“Wrestling gives people an outlet,” says star Ultra Championship Wrestling (UCW) wrestler Martin Casaus. “They can forget about any other crap that’s worrying them and just yell at us for a while. It makes me feel good.” And yell they do, like a brawling chorus. They shout, growl and cheer with an unbridled gusto, while a real-deal muscular spandex soap opera, a bloody dayglo boot party, unfolds before their widening eyes. A full roster of colorful personalities parade their wares to these wrestling diehards, rookie and veteran, Mos Eisley cantina personified. They heckle greasy villains, cheer swaggering heroes and hurl obscenities at refs, enraptured by wrestling on the uppermost notch, too. They know what’s up, that UCW offers the highest quality in-ring product around. They know a UCW match comes packed with more high-flying luchadores, grappling muscle-heads, catty back-and-forths, sneering marauders and singlet colors than a Jim Helwig promo on loop. They know UCW is the real deal.
It’s not just about the violence for the dedicated wrestling fans (aka marks). They’re hip to the pre-written storylines and the choreographed fights. What shakes them to their gooey centers is the spectacle and the grandiosity woven into pro-wrestling’s very makeup. Watching these UCW matches is channeling the brazen living-room theater of The Iron Shiek spitting on an American flag, Jake “The Snake” Roberts taunting Macho Man with a 15-foot, de-venomed cobra. Mick Foley jamming a soiled gym sock down Vince McMahon’s throat, Bret Hart’s Montreal screwjob and Rowdy Roddy Piper bashing a coconut across Jimmy “Super Fly” Snuka’s snarling mug. It’s these images all wound together in an undulating pastiche of neon and canvas, spit and vinegar, sport and show, that works their very souls into corybantic frenzy. That’s what’s taking hold of them every other Saturday, wringing their inhibitions into a chokehold and spitting them into the wayside. To borrow from Jim Ross, that’s what’s putting “an ass every six inches.”
Local flavor isn’t lost on the fans either. UCW is a Utah born and bred organization, which spawned from company CEO Stevie Slick’s devotion to his own kids’ interests in the early 2000s. In this case, it wasn’t deconstructing toasters or collecting stamps, but bashing each other across folding tables in the backyard. “If there’s one thing I know about teenagers, it’s that if you tell them not to do something, they’ll find a way to do it behind your back anyway,” he says. With that mindset, he constructed a fully functional wrestling ring in his basement, complete with ropes and turnbuckles, and vowed to foster a supervised atmosphere for them to go about their matches.
The ring cultivated a spate of homebrew matches and led the boys to host their own events for neighbors, writing storylines and filming them. Slick eventually hooked up with an amateur wrestling promoter who invited his sons to come train with him, and the partnership led to a fundraiser at an Ogden high school, which looked to be Slick’s first break in wrestling. Poor promotion and a low turnout dampened his spirits temporarily, but disenchantment gave way to resolve as he decided he could do a much better job on his own. With that experience, he set up his own wrestling school and promotion, and UCW was born in 2002. Though fresh-faced rookies in the early days of the biz, they quickly learned the ropes and rose to prominence as a well connected wrestling force in the area, enlisting interested parties, outside talent and a relentless grassroots approach to spread awareness in the community.