You have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than going from avid wrestling fan to NWA World Heavyweight Champion. But somehow, Tim Storm did just that!
This is the amazing tale of how a school teacher and grandfather became the world’s oldest NWA Champion!
Tim Storm: Early Life
Pro wrestling was ingrained in Timothy Scoggins from a very early age.
A youth spent watching three famous territories of the US’ golden age of wrestling in the 1970s hooked him into a journey that would eventually see the crowning of a thoroughly deserved world champion named Tim Storm.
“I grew up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. It’s centrally located in the South, so I got Memphis Wrestling in the morning on Saturdays, Georgia Championship Wrestling in the afternoons, and World Class (Championship Wrestling) at night,” Storm explained in a recent conversation with us. “Pretty much every Saturday, I was watching wrestling at least three times.”
Like a million other youngsters across North America, he yearned to emulate his grappling heroes one day. But it was typically a closed shop back in the era of kayfabe. Entry wasn’t easy.
“I’m not sure that I really had a plan that I’m gonna do this someday.”
Calm Before The Storm
Much to the chagrin of a boss that didn’t approve of the wrestling business, Tim Storm began to take the plunge.
“At the time, I was vice-president of a company with a wife, two kids, and house payments; two car payments,” he recalled. “It wasn’t something where I was willing to drop everything – abandon my life.”
But the itch remained.
At 32, a call to the WCW Power Plant proved fruitless due to their cutoff age being 30. Thankfully, a friend introduced him to a local promotion with low TV production values but a reputable school.
“It was very old-school training with lots of psychology and actual wrestling. It was a good start. I didn’t have a goal of being world champion. I wanted to have a match and another match and see how it goes. It worked out pretty well.”
“Bill (Ash) was as old-school as you could possibly get. He was my first match. It was a tag match, and we beat the crap out of each other.”
After training sessions with Bill, the young prospects would wait in the parking lot, feigning that they were about to depart. Then, thanks to a screwdriver, Jeff Jet had access to a building they could all go and work in at their own pace.
“I’ll tell you the honest truth: I was a big guy and pretty athletic, but I was not good for a long time,” Storm admitted. “I was a pretty good athlete playing college sports, but bumping was as unnatural for me as anything I could imagine.”
Soon, Tim Storm moved to Texas, having learned the basics under Ash, and essentially gave up wrestling for a period in the late-’90s. Yet he was unable to walk away entirely and returned in 2001.
“I got involved in some excellent local promotions. There’s a group here called PCW (Professional Championship Wrestling). They had a local cable TV contract, and the promotion was amazing.”
“I started really progressing and getting better. I wrestled for them for five or six years,” he continued. “At 40, I kind of decided it might be time to shut it down. My knees were killing me; my back was hurting. I was still three-hundred-and-something pounds.”
He had to make a choice and decided to cut a vast portion of his weight to allow his body to work under less stress. Soon, he lost 50-60 pounds.
Success in PCW and TCW (Traditional Championship Wrestling) sandwiched a one-off televised match for WWE’s ECW against Big Daddy V.
His breakout moment occurred in the summer of 2011.
‘Cowboy’ Johnny Mantell invited Storm to the inaugural tournament of his creation during Texas’ Germanfest, the snappily-titled Wringenmiesterschaft.
Every match had three judges: who judged on technique, look, and crowd interaction, working on a scale of 1-50, regardless of who went over in the match. But a fee was required, a downside that Storm’s worker mentality didn’t approve of.
“I was not going to pay to wrestle. I was taught you do this to make money. You DO NOT pay to wrestle.”
Storm informed Mantell he was booked elsewhere that weekend, but Johnny knew the business so well that he knew Tim was misleading him. Fortunately, a competitor amongst the field of 44 dropped out – who had sponsorship – and Tim took his place. He then wrestled eight times over the subsequent three days.
“I wasn’t even supposed to be here, but I made it to the final four and then got to the final round,” he said. “We didn’t know who was going over based on the points, so we both had a color assigned to us, and the judges would vote and hold up a card on who had won by points.”
After twenty-plus minutes of action, the three judges scored Storm and his Japanese opponent, Kahagas, 50 points each. Then, legendary former NWA World Champion Harley Race made the final call, and Storm’s breakout began. Finally, the newly-proclaimed Indy World Title was in his possession.
Tim Storm on Becoming NWA World Heavyweight Champion at 51
Tim Storm continued working a lot in the South and Southeast before making more and more appearances for NWA-affiliated promotions, claiming their North American Championship.
Then, on October 21st, 2016, 21 years after debuting, Tim storm beat Jax Dane at 51 years of age to become NWA World’s Heavyweight Champion.
“While I tried to stay even-keeled, when I won it, it was incredibly emotional. I never thought it would happen, and I can’t tell anybody how much it means, especially if they don’t understand the passion for wrestling. It was definitely my high point. I think I used the term once ‘My Mountaintop.'”
In fact, the second episode of the NWA’s critically-acclaimed online series, Ten Pounds of Gold, was entitled Tim Storm’s Mountaintop.
“I love professional wrestling. It’s a passion.
“I never put that (winning the NWA World Title) on my list of something I had to accomplish because the reality is that I never considered it as a true option. It was supposed to be my pat on the back, gold watch, you’ve had a good career, well done (moment), and that I wouldn’t hold it for long,” he revealed.
But instead, some in the business saw Storm as merely a caretaker who would possess the title for a month or so.
On the contrary, the NWA’s new owner, Billy Corgan, of Smashing Pumpkins fame, chose him to captain his ship for 414 days. He firmly put his faith in Tim Storm.
He carried the brand for over a year, defending against the likes of Nick Aldis and Jerry Lawler, fully embracing and enjoying the responsibility of representing the famous belt held by Harley Race, Ric Flair, and Dusty Rhodes.
“I don’t think anybody ever put pressure on me – it was that I put pressure on myself,” he reflected.
“At the time when I won it, I think there were 50-something franchises, and each franchise was supposed to use the world champion once a year. They didn’t. It wasn’t something that was enforced, but I had a lot of opportunities.”
Weathering The Storm
Tim Storm’s NWA World Heavyweight Championship reign was curtailed on December 9th, 2017, when the UK’s Nick Aldis dethroned the then-52-year-old champion.
Another loss to Aldis on NWA Powerrr in 2019 was his final shot at reclaiming the gold. It bookended his story of being champion and trying to regain it against Aldis, a man he enjoyed working with and trusted.
“I was very fortunate that they saw something and had an idea. They thought I had a good story and that people would be interested in it.”
The NWA brand had been somewhat lost in the wrestling wilderness for a spell, but it was in a much stronger position during and after Storm’s run as champion – its prestige gradually being restored.
“I love the NWA,” he stated.
Although the humble Storm does not see himself as an all-time great NWA champ like Race or Flair, he is rightfully proud of his accomplishment.
“I live by the fact that my name is on a list with some of the greatest wrestlers in the history of the sport – and like me, don’t like me – you can’t take my name off that. That’s pretty special.”
Tim Storm: Rainbow After The Storm
Away from the business, Tim Storm is in his fifteenth year as a school teacher. Having taught history and science, he refers to himself as a storyteller to his students – an art he’s also mastered in the squared circle.
Although his days inside the ropes haven’t decisively concluded, at 58 at the time of this writing, a role commentating on NWA television is something he is becoming more accustomed to.
“I think that for the most part, with the NWA, I’m probably full-time announcing.
“I really struggled with that for a while, and sometimes I still do, but doing commentary and sitting there watching the quality of talent the NWA has makes me go, ‘I should probably be over here.’ But my heart will always be in the ring.”
Don’t be surprised to see the former NWA kingpin working a show when not on NWA commentary duties.
Humble teacher by day and pro wrestler by night, Tim Storm’s story is one of positivity. He never gave up on the sport of kings, even at his genesis when he admitted that he was “awful.” Instead, hard work and dedication to his craft allowed him to overachieve beyond his wildest dreams.
When colleagues and friends poke fun at him for being labeled the oldest NWA World Champion in history, he takes it as a positive.
“I see that as a badge of honor.”
You can keep up with the latest on Tim Storm on Twitter at @RealTimStorm.
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