The National Wrestling Alliance is experiencing a resurgence, and so is one of their champions.
For avid wrestling fans of the 90s, you likely saw Jazz emerge in ECW, fighting men, before transitioning to a tamer WWE world. That world ended for her over a decade ago when she largely left the national wrestling scene. 2018 is a different story.
When the NWA was acquired by Billy Corgan in 2017, Jazz was one of the holdover champions. Many questioned how that would play out for her, considering many of the champions were stripped or otherwise highlighted on NWA programming. Jazz was the exception, staying stagnant for a few months. But according to NWA's Dave Lagana, all parties knew something was in the pipeline.
"Well I’ve known Jazz all the way back to 2002. Obviously a fan of her in ECW. She’s just different and, you know, at a time when she debuted there weren’t a lot of women like her. And I think you could argue that there are now but she’s still….her story is so rich and I haven’t even really gotten a chance to touch it beyond that first video yet. We shot that first video Wrestlemania weekend and the ever changing plans of the NWA, I get messages all the time ‘well what’s coming next?’ Well do you want to look at my email? I can put it in a tweet that way there’s no surprises, but if you’d like I can. But there is a lot stuff that happens, doesn’t happen, and we are close at some things. Even back at Wrestlemania, we had hoped we were going to do the match with Cody, but nothing was set in stone literally til two days before the press conference that we were even doing the match. If you go back and watch a lot of episodes of ten pounds of gold I put a lot of easter eggs in. Things that could happen, are on their way to happen, may not happen, there’s a lot there that I think in ten years people will go back and say wow they really were saying a lot of stuff that ended up coming true," said Lagana to Fightful.
While a former full-time WWE Superstar, Jazz hadn't worked nearly as consistent as in her past. Lagana explained what set Jaz, an established professional apart from several other champions he and Corgan had dealt with prior.
"She works like two to four times a month," Lagana said. She’s obviously working more now. But she really took it as a challenge and you know when you had all the carnies from the previous regime with the NWA ya know, Jazz is the only person I trusted and Tim Storm to hold onto the belts. Everybody else either wanted a pay day, wanted me to put a show on so they could be paid to lose the title, which was my favorite. You know I trust her and her and her husband, Rodney, have been good friends over the years and they have a legit story. And you know, we will tell anyone who has a legit story and trust us to tell it. She got in such amazing shape for that show. You know she is in her 40s, she doesn’t hide it and she wants to go. She calls me once a week telling me what she has and I tell her go do it and give her the ground rules for promoters. I want her to have this run. Cornette talked about it. She has been champion for 700 some odd days and so this is her journey moving forward. It’s going to be different than the Tim Storms and Willie Mack. She’s going to sort of be telling her own and we will roll it into our world as it deems fit."
While Jazz is the NWA World Women's Champion and had an impressive performance at NWA 70th Anniversary, many of her contemporaries are getting calls from WWE to be a part of Raw 25, or WWE Evolution, or the Royal Rumble, or any number of cameo oriented shows. That phone isn't ringing for Jazz. As Lagana tells is, patience has paid off for her in the past.
"I think it bothers her that she is not part of the call that gets called to WWE," Lagana told us. "And I don’t want to speak for her and obviously I know that there were extenuating circumstances (a lawsuit with WWE). She was very ahead of the game as far as a style that is now very accepted, and she has a chip on her shoulder. So, when the opportunity came, and again she waited one year. She was very patient, you know what I mean. A lot of people wouldn’t have been patient, a lot of people weren’t patient with us. I get a lot of people who anytime we put up we are looking for something I hear from and then I never hear from them again and I say oh have you checked what we are doing, and they are like no. And I’m like okay cool. Why would I use you if you’re not interested in what we’re doing? If you’re just looking for a booking, that’s fine, there are plenty of people that do bookings. We do something a little different here. And those who have participated, those who’ve played along have benefited from it. At least one of them."
The former WWE Women's Champion turned NWA World Women's Champion had an impressive performance at NWA 70 that left the wrestling world talking and led to her inbox being lit up with booking offers. After the match, Jazz seemed to specify that she wanted a shot at what would be Nick Aldis' Ten Pounds of Gold, but in reality, she was supposed to ask for her own.
"She was supposed to demand her own ten pounds of gold," Lagana confirmed. "I think it kind of got lost in translation and then the announcer harbored it home. We don’t really want to do intergender wrestling. You know, we just think its…. If there is something that can fight guys it’s definitely Jazz but that wasn’t the direction we want to take her. She was more supposed to stand up for… you know the lines we gave her…the direction was that she wanted her own ten pounds of gold which she does. The belt she has is not as good as the one Nick has. You know what I mean, and she believes she deserves one equally as good. So that was sort of the direction it was supposed to go and it’s all good.
You can see Fightful's full pre-NWA 70 interview with Jazz at the top of the page, and our interview with Dave Lagana above. Thank you to Hannah Moore for help with the transcript.