History & Tradition – The Story of the National Wresting Alliance is a DVD documentary put out by Michael Elliot and Elbow Productions. It looks at the story of the NWA by following the history of its World Heavyweight Championship. It looks at the NWA through the eyes of historians like Bill Murdock and Tim Hornbaker, wrestlers and promoters like Beau James, Tony Givens, Franklin Dove, Chance Prophet, and web news sites contributors like Bruce Mitchell and our own Jay Cal as well as others.
The documentary started by looking at the creation and the original promotions but from that point forward focuses almost exclusively on the men who would hold the world title until the split from WCW. It has a good look at the title reigns of Lou Thez, Dory Funk, Jr., Jack Brisco, Harley Race, Terry Funk and Ric Flair as well as looking the reigns of others such as Baba, Dusty Rhodes, Tommy Rich and Kerry Von Erich and others.
Elliot doesn’t shy away from some of the controversies the title has been at the center of over the years by using old interviews from wrestlers like the Funk Brothers, Briscoe, Race and Flair to cover the stories such as Dory Funk missing the match in which he was suppose to drop the title to Jack Brisco and the Funks brokering the payoff to Brisco to have him drop the title to Baba in Japan.
After looking at the WCW split and the Shane Douglas incident in ECW we get to one of the bigger disagreements among the “experts” as they discuss the good and the bad of putting the title on Dan Severn. We then look at the “dark ages” of the NWA where the title was held by such people as Mike Rapada, Sabu, and Steve Corino.
The TNA era is actually covered rather quickly and centers more on the eventual split between TNA and the NWA. Once the split is dealt with they use title cards to cover the history of the title from Adam Pearce’s victory for his first title to the Sheik winning the title. The storm surrounding the ending of the Sheik’s title reign is then looked at with the just over two hour documentary looking at the reign of Adams Pearce and the state of the NWA at the time of the documentary’s filming.
The biggest weakness of the documentary is since its focal point is on the world title we really don’t learn much about the NWA’s different promoters over the years or what was happening in the wrestling world outside of the title.
If you are a fan of the NWA it is well worth your time and money to learn some of the different stories of the title.