NWA World Title Match Set For This Saturday

(Photo Credit: NWA)

The National Wrestling Alliance is one of the most historic, influential, and storied organizations in the existence of the industry. Originally a collection of regional promoters that began in the 1940s, the NWA was the most powerful group in the business for decades. Names like Sam Muchnick, Jim Crockett, Paul Boesch, and Fritz Von Erich were just a few of the powerful promoters that ran their specific territories under the NWA banner.

The NWA championship, known as “the ten pounds of gold,” was deemed the most prestigious title in the sport. A belt that was worn by Lou Thez, Harley Race, Jack Brisco, Dory Funk Jr, Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes, Terry Funk, and other legends had a global impact on the grappling arts. The championship was defended everywhere from Toronto to Tokyo to Texas.

After the consolidation of the pro wrestling business in the modern era, many pro wrestling pundits assumed that the NWA and its world championship would remain as fixtures of the past of the sport, a shining example of the legends that paved the road for the sport of today.

However, after Smashing Pumpkins front man, Billy Corgan, known both for his passion for wrestling and prior work in the business, bought the organization in 2017, a renewed spotlight was put on the traditional style of the National Wrestling Alliance. Make no mistake about it, regardless of the pandemic that shuttered the entire world a few years ago, Corgan has done more for the NWA in just the past few years than other regimes had done in the previous two decades.

As a result of that, the modern approach to the National Wrestling Alliance actually borrows from its tradition. Through the use of the advancements of technology, the NWA program recently launched on the CW streaming platform. Along with that, Ethan Carter III, the current NWA Heavyweight champion, takes a throwback approach to his reign, defending his title throughout different parts of the country against top challengers in different organizations.

Of course, each of those bouts brings with it an inherent level of importance, as the results of the contest could completely shift the direction of the NWA if a new champion is crowned.

This weekend, EC3 will make the trip to the Uniontown Mall in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, a blue collar city just south of Pittsburgh, to defend his championship against longtime veteran, Ron Mathis for Ryse Wrestling.

“The negotiations were very productive, but also took a little delicate. The NWA title is considered by some wrestling fans to be the only ‘real’ world title in wrestling because they associate it and its lineage with Flair, Rhodes, Von Erich, and Race. You have to take that in mind when booking a match of this magnitude,” said Chris LeRusso, head matchmaker of Ryse.

“One of the biggest matches I’ve had in my career was facing then-NWA Champion ‘The Monster’ Abyss for the coveted ten pounds of gold. The energy was high and my adrenaline was through the roof because the company was riding on me to bring it home and put that recognition of being NWA champion to that company. The advice I can give because I came up on the losing end that night is don’t blink. In such a high caliber match just when you think you have it in your hands, one small yet critical mistake can take that opportunity away so Ron Mathis on March 9th my advice to you is do not blink,” added Dean Radford, a more than twenty-year pro and co-head trainer at The Stronghold Academy.

Ryse, an organization that was founded by Jason Clements, known as Brandon K in the ring, just celebrated its seventh year at the end of 2023. Clements, who wrestled for almost 25 years, has spent the majority of the latter half of his tenure in the sport as a trainer. The foundation of Ryse is built upon its training center, The Stronghold, an academy where Brandon teaches the next generation, along with co-head trainer, Dean Radford, another longtime pro that worked coast-to-coast during his full-time wrestling career.

“In my early years of wrestling, I was in the NWA and captured the Jr. Heavyweight and North American tag belts. I was so proud of that because it was something I would have deemed impossible years earlier as a fan. For Ryse to be able to host an NWA world title match at the end of my career really feels like it has come full circle. Besides that personal reason, It’s also unreal how much Ryse has grown and how hard everyone has worked to be able to have this opportunity in the first place,” explained Clements.

A mixture of upstarts with potential like Jason Hendrix, Cowpoke Paul, and Gianni Micheal Emricko with established independent talent and national guest stars create a unique brand for its fan base. After enduring the hurdles of the pandemic, Ryse Wrestling emerged from those restrictions a few years ago with a goal to continue to elevate itself with even more high profile talent and matches. Shane Douglas, Sumie Sakai, Fandango, and Delirious were just a few that provided highlights for the organization in recent years.

This Saturday, Ryse will reach another important milestone as it hosts an NWA World Heavyweight championship bout.

“I believe that a match like this can do a lot for Ryse’s standing and reputation. There are so many fantastic wrestling organizations in the area and you really need something special to stand out. Being the place for major first time world title matches can be something we add to our resume and that can be associated with our brand here in Western PA. We can also be seen as an organization that produces world title contenders like Pretty Boy Smooth.“

Ahead of the highly-anticipated match, a bout that many of the Ryse fan base are looking forward to with the chance to see the historic championship belt in-person, many pro wrestling pundits have speculated what impact the contest could have on the National Wrestling Alliance if the wild Ron Mathis wins the championship? With the advancements of modern technology, if Mathis can claim the belt, it could be reported and make headlines almost immediately for the company. However, this is also an opportunity for EC3 to further cement himself as the dominate NWA champion so it’s undoubtedly a high stakes bout for the Ryse organization.

For more information, you can go to https://www.facebook.com/rysewrestling

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Until next week
-Jim LaMotta

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