Tuesday, May 26, 2015

NWA Smoky Mountain's Collision Course

Early on this past month, NWA Smoky Mountain presented their annual big show tradition, Collision Course.  When it was first announced I figured it to be another big show, then the names of the big stars they were going to bring in started to intrigue me.  Those names were John Morrison and AJ Styles.  I even mentioned on their facebook page if they booked AJ Styles vs Chase Owens, I would find a way to make it to the show.  And lo and behold, a few days later that was one of the main event matches they announced.  It was then I decided that this would be my birthday gift to David, as he is a big fan of "Iron Man" Rob Conway but had never seen him work and he was also going to be at the event taking on his former tag-team partner Jax Dane.

The drive from Atlanta to Kingsport wasn't too bad, until we got to Knoxville.  To be fair, it wouldn't have been too bad had we actually stayed on the interstate.  Unfortunately, we decided to follow the GPS, which took us off of the interstate, through a whole bunch of back roads, then finally getting to the Kingsport Civic Auditorium.  Thankfully we planned for something like that by leaving relatively early because we ended up getting there just before doors opened up.  As we were walking to the main doors, we walked by "Beautiful" Bobby Eaton, we didn't say anything, just gave him a head nod and returned the gesture.

Collision Course was recorded to be shown on iPPV a day later on GoFightLive and as such, they had a couple of pre-show matches to get the crowd amped up for the main show and to be shown on their weekly TV show.  Sadly, only one of those two matches were good enough to be shown on TV.  The first one, which was a women's match between Saradox and Roni Nicole was an absolute train wreck.  To be fair, the word is that this was Saradox's first ever match, though I wouldn't have had it at this big of a stage.  The second preshow match, was a 20 man Royal Rumble-style match.  The early part of the match had a lot of guys who, like Saradox, weren't quite ready for the big stage, while the latter featured more of the regulars of NWA Smoky Mountain.  You can watch it on their TV show below.

The main show started with promoter Tony Givens and NWA President Bruce Tharpe coming out to open the show and induct Kingsport wrestling legends Ron and Don Wright into the NWA Hall of Fame. 

The first wrestling match on the show was a six man tag-team match between The Agency (Shawn Schultz, Gavin Daring and Jordan Kage) vs Skylar Cruze, Wayne Adkins and Axton Ray.  This was a good match to open the show, as the feud between former partners Daring and Cruz had the crowd really going.  This match was featured on this past week's NWASM TV show.

The next match was a 4 way match to determine the new NWA Mountain Empire champion, which had been vacant for almost a year, but was brought back at this show.   The match had Nick Hammonds vs Jeff Connelly vs Timmy Lou Retton vs former ECW star EZ Money.  This was a first fall wins match, meaning the competitor who wins the first fall wins the match.  The main story in this match was Hammonds vs Connelly, who had been feuding for the past 6 months leading up to Collision Course.  Hammonds won the match and the title, hitting Connelly with his version of the RKO.  What's interesting here, at last year's Collision Course, Connelly and others turned on the fans and formed the KAOS faction in the main angle of the company, this year, not even close. 
Following the Mountain Empire title match we had the first meeting of former tag partners Rob Conway and Jax Dane.  It's interesting here, we had Bruce Tharpe come out, this time in character Bruce Tharpe, it's subtle differences, but it's pretty obvious.  Both Conway and Dane are some intimidating guys.  David has mentioned this to me on a few occasions, that having Rob Conway hold the NWA World Title on 2 occasions was a great move.  He's a great worker, and he has this look of a true World Champion.  If you're wondering what I'm talking about, you can inquire about it on his twitter handle @S_ATL_Wrestling and he'll be more than happy to clarify.  This one wasn't about workrate, it was telling the story of former tag partners and how it's become about their spots on the ladder for the World Championship.  The match ended up in chaos when Dane accidentally speared Tharpe and the locker room cleared out to break up Conway and Dane, so I believe it ended up being a no contest. 
Next up we had a match to determine the #1 contender to the NWA Southeastern Championship between Vince Brent and Chris Richards.  If there was an time to describe a match as a David vs Goliath match, this was it as Richards is basically twice the size of Brent.  Solid match to feature two Smoky Mountain regulars that had Brent win with his jumping flatliner he calls the Killswitch.
The last two matches were main events of the show, and quite frankly for me, the reason me and David made the trip.  The first being AJ Styles vs Chase Owens.  For me, one, being a big AJ fan, haven't seen him live in almost 10 years, this was a match I had been wanting to see.
Last year on the A1 Podcast, we held our annual fantasy draft and I drafted both Styles and Owens and even booked them in the main event of my show. And when this was first announced I couldn't have been more excited, a match I booked in a fantasy event is going to be a reality.  I had high expectations for this match, on the podcast I equated it to the first Micky Ward vs Arturo Gatti fight, knowing it's going to be so good, we're going to want to see a rematch.  In my opinion, this delivered on all accounts.  This was such a great match and I'm not hiding my biases here, but damn, I had high expectations going into this and they delivered on all accounts, so much so I'm calling it my match of the year as of this writing.
The actual main event, the last match on the card featured the NWA Smoky Mountain's top title, the NWA Southeastern Championship (renamed from the NWA SM Championship) was defended by champion Jason "The Gift" Kincaid taking on former WWE standout John Morrison.  Both men had a lofty goal of following Styles/Owens and they came pretty close to matching them.  Don't get me wrong, we got a great match between the two unique athletes, but if I had to choose the best match of the two, I give it to Styles/Owens.  But the main event matches made the show worthwhile for the both us that saw Kincaid retain (continuing his 3+ year reign) with a power bomb that could've gone bad, but thankfully did not.  I was disappointed I didn't get to see Kincaid do his "Death From Above" (top rope leaping double stomp) but it's ok, we still got a great match and that's what's really important
It was a great experience being a part of a different independent promotion than the ones we're used to here in Georgia.  For such a relatively big venue, it's interesting to note that they do not use security guard railings, so theoretically fans would've had easy access to get in the ring had they wanted to, but thankfully the crowd was well behaved and a pretty good family friendly atmosphere.