Mickie James Addressed the Audience
James served as the executive producer of the event, which is why she wasn't in action (in fact, she'll be wrestling on Sunday's NWA 73 pay-per-view against Kylie Rae). She went on the record following her release from WWE that she pushed for another installment of Evolution but WWE wasn't interested because some people in power didn't think it did well the first time, or something along those lines. Thus, it's fantastic James was able to do an All In-esque show with women from various promotions and be the frontrunner of it. This was a nice, short and sweet message from her to kick off the evening.
Diamante def. Kylie Rae and Chik Tormenta in a Three-Way Match
The commentators referred to this as a "battle of the brands" with Diamante representing AEW, Tormenta representing AAA and Rae of course representing the NWA. I thought for sure she was going over because of that, but Diamante winning instead was a pleasant surprise. I'm not familiar with Tormenta at all, but I thought she looked good here, as did Diamante and Rae. It was a well-wrestled match and a smart choice to open the event. I really hope AEW does more with Diamante at some point because I've been digging her intensity on the Dark shows lately.
The Hex def. Hell on Heels in an NWA World Women's Tag Team Championship Tournament Semifinal Match
The Hex were the team of Allysin Kay and Marti Belle, while Hell on Heels were Renee Michelle and Sahara Seven. Michelle is the real-life wife of Drake Maverick and appeared on WWE TV a bunch in 2019, but she's also made various appearances over the last year for IMPACT Wrestling and AEW. Seven was also on a recent Dark episode, but I wasn't impressed. She didn't impress me here either as I thought this was a mess of a match at certain points. The crowd was into the action and it wasn't all awful, but Kay was clearly the best part about this and had to do most of the work. Needless to say, the right team won.
Red Velvet and KiLynn King def. The Freebabes in an NWA World Women's Tag Team Championship Tournament Semifinal Match
The Freebabes were Jazzy Yang and Miranda Gordy (daughter of the late Terry Gordy). I'd never heard of them before, but they did well. This was an improvement over the previous match. I'm not the biggest fan of the characters of Velvet and King, but they have an established alliance in AEW and are competent enough in the ring. Velvet was able to redeem herself following that poor match she had with Jamie Hayter on Wednesday's Dynamite. All four women had their time to shine.
Awesome Kong Saved Gail Kim From Taryn Terrerll, Jennacide and Paola Blaze
Kim was one of the people responsible for putting this pay-per-view together, but I didn't expect her to make an appearance, so that was cool. It was also cool seeing her share a ring with Terrell again given their history in IMPACT from years ago. They had some of the best women's matches I've ever seen in that company. That would have been enough, but then we were treated to the return of Awesome Kong, who we haven't seen in a very long time since she was doing The Nightmare Collective in AEW. She laid out Terrell's cronies and got to share that special moment with Kim, who helped her put women's wrestling on the map in IMPACT in the late 2000s. Kong announced her retirement and the two of them embraced in the middle of the ring. This was stellar stuff all around. I'm really happy Kong got to have this sendoff given all she's done for women's wrestling in her career, and this was the perfect pay-per-view for her to go out.
Impact Knockouts Champion Deonna Purrazzo def. Melina
Although I was looking forward to this match, I wasn't sure what to expect since we haven't seen much of Melina in the ring for the last year. She wrestled once on IMPACT! Wrestling and had a few less-than-stellar matches on NWA Powerrr, but that's about it. Despite that, she looked very good here. What's wild is that she was never known for having amazing matches back in her day. Rather, she was known for being innovative and she's remained popular throughout the years. That helped her here as she had a solid showing and Purrazzo carried her at points to an above-average outing. The finish was well done thanks to Melina's flexibility and the story they told with Melina's (assumingly kayfabe) knee injury was great. Purrazzo is one of the best in the world today with how she carries herself and I'm very curious to see who will be the one to ultimately end her lengthy title reign.
The Hex def. Red Velvet and KiLynn King to Win the NWA World Women's Tag Team Championship
These were the right teams to make it to the finals of the mini tournament despite none of them seemingly being full-time with the NWA. Velvet and King are regulars in AEW, so I didn't think there was much of a chance of them winning there. Nonetheless, this was the best of the three tag team matches on this show and very well worked. Belle isn't very good at all in my opinion, but Kay made up for it while Velvet and King held their own. The Hex becoming champions made for a nice moment. Now the question is whether those titles are actually going to be defended or if they'll be forgotten about like the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship and the NXT Women's Tag Team Championship.
NWA World Women's Champion Kamille def. "Legit" Leyla Hirsch
I was excited for this coming into the event, but I didn't know it'd be the barn burner it ended up being, especially without much build and uncertainty surrounding the outcome. This was fantastic. There was a significant size difference between the two, yet they mastered the David vs. Goliath dynamic perfectly with Hirsch giving Kamille everything she had and Kamille playing her role as the dominant heel remarkably well. Hirsch made you believe she had a chance to take the title, only to just barely fall short. This was the best match I've seen either woman have. Kamille is coming along nicely and Hirsch can be a real star for AEW if booked properly. I enjoyed every second of this.
Chelsea Green Won the NWA Women's Invitational Cup Gauntlet Match
The other nine competitors included Bianca Carrelli, Debbie Malenko, Lady Frost, Jamie Senegal, Jennacide, Kiera Hogan, Masha Slamovich, Thunder Kitty and Tootie Lynn. Personally, I would have gone with Kamille vs. Hirsch as the main event considering that was the best bout of the night, but this was entertaining on the whole, the crowd was into it and I understand they wanted to go off the air with all of the women celebrating Green's victory. Not everything in this Gauntlet was amazing (what the hell was up with that Lady Frost camera snafu?!), but they kept things moving at a decent pace and there were some awesome spots down the stretch. Slamovich and Frost were the MVPs of this thing. The crowd really wanted their hometown favorite Tootie Lyn to win, but Green vs. Kamille is the bigger match for NWA 73. Kudos to all involved.
What a fun show. This reminded me a lot of WWE's Evolution pay-per-view from three years ago and it always stunned me that they never did another one despite how critically-acclaimed it was. Not only was this a big night for women's wrestling, it was a straightforward show with quality in-ring action, memorable moments, an energetic crowd and better production than we've come to expect from the NWA at this point. I have no clue how NWA 73 is going to able to top this on Sunday night, but this was a blast and I'd love to see them make it an annual occurrence. Here's hoping the NWA can maintain this momentum as well as I haven't seen so much buzz around the product in forever.