National Wrestling Alliance

The National Wrestling Alliance is a group of independent professional wrestling promotions, in operation since 1948. Prior to the 1980s, it acted as a governing body for pro wrestling, operating the 'franchise'-like "territory" system.



All the member federations had a monopoly over their given territory; the members of the NWA would all recognize the NWA World Heavyweight Championship as their highest title. Wrestlers, like Ric Flair, who held the NWA Title, could also go on tours of member federations.

What this meant is that any member territory who broke the NWA's rules faced expulsion, and thus risked missing out on having wrestlers with household names appear in their territories. Similarly, if another promoter began performing shows in an NWA's territory, all the NWA members were obligated to send their best talent across to fend off the threat. Unofficially, threats of violence or physical retaliation may have reportedly been used against promoters who disregarded the territory system.

Thus the NWA used a "carrot and stick" approach to maintaining the territory system. For most promoters under the NWA umbrella, the benefits of membership were well worth the dues.

Former Member Territories

Some prominent former NWA member promotions included:

Decline and Fall of the Territory System

Video tape trading and cable television paved the way for the eventual death of the NWA's regional business, as fans could now see for themselves the plot holes and inconsistencies between the different regional storylines, and the presence of stars like Ric Flair on TV every week made their special appearances in each region less of a draw. WWF promoter Vince McMahon used these gathering trends, and talent raids, to turn his northeastern territory into a national federation. To compete against this threat, various promoters attempted to co-promote shows under the Pro Wrestling USA banner. However, this fell apart and the AWA began broadcasting weekly shows on ESPN.

Meanwhile, to hold off the threat of the WWF, promoter Jim Crockett Promotions decided to unify parts of the NWA, and create a national federation, by buying out some of the member promotions. However, by 1988 this led him to bankruptcy, and he sold off the promotion to Ted Turner as World Championship Wrestling. In 1991, the flagship WCW realized the NWA needed it more than it needed the NWA, and left. WCW continued, however, to claim the NWA's lineage.

After the AWA's bankruptcy, and ECW leaving, the NWA was a shell of its former self. Through the mid to late '90s, the all-but-forgotten organization was left with a small collection of independent federations during the peak of the Monday night ratings wars between the WCW and WWF.

The NWA Today

There is still a group of promoters which hold membership in the NWA and continue to use the NWA name, although no members are holdovers from the membership of the promotions "glory days" of the 1940s-1980s.

In order to join the NWA, a promoter must have been operating for at least one year in a territory uncontested by any other NWA member, and their application must be approved by a majority vote of the Board of Directors, although there are numerous exceptions to this bylaw currently within the organization. The current president of the NWA is Ernie Todd, the promoter of NWA: Canadian Wrestling Federation.

The NWA brand name has been seen most prominently in recent years in conjunction with Total Nonstop Action, a non-member promotion started by Jeff Jarrett and Jerry Jarrett in 2002. TNA was originally based in Nashville, Tennessee before moving to Orlando, Florida in 2004. TNA ran weekly pay-per-views for over two years before securing a national television deal with Fox Sports Net in June 2004 and switching to the more conventional monthly PPV model. In addition, TNA have featured popular wrestlers such as Sting who have never appeared in WWE. In late 2003 the Jarretts sold a majority of their interest in the company to Panda Energy, and then in 2004 negotiated a new deal to license the NWA name and the use of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and NWA World Tag Team Championships for ten years.

The most visable NWA member promotion in the United States in recent times was undoubtedly NWA Wildside, which aired 300 consecutive weeks of syndicated television before closing in April 2005, when the promoter, Bill Behrens, signed a deal to work as a television syndicator for WWE.

The largest and most sucessful member promotion of the NWA is New Japan Pro Wrestling, which is the second largest and most profitable wrestling promotion in the world after WWE. NJPW is sanctioned by NWA member the legendary Antonio Inoki, who at times has also sanctioned Zero One and Universal Fighting Organization as NWA promotions. NJPW holds events consistantly throughout Japan and Asia, and has also run shows in Europe and he United States.

Titles in the Company

World Championships

National Championships

Regional Championships

See Also

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