If you’re a wrestling promotion, how do you follow up the biggest show of 2013? Why not put on an even better, higher-caliber show? Rival promotions take note, because that’s exactly what UCW-Zero pulled off for their first taping of 2014, and at the risk of sounding hyperbolic, I’ll say it’s probably the best taping I’ve seen yet.

Don’t take my greasy word for it, though. Read on for full deets.

Foundation Entrance
The Foundation (composed of Martin Casaus, Derrick Jannetty and Stevie Slick) attempted to shed some light on Raven’s slurs against them in the last matches, but they apparently decided that just slagging the crowd and current UCW-Zero management was a better option. Being the absolute mensch that he is, commissioner M.K. sought to right this wrong by granting Casaus and Jannetty another fair shot at their rivals, The 801 District, for the tag team championship. The compromise placated them, and after a fair amount of on-mic shenanigans, the group sauntered off. Highlights of the encounter include Jannetty’s description of the current roster as "C-level chumps being played by a B-level bitch," Casaus’s vow to "punch every single kid in the arena" and of course, Madball’s "Set it Off," which played when they swaggered into the arena.

Dallas Murdock v. Bryan Austin
Quick and dirty was the name of this game, and though journeyman Bryan Austin got in a few shots of his, he was quickly overpowered by the Texas brawler’s uncompromising style, and slam-happy move set. Yessiree, Dallas Murdock won it easy n’ square, securing his reputation as UCW-Zero’s go-to clean up man and reminding us all that Austin may have a few more dues to pay before donning any belt.

Morgan v. Sierra Rose
Having been medically cleared to wrestle again, Morgan squared off against Sierra Rose for a shot at Tommy Purr’s recently vacated UCW-Zero Women’s (ahem, "divas") championship. What began as an all out slugfest, with Morgan trouncing Rose across every inch of the 20′ x 20′ ring, ended in somewhat of a squash. The evenly matched combatants ended it in a double pin, which signaled a draw and a handshake for all involved. Not sure if this is a newfound alliance between the two, or just a commitment to good sportsmanship, but it’s probably not what Purr had in mind.

Tag Team Championship Match
The Foundation (Martin Casaus and Derrick Janetty) v. The 801 District (Junior X and Los Mochis Paco)
That trio of cheeky heels got what was promised them, but it’s likely the match didn’t go exactly how they’d planned. The seedlings of chicanery were sown by the usual flurry of dirty match tactics and rule-dismissing (on the part of The Foundation), but quickly blossomed into something more sinister as participants from both sides threw caution to the wind and began slagging off rules left and right for the coveted Tag Team Strap. However, what everyone in the arena saw (minus the ref, who probably shares Mr. Magoo’s optometrist) was a standout performance by Junior X. Besides copping his most earnest impression of Swayze in Roadhouse (those kicks, man), the dude also took a whalloping from Janetty and Casaus, and still held his own. Unfortunately, rule fudging got completely out of whack and the match ended in a double disqualification—the title defaulted to The 801 District. The decision was met with more than a little disdain as the entire UCW roster emptied into the arena, quickly transforming the arena into Royal Rumble ’92 (minus Ric Flair). Though not as satisfying as a clean win for The District, Slick’s screaming mug was likely a welcome sight for fans and allies.

Sensing the general pall at the unfavorable disqualification decision, M.K., in his continual quest to satisfy his fans, ployed for suggestions on a future match. Shouts of "street fight!" and "ladder match!" got the commissioner’s wheels turning, and quick on his feet, he offered the best suggestion of the night: A STREET FIGHT LADDER MATCH. It was a suggested combo as sweet as chocolate n’ peanut butter, and the fans were satisfied.

Triple Threat No Disqualification Match
Durango Kid v. Kid Kade v. Lacey Ryan

For starters, it was nice to see these three amazing athletes all shaking hands before the match. I don’t really go for much of that Boy Scout stuff, but Kid Kade is the promotion’s resident superhero, and it’s nice to see him walk that walk. Fresh off his split with Dante Acosta, Durango Kid seemed hungry to impress, and his high-flying splash onto the hard concrete below elicited a wave of "holy shit" chants that would’ve made Joey Styles go all rosy. Reigning Ultra-X Championship holder Lacey Ryan did what she does best: kick ass. But through some hookish techniques on the part of her challengers, she relinquished the belt to Durango Kid. Ever a class act, she still left the ring with a handshake and louder applause than anyone else. That’s how it’s done.

Heavyweight Championship Match
Bronson cashed in on his Christmas Gift Battle Royal, taking a shot at the recently reinstated champ, Jason Jaxon, and the UCW-Zero title. I’ve got to say, Bronson is seriously hitting his stride right now, and his character just keeps getting better and better. Full-on freak-outs, shouting matches with pre-pubescents and the occasional self-inflicted slap on the noggin may seem like lowbrow entertainment to most, but in the eyes of this writer, it’s Shakespearean-level artistry. He’s one of the promotion’s rising stars, for sure! Still, no amount of character shenanigans can match the technical prowess and and quick bursts of raw energy à la Jaxon, and he made it known with a flurry of headlocks and pins right out of the starting gate. Sensing trouble, Bronson strategically opted for the sinister, and attempted to take out Jaxon’s leg, torturing him sadistically.

Jaxon’s nothing if not resilient, though, and the seasoned champ made it known exactly why they call him "The Pitbull." Fighting through the pain of his own busted leg, Jaxon clung to life, eked out an elbow drop, and maintained the title. It was great wrestling all around.

Main Event: No Disqualification Match
Jayson Bravo v. Zack James

As the old adage goes, "Hell hath no fury like wrestler about to lose his girlfriend," and this match proved it. Having endured enough humiliation at the hands of Jayson Bravo, Zack James was determined for the final time to defend his honor and win his first match. "No Disqualifications" wasn’t a stretch here, as every dirty trick (choking with a mic cord, chair shots, street fighting and the like) wormed its way into the casserole. What began as an evenhanded match between the two quickly devolved into something much more grisly, with the two trading clubs and chair shots like they were pogs. Though Zack put up a good fight (his best so far), Bravo slamming him crotch first into the turnbuckle took the wind out of his sails and turned the match towards the an untimely end quicker than anticipated.

Per my religious dedication to the church of Kayfabe and a general mistrust of big spoilers, I won’t give away the ending, but let me tell you brother IT’S GOOD. Also, if you just can’t bear to wait, why not check out the photos?

Foam fingers and high-fives to those who came out, and a condescending snort to those who could, but didn’t. Be sure to roll out for the next taping on Jan. 25 (Hello? STREET FIGHT LADDER MATCH!) at the UCW arena (47 S. Orange St.). Follow UCW-Zero on Facebook and Twitter, and subscribe to their YouTube channel. Oh, and above all else, remember that nothing happens until the bad guy (or gal) shows up. Stay heel.