January 3rd 1973, Jerry Lawler and Jim White would defeat Ken Lucas and Dennis Hall in a two out of three falls match as the main event for one of the first wrestling events promoted at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds Arena, in Nashville Tennessee. With over 300 professional wrestling shows since then, the Nashville Fairgrounds would become hallowed ground for professional wrestling. Famously named the Asylum for it’s time as the home of Impact Wrestling, its connection with the National Wrestling Alliance will continue to October 21st, when the NWA celebrates their 70th Anniversary.
The Nashville Fairgrounds have been home to Ring of Honor, Total Non-Stop Action, Traditional Championship Wrestling, Crossfire Entertainment, NWA Showtime All Star Wrestling, USA Championship Wrestling and most recently Aro Lucha.
Long time wrestler promoter Nick Gulas joined the National Wrestling Alliance in 1949 a year after its creation. As NWA Mid-America, Gulas promoted weekly matches from 1973 to 1977. It was in 1973 that Jack Brisco would be the first NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion to defend his title in a 2 out of 3 falls match against Don Greene, 2 falls to 1. In 1975, Brisco would again return to the Fairgrounds and successfully defend his title against Don Kent. Although Terry Funk would defend the title in Nashville during his reign, it wouldn’t be at the Fairgrounds. Although the Worlds Heavyweight Championship would be absent from the shows in at the Fairgrounds, the NWA would still play a role with the NWA Mid-America Championship being defended. Even in the 80s when the venue was being booked by the Continental Wrestling Alliance that had ties to the AWA, NWA titles would still be defended like the NWA Southern States Tag Team Championship. Or when Music City Wrestling would debut at the Fairgrounds the NWA North American Tag Team Titles and North American Heavyweight Championship would be in tow.
At the NWA 52nd Anniversary Show, the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship came back to the famous Fairgrounds. October 14th 2000 Mike Rapada would defeat “Wild Cat” Chris Harris to highlight the show. It would be two more years before Impact would start filming at this venue. Former champion Ron Killings would christen the arena with it’s now famous name, The Asylum. The Asylum would host Impact from July 2002 until May 2004. A total of 42 NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship bouts were held in that arena while working with Impact. In fact, legendary wrestling icon and father to current Worlds Champion Cody once challenged Jeff Jarrett to the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship on October 8th 2003.
Cody vs. Aldis, two out of three falls, much like Jack Brisco in the 70s will mark the 46th NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title match at the Asylum. Regardless of the victor, history will be made.