight Championship). Conway said that when he turned around , Dane better have his hand stuck out and realize his place was number two. Dane shook Conway’s hand, gave him a Rockbottom and tried to finish him with a spear, but rolled out of the ring clutching his shoulder. Conway took off his rib pad revealing a metal plate sown into his shirt. All hell broke loose. Conway gave referee Smoke Carver the Ego Trip. Dane tried to hit Conway with chair but Tharpe grabbed the chair. Conway tried to give Dane an Ego Trip onto the floor, but Dane countered and gave Conway a Samoan Drop back inside the ring. A member of Kaos (Jeff Connelly) tried to interfere and Dane took his head off with a vicious clothesline. Dane then crushed Tharpe with a spear when Conway moved out of the way.. Conway got the hell out and was crying for somebody to help Bruce. Givens and company hit the ring. Tharpe was out cold and ended up being carried out the side door. If you like pure pandemonium, this was it. Whatever people may think of Tharpe’s NWA dealings, he’s an awesome heel character. The elephant in the NWA room is what consequences will Dane suffer for injuring their President?
(4) Vince Brent defeated Chris Richards (with Rob Knight) to become the number one contender for the Southeastern Heavyweight Championship in 10:35. This was one of those David and Goliath deals as Richards is twice Brent’s size. Brent is the most over guy on the roster. He was a house of fire but Richards was abusing him. Going toe to toe was getting Brent nowhere fast so he decided flying was his only chance. A top rope clothesline finally took Richards down. Brent missed a top rope elbow and kicked out of a Richards gordbuster. Brent connected with a second top rope elbow, but Richards kicked out and chokeslammed Brent, who rolled a shoulder at 2.9. Brent went back to the top again. Richards shook the ropes to crotch Brent and planted him with a hanging DDT. Brent barely rolled a shoulder. Richards thought sure it was a three count. Brent was dead on his feet but somehow managed to hit his Killshot (jumping flatliner) finisher to pin Richards. Good story of resilience and perseverance by the babyface underdog. Not the most convincing of finishes however.
Ring announcer Joe Lawson announced a return date of June 12 with Heatseekers vs. Illuminati (Chase Owens & Chris Richards).
(5) Jeff Tankersley defeated Eddie Golden (with Bobby Eaton) in 7:30. Golden downed the good people of Kingsport as welfare receiving $9.95ers. Eddie was never a body builder type, and he looked pretty much the same as he did 15 years ago in NWA Wildside. Not much to the match. Golden heeled. Eaton tossed a chain to Golden. Tankersley blocked the chain shot and gave Golden a rockbottom. Eaton tried to interfere and took a shot from Tankersley, who ducked a second chain shot and pinned Golden.
(6) AJ Styles defeated Chase Owens (with Rob Knight) in 17:34. Styles got a massive standing ovation complete with streamers. The pop for his intro deafening. They opened with a clean break, albeit begrudging on Owens part. A “let’s go AJ” chant morphed into dueling chants. In the midst of an intense chain wrestling sequence, some idiot yelled “Wrestling!” Styles clearly didn’t appreciate it. A fast-paced exchange ended with Owens doggedly clinging to a side headlock. Twice, Styles escaped and Owens went back to the hold. Styles popped the crowd big time withhis dropdown, leapfrog, dropkick sequence nailing Owens right on the button. Styles snapped off a headscissors from the mat and did the Bullet Club sign. Styles went for a pescado and landed on the apron when he saw Owens moving out of the way. As Styles was setting to springboard back into the ring, Knight pulled him off the apron to turn the tide. Owens did a baseball slide through the ropes and lit Styles up with chops. Back inside, Styles went down hard on a high speed whip. Owens mocked him with the Bullet Club sign. Back at ringside, Styles shredded Owens with chops. Owens charged and took a hiptoss on the floor. Back inside, Owens reversed a suplex. Owens jabbed Styles to death and decked him with haymaker. Styles kicked out at one. Owens desperately sought to maintain control. Styles scored with a spinkick on Owens and nailed Knight for a big pop. Styles busted out the slingshot forearm and the Clffhanger to set up the Clash, but Owens slipped away. Owens cut off a second springboard forearm and suplexed Styles back into the ring. Styles did the moonsault into the reverse DDT and hit it perfectly for a “this is awesome” chant. Owens countered the Clash. Styles capped a furious sequence of strikes with the Pele kick for another huge pop. Owens came a hair away from winning with the discus forearm, and accosted the ref for not counting three. The finish came with Styles seated on the top rope in apparent danger of falling off. Owens climbed for a superplex. With lightning quickness, Styles slipped away dropping Owens’ face on the turnbuckle, then hit a double underhook brainbuster before finishing with the Clash. Another standing ovation and an “AJ” chant followed. This was the best match I've seen live this year that wasn't part of the ROH show in Atlanta. The psychology was amazing. At this stage of the game, nobody is better at building a believable, dramatic, athletic pro wrestling match than AJ Styles, and Owens more than held up his end.
Postmatch - Styles said he wrestled Ron Killings in this building 15 years ago and tore it up, and he and Owens did the very same thing tonight. Styles said the douche bag with the faggy tie better go to the back and find his life partner before he got hurt. Owens accepted Styles’ offer to get into the ring to shake his hand.
(7) Jason Kincaid pinned John Morrison to retain the NWA Southeastern Championship in 17:45. Morrison also received a huge standing ovation. They also got dueling chants but nothing like the previous match. Morrison looked perplexed when Kincaid pulled out one of his unorthodox escapes. Morrison answered with a flashy escape from an armbar, followed by flapjack, nip up and pose. Big pop for that. The body of the match was a see saw battle for control, more ground based than I would have expected. Referee Jeremy Westwood got bumped. Refreshingly, it wasn’t a major factor. Morrison scored a close near fall with a powerbomb. Kincaid blocked Morrison’s first attempt at End of the World, and got out from under the second. Kincaid’s tornado DDT left both men down for a seven count. They went back and forth with strikes. Kincaid almost got the three count with the Firefly. The finish was amazing. Kincaid hit a Firefly with both men standing on the top rope. I can’t begin to describe it. Suffice to say, one false move and it could have been a career ender. I was talking about this match with TVD the day before the show. We agreed that that it would probably be either a great match or a train wreck, and actually it was neither. It was fine in its own right and didn’t approach the drama or chemistry of the Styles/Owens match. Kincaid has now held the title for over 1000 days.
Postmatch – Morrison shook Kincaid’s hand and raised his hand. Morrison said it was his first time in Kingsport. He had always wanted an opportunity to wrestle for the NWA, and he couldn’t have been more honored than to wrestle for NWA Smoky Mountain. “Much respect to Jason Kincaid and everyone in the back. Without the people there would be no John Morrison. “