What Does the Split Between TNA and the NWA Mean for Wrestling Fans?


The NWA is an organization of wrestling promoters that control that wrestle under different names but all recognize the NWA World Champion as their champion. During the territorial era of the business (‘40s – ‘80s), they were the dominant organization in wrestling. In the ‘80s, the WWE, which was not a member of the group, had become the number one wrestling company. On their path to becoming number one, most of the major NWA groups had either been put out of business or were acquired by Jim Crockett Promotions which was later sold to Ted Turner and renamed WCW. By 1991, the NWA become irrelevant.

The Debut of TNA

When TNA started five years ago, they were known as NWA:TNA and got exclusive use of the NWA World and Tag Team Championships. The reason for this is because as a new company they felt that using the NWA name and belt would give them instant credibility in the mind of wrestling fans. As the years went on, TNA stopped using the NWA in their name and only used those three initials when discussing their two major titles.

What Does the Split Mean for TNA?

It means nothing for them except that they can not refer to their two championship belts with the NWA name and will be forced to use new belts. They also can not lay claim to their title having the prestigious lineage that the NWA belt has. The lineage of that belt dates back to the reign of George Hackenschmidt in 1901. Over the past five years, TNA has become much larger than all of the other NWA promotions combined and no longer need the NWA name to be considered a national organization. The closest event to this over the past few years was when the WWF was forced to change their name to the WWE. With the exception of getting used to the new name, nothing else changed for the fans.

What Does the Split Mean for NWA?

The NWA has gotten more publicity from this event than for everything else combined since Shane Douglas threw the belt in the garbage over a decade ago. Over the next few months, they will be holding a tournament for the title that will be taking place at high school gymnasiums throughout the country.

One Huge Piece of Irony

All four major titles defended in wrestling can lay claim to at one point being a part of the NWA title lineage and then breaking off at some point.
# The WWE Championship, currently defended by John Cena, was formed in 1963 when the Northeast promoters disputed the validity of a title change between Lou Thez and Buddy Rogers. Over the years, there was a cooperative relationship between the NWA and WWE which even included Vince McMahon Sr. being a part of the NWA Board of Directors. That friendship ended when Vince Jr. bought his fathers company and destroyed the old wrestling business model.

– In early 2007, the WWE officially acknowledged that the World Heavyweight Championship, currently held by Edge, carries on the legacy of the WCW Championship. That belt dates back to 1991 and Ric Flair’s reign during that year was for both the WCW and NWA Championship. When Flair was fired from WCW, the NWA no longer recognized the holder of the WCW Championship as the NWA Champion. A few years later, the NWA and WCW tried working together again but that was short lived.

– The ECW World Championship, currently held by Vince McMahon, was created after Shane Douglas won a tournament to become the NWA Champion. He threw that belt in the garbage and proclaimed himself the first ECW World Champion. Prior to that event, ECW (Eastern Championship Wrestling) was a member of the NWA.

– Obviously, the World Championship currently held by Kurt Angle in TNA dates back to the NWA World Championship as of Sunday night. Christian Cage was the champion when the NWA stripped the TNA wrestlers of their NWA Championship gold.

Source: Eric Cohen/About.com

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