Owner and Origins
The idea for the NAWA was originally thought up by owner Tony Capone. His time training and performing with Mario Mancini laid the ground work. Time on the road helped educate him on how the business is run.
Capone, also co-hosted a public access show called “Wrestling Connection” which showed the inside of pro wrestling. Along with co host Tonja, they two ( dubbed The TnT Connection) traveled all over the US covering and working in various companies. The combination of his wrestling experience and his TV production would be a valuable asset to formation of the NAWA.
The inspiration for the name came from the National Wrestling Alliance and American Wrestling Association, two former powerhouses in the business that had recently ceased operations in the case of the AWA and the purchase of and rebranding to WCW for the NWA.
Affiliation with the UWF
Capone’s NAWA assisted Herb Abrams in promoting his Universal Wrestling Federation in the New York area. The partnership worked for both sides as the UWF gained exposure in a major market and Capone had won the UWF Super Heavyweight Championship.
The partnership dissolved due to Abrams’ documented issues and eventual passing. While the agreement did not last, it did open a door for the NAWA
During his time working with the UWF, Capone became acquainted with and built a working relationship with Brian Rico, then an executive for Sports Channel America. The UWF was being broadcasted on the channel.
Upon the company’s demise, Rico approached Capone with having the NAWA on the channel in the slot previously held by the UWF. On mid 1992, The NAWA Champions of Wrestling Hour debuted on Sports Channel America in NY. The show was hosted by former WWE commentator Craig DeGeorge. Also joining him on commentary were NAWA wrestlers and managers.
The show was also the first appearance of Joey Styles, who would later on become the voice of ECW.
The NAWA became a starting point or the first televised exposure for many up and coming talent as well as a new home for established superstars.
Legends such as Hercules Hernandez, Jimmy Snuka, Tony Atlas, King Kong Bundy, Sid Vicious, and Shane Douglas amongst others have made their way to the company. Hercules would be the one with the most impact, becoming the first NAWA Heavyweight Champion.
Future wrestling superstars like Tommy Dreamer, Tazz ( Tasmaniac), X-Pac ( Lightning Kid), Johnny Rotten, Cherry (Kara Slice), Xavier, and Bobcat all gained experience while competing as well as getting a chance to showcase their talent on TV.
Slam Jam ‘99
A defining moment in the company’s history came on Mat 20,1999, when the NAWA held its biggest show, Slam Jam, a sold out show at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, NY. This show is noteworthy because it was primarily a WWE stronghold in the outer NYC area and no other promotion had run a show in that building before.
The event drew 3,700 fans and featured the NAWA talent but also featured The Pitbulls, The Sheepherders, Sid Vicious, and Jim Cornette. Bruno Sammartino made a rare in ring appearance as the NAWA commissioner and to award the winner of a 15 man Battle Royal with the Heavyweight Championship.
The battle royal was also a defining moment in which a masked wrestler came in and eliminated Mike Fury and unmasked to reveal Shane Douglas, who cut a promo similar to his infamous ECW title win in 1994.
Other Notable Shows
The promotion continued on with strong shows throughout 1999 and 2016. A 2000 show in Mount Vernon provided a showcase for Low Ki and Xavier, who were on the rise. The match blew away the crowd with their unique style.
2001 marked two big events for the company. They held their first show in the Orange County Fairgrounds on April 23 2001 to a sold out crowd. Once again it was a showcase for the younger talent such as Inferno Kid, Reckless Youth, Trent Acid, and Johnny Cashmere. The show left such an impact on fans that pre sales for the next show were in strong demand that night. The show also marked the first appearance of Bret Hart since his departure from WCW.
The next day, they returned to Mount Vernon at the Mount Vernon High School. Bret Hart also made a meet and greet performance and the card was highlighted by a match between Sabu and Tony Devito.
Hiatus and Return
It made a return on September 2012 during The Arts on Third Festival in Mount Vernon. The card featured a main event between Atlas and Snuka, which was interrupted by Tony Capone rekindling a rivalry between himself and Snuka.
On July 13, 2020 during the Mario and Chaos podcast, Capone was a guest and talked about the history of the NAWA and how he felt it was never given the credit it was due from some of the wrestlers who worked there and the promotion’s place in the history of wrestling. He announced the re launch of the organization on August 25, 2020 which highlighted the promotion’s history and other news to be announced.