The best pro wrestling matches are the ones you don’t expect. Sure, there’s something to be said about the slow-builders, the ones with a huge hype machine behind them building for months and months, but as a fan with newfound access to WWE’s entire video library (you on that Network tip?) and more than a few lackluster PPVs to get through, it’s the gritty, rough n’ tumble local shows that truly get my goat at this point. You know the deal, though: If you’re anything remotely resembling a wrestling fan here in Salty City, then you’ve no excuse to NOT check out the premiere, fan-driven pro wrasslin’ of UCW-Zero.
Taking me back to my middle school days of watching ECW HARDCORE TV on the sneak, this taping kicked off with a new video montage and the infectious boom of “Body Count’s in the House,” and we were off!
Lacey Ryan vs. Sierra Rose
What a way to begin. UCW-Zero’s Women’s Division has been beefing up recently, bringing in exciting new talent and a few old faves to diversify the roster, but it’s always a blast to see these two established hands go at it. Sierra Rose made a good foil for Lacey Ryan, contrasting her own heat-seeking gimmickry with her combatant’s technical aplomb. Try as she might, though, Ryan’s been racking a bum deal, and this one proved no different: Sierra Rose clenched the win. I ain’t claiming any credential in ring-psychology here, but I’m hoping this builds into a bigger feud because I see beaucoup potential for a great story. The fans are so obviously in Lacey’s pocket, even when she loses, and the two have an “oil and water” aesthetic about them that could create some great controversy. Eagerly awaiting …
Durango Kid + Bryan Austin vs. Derrick Jannetty
Since opting for the “divide and conquer” strategy, Derrick Jannetty is still walking belt-less, and I can’t be the only one who expected a quick squash with this match. Don’t get me wrong, Bryan Austin has oodles of moves and a good baby face gimmick (it works well with Durango Kid’s developing cockiness regarding his possession of the belt), but they’re both really young. I don’t have to tell you that Martin Casaus and Stevie Slick accompanied Jannetty to the ring, screeching from the sidelines and occasionally interfering, but you know what? Fortune favored the good guys here, and by some twist of fate, Durango Kid and Bryan Austin held on to their “W.” It’s a surprise for all involved, no doubt, but we’re all chuffed about the big push and the new developments here. Let’s just hope Durango Kid’s head doesn’t swell any more, or else that mask ain’t gonna fit around it for the next taping!
Bronson + Kid Kade vs. 801 District (Junior X and Los Mochi Paco)
Based on Bronson’s cryptic Facebook message (something about going back to the asylum) and Kid Kade’s recent decision to drop the “hero” act, I’ve been stoked on this partnership. Bronson’s character keeps getting more interesting, and I’ll always favor a jaded bad guy over an overly optimistic Hulk Hogan acolyte. Junior X and Los Mochi Paco both get a good crowd reaction, though. Were my phone more readily available, I’d have caught X’s back flip off the rope and outside of the ring, but seriously: an absolute spectacle. The 801 District held the title, further cementing their status as primo company faces, but I’m sure that the new Bronson-Kade alliance hasn’t fizzled out just yet …
Tyler Cintron vs. Martin Casaus
Oh shit, you hear that music? That’s right! Tyler Cintron is back from Wisconsin, ready to put a boot into Casaus’ grinning mug. Last time I saw Cintron was back in September, and the dude’s been sorely missed. As expected, this one was an absolute bloodbath, with Cintron holding his own in the early stages, and Casaus catching a second wind to seal the deal. Maybe we’re all getting sick of Casaus (shouts of “overrated” have become near ubiquitous at this point), but the dude gets it done where it counts. Buck up, though, Cintron: The crowd (including this writer) loves you. Hoping we’ll see more of you soon!
Jayson Bravo vs. Dallas Murdock
Gun to my head, I’d probably vote this one as match of the night. Jayson Bravo still has the best entrances and banter in the promotion, while Dallas Murdock’s one of the preeminent brawlers. As has become standard practice for Bravo, much of this match took place outside of the ring with Murdock throwing elbows the whole way down. Sheer smart-markness means I have to mention Bravo’s homage to Ric Flair (complete with a “wooh!” and a figure-four leg lock) as well as Sierra making faces from the sidelines. Ultimately, Murdock played smart and etched in a win while Bravo argued with the ref about whether or not his feet were actually on the ropes. It was an excellent match, one to watch when it hits the net for certain.
Dark Angel vs. Guerrera Azteca
Here’s where I have to risk sounding hyperbolic in saying that this is one of the raddest things I’ve ever seen in the squared circle. Dark Angel has made a few appearances here and there, mostly as a member of Cassidy’s crime family stable, but this was his UCW-Zero debut. Per Deacon of Doom (who led him to the ring and introduced him), Angel has been training at the school for a few months and was ready to have his first match. He’s also 100 percent deaf, and so to cheer for him, the crowd was encouraged to throw up “jazz hands” to applaud the young journeyman. Almost as soon as Deacon had finished his intro, Guerrero Azteca (haven’t seen him in a while!) stalked to the ring to make fun of the newbie and challenge him to his first match. No matter, though, as Angel took it in stride, showcasing his new moves and bumps, and effortlessly tossing Azteca into the mat. Great stuff, and I admit that my barely existent heart bubbled over when I saw the ref grab Angel by the shoulder and point to a silent audience all “applauding” in sign language—really quite touching to see the universal language of wrestling. That’s profound. Write it down.
Jason Jaxon vs. Zack James
Anyone who’s been paying a lick of attention to this promotion knows that Zack James is likely the definitive “up-and-comer” here, and no one should be surprised. He boasts an incredible, athletic move-set, a great look and a shot of charisma that makes the crowd love him. Putting him up against “The Pitbull” Jason Jaxon is just a wrestling no-brainer. No spoilers here, but I will say that when this shindig was all over. Both wrestlers ended up shaking hands in the ring, congratulating the other on their performance. Don’t take my word for it, though. Watch it when it hits the ‘Tube!
The weather’s getting hotter and so are the feuds. Come out for the next taping on March 9 (note: This is a Sunday. The WWE house show is the night before) at the UCW arena (47 S. Orange St). Follow them on Twitter and Facebook, subscribe to their YouTube channel and no matter what any of your idiot friends on Tumblr tell you, STAY HEEL.
Also get stoked for the 12th anniversary show on March 22, which will feature one Jimmy Snuka. Yeah, that Jimmy Snuka. Get you some.