The reaction to Tyrus winning the NWA World Heavyweight Championship has been…well…varied to say the least.
The big concern that many have is that Tyrus—I believe it’s fair to say this—displays a lack of mobility when it comes to his in-ring work, something that has a detrimental effect on his matches. Fans are quite understandably worried that we’re going to have a title reign with nothing but poor main events to show for it.
It’s certainly interesting that the NWA hasn’t built up a feud for Tyrus yet after two weeks of TV programming. Having said that, knowing the reaction Tyrus has garnered online, it’s not a bad idea to take the less is more approach with Tyrus and slowly build up to his first feud as NWA World Heavyweight Champion. The next PPV is understood to be in February, which gives the promotion plenty of time to get to its destination. In the meantime, the workhorse champions can certainly do the work and keep things running.
It is clear, though, that the NWA needs to choose its first challenger for Tyrus carefully. The grappler in question has to be able to make Tyrus look good and carry some solid matches to beat down the naysayers with, and they have to be able to take a loss without looking bad in the process or being harmed by it.
Here are 5 wrestlers on the NWA roster I believe would be great picks to be Tyrus’ first challenger for the World Heavyweight Champion.
1. The Pope
I’m hoping that if there are alternative dimensions out there and quantum physics is right, then there is a dimension somewhere where Pope won the NWA World Heavyweight Championship at NWA 73.
Unfortunately, we’re here, but Pope is still a great talent and could really serve a purpose here. Tyrus’ best matches in the NWA to date, for my money, were his matches with Pope, so we know that there is past form there. So there is a reliability there that Billy might want to rely on to get Tyrus’ title reign off to a solid start.
Also, Pope is still over with the NWA fanbase so that would be a popular choice with them. And a good Pope-Tyrus match might just assuage some of the doubter’s concerns.
2. Chris Adonis
What Tyrus brings to a match is power and strength. He’s a big man (what do you mean you hadn’t noticed?) So it would make sense that you might put one of the strongest members on your roster against Tyrus to give the champ a challenge and to get the audience to suspend their disbelief and believe the challenger stands a chance in hell in winning the title.
Big Strong Mimms is not at a main event level, not yet (give him time, he certainly can be), but Chris Adonis certainly is. He’s building up a good level of support currently with the fans after his babyface turn, and he’s a veteran with previous NWA National title reigns. He has pedigree and he’s still a strong guy.
The conundrum of whether Tyrus would be strong enough to break out of the Masterlock and whether Adonis would even be able to apply the hold on a person of Tyrus’ size might be enough to capture the audience’s imagination. That could lead to a match based much more on storytelling than work rate, which would certainly be to Tyrus’ advantage when trying to make a good impression as the World Champion.
3. Matt Cardona
If Billy wants mass exposure, then Matt Cardona, a man with massive social media presence, would be a fine choice to be Tyrus’ first challenger. Between Fox and Twitter, the match would certainly get a lot of promotion!
The story is also there. Matt never got beaten for the NWA World Heavyweight Title, vacating it due to injury, and he also didn’t take the pinfall in the Hard Times 3 triple threat. He has technically never been physically beaten for the Ten Pounds of Gold. A righteous, pissed off Cardona staking his claim to the belt he never lost would be a compelling story.
And while a lot of the focus on Cardona is on his personality, let’s be honest: the guy’s no slouch in the ring either.
4. Anthony Mayweather
Anthony Mayweather is a strange position at the moment. He has very much over with the NWA audience and is a talented wrestler, but he doesn’t seem to be able to shake himself free from his feud with Jax Dane. A feud with Tyrus would help to re-establish him as a big name in the promotion and give him a new direction away from Jax Dane into the bargain.
While Mayweather wouldn’t be able to match Tyrus in terms of power, he would be able to use his speed advantage to tell a strong story in the ring – speed vs. strength. It’s an old story, sure, but if done right it never fails to entertain. While not my first choice for challenger, I certainly think the former Crimson should be up for consideration.
Another guy like Anthony Mayweather who could use a little rehabilitation, JTG is another guy who is over with the NWA audience but has found himself in a bit of a rut. It wouldn’t take too much to get him up to a main event level though, and a feud with Tyrus might just be the thing to do it.
Like Chris Masters, JTG has pedigree, being a former WWE star, which might appeal to any doubters of the NWA main event scene. JTG is also a bit of a low-key bull. He’s a strong dude and would help to bring a bit of believability to the idea that he could pull off the victory and dethrone Tyrus. It would be a fresh matchup and would certainly freshen up the main event scene. Doesn’t sound like a bad thing to me.