The UPW Wire
By Todd Keneley
Hey everyone, welcome to this week’s edition of The Wire. The football season may be over, but Ultimate Pro Wrestling is gearing up for its own version of the SuperBowl! Everyone at UPW is working around the clock to ensure that our 5th Anniversary Spectacular “OVERLOAD” will be a truly special and unforgettable night of action and entertainment. As you are well aware by now, The event will feature many high profile matches with a lot on the line. Frankie Kazarian’s UPW Lightweight Title will be up for grabs in a star studded Fatal Four-Way Match. Erica Porter will defend her UPW Womens Title against former WWE Womens Champion Ivory. Hardkore Inc. and The Ballard Brothers take their bitter rivalry to a new level (literally) as the UPW Tag Team Championship belts will be hanging 20 feet above the ring waiting to fall into the hands of whichever team is able to survive a hellacious Tables, Ladders, and Chairs (TLC) Match. Also on that night, “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce looks to claim legendary status and write his name into wrestling history by destroying the beloved “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka while Ken Shamrock and Sylvester “The Predator” Terkay lock horns to determine who is “The Most Dangerous Man.” Despite the fact that so many important titles are on the line, arguably the two individuals with the most to gain or lose at OVERLOAD are UPW Owner Rick Bassman and Commissioner Pete Doyle. When they face each other on February 20, the future of UPW will hang in the balance. Let us now take closer look at this bitter vendetta and how it came about. Bassman and Doyle battle for “Ultimate Power” at OVERLOAD
Rick Bassman and Pete Doyle have a long history. Growing up in Dublin Ireland, Pete Doyle had a dream to work in the professional wrestling business. As a kid, when most children were writing to Santa Claus, Doyle would write letters to Vince McMahon. In October of 1997, Doyle took a big step in an attempt to turn his dream into reality when he moved to the US with only $1,500, a bag of clothes, and some CDs to his name. While attending a live WWE event in Anaheim, Doyle happened to pick up a flyer which would change his life. It was for none other than Ultimate Pro Wrestling (UPW). Pete decided to take a chance and called UPW Owner Rick Bassman to see if there was anything he could do to help out and gain knowledge and experience in the wrestling business. As he has done for so many (myself included) Bassman and UPW gave Pete Doyle an rare opportunity to live his dream. In his first run with UPW, Doyle wore several hats by filling various roles including ring announcer, commentator, commissioner, and creative team member. The experience and knowledge Doyle gained in UPW along with Bassman’s encouragement and support helped him earn a job with WWE.
When Doyle left for WWE, he changed (for the worse). His head began to swell. He went from being eager and passionate about the business to being cocky and obsessed with it. He bit the hand that had fed him as he refused to return Rick Bassman’s calls. Doyle thrived on power and had seemingly forgotten his roots in UPW. After spending nearly a year on the road with WWE, Doyle’s time with the company came to an end. Doyle still had a longing to be involved in wrestling. He once again called on Rick Bassman to help make this happen. In a statement that would turn out to be delivered with the sincerity of a shark telling a tuna “Hey let’s be friends, I won’t eat ya!” Doyle admitted to his wrongs and ensured Rick that he had been humbled and simply wanted to prove himself and contribute once again. Bassman was willing to forget and forgive by giving Pete Doyle a second chance. At the time, Rick was extremely busy working hard to secure even more opportunities for UPW competitors to live their dream and become international Superstars in WWE and Zero-One. With all of his responsibilities abroad, Rick once again appointed Pete Doyle as UPW Commissioner to help lighten the burden. What Bassman did not realize was that this would become the perfect outlet for Doyle’s lust for power which had been there all along.
July 11, 2003 was a night which will forever live in infamy in UPW history. It was on that night that the supposedly fair and impartial Commissioner Pete Doyle showed his true colors while betraying everyone loyal to UPW. The shocking turn of events occurred at the premier of UPW’s summer time extravaganza, “Title Wave.” The event came on the heels of Commissioner Doyle’s controversial decision to strip the longest reigning Heavyweight Champion in UPW history (Tom Howard) of his title. With Howard’s frequent trips to Japan to represent UPW while competing in Zero-One, Doyle claimed an insufficient number of title defenses in the U.S. as justification for the decision. As it would turn out, this would be Doyle’s first step in his devious scheme to erode Rick Bassman’s power in UPW.
Commissioner Doyle then created a tournament to crown the man who would succeed Howard as holder of the richest prize in UPW. UPW Owner Rick Bassman endorsed the tournament and handed decision making power over to Doyle with the condition that Tom Howard would be the #1 contender for the Heavyweight Championship should he return as a full time UPW competitor. The historic tournament was set to begin and everything seemed to be on the up and up. Unfortunately, this could not be further from the truth.
In the first round, “Super Freak” Chris Mordetzsky who was on a role since winning The 22-man Battle Royal scored an upset victory over UPW veteran Keiji Sakoda securing a shot at the gold in the night’s main event tournament final. Before the second first round match, it was discovered that “Scrap Iron” Adam Pearce had acquired the services of the self proclaimed “Manager of Champions” Big Schwag. The plot was beginning to thicken as the newest member of The Schwag Army stole a victory over the popular Polynesian Superstar Skulu with more than a little help from his new manager. By hook or by crook (actually a little bit of both) Pearce would now face Mordetzsky for the Heavyweight Title later that night. A seemingly disgusted Pete Doyle walked toward the ring with purpose. In a statement which would become quite ironic a bit later, the Commissioner claimed that he would not stand for such actions and that a black eye would not be placed on the championship that night. Although the referee’s decision was final and Pearce would advance, Doyle threatened Schwag and Pearce and assured the fans that no such shenanigans would be allowed in the final tournament match. He then proclaimed that he would be the referee for the match to ensure a just outcome.
As Adam Pearce and the “Super Freak” were engaged in a heated battle for the belt, Schwag attempted to stack the deck for his man by interfering on his behalf. Doyle seemed to be living up to his word as he ejected Schwag and his army from the ringside area. The match was now one on one, and Big Chris began to get the better of his crafty adversary. Just when it seemed that Mordetzsky would capture lightning in a bottle and win the title, the unthinkable happened. A frustrated Pearce had gone to the outside and returned with a steel folding chair. He prepared to dim Chris’ lights when the “impartial” referee tore it from his grasp. Doyle again seemed to be keeping order and integrity in this title match until, out of nowhere he turned and cracked Chris in the skull with the object. A stunned crowd at The Grove looked on as the crooked Commish urged Pearce to put away his challenger. He did just that with a sickening piledriver onto the chair which left Chris a quivering mess. Doyle counted the fall; Pearce was the new UPW Heavyweight Champion. Big Schwag and the remainder of the Schwag Army made their way to the ring. Shockingly Doyle and Schwag embraced; an unholy alliance had been formed. Schwag at that time had both the UPW Heavyweight Champion and UPW Women’s Champion (Erica Porter) in his stable. The argument can be made that, thanks to Pete Doyle, he truly is “The Manager of Champions.”
The mayhem had just begun as a betrayed, confused, and angry Rick Bassman acting on pure emotion hit the ring, speared Doyle, and began to beat on him. Doyle had stabbed Bassman in the back…again! This pearcing was more shocking than the one that Janet Jackson flaunted at half time last Sunday. The numbers game quickly took effect as the members of this newly formed faction took turns taking shots at the helpless UPW Owner. Doyle put the exclamation point on the attack when he unleashed a devastating shot to Bassman’s head with metal clipboard.
Rick had given Doyle the object as a symbolic gesture of turning over power to him. Obviously it came back to haunt him in a major way. The crowd erupted in outrage throwing anything they could get their hands on at the ring in protest. This word has been thrown around in wrestling a hell of a lot over the years, but this was pandemonium if I’ve ever seen it! No one was safe, including yours truly. I was summoned to the ring by Doyle only to be crowned with a steel chair by the new Heavyweight Champion. I’ll never forget coming to as I lay drenched in beer and soda and surrounded with garbage, I looked up to see the true garbage as they walked from the ring holding their stolen prize, the UPW Heavyweight Title high for all to see.
Doyle attempted to pick things up where he left off back in October at “POSSESSION”. The crooked Commissioner assumed that Bassman would be nowhere in sight as he was scheduled to be in Japan along side former UPW Heavyweight Champion Tom Howard. As it is said, while the cat is away, the mice will play. Doyle’s fearsome faction planned to make UPW its personal playground at “POSSESSION.” It did not exactly work out that way as both Rick Bassman and Tom Howard returned on that night. Doyle had one fatal flaw in his plan. He did not count on Howard’s return. He had painted himself into a corner by accepting the stipulation that Tom Howard would be granted an immediate title shot upon his return. Bassman called Doyle to the carpet on this and demanded that Howard receive the shot that night. Doyle (having no other choice) agreed, but mandated that it would be Tom’s final shot. If he did not win the title, he was done in UPW. Doyle stacked the deck further by making the match a contest in which there would be no disqualifications. Despite a barrage of interference by Doyle’s cohorts, Tom Howard defied the odds and defeated Pearce to once again claim the title which was rightfully his. A furious Doyle could feel his grip on UPW begin to slip. Enraged, he used his match making power to sign a match between himself and Bassman at “OVERLOAD” claiming that he would leave Rick a beaten bloody mess once again. Bassman gladly accepted and added that the stakes would be high as 100% control of UPW would be on the line. Doyle then used his weapon of choice (the metal clipboard) to once again lay Bassman out in the center of the ring. Only this time Bassman fought his way back to his feet and had a fire in his eyes like never before.
Both Doyle and Bassman are taking the battle very seriously. Rick has been training extensively in the field of mixed martial arts with the help of fighters and instructors from “The Shark Tank” He is hell bent on getting his company back while ridding it of the cancer of Pete Doyle’s dictatorship. You can expect Bassman to fight for what he created like a man possessed. What if it does not go down that way?! For years Rick has rightfully boasted about UPW’s impressive accomplishments including being featured in documentaries on The Discovery Channel and the learning channel, destroying the NFL in the “Team Toughman” competition on FX, and as mentioned earlier helping many talented young performers live their dream in WWE, Zero-One, and in feature film and television roles. If Doyle defeats Bassman, all of Rick’s hard work and five years of UPW history will be erased. The long rocky history between these two comes to an end at “OVERLOAD”, and the stakes could not be any higher. These two at one time made good friends, but are better enemies! (and yes, I am well aware that that was the tag line for “In Your House” in years past for a showdown between Shawn Michaels and Diesel, oh but how I digress!) Will Bassman cap off five years of hard work and dedication with a victory? Or, will Pete Doyle finish what he started and spoil UPW’s 5th Anniversary celebration by claiming the win and killing off what Rick worked so hard to create? Make sure you are at The Grove to find out. This will not be a wrestling match it will be a fight!
Mat Wars returns this Saturday with “Coronation”!
UPW recently debuted it’s series of monthly live events with “Creation” The show received rave reviews. Shannon Ballard and his dedicated crew who are in charge of the unique, exciting, and intimate live events are set capitalize on this positive momentum and deliver another excellent show this Saturday night.
The show, aptly titles “Coronation” will see the crowning of the first ever UPW Mat Wars Champion. The four talented and hungry warriors who earned victories in first round tournament matches at “Creation” will be back with the honor of battling for the belt. In Semi-Final action, Tony Stradlin squares off with Tommy Wilson. Tommy, having been schooled at Ken Shamrock’s Lion’s Den, is well versed in several forms of combat. He looks to ground the high flying Stradlin who also studied under a legendary mentor, nine other than HBK, Shawn Michaels. In the other Semi-Final contest, Andrew Hellman goes one on one with The Miz. Hellman is as physical as they come. He won last year’s 12-man Lightweight Lunacy Match and came within inches of defeating Frankie Kazarian for the UPW Lightweight Title. Will he finally wrap some gold around his waist this Saturday? It won’t be easy as his first opponent is on a hell of a roll. Mike “The Miz” Mizanin recently looked impressive in his first round win. He also turned heads in a WWE work out recently going hold for hold with the likes of “The World’s Greatest Tag Team” Charlie Hass and Shelton Benjamin. The star from “The Real World” used to drape a toy belt over his shoulder claiming to be a champion. This Saturday, he gets a chance to do it for real. The winners of the Semi-Final matches will face each other later in the night to crown the winner and new champion.
Also that night, UPW Rookie sensations Antonio Mestre and Lionheart defend UPW in the home of Ultimate University as they take on Pro Wrestling Iron (PWI) duo Apollo Kahn and Ryan Drago. UPW Tag Team Champions Hardkore Inc., The Ballard Brothers, Savage, and The University will clash in a Four Corner Survival Tag Team Match, This one will be interesting as these four teams will battle each other respectively at OVERLOAD as Hardkore Inc. faces The Ballards in TLC and Savage and The University will engage in wild 12-Man Tag Team action. Who will gain that all important momentum heading in to these important matches. Make sure you are on hand this Saturday night as the road to “OVERLOAD” continues. Again, tickets are only $5, that’s right I didn’t stutter! Its like UPW’s version of an extra value meal; and believe you me, the action will be tasty this Saturday night!
Evan Karagias joins UPW!
It was announced this week that Evan Karagias has joined the ranks of UPW. Evan is an impressive competitor who mixes agility with surprising power for a lightweight performer. Karagias is a former WCW Cruiserweight Champion. Perhaps he is best known for his union in WCW with current WWE Superstars Shannon Moore and Shane “The Hurricane” Helms as wrestling’s first (and God willing last) boy band, 3-Count. Who could forget their “Smash Hit” “Can’t get you out of my heart”? Remember when they brought those little mats into the ring to dance…anyway, moving on! I wonder if Tank Abott still carries around that gold record? AHHH WCW! Karagias once again claimed WCW Championship gold in a strange match in which all three members of 3-Count defeated Brian Knobbs for the WCW Hardcore Title. Despite his entertaining (or annoying depending on how you look at it) antics in the past, Karagias is all business once the bell rings. You can bet that he is planning to once again wear championship gold by climbing to the top of UPW’s Lightweight Division which is currently more competitive than ever. Rumor has it that Karagias may be on hand this Saturday Night at “CORONATION”. Perhaps he will be there to scout the many talented lightweight competitors who will be in action that night.
Well, that’s it for this week. I would keep going, but after running down the history of Bassman vs Doyle, my hands are starting to cramp up! Next week I hope to have word on who Tom Howard will pick to join him to face “The Outsiders” Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.
Pre-Show Reception and Post-Show Reception Information
The Pre-Show reception will begin at 5:30 pm in The Grove’s beautiful Tera Rosa Room and will center around a private showing of UPW’s one-half hour “Overload” TV Pilot, which will debut throughout North America in September 2004. The Reception will be hosted by Looney Lane, The Big Schwag and The Miz. The Tera Rosa Room bar will be open during the Reception.
The After-Show Party, also in the Tera Rosa room, will revolve around a casual meet and greet, with the UPW Superstars and more. The bar will be open and popular DJ Todd Tochiaka will be spinning tunes. Guest Stars, including Evan “Joe Millionaire” Marriott, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Ken Shamrock, Ivory, Jerry Lynn and more will be on hand to sign autographs and pose for photographs.
Limited VIP Tickets, which include admission to the Pre-Show Reception and After-Party, as well as ringside seating, are still available, through The Grove of Anaheim Box Office, by calling 714 712-2700, at Ticketmaster outlets and www.ticketmaster.com.
A benefit for The Orangewood FoundationFriday, February 20 – 7pm; Doors open at 5:30 pm