NWA World Title Tournament
In professional wrestling, the NWA World Title Tournament was a live supercard held by the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States-based professional wrestling promotion NWA Eastern Championship Wrestling (ECW) on August 27, 1994. The event featured a tournament for the vacant NWA World Heavyweight Championship. The commentator for the event was Joey Styles. Highlights from the event aired on the August 29, 1994 episode of ECW Hardcore TV, while the tournament final appeared on the 2012 WWE DVD release ECW Unreleased: Vol 1.
|NWA World Title Tournament|
The ECW Arena.
|Promotion||NWA Eastern Championship Wrestling|
|Date||August 27, 1994|
|City||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US|
The event is known for the speech given by the tournament winner, ECW Heavyweight Champion Shane Douglas, who threw down the NWA World Heavyweight Championship belt and proclaimed the ECW Heavyweight Championship to be a world championship. Douglas' speech presaged the emergence of ECW - renamed Extreme Championship Wrestling shortly after the event - as a nationally recognized promotion and the continued decline in the power and profile of the NWA. The event has been described by WWE as "one of the most controversial incidents to ever occur at any sports entertainment event". Douglas described his throwing down of the title as "the defining moment for my career".
The NWA World Heavyweight Championship was the principal championship recognized by professional wrestling promotions affiliated with the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). By the early 1990s, the largest NWA affiliate was World Championship Wrestling. In 1993, the relationship between WCW and the NWA board of directors began to deteriorate. In September 1993, WCW withdrew from the NWA and the NWA World Heavyweight Championship - held by WCW employee Ric Flair - was vacated.
After the title had been vacant for several months, NWA board member Dennis Coralluzzo proposed holding a tournament to crown a new NWA World Heavyweight Champion. Tod Gordon and Paul Heyman - the owner and booker of the NWA affiliate Eastern Championship Wrestling (ECW) - wrote to the board of directors proposing that ECW host the tournament given that it had more television exposure than any other NWA affiliate. The board of directors accepted the proposal. Ostensibly unbeknownst to the board of directors, Gordon and Heyman - who had previously had disagreements with Coralluzzo - planned to use the tournament to publicly break away from the NWA and springboard ECW to prominence. Gordon and Heyman approached Shane Douglas, the planned winner of the tournament, who agreed to their plan.
The event featured an eight-man tournament for the vacant championship. The tournament began with 2 Cold Scorpio defeating Chris Benoit in an "aerial showcase" using a cradle, followed by 911 squashing the surprise wild card entrant, Doink the Clown, with a series of chokeslams. Dean Malenko defeated the Japanese wrestler Osamu Nishimura by submission, while Shane Douglas, the-then ECW Heavyweight Champion, pinned The Tazmaniac with a roll-up. In the semi-finals, 2 Cold Scorpio defeated 911 by count-out after 911 was distracted by Douglas, while Douglas pinned Dean Malenko following two piledrivers. In the final bout of the tournament, Douglas pinned 2 Cold Scorpio following a belly-to-belly suplex.
After being presented with the NWA World Heavyweight Championship belt, Douglas began to deliver an acceptance speech before abruptly throwing down the title belt and instead picking up the ECW Heavyweight Championship belt, proclaiming himself to be the "Extreme Championship Wrestling Heavyweight Champion of the world".
|“||In the tradition of Lou Thesz, in the tradition of Jack Brisco of The Brisco Brothers, of Dory Funk, Jr., of Terry Funk: the man who will never die. As the real "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers, upstairs tonight. From the Harley Races, to the Barry Windhams, to the...Ric Flairs, I accept this heavyweight title.
Because I am not the man who accepts a torch to be handed down to me from an organization that died - RIP - seven years ago. The Franchise, Shane Douglas, is the man who ignites the new flame of the sport of professional wrestling.
Tonight, before God and my father as witness, I declare myself, the Franchise, as the new ECW Heavyweight Champion of the world.
|— Shane Douglas, August 27, 1994|
The event was also scheduled to host a tag team bout for the ECW Tag Team Championship between champions The Public Enemy (Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock) and challengers Cactus Jack and Terry Funk. After Funk withdrew from the event, Mikey Whipwreck was announced as his replacement. Cactus Jack and Whipwreck went on to score an upset victory over The Public Enemy, with Whipwreck pinning Rock using a roll-up.
Dennis Coralluzzo was interviewed immediately after the event, referring to Douglas' actions as "a disgrace" and stating that he would move to have Douglas stripped of both championships. There are conflicting accounts as to whether Coralluzzo was aware in advance that Douglas intended to throw down the belt.
On the August 29, 1994 episode of ECW Hardcore TV, Tod Gordon delivered a promo stating that Eastern Championship Wrestling had withdrawn from the NWA, had been renamed Extreme Championship Wrestling, and would recognise Shane Douglas as its world heavyweight champion.
|“||I listened with great interest as the representative of the NWA board of directors took it upon himself to inform you that they have the power to force NWA Eastern Championship Wrestling not to recognize the Franchise, Shane Douglas, as a world heavyweight champion. Well, as of noon today, I have folded NWA Eastern Championship Wrestling. In its place will be ECW - Extreme Championship Wrestling - and we recognize the Franchise, Shane Douglas, as our World Heavyweight Champion. And we encourage any wrestler in the world today to come to the ECW to challenge for that belt. This is the ECW, Extreme Championship Wrestling, changing the face of professional wrestling.||”|
|— Tod Gordon, August 29, 1994|
The NWA World Heavyweight Championship remained vacant until November 19, 1994, when Chris Candido won a tournament in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, hosted by Smoky Mountain Wrestling. Douglas' actions have been described as "killing the title's credibility forever".
|1||2 Cold Scorpio defeated Chris Benoit||Tournament quarter-final||N/A|
|2||911 (with Paul E. Dangerously) defeated Doink the Clown||Tournament quarter-final||1:57|
|3||Dean Malenko defeated Osamu Nishimura by submission||Tournament quarter-final||N/A|
|4||Shane Douglas defeated The Tazmaniac||Tournament quarter-final||N/A|
|5||2 Cold Scorpio defeated 911 (with Paul E. Dangerously) by count-out||Tournament semi-final||N/A|
|6||Shane Douglas defeated Dean Malenko||Tournament semi-final||N/A|
|7||Cactus Jack and Mikey Whipwreck defeated The Public Enemy (Johnny Grunge and Rocco Rock) (c)||Tag team match for the ECW Tag Team Championship||14:04|
|8||Shane Douglas defeated 2 Cold Scorpio||Tournament final for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship||12:00|
|2 Cold Scorpio||Pin|
|2 Cold Scorpio||Count-out|
|Doink the Clown||1:57|
|2 Cold Scorpio||Pin|
- Linder, Zach (August 27, 2014). "Paul Heyman on Shane Douglas and the birth of Extreme". WWE.com. WWE. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
- James Dixon; Arnold Furious; Lee Maughan (2015). The Complete WWE Guide Volume Six. Lulu.com. p. 179. ISBN 978-1-326-50746-6.
- Brian Fritz (2006). Between the Ropes: Wrestling's Greatest Triumphs and Failures. ECW Press. pp. 81–82. ISBN 978-1-55490-268-2.
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- "The Public Enemy vs. Cactus Jack & Mikey Whipwreck - ECW World Tag Team Championship Match: ECW, August 27, 1994". WWE.com. WWE. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
- Mick Foley (2000). Have a Nice Day!: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. Turtleback Books. ISBN 978-0-613-33590-4.
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