Billy Corgan Revives Wrestling History with NWA Powerrr

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Billy Corgan Revives Wrestling History with <i>NWA Powerrr</i>

Update: NWA producer Dave Lagana contacted us to note that their comments about Powerrr’s sustainability on YouTube were made before the show premiered, and that so far they’ve been exceeding expectations.

Billy Corgan’s love of pro wrestling is long documented. He used to co-own a Chicago-based promotion called Resistance Pro Wrestling, and went on to be an executive and on-screen character with Total Nonstop Action. In 2017 he bought the name and pertinent intellectual property rights to the National Wrestling Alliance—what was once a consortium of regional territories cooperating together from the ‘40s into the ‘00s was now a single company owned by Houston lawyer Bruce Tharpe, who mostly used the NWA as the basis for a stable in New Japan before selling it to Corgan. Corgan’s NWA cooperated on a series of events with Ring of Honor, with the ROH-contracted Cody Rhodes even winning the NWA World Heavyweight Championship from Corgan’s top star Nick Aldis at All In in 2018. That alliance ended earlier this year, and almost immediately afterward Corgan announced the premiere of NWA Powerrr, a weekly YouTube show that explicitly recreates the style and atmosphere of old-school studio wrestling shows.

If you watched wrestling before the ‘90s, especially wrestling that wasn’t just the WWF, there’s a good chance you know what I’m talking about when I mention a “studio wrestling” show. For decades this was one of the most common ways of shooting wrestling shows for TV in territories across America. The most famous example is the show that would eventually be known as World Championship Wrestling (the show, not the promotion that later took its name), the Georgia Championship Wrestling and Jim Crockett Promotions show that ran nationwide on TBS throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s. This show, which aired on TBS on Saturdays at 6:05 p.m., was taped weekly at the old Turner studios on Techwood Drive in Atlanta. (If you’re familiar with Atlanta, this is right where the current Turner headquarters that you can see from the I-75/I-85 Downtown Connector is.) It was shot in a small studio in front of a few dozen fans, focused primarily on short enhancement matches and promos, and existed primarily to get viewers to buy tickets to whatever local venues hosted the promotion’s house shows. They were advertising, basically, trying to sell people on going to the live events, which is where the promotions made their money.

Corgan captures that atmosphere pretty much perfectly with NWA Powerrr. It looks and feels so much like the wrestling I grew up watching on TBS that it’s almost uncanny. If they shot this on ‘80s technology it would be identical to the wrestling of old.

That might sound like pure nostalgia, and that is a huge element to the show. That’s not the main reason to watch, though. NWA Powerrr proves that the old ways of doing things can still work today, especially in a wrestling climate that long ago cast aside some of the most basic concepts of wrestling storytelling. NWA Powerrr gets back to basics not just as a gimmick, but to provide a true alternative to wrestling fans who enjoy logically-booked stories and matches that feel at least slightly more realistic than the heavily choreographed and cooperative displays currently seen in WWE and AEW.

To learn more about NWA Powerrr, watch the video below, where I go into more detail about the promotion, its talented roster, how it captures that old territorial spirit, and what its future might look like. And if this sounds like the kind of wrestling show for you, check out new episodes of NWA Powerrr every Tuesday at 6:05 p.m. ET on the NWA’s YouTube page.

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