It was a historic night at NWA 74 held at the famous Chase in St. Louis Missouri recently. Some of the highlights were: The crowning of new NWA World Tag Team Champions La Rebelión due to Harry Smith being unable to appear because of an illness. As a result, the Commonwealth Connection was forced to relinquish their belts. Hawx Aerie faced La Rebelión, with La Rebelión walking away the winners. There was also a new NWA National Heavyweight Champion when Cyon defeated Zax Dane.
The Tables Match between Bully Ray and Mike Knox was as wild as it was expected with Bully Ray putting Mike Knox through the table for the win. In the main event of night one, NWA Women’s Heavyweight Champion Kamille retained her title against Tynia Valkyrie in an incredible match that could have gone either way. After the match, the women’s locker room came out to ringside, showing respect and applauding both combatants.
In night two, a 12 team battle royal was held with The Fixers becoming the new United States Tag Team Champions when they eliminated Team Ambition. There were also famed NWA legends and former NWA World Heavyweight Champions Tommy “Wildfire” Rich, Barry Windham who addressed the crowd and famed manager of The Four Horsemen JJ Dillon who spoke as well. The legendary “The Perfect 10” Baby Doll was there as well, managing her daughter Samantha Starr.
NWA World Heavyweight Champion Trevor Murdoch retained his title in a very hard fought match against NWA TV Champion Tyrus. Go to https://www.nationalwrestlingalliance.com/ for a full report, to watch the PPV on fitetv and all the up to date information involving the NWA, fitetv and youtube TV shows NWA Powerr, NWA USA and their next PPV Hard Times in November.
If you missed Part I of our interview with Trevor Murdoch, you can read it here. https://www.militarynews.com/norfolk-navy-flagship/community/current-national-wrestling-alliance-world-heavyweight-champion-trevor-murdoch-talks-nwa-74-ppv-this-weekend/article_5e5f8582-23eb-11ed-8928-53ceaeca7fcb.html
And now Part II of our interview with Trevor.
Yiorgo: Tell us more about your great relationship with the great eight time NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race.
Trevor Murdoch: As hard as Harley pushed in the ring, he was just as compassionate and loving outside of the ring. I lived out here by the lake, a lot of hill country and I remember one time specifically, we had gotten a really bad snowstorm. I’m talking about a foot and a half of snow on the ground. I had a little bit of food, very little in the refrigerator, no cable, completely unprepared for the storm. I’m there for two days, all the roads are unplowed, icy and undrivable. I called Harley, described what was going on and that I could not get out of my driveway and I didn’t know what I was going to do. Without hesitation he said, “I’ll be there in 20 minutes to get you.” I tried to talk him out of it describing how bad the roads were and to not put himself in jeopardy. He drove that excursion up and down these hills, picked me up, risked his life, took me to his house and the next three days, his wife BJ God love her, cooked me breakfast, lunch and dinner and did everything possible to make me feel comfortable in her home. That’s who Harley was, I was one of his guys. He was very special to me. I walked into that school thinking I’m getting wrestling lessons. What I learned was not only how to be a good wrestler but also a good man and how to stand up for myself and to know my worth. I was lost in the world, trying to find my way and he was always pointing the way.
Y: How did the opportunity to work for the WWE happen? What do you remember about your first day?
TM: I had been up to WWE 8-9 times for tryouts. One time I was a security guy, another time I was a security guy for Kane when he was coming out of the ambulance and I had to unlock his chains. I did all kinds of stuff to get that opportunity. Harley would say, “This is Trevor Murdoch, this is my guy.” And then it was up to me to prove myself to them. I had just gotten back from being six months at the Noah Dojo in Japan. I was doing 500 squats, 300 pushups, 150 bumps a day, so I was in the best shape of my life. When I came back from Japan, Harley said (in Harley’s voice), “Trevor, I got you a WWE tryout.” I thanked him, but I wasn’t excited about it because I had been up there all those other times and nothing had happened. I was going to focus on working in Japan. I went with the intention that this was a $250.00 payday, eat some incredible catering and be a fan because these are guys I see on TV.
I got there, put on my workout gear, went to the ring to do some stretching. While I’m out there, Chris Benoit is out there and he is doing his 500 squats for his warm up, I was doing my 500 squats for my workout. I noticed what he was doing out there so I went to the ring. I’m fresh as a daisy from the dojo so I start doing some of my neck bridges, some of my Japanese training and that gets his attention. He comes over and asks, “Have you been in Japan?” I said yes sir, I just came back from the Noah dojo. He said, “Who trained you?” I said, Harley Race sir. Now Harley and Chris were really close, we are talking about Japan and he says, “Do you have a match tonight?” I said, no sir. He said, “Wait right here.” He left, I didn’t think much of it because nothing had happened the last 8-9 times that I was there. Chris comes back 10 minutes later and says, “I have to go, but I just want you to know that you have a match tonight, good luck kid, they are going to be watching.” And he walks away. I’m in shock. So I went from not really expecting anything to now I have the attention of anybody that can make a decision about me. I find out I’m going to be wrestling Rob Conway. I had not met Rob but I knew of his background in OVW with Rip Rogers and I knew he could wrestle. I also knew what my job was and that was to make Rob look like a million dollars and that’s what I did. After the match, John Laurinaitis, also known by his wrestling name as Johnny Ace, who was in charge of Talent Relations at the time, asked how the match went and Rob put me over by saying that I was there for everything and even more stuff then he was expecting me to be there for and that I could work. John asked me to come back the next night and wrestle again. I was excited to make another $250.00 and eat at catering.
The next night I wrestled Rene Dupree and John said he wanted a 50/50 match so they can see what I can do offensively. We have a great match and he makes me look like a million dollars. I’m happy and this is the first time I’m feeling close to an opportunity. John comes into the locker room and says, “I need to talk to you, when you get dressed come to my office.” Now I’m thinking what did I do wrong. I go into his office, he congratulated me on doing a good job the last two nights and says, “Do you want a job here?” I couldn’t even get the words out of my mouth. All I could do is shake my head yes I do. He asked for my name and address to send a contract to my house and said, “Have your lawyers look at it, sign it and we will send you to the developmental.” Now this contract was as thick as a dictionary but all I could see was the sign here tabs. I could have signed away my first born, I signed it, put it in the Fedex box and mailed it. I didn’t want them to go back to Connecticut and say, did we really hire that guy?
I was supposed to go to developmental and I got a call two weeks later and they said, “We are going to bring you in and have you tag with a guy named Lance Cade and see how you guys do.” I came in, met Lance, we went out and had our first match and I was outside of the ring and I knew what he was thinking and he knew what I was thinking to the point that we didn’t even have to say words to each other. We just clicked and this reminds me in the middle of the match, I was in the ring, I looked at Lance, he was the first time we had tagged together. We rode together to the next night’s matches, feeling good about our match. We had another great match the second night and after that match Johnny Ace asks Lance, “You’ve worked with both Kevin Thorn and now Trevor, who would you rather tag with?” I figured that’s it, I’m done. Kevin and Lance knew each other and they were friends.
Y: Johnny asked you in front of you?
TM: Right there in the gorilla position, Vince is right there by the monitor, there’s a lot of pressure and Lance looks at Johnny and says, “I’ll be honest with you Johnny, I feel like I have more chemistry with Trevor.” Johnny says, “Ok, good. You are both on the road this week.” And he turned around and walked away. And I was like, what just happened? And Lance says, “We just got put on the road, get your roadsters ready we are going to work.” I tracked down Johnny later and I said I thought I was going to developmental? And he said, “Don’t worry about it, you’re not going to developmental.” I went straight from the independents to WWE TV, to World Tag Team Champions.
Y: What was it like winning the WWE World Tag Team Titles?
TM: Winning a WWE title is amazing. To stand in that ring and have 3.5 million people at home watching and 10,000 in the arena watching you live this moment, raise my hand in the air as the WWE Tag Team Champion. What I remember most about that is coming home, bringing that title with me, kissing my wife and then going to see Harley at the wrestling school, walked into his office and layed that title on his desk. I looked at him and said, this is you, you did this. You helped me get this. He got up, I get little emotional now talking about it. He came over, gave me a hug and said, “Kid, remember the cream rises to the top.” It’s one of those moments that I will never, ever forget because I was his first guy to make it in the WWE and win a world championship. (Getting choked up), It made me feel so good that I was able to walk in, lay it on his desk and say, it wasn’t for nothing. And for him to give me a hug, squeeze me tight and tell me I deserve it, it’s something I can never do with anybody else. I love that man and I wish he was still here.
Y: How about an Undertaker story?
TM: I had a chance to wrestle the Undertaker. Well I wouldn’t say wrestle, I had my A** handed over to me and I’m ok with that. My favorite story with him happened at Harley’s funeral. All the WWE guys that came and I was one of them, we were lined up ready to come in. We think we are the first to get there because we all got there early so we can be with him. We go into the funeral home, we look in the back, and back there sitting is the Undertaker, in his suit, by himself paying his respect. I went back there and thanked him for coming. He showed up to pay his respects. That was a very emotional day for me but I remember him telling me a story about back in the day when the Undertaker was just Mark Callaway, he was trying to make it, and was talking about leaving the business. Mark had a talk with Harley. Harley told Mark to stay in the business, to keep working at it. You will get that break. So if it was not for that moment, we may not be talking about an Undertaker. It meant the world to me that he showed up.
Y: You retired but came back for the NWA and you were in the very first taping of NWA Powerr. Can you talk about that, how did it happen who reached out?
TM: The last five years that Harley was with us, his health was declining, he was like a father figure and I wanted to be around and help as much as I can, I didn’t want to be away. But Harley had other plans for me. At Harley’s funeral, Nick Aldis and Dave Lagana asked me to come to the first TV tapings for NWA Powerr and I can be a producer and help out with one show, given all my years of expertise. I’m also a wrestler and I was taught to always bring your gear. As soon as I got there, I ran into Dave Lagana and he asked if I brought my gear. I said yes and he said, “Great, you are going to be wrestling Ricky Starks tonight.” I went there to be a producer and now I’m wrestling their new star. We had a great match and Billy Corgan, the owner, is standing there with Nick and Dave and Billy says, “Hey man, you still have a lot more in the tank for this business. We have you booked in another match for tomorrow night. They kept on booking me, one thing led to another and here I am today. For the first year and a half, I wrestled everybody. As Billy said, I had to earn the people’s respect. When the time came to go after the world title, the people were with me because I had put in the hours.
Y: How about a couple of pinch me moments?
TM: Winning the WWE Tag Team titles twice, standing in the ballroom at the Chase last year at NWA 73 and winning the NWA title from Nick with Ric Flair in attendance was a pinch me moment for sure. Also watching top stars like HHH, Kevin Nash, all these top guys that are on top of the world come to meet Harley and you can see them transform in front of you as a little excited kid. It made me realize I was with the man.
Harley foresaw me being a world champion. (In Harley voice) “You were born in the wrong era Trevor. If you were born 20 years ago you would have been World’s Champion. He took a 21 year old punk kid and saw something in me that nobody else did, not just at the beginning but my whole career. He always said, “Trevor, the cream will always rise to the top, just keep being the cream.”
Yiorgo is an arts, entertainment and sports writer. A stage, TV and movie actor, he is also a sports entertainer, educator, motivational speaker, writer, storyteller and columnist.