Pay-per-view air date: December 4, 2021
The December 4th, 2021 “Hard Times 2” pay-per-view was an all-around very good wrestling pay-per-view. Not a bad match on the show with the worst being no less than “solid”. Along with the good wrestling, they had some great guests and big surprises at the end.
A critical observation up front: the commentary team of Joe Galli, former NWA champion Tim Storm, and former Impact Knockouts champion Velvet Sky has improved since I first heard them at the 73rd Anniversary show. But there is still too much of Sky cutting off Storm. She’s becoming good in her own right. Storm is very good but they still don’t seem to have developed much chemistry as a unit. It’s on Galli to throw to them by name and get control.
I missed much of the pre-show that featured NWA Women’s World tag champions, The Hex (Marti Belle and Allysin Kay) successfully defending their titles against Kylie Rae and Tootie Lynn and Missa Kate, and Natalia Markova in a three-way match as well as a singles match featuring Mims (with Crimson/Anthony Mayweather) beating veteran Jax Dane (Mayweather’s former tag partner) and a gauntlet match to determine a challenger for the reinstated NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship at a future date. The gauntlet match was won by Homicide.
Murdoch’s Version of “Hard Times”
They opened the show with NWA World champion Trevor Murdoch doing his own version of a “Hard Times” promo (one of Dusty Rhodes’ most famous promos). Murdoch was old-school gold. Not too long but one last parting shot before his main event.
Austin Aries defeated Rhett Titus
In a battle of world-traveled veterans, Austin Aries defeated Rhett Titus in a qualifying match for the NWA World Junior Heavyweight title. Good match with commentary doing a great job of giving the background on the longstanding friendship and relationship between the two men, which I took as a sign it was going to be a clean match and it was
The OGK (c) defeated Aron Stevens and JR Kratos
For the ROH World Tag Team Championship
Ring of Honor World tag champion the OGK–Matt Taven and Mike Bennett–were successful in fending off the challenge of former NWA world tag champions Aron Stevens and JR Kratos in a competitive match that had both teams looking impressive while seeming to start something in an attitude shift for Stevens going forward. Good match, interesting angle after.
Colby Corino defeated Doug Williams
Battle of generations saw Doug Williams fall to young and rapidly improving Colby Corino (with The Fixers, Jay Bradley, and Wrecking Ball Legursky) in a match with a lot of technical grappling. Williams went for his Chaos Theory rolling German suplex but the Fixers grabbed Corino’s feet without the referee seeing them, preventing Williams from rotating Corino counters and wins with an Octopus roll-up. Nice match.
Mickie James (c) defeated Kiera Hogan
For the Impact Knockouts Championship
Mickie James defended the Impact Wrestling Knockouts World championship against AEW’s Kiera Hogan, herself a former KO world tag champion. Hogan’s been on a roll the last couple of years. This might be her best solo match to date and James continues to impress since leaving WWE this summer.
Tyrus (c) defeated Cyon
For the NWA World Television Championship
In a no time limit, no disqualification match, NWA TV champion Tyrus (with Austin Idol) beat his former ally, Cyon, a masked wrestler with a Masked Superstar/ Super Destroyer vibe with the Pope Elijah Burke as special guest referee. Solid match with both guys taking some tough bumps, especially Cyon, who took a hell of a beating in this. Could have been better but Tyrus, who is a good big man (I say begrudgingly), he was moving and working way too slow, like a big light skin Randy Orton.
Tyrus has threatened to unmask Cyon and though he threatened, never fulfilled that promise. Very good finish with Tyrus and his cohorts–Jordan Clearwater and Blk Jeez–enraging Burke and actually suckering him into striking Cyon with his Electric Train double knee strike by accident, setting up Tyrus’ victory.
Mick Foley has a short and entertaining interview, foreshadowing some possible intervention if things get out of hand the rest of the show. Cyon could have used that bit of help just 2 minutes before.
Chris Masters defeated Judais
For the NWA National Championship
NWA National champion Chris Masters of the Strictly Business camp defeated Judais (with the Sinister Minister), in a successful defense of his title. Good match between two good power wrestlers. Masters winning clean with his Adonis Lock full nelson was a little surprising.
La Rebelión (c) defeated The End
For the NWA World Tag Team Championship
Odinson and Parrow–The End–came up short challenging La Rebelión–Mechawolf and Bestia 666–for the NWA World tag titles in a very good, athletic match. Frankly, The End is doing the Viking gimmick better than anyone else doing it right now and La Rebellion looked excellent, taking over and winning the match when they sped it up and started double-teaming to offset The End’s superior power. JTG and Dirty Dango (formerly WWE’s Fandango) come out to congratulate the champs and issue a subtle but clear challenge.
Nick Aldis defeated Thom Latimer
Former Strictly Business mates and longtime friends Thom Lattimer and former NWA world champion Nick Aldis had a nice match with some good wrestling but not the all-out brawl you would expect for a match with this much history and heat behind it. Aldis won with a surprise jackknife roll-up. Felt more like the start of something more than the end.
Wonderful ceremony to celebrate the retiring Jazz, who was accompanied by her husband, Rodney Mack.
Kamille (c) defeated Melina
For the NWA World Women’s Championship
Kamille beat Melina to retain her NWA Women’s World title. Solid bout that told a great story of Melina focusing her attack on Kamille’s shoulder to try to negate Kamille’s power. Melina looked as good here as she did in her KO title match against Deonna Purrazzo this summer: not great but good at all the little things to make a match good. She makes me wonder how good she really would have been if she had taken so much time off from the ring.
Probably should have shaved a couple of minutes off this as it lost some steam late before the finish.
Main Event: Trevor Murdoch defeated Mike Knox
For the NWA World Heavyweight Championship
Ending the night with all the champions retaining (that rarely happens) world champion Trevor Murdoch beat Mike Knox in every bit of the brawl you would expect from these two. A damn good brawl that got a lot done in a short period of time. Knox looked great and it’s something he never had a bigger run in either WWE or TNA and the same could be said about Murdoch.
Big angle after Murdoch wins with his top rope bulldog as Matt Cardona makes his surprise NWA debut, distracting Murdoch for Knox to lay him down with a low blow. Foley reappears and calls out The Pope, who gets in some shots on Knox before Cardona lays him out and throws him hard into the ring steps (giving Pope a legit injury).
They go to credits announcing the new season of NWA Powerrr with Cardona standing over Murdoch, holding the NWA title belt.
Strong finish to a good show. The NWA closed out 2021 well.
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David E Houston II he’s attended small independent shows with less than 100 people and large stadium shows with over 20,000 fans and live worldwide pay-per-views.