The NWA is having a rough week to say the least, first one of the most high profile and arguably the number one promotion after Championship Wrestling from Hollywood was drummed out, Ring Warriors announced they would no longer be part of the governing body even going so far as to call the NWA “irrelevant.”
Then on Saturday night at a Florida Underground Wrestling event, which was billed as a charity show sponsoring “Bodyslamming for Toys” an incident occurred between current NWA World Heavyweight Champion Kahagas and Ring Warriors Champion Bruce Santee. According to those close to the situation Santee did not want to do the job for Kahagas partially due to bad blood between Ring Warriors and the NWA and by laying down for Kahagas it could have hurt Santee professionally.
Santee turned the heat up on Kahagas and the match turned into a shoot at which one point Santee had Kahagas pinned for at least a 10 count by those in attendance but certainly more than a three count from video I have seen but referee Randy Eller, a friend of Kahagas, refused to make the count. The match was ruled a no-contest but the two wrestlers would continue their fight outside the ring and into the back leading a number of officials and other wrestlers to keep the two apart.
Ring Warriors announced last week that they were leaving the NWA due to a conflict of interest between the promotion and the NWA Board of Governors while NWA COO Fred Rubenstein stood in the ring in support of Ring Warriors President Howard Brody. Brody was the President of the NWA at one time and for him to leave the group after being a staunch supporter for a number of years was bittersweet.
NWA Coastal announced not long after Ring Warriors left the NWA that they too were leaving the NWA in support of Ring Warriors and due to their association with and support of Fred Rubenstein. Phil Varlese, a business associate of Rubenstein has long been an NWA ally but felt enough was enough.
The NWA has been a den of controversy since R. Bruce Tharpe and Chris Ronquillo gained control of the group after a hostile takeover that would see a number of alliances form pitting promoter against promoter and friend against friend. Quite a few people who supported Tharpe and Ronquillo in the beginning have since rescinded that support and though they are reluctant to speak out publicly for fear of retribution but privately they are unhappy with how things have progressed.
According to sources within the NWA much of the problem stems from Chris Ronquillo and his alleged strong-arm tactics, demands and having a generally poor disposition when dealing with people. Some feel Tharpe has turned a blind eye to the goings-on of the NWA and has let Ronquillo make most of the decisions where the NWA is concerned which is causing even more backlash. “He knows nothing about wrestling or how to deal with people in wrestling” one promoter, who asked for anonymity, said.
To say the NWA is in disarray would be an understatement but at the moment, the number of supporters are dwindling and with more high profile promotions leaving the group, it would appear the NWA is beginning to spiral out of control. Many predicted that the NWA would eventually become a Texas only company and with a few exceptions, most of the promotions that are part of the NWA are based in Texas. There are those, including recent long-time NWA promoters who were allies at one time, who have said the NWA died in 1985.
What was once considered one of the greatest organizations in the history of professional wrestling seems to be on the verge of becoming noting more than a memory. And if things continue to progress as they have been with the NWA those memories will be forever tarnished.
I did attempt to reach out to the NWA and Chris Ronquillo for comment on the most recent incident involving Santee and Kahagas but my messages have gone unanswered.
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