This was supposed to be the weekend Ultimo Dragon made his United States return. It just didn’t happen the way anyone planned.
EPIC announced a little over a month ago that Ultimo Dragon would be making his return to the United States on November 17th against Super Dragon, in what would be EPIC’s biggest show to date. EPIC booked Ultimo Dragon through WPW’s Martin Marin, paying his travel from Mexico and his booking fee, which was rumored to be $1,500, with the idea they’d get Ultimo’s first US match in over four years.
At UPW’s November 6th show, WPW was passing out flyers for a special Saturday show on November 16th, with Ultimo Dragon on the flyer. The flyer didn’t state whether Ultimo would be wrestling or not. EPIC promoter Gary Yap asked Martin Marin about the flyer and was told, “Ultimo will just be making an appearance and won’t be wrestling”. Martin and Gary also talked about running a couple angles at the WPW show including announcing the special stipulation that would be added into the Ultimo Dragon vs. Super Dragon match (American Dragon was added to make it a three way). Later that night on the SoCal UNCENSORED message board, people from WPW were saying Ultimo would be wrestling.
When asked about the WPW show earlier this week, and the prospect of Ultimo wrestling, Gary Yap responded that he would be “pissed if Ultimo wrestles on that show”. Apparently, the plans for the joint angle fell apart, as on Friday, November 15th, EPIC announced the special stipulations for the Ultimo Dragon match at a EPIC party at the Valley Ball strip bar in the San Fernando Valley.
WPW ran on November 16th. Not only was there no EPIC involvement, but Ultimo Dragon wrestled in the main event, winning the match for his team by beating NOSAWA with a Dragon Sleeper in front of about 50 people. People inside EPIC were pretty upset, as they felt they were screwed over by Martin Marin. As it turns out however, Ultimo Dragon wrestling for WPW was a blessing in disguise.
Sixteen hours later Ultimo Dragon would be standing in front of a locked building with a suitcase full of his wrestling gear and no idea what was going on.
Around 2:15 on November 17th, as I was driving up to the EPIC show from San Diego. I received a phone call that EPIC was having venue problems and the show is being moved to the Anaheim Indoor Marketplace, or could possibly be cancelled. The EPIC wrestlers who were already at the show had a meeting about the venue problems and show at about 2:20. The fans who were already at the show were then told that the venue might be changed to the Marketplace. A lot of fans and wrestlers, including Messiah, Jerry Lynn, Sabu, American Dragon, and Super Dragon headed over to the Marketplace.
Apparently the Los Angeles Entertainment Center wasn’t paid for and a last ditch effort to secure it failed. Several people have indicated that Gary Yap knew that there were going to be possible venue problems the night before.
The attempt at getting the Marketplace also failed because of the lack of advance notice. They were not able to secure permission from the Marketplace management. At about 5:30 PM, I was called and notified the show was completely cancelled.
A lot of the wrestlers have placed the blame solely on Gary Yap for the cancellation of the show, and more than a few are upset about payments, such as Sabu who feels that he is owed money for two shows now, as his check for the last show bounced. Several other wrestlers paid for their own flights to the show. Others were upset they weren’t notified of the cancellation before they drove long distances to the show, such as Adam Pearce who lives in San Diego, and Jardi Frantz and Bobby Quance who live in the San Francisco/Bay Area.
A lot of Japanese press also showed up to cover Ultimo Dragon’s big match, and they weren’t too thrilled with the cancellation either.
People in EPIC are stating that the cancellation is due to investors pulling out, but they have also used that as excuses for financial problems for two of their previous shows and the excuse has worn thin on every wrestler I’ve spoken with.
In what was to be EPIC’s biggest moment, will go down as their worst, as it will be hard to recover the fans who feel like they were screwed over and the faith of the wrestlers who had given EPIC so much.
CZW’s Ruckus and Adam Flash were both scheduled to appear at EPIC’s show as surprises and were in town for the show.
B-Boy will be wrestling at CZW’s Cage of Death 4 in Philadelphia, PA on December 14th.
WCWA plans on opening a wrestling school in the San Diego area in 2003.
With EPIC’s show being cancelled Messiah will be making his SoCal return to wrestling on November 22nd’s PCW show against Chris Daniels in what is a SoCal dream match.
Dynamite D will return to wrestling on November 30th at Rev Pro’s anniversary show at Frank and Sons in the City of Industry.