Ten Pounds Of Gold
There were videos being posted under the NWA name. Woah, that's different for them. I noticed them when uploading my own content and seeing theirs under recommended videos. NWA in the digital age seemed to be limited to their over the top service -- which ceased to exist when Corgan took over. Fair play, I thought. I waited a couple of days and watched one of the clips.
Titled "Ten Pounds of Gold," the videos highlighted that ol' geezer Tim Storm. 53 years old, the NWA Champ. A different situation to say the least. I watched, I listened, and I felt for Tim Storm. I connected with him, and I related to him. He was a fan who made a go of it, and got where he wanted to. The NWA Championship title meant so much to him. It wasn't a gimmick, it wasn't for show. It was important to him.
"It wasn't until Ten Pounds of Gold that I opened those areas of my life that I've protected for so long up to the public," Storm told me. That just came about more from William Patrick Corgan and Dave Lagana and I building just a trust where I knew that I could trust them, and they told me kind of what their direction was, which is, 'we want Ten Pounds of Gold to be real. We want to show people who you really are. We want to tell stories but we want the stories based -- because we think everybody has a good story, we believe you have a good story.'"
It wasn't a "this guy is larger than life, he has nothing to worry about!" portrayal of so many wrestlers and world champions that we see these days. He's a school teacher. The guy has a day job. There's something endearing about that. We see it in the UFC all the time (UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic is a firefighter, Demetrious Johnson never trained full time until he lost his first UFC title fight). In mainstream pro wrestling, it's almost taboo these days. The characters have to be above concern over money and void of desire to capture something they grew up appreciating, something that fuels so many viewers. Where's the motivation? Tim Storm had it.
Dave Lagana produced the wonderfully constructed videos almost by himself -- with a little help on the narration from former TNA wrestler Sam Shaw. He opened up about the uphill battle that Storm faced with viewers, and the challenges of overcoming age and perception.
"He's 53," Lagana said to Fightful. "Besides the age discrimination, why don't you like him? Are you dead inside? Do you not feel what this man feels? Is Tim the greatest professional wrestler ever? No. But Tim -- he is the guy that we got. His story is exactly the story of what we bought. It gets to a meta level that I hate talking about because I think it's silly, but Tim represents what we bought. He is ... he has a heart, and the brand has heart. It's not like we bought WCW, you know what I mean? A brand that people started to hate. People used to love the NWA, and now we're hoping that they'll love it again.Tim is exactly that. He's a guy that once you fall in love with, it's hard to not feel something.,"
Before this, I wasn't that familiar with Tim Storm outside of wondering what the hell a fifty something year old man was doing as champion after dropping in on the NWA's Wikipedia page. I wasn't alone, even among those who dedicate their lives to wrestling.
"I watched a couple of the videos. Now I know who Tim Storm is. Especially after I've wrestled everywhere ever in 20 years in independent wrestling and that was a first for me, which is interesting," said former NWA Champion turned ROH color commentator Colt Cabana.
Even though Tim Storm wasn't a household name -- or anything resembling it in the years prior to "Ten Pounds of Gold," he maintained the respect of those who worked with him in the years prior.
"Tim Storm's great. He's a real old school dude, real professional. Hard worker, hard hitter," ROH's Shane Taylor told me, which he followed with a ringing endorsement. "He's the guy they need right now, and he's shouldering that load. That's a lot of pressure when you're dealing with the legacy of those three letters. Anybody who can do it the way that Tim has with that class, is one of the best."
Nick Aldis fits the opposite bill of Tim Storm pretty well. He's married to WWE Superstar Mickie James, and already reached a world champion status twice in TNA and Global Force Wrestling. He's outright turned down deals from Impact Wrestling in the past and once had an "iron clad contract" in TNA.
"It was my decision. The way my contract was structured, without getting too detailed, they couldn't release me. There was something in there that prevented that, which was nice," Aldis told me in 2015. Turning down good money isn't something you see that often in this line of work, but it becomes a recurring theme as you read along.
Aldis isn't the every man, but he was the man who kicked off the new NWA as challenger to Storm's NWA Championship. It's a story as old as time. Young vs. old, new vs. used, underdog vs. favorite.
It was such a simple story. One I've seen a million times on television, but rarely executed as well. But it wasn't all daisies and rainbows getting there.
The NWA has a storied history of being...well, crapped on. Sometimes by their own.