The Sad Story of the NWA (National Wrestling Aliiance)

The Doctor Chris Mueller@@BR_DoctorFeatured ColumnistDecember 23, 2009

For any wrestling fans who have been around awhile, the initials N.W.A. carry great meaning.  The NWA at one time was the largest wrestling company in the World, now they are only a blip on the wrestling world's radar.

The NWA started out as a Governing body for all regional wrestling promoters involved.  Basically they divided up the US, Canada and Japan into sections, where each section was run by a different promotion.  They were called territories. 

The main advantage of this was that the promotions could lean on each other if another company tried to encroach on their territory.  They did this by sending major stars to the area in question to try and shut down whatever competitor was coming in.

The NWA had one true World Champion who would travel from Territory to territory to defend the belt against the top stars of each area.  This system allowed for many young stars to appear as if they could beat the champion but always came up a bit short in the end.

This system worked well for decades, with legends such as Ric Flair and Lou Thesz holding the World Title and going from promotion to promotion to help the local TV shows.

Each Territory had a head promoter who was responsible for their own promotion, but each one had to report to the NWA Board of directors.  This made it so their was very little competition between companies. 

The biggest benefit of this system was that it allowed for stars to build themselves up in different companies with different people.  This allowed so many great stars like the Legion of Doom and the Fabulous Freebirds to jump from one promotion to the other.

With all these different companies operating in conjunction with one another, it made it so many more stars could be built up at once, and then some would go on to win the World Title.

NWA was most successful before Vince Mcmahon Jr. bought the then WWWF from his father and began buying up smaller promotions until he was the most powerful man in wrestling.

This caused great controversy in the wrestling world and there were rumors of death threats against Vince McMahon Jr. for what he was doing to the business.  Many old school promoters felt having only one company would ruin wrestling.  Maybe they were right.

The NWA had a run with WCW when they first began, using both an NWA World Title and a WCW World Title.  In 1993 WCW and NWA parted ways when Ric Flair signed with WWF and took the big gold belt with him.  He was stripped of the WCW/NWA title despite bringing it with him to WWF.

The NWA title stayed relevant for only a short time after that.  When Shane Douglas beat Two Cold Scorpio in a tournament to crown a new NWA World Champion he proceeded to toss the title aside claiming he did not want to be champion of a company that was already dead.

He then named himself the Extreme Championship Wrestling World Champion with a new belt.  ECW went on to become the number three company in the US until being bought by, guess who, WWF/E.

Jeff Jarrett and Jim Cornette began coming into WWE as part of an angle where NWA wrestlers competed in WWE.  Jarrett and Cornette even had a stable made up of WWE cast offs who were joining NWA Wildside, a promotion that lasted over 300 shows on TV before being axed.

Guys such as Blackjack Windham were recruited on television when they were jumping from the WWF to NWA at the time. 

Once the angle was dropped by WWE and all ties were cut, Jeff and Jerry Jarrett started up TNA wrestling, which utilized the NWA World, X-Division and Tag championships.  This helped bring some recognition back to the NWA title, but the partnership would only go until 2007

The NWA wanted booking power over the title matches and TNA wanted to create its own titles, so the split was seen as agreeable by both sides. 

Since then the NWA championship has made its way around to some of the smaller promotions that still run today, but not the way it used to.

The NWA went from being the worlds largest collection of wrestlers, titles and promotions to being all but forgotten by the wrestling world.

The territory system is dead now and the WWE run the only big name wrestling company in the US.  TNA is getting bigger but is still only a fraction of what the WWE is.  ROH is making waves but they have a lot of ground to cover.

The NWA has been run by Robert Trobich since 2005, and since then he has done little to make the promotion what it once was.  He has recently brought back a title meant only for Mini wrestlers, little people basically. 

This move is mainly directed towards the popularity of Mini Lucha Libre wrestling in Mexico.  What some people don't know is that Trobich is an attorney, and had no wrestling knowledge prior to becoming the head of the NWA.

And that is where we stand now.  The NWA is without a major TV outlet and has no recognizable value anymore.  It is sad to think that a once great organization could be reduced to the laughing stock of the industry.

So many great talents came out of NWA territories.  Ric Flair, The Von Erichs, The Freebirds, The Hart foundation, Curt Henning, Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, Dr. Death Steve Williams, The Bricos, Lou Thesz, and many many more legends in the business got their start in an NWA territory. 

To see what the company has become is a tragedy.  I just hope some day they find a way to make something of themselves once more.

What do you think of the NWA history from being the biggest to smallest company in wrestling?