UPW “Goldrush” – May 8th, 2002

Solid show. Nothing spectacular although there was some good wrestling. Also some humorous moments.

Scrub interviewed Lucky at the show. I heard most of it on tape. Senior Scrub was quite prepared for this interview and you’ll learn everything there is to know about Lucky, past, present, and future. You’ll also get to read him trash me good, real good. But I’ll reserve comment on that until it gets published.

Big crowd, I’d estimate about 425. Considering that’s about twice as many as the last crowd supposedly did, I’d consider this show a big success in that regard.

1) Smelly beat Skulu in about 6:00 w/ a coconut

Smelly cut a promo pre-match that was sort of stilted but still got the crowd to hate him. Sculu has a lot of charisma as the wild Samoan savage. They did basic heel/face stuff although most of it was pretty aimless. There was a ref bump and he missed Skulu’s “Superfly Splash”. Smelly found some coconut to break over Skulu’s head and won with that. Good way of building up to the Smelly vs Jimmy Snuka match on Saturday. A nothing match technically but it accomplished its goal. *1/2

2) Tommy Drake beat Jack Bull by D in about 5:30 when Bull hit the ref. Boring match. Nothing steams me more than guys going to an extended chinlock in a five minute match, which is precisely what Jack Bull did. Bull hit some stiff moves on Drake which looked good but that was it. Aimless match with a bad finish. 1/2*

3) Lil Nate beat Joey Ryan and Scott Lost in a three way dance in about 6:00 when he pinned Joey Ryan. I didn’t pay full attention to this match, unfortunately, as I was listening intently to the Lucky interview and how he and Lost are the only graduates left from their original UPW student group Ryan and Lost looked great doing some good chain wrestling and mat counters but the crowd was only into Nate. He did some “3 Stooges” comedy spots that had the crowd in an uproar in addition to his under dog routine which kept the crowd rooting for him throughout. I liked Nate here a lot from what I saw as he showed good charisma and also good agility with his moves. They did a lot of cool looking double team moves, mostly with Ryan and Lost. Those two also did a good spot where Ryan attempted locomotive Northern Lights suplexes but Lost reversed it and hit his own. Finish saw Lost hit a superkick on Ryan to take him out then Nate sneak in a drop kick on Lost and pin the prone Ryan. Spotfest, but a fun one. Let’s call it **.

4) Urban Outlaws beat GAY in about 5:30 with a half crab/guilltoine leg drop combo. Josh Dempsey did special ring announcing and was the highlight. Methinks he was quite loaded. To introduce GAY he simply said, “Ok, lets bring out the fags”. He then kept the mic during the match and chimed in with witty comments such as “Get them fags!” to the Outlaws. Or “He ain’t a Dempsey!” to an Outlaw as he hit a lariat on a GAY member. Another good one was “Whooooooooohoo!” when the Outlaws beat on GAY. GAY played faces in peril the entire match while the Outlaws pounded on them and eventually won. Dempsey entered the ring and called GAY “bitches” and “faggots”, then tried to lariat one but stumbled and never connected. * for the match, ***** for Dempsey’s drunken performance.

5) Funky Billy Kim beat Drunken Irishman and Andy Van Dam in a three way in who knows how long by who knows what move. I totally missed this match as the Lucky interview was at the end in which he trashes me and I was intent on hearing this. Unfortunately I missed the match. Sorry!

6) Los Cubanitos beat Off da Hook in about 4:30 when Rocky Romero hit a German suplex on one of those guys. Cubanitos beat them up nicely. Off da Hook fought back at one point, making it a pretty intense match up. Romero’s character sometimes doesn’t come off too believable when he’s trying to bully around an opponent but they are bigger than him and fighting back at the same time. It’s the same way Low Ki wasn’t believable trading blows with Samoa Joe at KOTI. This was alright but didn’t seem to mean much. Nothing bad, nothing great, typical UPW match. *1/2

7) Hardkore Kidd beat Al Katrazz during the next match up. This was really intense. Kidd said he was sick of being told what to do in UPW and was going back to his roots. Should be noted he was told not to wear his mask in UPW and his roots lie with the mask, and yet he was still maskless. What gives, Hardcore Kidd?!? Now I know what your face looks like! These guys worked real tight and made it a very intense brawl into the stands. They fought into walls and onto tables before exiting the building. I was enjoying the match up until they disappeared. Announcer Jon Ian said the next match would start up with these guys gone.

8) Native Blood beat Pure Catastrophe in about 4:00 somehow. I missed the finish as it happened exactly when the Kidd/Katrazz match ended. Those two brawled back into the area during the match with a chair. El Jefe ended up hitting Katrazz with a chairshot and Kidd won the match the same time Blood beat Catastrophe. The brawl was good, the tag match was bad. I’ve yet to see a good Blood match and PC are still pretty inexperienced. They went from being the pimps slapping around Westside G and El Negro at GSCW to being the bitches here. They didn’t look horrible but the match was nothing. 3/4* for the tag, ** for the brawl.

9) B-Boy beat Kid Vicious in about 7:30 with a Death Valley Bomb into Michinoku Driver combination (possibly called the Killer Driller?). Match built real well. Vicious showed good agility flipping out of arm wringers. The match built somewhat slowly to some high impact finishers. The near falls were built to quite well but the crowd didn’t respond the way the wrestlers’ probably would have liked. The UPW crowd is way more into regular heel/face stuff than a purely competitive match, as this mostly was. B-Boy did some heel work at the beginning but during the stretch the crowd died out without that dynamic. I still liked it, though. Vicious was very intense but looked blown at several points. I was impressed with B-Boy’s command of the match, though, as each time it looked like Vicious was gassed, they found ways to get a quick rest, such as a quick chin lock or a big move where both guys can lay on the ground selling. I think B-Boy had the best performance of the night. Combined with his MOTM contender with Excalibur at GSCW and probable good matches at Saturday’s UPW show and WCWA’s late May show, he seems to be a lock to win Wrestler of the Month again. **1/2

10) Ballards beat Evolution in about 10:00 with a Double reverse Russian Leg sweep on Nova to win the Tag Titles. This was real fast paced and had the most action of any match on the show with the most cool spots but some things kept it from being the best match on the show. One, both teams had some curious selling. Nova was his usual self, never selling anythiing for extended periods of time. The Ballards also did this, most noticable when one was hanging upside down in the corner and was repeatedly getting nailed, including a painful looking drop kick to the back, but then he immediately got down and broke up a pinfall attempt and was jumping around like nothing happened. For as spotty as the match was, it did build somewhat well to a big finish, and I was glad it was Nova who did the job. It is the “business” thing to do since he’s leaving and Kazarian is staying. It also puts the Ballards over stronger to pin the “big name” of the team. Pre-match, the Urban Outlaws complained that they weren’t getting the title shot, which I guess sets up Ballards vs Outlaws for the titles with Ballards as the faces. Post-match, the locker room emptied to thank Nova for his time in UPW. He thanked them, the fans, and Kazarian for being his best tag partner ever. Crowd applauded and it was a nice moment. *3/4

11) Tom Howard beat Chris Daniels in about 12:30 with an arm bar/choke that resembled a Dragon Sleeper. They did some “equality” spots to start and also did some rope running. They eventually slowed it down and Daniels concentrated on Howard’s left arm. He did some ok arm work and attempted a few submission such as a cross armbreaker off a great counter while Howard was on the ground and another good mat counter into a Crippler Crossface. Howard got the ropes on each submission, though. Howard, unlike in the tag match before, did a fine job selling his hurt arm, showing pain in-between spots and conciously avoiding using the arm, even when going for lateral presses. His veteran career in WWF developemental and ZERO-ONE shows. Eventually Daniels attempted his double jump moonsault to finish it but missed. Howard followed with a missile drop kick and went to the choke. Daniels struggled and sold it big, making me think he’d eventually make the ropes but then he tapped out, somewhat unexpectedly. Not a very hot finish. This was shaping up to be the best match of the show but the flat finish brought it down for me. There was no build to a Howard submission unless you go way back to when Daniels hurt his neck in the Nitro try out match with Mike Modest, which I do not believe was the goal here. Even then, the submission came out of nowhere. I know Howard is supposed to be “shoot champion” but he wrestled the entire match pro-style so winning with a “shoot” hold just comes off flat instead of defining his character. The match was still ok, but coulda been better. The crowd noise was decent but also coulda been better. Like in the B-Boy match, the lack of a heel-face dynamic stunted the crowd noise. Both guys were very intense and showed respect for each other, which the crowd accepted but only barely. **1/4

Overall, a decent show. Better than the last UPW show I saw which was very, very mediocre. I was disappointed not to see Samoa Joe in action. If UPW has another good card on paper I will go as long as I don’t have a prior engagement (which I do on Saturday), so I suppose UPW’s doing their job there.