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January 22, 2020

NWA Hard Times - Hot Take

"You don't know what hard times are daddy. Hard times are when the textile workers around this country are out of work, they got 4 or 5 kids and can't pay their wages, can't buy their food. Hard times are when the auto workers are out of work and they tell ‘em go home. And hard times are when a man has worked at a job for thirty years, thirty years, and they give him a watch, kick him in the butt and say, ‘hey a computer took your place, daddy', that's hard times! That's hard times!" – Dusty Rhodes


The words invoke not just one of the most famous interviews ever given by the late, great Dusty Rhodes, but have evolved over time to become the visualization and description of everything a professional fighter fears and battles to overcome.


When you are a Champion battling to maintain your grasp on the golden glory you possess, that's hard times. When you are a fighter who has lost his last fight and losing your next one is akin to oblivion, that's hard times. When your next win can determine not just your career, but your life – and odds are against you, that's hard times.

The National Wrestling Alliance will present Hard Times, live from Atlanta, Georgia this Friday January 24th live on FITE, featuring the following combatants, their backs against the wall, seeking to overcome Hard Times:


Villain Enterprises' Marty Scurll changed the world of the National Wrestling Alliance when he shocked the world, walking out at the end of the NWA Into the Fire PPV following Nick Aldis' NWA Championship match against James Storm. Declaring his intentions of becoming NWA Worlds Champion. Enraged by this invasion of his sovereign right as champion, Aldis soon returned the favor, attacking Scurll's partner-in-crime, Flip Gordon, when Ring of Honor came to Atlanta. Sparking an inter-promotional war, Aldis now finds himself looking out for the combined might of Villain Enterprises. Having surrounded himself with his own cabal, Strictly Business, Aldis walks into Hard Times ready to turn back the charge of Flip Gordon, a battle that may predict the tides of war yet to come between the most nefarious of competitors across two promotions. Aldis, the throwback thinking man's professional wrestler and Gordon, the master of futuristic offensive assaults, are as different as fire and ice, but they are each united in their desire to destroy the other.


As the reigning and defending NWA Women's Worlds Champion, Allysin Kay should be on top of the world, but the intrusion of Melina into the National Wrestling Alliance has shattered that nation. Leading Thunder Rose, the dangerous, internationally traveled veteran and Marti Belle, the brash, outspoken Dominican star to the ring, Melina has raised hell for all NWA competitors. Never one to back down, Kay has fought hard against the numbers game that threatens to overwhelm her and at Hard Times, Rose challenges for the Championship. This battle could be the moment where Melina's forces are finally turned back or it could be the moment where Thunder Rosa steps into history by gaining all the power and glory that come with the NWA World Women's Championship in a battle where emotions will run high and violence may replace the normal code of conduct inside the squared circle.


It is impossible that there is more coveted Tag Team championship in the world of professional wrestling, then the National Wrestling Alliance World Tag Team Championship. At Hard Times, the legendary Rock N' Roll Express, Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson, whose championship victory last year was one of the most emotional moments of 2019, enter battle in a triangle bout, facing the daunting duo of the former champions, Thomas Lattimer and Royce Isaacs as well as the intimidating tandem of Cowboy James Storm and Eli Drake. In a bout where the odds work against everyone involved and with tempers flaring after months of combat, Morton and Gibson are truly facing Hard Times – will age finally work against them? Will youth outpace experience? Will any number of double dropkicks aid them against four top competitors? Is this the day the music truly dies? Or, will there be a new miracle, a phoenix rising from the ashes? Will the challengers cancel each other out? Only FITE viewers will witness firsthand.


The NWA National Champion Aron Stevens may be a world renowned auteur (just ask him) and a master of KARATE (again, ask him) but one thing that is not in doubt is his ability to compete inside the ring. Since capturing the National title at Into the Fire, he and the Question Mark have been able to evade all competition, but there's no one else quite like Big Poppa Pump. Facing Scott Steiner is the epitome of Hard Times for any professional wrestler. The former WCW World Champion remains one of the most fearsome competitors in the world, bringing an arrogance that intersects with confidence unlike any other. Can Stevens decipher the riddle that is the power and brutality of Scott Steiner? Can the challenger Steinerize his way to yet another championship accolade?


Since the NWA announced the Television Championship was being revived, it has been Hard Times indeed for all entered into the 6:05 tournament, clashing against top competition while running against the clock, vying to advance and declare themselves the first in a new breed of Champion. At Hard Times, competitors from the National Wrestling Alliance and beyond step into the squared circle in Atlanta to prove themselves worthy. So, who will have their hand raised in victory? Will it Tim Storm, who has sworn he has a lot left to prove in his career after failing to capture the NWA Worlds Championship? Will it be the mysterious Question Mark, with the enigma unlocking championship gold? Will it be Trevor Murdoch, bringing all the throwback mettle of his battle-tested career rising to the occasion? Will the arrogance of Ricky Starks float him upwards, ascending to glory? Will Mr. Anderson's name echo to the heavens as champion? Or will there be a shocking turn of events from a talent no one sees coming? Hard Times indeed.

Hard Times, for professional athletes, it's a way of life. It's a mantra to propel them forward. It's an obstacle to overcome. It's a push, a feeling, a force to send them hurtling into battle, into war, into combat and if they are lucky, its prepares the most daring of them to emerge victorious. At least, in the Moment…because Hard Times never end. That is the reality in the National Wrestling Alliance.