Angelo Savoldi, Danny Hodge, Nelson Royal, and Chase Owens will forever be listed in the wrestling books as the NWA Jr. Heavyweight Titleholder. Arrick Andrews of Gallatin, Tennessee, is also in that same group.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be wrestling in the longest-running promotion. Even though it isn’t as strong as it once was, the history and the tradition is something you can’t buy or replace,” said Arrick Andrews. “To me, there is nothing comparable to being the World Jr. Heavyweight Champion for the NWA. The NWA is respected by every professional wrestler.”
The 33-year-old wrestler, who has been lacing up his boots for the last 16 years, accomplished this monumental milestone on April 8th of this year. On that day, he defeated the formidable John Saxon in their match in Dyersburg.
“John is a true professional on every level. He knows wrestling inside and out,” said Andrews. “If you show him a weakness, he is going to exploit it. From the beginning of the match until the very end, John brings everything that he has when you’re in the ring with him.”
Andrews and Saxon met in the ring initially the night before Andrews captured the title.
The fans in Tullahoma, Tennessee were excited to witness an NWA Jr. Title defense, however, but the spectators supporting Andrews were disappointed when Saxon was awarded the win. Moments after the match, officials had determined that the Champion cheated, and the NWA made an announcement.
“I really thought I was going to become Champion that night, but I got screwed out of it,” said Andrews. “Afterwards, the NWA came out and scheduled a rematch for the next night. It was a huge relief.”
In their second meeting, the match lasted approximately 30 minutes and the two wrestlers battled in a grueling match that went back and forth with both Saxon and Andrews gaining the upper hand throughout the contest. Finally, Andrews caught the Champion with a Spine Buster and he was able to get the victory and win the title.
“It was hard to find his weakness and it was hard to catch him off guard. He was on cue every step of the way,” said Andrews. “It was one of those things that when it happened, I wanted to cry because I was finally a world champion. Whether it’s the Jr. Heavyweight or the Heavyweight Title, you are a legitimate World’s Champion and you go into the history books at that moment.”
Now that Andrews is on top, he knows that the bar has been raised. He believes that he has a certain responsibility to carry the title of NWA Jr. Heavyweight Champion with high character standards.
“There is a lot of pressure because people will look at everything that I do,” said Andrews. “I have to represent the NWA with the highest regard. I don’t want the organization to say or think that I am not a good champion.”
If Arrick thinks that there is pressure outside of the ring now that he is Champion, he definitely feels it inside the ring. Since holding the belt, he has defended it sometimes up to three times a week and has already been in five different states with that objective.
“As far as the competition goes, there are guys coming out of the woodwork for a title match,” said Andrews. “I tell people all the time, get a match booked I will be there.”
Every promotion has a hungry wrestler who thinks he is deserving of a title shot against Andrews. Being the World’s Champion means that you fight the best that wrestling has to offer, and right now, some of the guys that are waiting in line to take their shot at Andrews are Jeremy Moore, Americos, and Mr. USA.
“I have wrestled Mr. USA a couple of times since winning the title. I have no doubt in my ability, but I know at any moment that he can catch anyone off guard,” said Andrews. “As for him being the next NWA Jr. Heavyweight Champion, I don’t see it happening. He has already had a couple of shots and he hasn’t been able to get the job done.”
Every wrestler wants to be the World Champion. Andrews can now scratch that goal off his list. After wrestling in all regions of the United States, he now wants to wrestle overseas.
“I want to go to places like Japan, England, and Australia. Their fan bases are completely different,” said Andrews. “What the fans like over there is unlike the United States. “I have always prided myself in always being able to adapt.”