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Billy Corgan has bought the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA)?

Smashing Pumpkins' front man Billy Corgan, new owner of the NWA Axel Taferner, via Flickr

Wrestling News

Billy Corgan has bought the National Wrestling Alliance?

This week has seen some interesting developments happen, and one that has some in the wrestling business reeling is the news that Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan has agreed to purchase the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), at least in principle, according to a report by PWInsider.

The deal would see Corgan purchase the name, rights, and trademarks to the NWA; and as well, the rights and possession of the NWA Championship title. The company, which was formed in 1948, was at one point in time the largest governing body in professional wrestling.

A collective of promoters and their companies that shared one World champion, and would share talents that would work the different outlets of the collective.

It was a means to an end, as it protected the interests of each promoter and company involved.

For many years, the NWA champion was considered the most important champion in wrestling, as they would be chosen by the NWA Board of Directors for not only their toughness, but also for their drawing power. The champion would have to tour the world, defending the belt for each member promotion.

Marketability was key in choosing the right representative, as the wrong choice could not only be disastrous for the chosen promotion they defended the title in, but also for the NWA as a whole.

A strong champion meant a greater chance a large draw, and for many old school wrestling fans, the NWA World Heavyweight Championship was the definitive wrestling championship.

The WWE and their involvement with the NWA…

The WWE, at one point, was also working with the NWA, though after a dispute with the Board of Directors over the result of a title match between Lou Thesz and “Nature Boy” Buddy Rogers, left to become the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF).

By the 80s, Vince McMahon and the WWF had gone national, and with many of the member companies either going out of business or being neutralized, the last holdout was Jim Crockett Promotions.

Jim Crockett Promotions waged an all out war with the WWF, with names like Sting, Dusty Rhodes, The Road Warriors and the Four Horsemen. They took to task trying to stay afloat. Although, by the end, they were purchased by Turner Broadcasting, the very network that showed their programming.

Turner Broadcasting continued to use the NWA name, and title, although they only had legal rights to Jim Crockett Promotions. In 1991, the NWA name would be dropped almost entirely after a dispute with the promotion. The company was renamed World Championship Wrestling.

WCW’s attempts to go behind the NWA…

WCW did try to do business with the NWA again in 1992, going so far as to work with them and New Japan to crown a new World Champion in Masahiro Chono. Unfortunately, the deal fell through the very next summer, as booking decisions were made without the consult of the NWA.

This was at a time when WCW was still prerecorded months in advance, and because of it, the NWA title was seen as the championship. A decision had been made to move the title from Ric Flair to Rick Rude; Rude had been recorded holding the title during interviews.

Without the okay from the NWA Board of Directors, the feud went on, although, it was over the Big Gold belt, as opposed to the NWA Championship.

With no other national outlet, the NWA would go on, though on a much smaller scale.

Under the late Dennis Corralluzo, new member promotions would be brought aboard, including Tod Gordon’s Eastern Championship Wrestling. In August of 1994, there was an attempt to crown a new NWA World Champion.

At an ECW event, Shane Douglas would win the NWA World Championship, only to throw it down, claiming the NWA “died, R.I.P.. seven years ago”; then raising the Eastern Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Championship. He declared it the “Extreme Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Championship”.

The WWF/E helps, in a way…

The 1990s were especially hard for the company, as the organization almost saw its closure, until Howard Brody was named president, asking members to give him one year to make things work.

This led to the company working very briefly with the WWF again, featuring the NWA Championship and tag titles at some points. Though the run was nothing dynamic, it led to a up-rise in membership; new companies were buying into the organization, saving it from going under.

In 2002, the Jarretts were looking into gaining the rights to utilize the NWA championship for their new company, TNA (Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling). An agreement was reached for licensing and the rights to the championships.

In the first seven years of TNA’s existence, the NWA title was the top title of the company. That was until a falling out over money happened. It resulted in the organization pulling the rights to their titles from TNA.

TNA would then go on to crown their first champion under the TNA name.

The NWA was back to being the collective of independent wrestling companies; companies who would share a champion and the NWA banner.

Legal matters arise…

Major indy wrestling names as Adam Pierce and Colt Cabana were trying to help the organization grow. After the TNA Debacle, trouble was certainly in the cards for the company.

Bruce Tharpe’s International Wrestling Corp. LLC sued the NWA and several of its members; making claims of insurance fraud in regards to the liability insurance policy that was shared amongst its members.

Tharpe would use the lawsuit as a means to gain ownership of the organization, prompting several companies to back out; leaving the collective. The organization changed from a collective that would let smaller companies join up; carrying the banner, to just renting the name and letters to anyone willing to pay for use of the name.

Once the deal is signed…

The purchase would be Billy Corgan’s first move in the professional wrestling business since his failed attempt at purchasing TNA. And while there are many questions regarding the member promotions still involved with the company; it is safe to say that Corgan will make his intentions known at his own time.

Until then, we will have to wait, but, when new developments come up, rest assured that we will keep you informed.

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