This weekend, the (posthumous) Halloween spirit of mirth and trickery hung thick over the ring at the UCW-Zero Arena. In the crowd, I spotted a hunchback, a few princesses, a very convincing King Diamond and even a Mankind/Mick Foley costume. Wrestling fans have always liked pageantry, and that’s what they got this weekend!
The festivities began (as they say) with a bang as Martin Casaus, Derrick Janetty and newly re-acquired manager Stevie Slick swaggered out to address a restless crowd. "Reunited and it feels so good!" seemed to be the overall message, even as a vitriolic torrent of "OVERRATED!" chants attempted to drown out the speakers. It wasn’t until Casaus, the perennial heat-seeker, challenged a clearly unprepared Austin (the camera man) to a battle, sarcastically asking him how much he was willing to do to "make it in the company," that things got underway. Though Austin was a good sport (kudos to accepting the challenge) and got a few licks in, he was ultimately clobbered by Casaus. Normally, I’d call this low-blow on the part of the tag team champs, but given their devilish track record at this point, I’d say this is pretty standard behavior. Still, it was gut-wrenching seeing Austin limp back to the dressing room.
"Pitbull" Jason Jaxon lived up to his "born to thrill, bred to kill" mantra by deftly holding his own against Suede Thompson’s cheap shots. (The dude’s still trying to get over with his baby powder shtick.) The match’s real highlight came when, after a host of kick-outs and near misses, Jaxon straight-up speared Thompson (Goldberg style) down into the mat. The crowd reaction was insane, and only got crazier when a beleaguered Jaxon maneuvered this pin for the win. This is the kinda stuff rasslin’ fans go nuts over.
Kid Kade gets a good pop as UCW-Zero’s pre-eminent "super hero," which made his next promo all the more disheartening—something about Derrick Jannetty being a bright light that’s gone out and how the promotion lacks a hero. It’s here where Cassidy and his team of cronies (Dark Angel and Deacon of Doom) came to raise a little hell, only to run back to the dressing room when David the Destroyer emerged (in street clothes and from the audience) to chase them out. It was an overt "good guy" gesture which seemed to suggest that Kade was NOT alone in mourning the loss of UCW-Zero’s good guy characters. It all really remains to be seen …
Dante Acosta and Durango Kid began their match arguing (a continuation of the tiff which began last match, and was a pretty sure sign that the schism between the two is only becoming more severe. The team of Los Mochis Paco (shout-out to his Monsters Inc.–inspired gear) and Junior X (in zombie makeup) made for an exciting matchup, though. What began on a very even keel, with each wrestler trading pins on one another, quickly got out of hand when Casaus and Jannetty showed up to stir the pot.
I won’t spill too many details here (I recommend watching it when it goes up on Youtube, but here’s a little Ring Rats Anonymous exclusive video and a teaser. Yep, that’s Stevie Slick FIRING Jaxon from UCW-Zero for chair-shotting Casaus. All I can really say is that it was akin to some of the greatest Steve Austin/Vince McMahon feuds of my youth and resulted in some SERIOUS heat and was probably the apex of the night! I’m seriously getting goosebumps just writing about it. Great, classic, attitude-style wrestling.
Bronson seems to be slipping deeper and deeper into mental instability, sulking in the corner as opponent Lacey Ryan entered the ring, intermittently calling audience members "sheep" and generally talking to himself. I guess he had right to be a little freaked out, though, as Ryan put the name-brand pounding on him that she’s basically become famous for. Truth be told, Bronson did kind of maintain an advantage, up until this flying dropkick. From there, it was pretty much all downhill for the psychopath, and after being pinned, he left the arena in a huff. Oh … and yes, the crowd saw fit to scream "looney tune" at him whenever possible.
I’ve said it already, but it bears repeating. Cassidy is one of my favorite guys in the promotion. He’s just a REALLY convincing bad guy, like some of my favorites back in the day. Though his match with David the Destroyer (now fully dressed in his wrestling gear) should’ve been a banger, it ended kind of short in a disqualification, as someone in Cassidy’s posse entered the ring and interfered. It’s a cryin’ shame, but at least it builds some heat for the next match.
Jayson Bravo began his match with Zack James doing what he does best: sleazing on James’ girlfriend, Sierra. Though she was having none of it, Bravo persisted, claiming his contender "hasn’t even won a real match." The match was a scrapper, beginning outside of the ring (James even catching some color on his arm), but ultimately, with the sadistic Bravo laying the proverbial Smackdown on his opponent. Somehow, Bravo even managed to procure some kind of foreign object (a cane? a crowbar?), and though the audience pulled hardest for James, Bravo still eked out the pin.
The main event had already been well established at this point: a tag team matchup featuring Gabriel and Jace Battle against Martin Casaus and Derrick Jannetty. Gabriel and Battle put up a fight (even amid Slick’s ringside taunting: at one point, he called Battle "Blubber Boy," and at another, encouraged Casaus to break Garbiel’s "spindly little arm.") They even held the lead at one point. Check this video for evidence of Battle’s technical abilities, as well as an excellent display of team work. Ultimately, though, the heel powerhouse was too strong (and more than a little conniving), and so the duo will retain the UCW-Zero tag team title for now.
All in all, it was another great match in Salt Lake City—great wrestling, great storylines and even an enjoyable posthumous Halloween costume contest. Be sure to catch the next match up on Nov. 16 at the UCW Arena (47 S. Orange St.), to follow UCW-Zero on Facebook and Twitter (@UCWzero) and to subscribe to their Youtube channel…and most importantly, remember that in life, as in wrestling, nothing really happens until the bad guy shows up. Stay heel.