Professional wrestler Tim Storm understands the tradition and what it means to be the NWA World Heavyweight Champion. After being in the business of professional wrestling for 20 years and having multiple shots with various Champions throughout his career for the coveted title, he finally achieved his lifelong goal by winning it on October 21, 2016, from then Champion Jax Dane in Sherman, Texas.
Harley Race, Jack Brisco, Ric Flair, Kerry Von Erich, Dusty Rhodes, Sting, Ricky Steamboat, The Great Muta, Adam Pearce, Giant Baba, and the Funk Brothers are just a short list of some of the phenomenal wrestlers that have ever stepped inside the squared circle and have held the NWA World Championship belt at one time or the other.
Those names and many others will go down in the history books forever as being some of the best wrestlers ever. Tim Storm’s name will be in there too.
“I am very proud to be a part of that, but I would never go down that list and say I can match up with any of those guys because those guys are legends,” said Tim Storm. “The legacy that I want to leave behind is that I do deserve to be on that list, and I do deserve to be the World Champion, and to a certain degree, I have already proven that.”
When Storm stepped into the ring with Dane last fall, after having several failed attempts against the six-foot, four-inch, 300 pound powerhouse of a man from Austin, Texas, he thought it could very well have been the last time that he would ever get another shot at the prominent gold and leather strap.
Dane, who had held the championship for over 400 days, had fought the best in the business, match after match, as the NWA Champion has historically done since its inception in 1948.
“This is how amazing of a champion he is. He didn’t have to give me another title shot. He already had beaten me three other times,” said Storm. “Not only did he give me a title shot, but he basically came to my home turf to do it in.”
As many times as these two wrestlers have competed against each other, and putting all differences aside, Storm has nothing but respect for Dane.
“He was an incredible champion in every aspect. He set the bar very high for anybody who followed him,” said Storm. “He represents the NWA very well and he’s a class act.”
When you are the NWA World Heavyweight Champion, world means the world, and that is why Storm traveled to Japan in February with the championship belt in tow. Traditionally, Japan has a rich heritage with the National Wrestling Alliance, and the belt that represents the company is a symbolic reminder of wrestling excellence.
Storm’s opponent was Ryota Hama, a very well-known local fighter who has MMA and Sumo wrestling experience. Hama stands five foot and nine inches but weighs nearly 500 pounds, which made things very difficult for Storm to prepare for.
“Traditional wrestling just doesn’t work because I couldn’t get my arms around the man,” said Storm. “I am normally the power guy. My game is to take the power to my opponent, but someone like that you are not going to be able to push them around.”
Having to deal with the size advantage was one thing, but knowing that he was coming into Hama’s homeland, Strom expected to be treated like the out-of-town visitor, but instead, he witnessed something totally different when he made his way from the curtain to the ring.
“When I walked through the curtains the fans started chanting NWA because the history of the NWA over there is very well respected,” said Storm. “It wasn’t that they were booing him by any means, but my expectation was I know what my role is going to be here and I know what his role is going to be, and the truth is that they cheered for us both.”
While in the ring, as Storm expected, this was certainly not a technical wrestling match at all. Storm’s offense would quickly become his defense with every intention of keeping himself from becoming a victim to his opponent’s girth. Early on, the Champion made his presence known by landing a hard stiff right to the face of Hama that pretty much set the tone for the entire match.
“I was very physical, I threw a lot of punches, kicks, and forearms and I just tried to wear him down. My goal was to get him off his feet so he wouldn’t be able to get back up,” said Storm. “I knew the longer the match lasted because of my conditioning, that I would have the advantage.”
As the two men were attempting to deliver brain busters to each other, Hama lost his balance and Storm took advantage of it by hooking his legs, pulling him down to the mat, and wrapping Hama up for the pin and the victory.
“It was a unique match, but I knew who I was going in there with,” said Storm. “But how do you practice for a guy that’s almost 500 pounds with an MMA and Sumo wrestling skill set? There are not too many people out there like that to practice with.”
With his first overseas title defense out of the way, Storm returns to the United States where there are several top-notch wrestlers waiting in line to have their turn for a title shot. Matt Riviera, Damien Wayne, Mike Beadle, Rob Conway, and Andrew Anderson, are just a handful of competitors that Storm could face in the upcoming weeks and months.
“There is a rich talent pool out there and potentially every single one of those guys could be a World Champion,” said Storm. “But along those same lines, I don’t expect to lose the title.”
Word is also coming out after a post on Facebook that the President of the NWA, Bruce Tharpe, might be having thoughts of Storm defending his title to Kazushi Miyamoto, one-half of the NWA Tag Team Champions. If that were to happen, Storm will gladly defend his belt here or back over in Miyamoto’s home country of Japan.
“I don’t ever go into a match thinking that I am going to lose. I have a lot of confidence in myself,” said Storm. “I have nothing but respect for Miyamoto, but if I get in the ring with him I am going to beat him. I am the NWA World Heavyweight Champion and there is no one better than me in the business right now.”