The inclement weather outside had NOTHING on the heat inside the UCW arena on Saturday, Nov. 16. With beloved commissioner M.K. back at the helm and a night of serious upsets, this was truly a TV taping for the ages.

M.K. quickly established his motives while calling out “The Foundation” (the current heel partnership of CEO Stevie Slick, Martin Casaus and Derrick Jannetty): This is a promotion for the fans, and any monkey business ain’t welcome.

The night began with a quickie match between Larry Butabi and Lacey Ryan. Besides his neon-colored “fruity pebble” tights, Butabi was marked from the outset as the obvious underdog. Though Butabi tried to hold his own through a series of dirty moves (like holding his boot over his opponent’s throat), Ryan, as the technically superior wrestler, held her own and won

What really got the boilers burning was a fullon confrontation between “The Foundation” and M.K. Perhaps it was the fact that both Casaus and Jannetty took to the ring in sweatpants, a bad attitude and loud proclamations of “We’re taking the night off to go party!” but it was evident that fans were feeling a little bit gutted by their arrogance. More talk of “We built this company from the ground up” only steamed them more, and it wasn’t until M.K. intervened that things started to turn around. He put a quick end to the chicanery (despite Slick’s taunts), slotted Jannetty in a match up with Los Mochis Paco and promised Casaus that for his Nov. 30 cage match-up, he wouldn’t be defending his title “against another camera man.” It would’ve been a total squash for the heels had Casaus not done the honorable thing and taken one of the ring announcers (Haley D) hostage (can’t make this up!) before slinking back to the dressing room.

Bryan Austin’s match with Bronson proved that the latter is still (mostly) insane. While Austin, the journeyman, got a good slap in early on, Bronson ultimately won by playing dirty. The short match prompted a run in by an angry Dallas Murdock who came to avenge the dirty treatment of Austin, but M.K. preempted his attack with some “what’s best for business” rhetoric. In the end, a rescheduled match between Bronson and Murdock for Nov. 30 quelled most hot nerves and the festivities continued.

Tag team partners Durango Kid and Dante Acosta came to the ring arguing, forecasting problems to come. As far as this writer can tell, it’s something to do with Acosta’s bad attitude and unwillingness to showcase good sportsmanship … but this ain’t the place to preach. The partnership between Jace Battle and Gabriel was the ultimate showstopper. It goes without saying that Battle held the size advantage over his opponents, but his commitment to always putting his partner “over” was truly admirable, and his ringside shouts were infectious-awesome teamwork on the part of those two. The growing disconnect between Durango Kid and Acosta will be something to watch in future matches, as the fans didn’t take too kindly to Acosta’s hasty exit after the match.

For the match arranged by M.K., Jannetty came accompanied by his “Foundation” cronies and Casaus’ newly acquired hostage. Los Mochis Paco entered the ring in San Francisco 49ers getup (great mask!) and the match was underway. Paco held the advantage early on, and though his fan shouts were practically deafening, Jannetty powered the tables in his direction

Paco did get a rally by walloping Jannetty in the privates, but it wasn’t enough to stop the cheating streak in Casaus or the gleeful laughter from Slick when Paco was slammed onto the hard concrete floor. 

Still, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from these matches it’s that evil doesn’t ALWAYS prevail (shucks) and M.K. was quick on the draw. He cited the cheating, demanded that the match restart and reminded us all that he comes from “the world of college football and instant replays.” Quick on the draw with his newfound fortune, Paco dragged a bewildered Jannetty (who was too busy arguing the call) into a quick pin for the night’s first upset.

The unconventional partnership of Jayson Bravo and Tommy Purr made for roiling match chemistry as they both took on Zack James and Sierra Rose. Having been basically manhandled by Bravo in the past, James wasted no time getting some great hits in on Bravo early on. Per usual, Bravo went with his hormones and started flirting with Sierra Rose who promptly smacked the tar out of him. The brawl between Bravo and James continued outside of the ring where Bravo resorted to using a crowbar he’d stashed underneath, and Tommy Purr obtained a hollow victory over Sierra. This prompted a run-in by Morgan who, with eyes afire for victory, began calling out the pair. As if on cue, M.K. appeared, told her that she wasn’t medically cleared to wrestle yet, and promised her a good cage matchup at the Nov. 30 TV taping. 

Things got raucous when the Crime Family (Cassidy, Deacon of Doom and Dark Angel) strode in, crowing about a backstage whooping they’d put on Kid Kade and forcing us to watch a pre-taped vignette of their antics (spoiler alert: they stuffed Kade into a trunk, Reservoir Dogs style). Their opponent, David the Destroyer, seemed unfazed by their antics and, though outnumbered, he ultimately held his own. Eventually Kade ran to the ring, bloodied but unbowed (so to speak), and the Crime Family was defeated by the fan favorites. Still, I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention Cassidy’s amazing heel persona. Killing it. How can you NOT like someone who, without hesitation, calls the crowd “idiots”? This reviewer is totally chuffed.

Finally, the main event culminated in a hotly anticipated match between Martin Casaus and Junior X, obviously ravenous after some previous losses. Again, subscribe to the UCW-Zero YouTube channel for full details, but here are some highlights:

– Junior X screaming “What’s my name?” to a thunderous response of “JUNIOR X!” every time he pulled something off.

– Junior X sending Casaus over the top rope.

– Slick acting out a dead-ringer for a ringside Bobby Heenan, yelling and screaming at the ref, even threatening to fire him at one point.

– An out-of-the-ring brawl, and a SHOCKING upset.

Change hangs heavy in the air of the UCW-Zero promotion, a big build for things to come. Cheers to those who made it out, and a ROUSING invite to all those on the fence: Do it! It’s the absolute best way to spend a Saturday night. In the meantime, be sure to catch the Nov. 30 TV taping (a cage match!) at the UCW arena (47 S. Orange St.), to follow UCW-Zero on Facebook and Twitter (@UCWzero) and to subscribe to their YouTube channel. Oh, and above all else: Remember that nothing happens until the bad guy shows up. Stay heel.