Champions in enemy territory

Page 6 of 8
March 04, 2013

The NWA’s Champions invade WWE

After Shane Douglas threw down the NWA World Title in favor of the ECW Championship in August 1994, the National Wrestling Alliance got lost in the fold. Having already been ditched by WCW in the early ’90s, the NWA was no longer on television and was struggling to hold on the few fans they had left through several independent organizations around the country.

WWE gave the NWA a lifeline in 1998. The WWE Universe was surprised to see Jim Cornette standing in the ring on the first Raw of the year with Howard Brody, one of the Alliance’s top officials. He had in his hands the NWA North American Championship, a once prestigious, now-vacant title. That night, Jeff Jarrett defeated Barry Windham to capture the title and was declared the future of the NWA.

Cornette later brought in The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express, handing them the NWA Tag Team Titles they held throughout the ’80s, and Dan Severn, who was splitting his time between defending the NWA World Championship and participating in mixed martial arts tournaments.

The Alliance’s brand of old-school wrestling didn’t catch on with the WWE Universe. Disqualifications for throwing your opponent over the top rope just didn’t jive on a show where Superstars were pushing the envelope further and further on a weekly basis. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Express traded the tag titles with The Headbangers before engaging in a feud with The New Midnight Express to little fanfare. Jarrett ditched the old-school faction by the summer, adopting a new attitude. Severn also stopped carrying the once-revered title into WWE rings. Just like it had several years earlier, the National Wrestling Alliance slipped back into obscurity not with a bang, but with a whimper. 

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