A live report on UPW’s return show! Lil’ Nate defends his title in a 6-pack challenge, Chris Bosh debuts, Sky’s abs~! and Joey’s stache… Film at 11… or you could just click below =)
Planes, Trains and Automobiles Report Vol. 5: UPW March 25th
Hello, my name is Paul Newberry. And I’d like to welcome you to the long dreaded return of the “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” live report series. For this report, I will be Co-Reviewing the event with SCU newcomer, Jay Doring. Who will be covering the match details, while I try to cover the other details. Like Jesse Ventura to his Gorilla Monsoon as it were. So let me start off by saying hello to Terry, Tyrell and Jade in Minneapolis (such a dated reference…)
But first, I have a question for you. Do you remember UPW? Well it’s back! Not in pog form but rather in live show form! As they present “It’s Fargin’ WAR” March 25th 2006 at the OC Dojo in San Clemente.
Jay: Evenin’ y’all, and um, Paul…this show is actually called UPW “Locked and Loaded,” “Fargin’ War” is the BiG Pro show over in Newhall.
Paul: Well, that’s just fargin’ great. Most my material was based on the show being entitled “It’s fargin’ war” Oh well, fargin’ matters aside, this will be a new experience for me, as despite attending SoCal shows for several years now, this will be my first ever UPW live show. I’ve only seen UPW previously on their short lived TV show that was on for around 53 seconds in 2001, and was actually the first place I got to see the likes of Samoa Joe, Frankie Kazarian, Spanky, Paul London, Scott Lost, Hardkore Kidd, B-Boy and Shannon Ballard in action. Now after a lengthy absence, UPW returns in a slightly different format… featuring mainly young local talent from all around SoCal trying to make a name for themselves in the promotion that has long been SoCal’s Keymaster to the WWE’s gate keeper. I’m looking forward to seeing what they have in store for us here…
Jay: I was extremely excited to go to this UPW show, and visit the birthing place of my favorite wrestler, “Big Chris” Mordetzky, before I talked with a friend and exclaimed, “San Clemente is HOW far away?” Nevertheless, I made a commitment to you, the reader, to review this show (and notice how I’m not asking you to reimburse me for gas…unless you want to, that would be rad) and took the Doringmobile across multiple highways (going 20 MPH for 20 miles on the 60 = NOT FUN) and finally arrived at the OC Dojo after a 2-hour trip. Luckily, Paul and I had Macho Man’s rap opus, “Be a Man,” to keep us entertained as we were on our Highway to the Dangah Zone.
Paul: If I learned one thing on the trip over, it was that Hulk Hogan is indeed a real big punk (Just be a man, Hogan!) Anyway, after the long drive and laughs about how low Randy Savage had sank. We arrived at the OC Dojo. Which I was surprised to see located in a pretty isolated industrial area atop a foreboding misty hill!
Once inside, it’s actually a very nice looking venue. The whole ring side area is surrounded by mirrors and scattered exercise machines. Inspirational quotes from the likes of Thomas Jefferson, Weezer Jefferson, Eleanor Roosevelt, Muhammad Ali, Don Cheadle and Arnold Schwarzenegger line the walls, all while a DJ plays Time Life’s “Totally 80’s Vol. 4” WAY TOO LOUD over the PA.. In the back of the venue were the concession stands, where they sold various items such as soda, draft beer, pizza and Arrowhead water (Which may I just add, is easily the worst “major brand” of bottled water. I find drinking water from a rusty garden hose to have an equivalent taste. And another thing… err ok, I’m sure your not reading this to hear about my tastes in bottled water. And if you are, please E-mail me with subject line: “Arrowhead water sucks”)
From there, we sit down and notice a different crowd then we are used too in such promotions as AWS and PWG, mainly comprised of families and such. Something else worth mentioning was that with the front row seats you got to sit in a comfortable padded chair, and you also received something called “VIP Service” which basically means someone would bring you a drink, sparing you that oh so exhausting 10 foot walk it would take it to get it yourself. What a country…. and people wonder why the rest of the world hates us (curse our rubenesque ways!).
As I wait for the DJ to play WHAM’s “Last Christmas”. 8 PM hits and UPW does something unprecedented for an Indy fed… they actually started on time! Ring Announcer Jon Ian enters the ring to welcome us to a new era in UPW.
Match One: Disco Machine Vs. Skulu
Paul: Disco’s music hits, and out of instinct I think “Yes! It’s Disco!” and start clapping like a trained seal… then I suddenly realize I’m not in Kansas or PWG anymore, as the crowd boos him mercilessly. Disco’s trademark dancing is met with a chant of “Brokeback Mountain” Now Disco doesn’t appear to be a gay cowboy to me… but what do I know, I’m sure the crowd knows a gay cowboy when they see one. Disco has some words with the crowd, before his opposition, Skulu (looking much different from when I last saw him wrestle for AWS) enters to a VERY large reaction…. almost TOO LARGE (I call Cyanide pop)
Jay: What was interesting about the beginning of this match was that it was not immediately clear who the face or heel was, but the fans clearly chose Skulu as their favorite from the outset and the wrestlers adjusted accordingly. Disco Machine is the perfect “kid’s bad guy,” heel, because he knows how to ham it up as a heel without relying on cursing or anything too “adult.” This match began, appropriately, with a dance contest, with Skulu showing some of that quality tribal dancing made famous by Samoa Joe on TNA PPV. The rest of the contest was built around the fact that yes, Skulu is very, very large, and Disco was unable to move the Mack truck from Samoa. There were a whole bunch of “he can’t slam Skulu” spots, but the most amusing was Disco being unable to schoolboy him and getting his arm stuck in his crotch. Disco was able to get a few flurries (a desperation DDT reversal and a missile dropkick) but Disco could not get the job done on a flying crossbody, getting caught flawlessly into a powerslam for the pinfall. I thought this was a fine opener, and it definitely accomplished it’s goal of getting the crowd engaged for the rest of the night. I have to give extra props to Disco Machine for selling the rib damage while attempting to dance after the match.
Paul: Pretty basic match, but it told a simple yet effective story in a fun way. Both wrestlers played their roles excellently (especially the vastly underated Disco Machine) you really couldn’t ask more from this match. Well I suppose you could ask the match for $50… but then you’d just look crazy. No way a match is gonna hand you $50! Better ask for $20….
Match Two: Evan Jelik Vs. Joey Ryan w/ C. Edward Vanderpyle
Paul: Just when we least expect it… the $64 thousand dollar question of “Who Wants a Mustache Ride?” is asked and the current PWG champion, Joey Ryan along with manager C. Edward Vanderpyle (there’s a PWG title joke there, that even I won’t touch) hit the ring. Joey cuts a promo and states that he is not used to be being so low on the card. Which somehow ALSO draws “Brokeback Mountain” chants. Hey, the crowd likes their homosexual cowboy movies and don’t care who knows it. I know I often chant “Die Hard With A Vengeance” and “Federico Fellini’s 8 1/2” at random intervals to show my support for the great cinematic masterworks. Then Joey Ryan brings up that UPW has sent 28 wrestlers to the WWE, and their website asks the question “Who’s next?” but according to Joey Ryan, the question tonight is not “Who’s next” but rather “WHO WANTS A MUSTACHE RIDE?” Then Joey (who by reputation is usually a fan of the youngins) threatens harm upon the kids at ringside, who refer to him as “Grandpa.”
From there, the man UPW calls it’s top recent graduate, Evan Jelik enters the arena. In my opinion, Jelik is destined for big things in this business. Why do I say that? Because even at this early stage of his career, he already possesses a special something that all the great one’s do. Yes, HE HAS HIS OWN MY SPACE FAN CLUB!! Sure, he started it himself… and it only has 13 members but hey that’s what I call initiative! Perhaps it’s psychological warfare on behalf of Jelik and he is trying to hit Joey where he lives…. MySpace. Will The Technical Wizard stand idly by and take this? No way! The bell rings and the Battle of the MySpace Groups is on!
Jay: Words cannot express my joy at hearing the words “WHO WANTS A MUSTACHE RIDE?” at a UPW show, as before we went Paul and I were in fear of a clean-shaven Joey Ryan appearing. I believe this was only Jelic’s 3rd or 4th actual match (he’s appeared on a couple of Inoki Dojo cards prior to his official UPW debut) and he acquitted himself well here. This was well laid out in the classic “veteran vs. rookie” formula, with the vet dominating but with the rookie getting some hope spots at various points. I don’t really need to talk about Joey’s work (because Joey is the REAL King of Kings, not that H fellow) but I will say Jelic’s work looked very crisp and he had some impressive spots, including a top rope leg lariat and a flying kneedrop. However, you could tell there were some moments where he was definitely a rookie, such as when he started repeating his offense during his comeback sequence, and had a tough time doing La Magistral on his nearfall sequence, however those are things he will correct with more match time. Joey finally managed to put the rookie away with a superkick, in what was surprisingly the Match of the Night in my opinion. Joey demanded some “real” competition following the match, which actually leaves me intrigued as to who he’ll face in May, considering UPW’s long list of contacts.
Paul: This was also my pick for match of the night. Some nice offense from both wrestlers here, including an impressive stunner into the ring ropes by Joey Ryan. An admirable job from the rookie keeping up with the veteran. Joey and Vanderpyle seemed to make a good HEEL~ combo as well. After the match, UPW interviewer Todd Keneley (who I think tried to sell me a used Hyundai once) asked Joey Ryan about almost losing to a rookie. Joey then stated that near falls meant nothing, and then actually let Keneley get a near fall on him to prove his point. That Joey is a sleazy bastard…
Winner: Joey Ryan
Match Three: Tommy Wilson and the Irishman Vs. Mario Quezada and Hector Canales.
Jay: I’m guessing that Quezada and Canales are also recent graduates of Ultimate University, although when I saw one of them come out I was like, “holy crap, that’s Tony Mamaluke!” This was a decently worked tag team match, and I liked the fact that they kept everything at a brisk pace and used very few restholds. There were a few “huh?” moments, such as when Mario was getting worked over and could finally make a hot tag, he did a second rope moonsault from the wrong corner instead of tagging his partner. Canales made a short comeback before getting attacked my Al Katrazz, now going under his real name of Brian Fleming. The Westies capitalized…with a dangerously blown superkick/Razor’s Edge combo, which seriously had me cringing.
Winners: Tommy Wilson and the Irishman
Paul: After the match, as the ringside kids inform Wilson and Irishman that “cheaters never prosper” (which is not really true at all if you think about it) Pete Doyle awards Brian “Al Katrazz” Fleming the original UPW Heavyweight title. The “new” champ then has less than kind words for current UPW Champion, Tom Howard calling him a paper champion.. Interviewer Todd Keneley asks if the fans want to see the “new champion” defend his title. Fleming agrees and a match is made.. His opposition? Todd Keneley! Fleming quickly takes out Keneley with a chokeslam and gets the 1-2-3 (still a better match than CM Punk Vs. Donovan Morgan)
Match Four: Kid Vicious Vs. PUMA
Paul: Kid Vicious, who according to UPW.com has a pretty impressive resume, which includes training with the Hart Family, working Zero One in Japan, appearing on WWE Heat. This of course meant nothing to the ringside kids, who noticed him sporting a mysterious wet spot in the front of his tights, which led to a “Pee Pee Pants” chant (a 1st grade classic rivaled only by “Caca Poo Poo” in it’s sheer poetic verbal majesty). PUMA then enters the ring (to a very Japanese sounding tune that surprisingly wasn’t by Shonen Knife) complete with mask (which he seems to wear only when he feels like it lately) The bell rings and we’re off…
Jay: I felt really, really sorry for Puma watching this match, as since his impressive performance on the TNA PPV he’s obviously been re-energized and motivated to bring his A-game. However, Kid Vicious (who I don’t think has been on any cards since UPW’s last show) clearly wasn’t ready for this level of match. This started out with some matwork, and Puma displaying some of his more impressive athletic spots, but at a certain point Kid Vicious got completely blown up and was unable to do anything except restholds and stomps/elbow. I seriously felt like the Count on Sesame Street, “ONE, TWO, THREE…FOUR CHINLOCKS!” Puma did his best to more or less wrestle the match by himself, bumping insanely for everything, even Irish whip spots, but he couldn’t salvage the match. The match only got worse during Puma’s comeback, as Kid Vicious wasn’t even bumping properly due to exhaustion, and Puma, probably sensing something was wrong, took the match home early due to a flying crossbody block, and Kid Vicious’ expression of relief that the match was over said it all.
Paul: I completely agree. I don’t know if KV was just rusty, suffering lingering effects of an injury, knocked silly during the match, or was just “blown up” but it appeared that he was out of it for most of the match. He really did nothing beside 4 or 5 chin locks that vicariously also seemed to put a sleeper hold on the crowd. For a good portion of this match, it did feel like I was watching Puma Vs. a Brick wall. Which makes me wonder what match the guy on the board who said “Great match!” was watching. I’ll withhold judgment on Kid Vicious’ abilities for now, as this was clearly an off night. Impressive work by PUMA holding it together however.
Jay: Human Tornado appeared to cut a promo, and as a red-blooded male I have to give him a verbal pat on the back for macking on some attractive young crowd members before hitting the ring. He explain his foot injury to the UPW audience, before being interrupted by recent nemesis (not Nemesis, he was Fargin’ around in Newhall) Scorpio Sky, complete with AB ROLLER~! I admire that man more and more every show. Words were exchanged, and fellow Ab Twin Lionheart jumped Tornado, along with Sky and Tommy Williams. Lil’ Nate and Johnny Goodtime made the save, establishing the dynamics for tonight’s main event. Then the faces proceeded to dismantle Sky’s ab roller, an act punishable by death in certain middle eastern countries.
Paul: Super entertaining segment here, Sky and Tornado’s characters really shine. I mentioned before in this report about how some things feel different in UPW as opposed to other Local Indies, but there is one thing that remains the same, and that is Human Tornado. Who was just as, if not MORE over here as he is anywhere else. I’d dare say Tornado is the most universally beloved wrestler in SoCal today… and pretty much fit UPW’s target audience like a glove. 2006 is looking to be the year of the Human Tornado.
Jay: Then from somewhere west of nowhere, Frankie Kazarian’s music hits, and Im perplexed why because he’s at JAPW, but never fear, CHRIS BOSH~! is here to explain it to all of us. You see, he’s goading Frankie because all he hears about is he’s the best on the West Coast, when really he is. Then, Bosh proves again how odd in the head he is by saying how tired he was, and takes a nap in the middle of the ring, complete with “sleepy dreaming” music. Tremendous- I swear the promos on this show were far more entertaining than many of the matches. Andrew Hellman comes out to defend Frankie’s honor, and HERE WE GO.
Match five: Chris Bosh Vs. Andrew Hellman
Jay: This match was basically a showcase for Bosh to introduce him to the UPW crowd, as he displayed many of his famous character tics (charging like a nutcase, whipping people with his jacket, and most of all, HE’S A BITER) as well as some of his neat backbreaker variants. Hellman did get some offense in, but it was thwarted by the BOSHSPORT~! groin punch, which remains one of my favorite spots. Bosh got a win soon after with a tights-assisted rollup, and I’m now very interested in a potential Bosh/Frankie match in UPW.
Paul: Another sign of UPW BIZZARO world would have to be the crowd reaction to Chris Bosh, who I am accustomed to seeing practically worshiped in PWG (rumor has it, the Church of Boshology is forming soon). But here it was across between “Umm Boo?” and “Who is this freak?” Which coincidently was the same reaction Jay got while walking in. But all that aside this segment was arranged rather well, and nicely established Bosh to a whole new audience. And with the Bosh Vs. Kazarian match on the horizon, I’d say Christmas Bosh is destined to become a player in UPW sooner rather than later.
Winner: Chris Bosh
Match Six: Babi Slymm Vs. Predator
Paul: Only thing I can say is that Predator is a real frightening individual. He has quite a list of credentials as well, he’s former NCAA wrestling champion, the first ever UPW champion, I believe a 3-1 Mixed Martial Arts record, and most unnerving of all… he had a role in the 1999 film version of “My Favorite Martian” Now THAT’S a bad dude (I can tell you from experience, Christopher Lloyd does not pull punches) Tonight he will be taking on Babi Slymm, who isn’t a cake walk for anyone, having AWS, WCWA and RevPro Heavyweight title reigns to his credit. But I don’t think he’s ever faced anyone quite as massive as the Predator. (I’m not sure anyone else on the SoCal Scene more massive than Predator… save for perhaps Massive Fabuloso)
Jay: This was my first time seeing Predator, and he really is a very scary, mean-looking dude. Honestly, I was very pleasantly surprised by this match- after watching tons of immobile “Hosses” on WWE TV, I liked that Predator could actually move around the ring and take some nice-looking bumps for a guy his size. While he kept his offense basic, it all had a lot of authority, including whipping Slymm into the ringpost and the impact actually MOVING THE RING. Slymm did manage to make a comeback after Predator’s chain knocked out the referee, and gets a blind 3-count off a twisting sideslam, but Predator recovers and nails the Muscle Buster for the pin, though I’m disappointed he didn’t use his usual Face Paver finisher.
UPW Light Heavyweight Title match
Lil’ Nate (c) Vs. Johnny Goodtime Vs. Scorpio Sky Vs. Human Tornado Vs. Lionheart Vs. Funky Billy Kim
Paul: Scorpio Sky enters and puts on an ABSolutely ABmazing display of his abdominal region for the adoring crowd, as he works out with his Ab roller in the center of the ring! Slowly but surely all the competitors makes their way to ring side. Including Lionheart (complete with uber religious ring jacket), who got in an AB OFF with Scorpio Sky, the aforementioned ring side kids were not as kind to the short statured Lionheart, as he drew a “Gary Coleman” chant, The “What you talkin’ bout Willis?” look on his face was priceless.
Jay: Tommy Williams tried the old “pretend the match somehow ended and walk away with the belt trick,” but sadly, like the other 900 times this has been tried, it did not work. This match was strangely wrestled, as it was treated more like a 6-man tag than an “every man for himself” type match, with all three heels working over Johnny Goodtime (who, as the most unknown wrestler in the match, had a good performance) before he was able to escape and tag Human Tornado. Tornado again put on a gutty performance with his broken foot, doing some neat “Tae Bo” spots, before the Dive Train started. While this crowd, minus maybe a half-dozen people, was largely unfamiliar with many of the PWG guys, they were going insane for the coming Tornado Alley dive. Dive he did (further squashing my Suplex Monthly magazines that Tommy Williams had also landed on) but it cost him, as he aggravated his foot injury and was carted to the back. Tornado’s injury transitioned into a short, chaotic finishing sequence, with Tommy Williams busting out some impressive stuff. However, as quickly as it started, it ended, and not well. Lionheart totally whiffed on a superkick to Goodtime, but Goodtime sold the kick as a KO anyway. Nate capitalized and took out Lionheart with his own superkick, and pinned Goodtime off the MISSED ONE. I dunno, given the level of talent in the match, I had much higher expectations, and the match could have been tremendous if given more time. I’m honestly surprised it wasn’t, since the show ended at the 2-hour, 10-minute mark. While it’s unfair to compare UPW to PWG, I really feel like this match would have been much better in that setting.
Post-show, I was disappointed to discover that my digital camera had run out of batteries, denying me out of my one remaining SoCal wrestling goal…get a picture with Joey Ryan. Oh well, there’s still time.
Winner and still champion: Lil’ Nate
Overall Thoughts: While this wasn’t a blowaway show (and I don’t think it was meant to be) it was an organized, entertaining re-introduction of UPW to the SoCal wrestling scene, and the addition of the RevPro/PWG crew might help the product appeal to a more diverse audience than simply casual WWE fans. A lot of potentially interesting angles/feuds were set up last night (Bosh vs. Frankie, Tom Howard vs. the Westies) and I was satisfied with the overall presentation of the show. I am concerned though, that the remote location of the OC Dojo would potentially hurt any potential crowd increase, so UPW should do their best to try and get these shows out on video. UPW definitely has potential to become a regular player again in Southern California, if tonight’s show is any indication.
Thanks of course, go to Anthony and the rest of the UPW crew for being so accommodating to us. For more information on UPW and their upcoming shows, please visit UPW.com
For Jay Doring, this is Paul Newberry saying “Mastering others is strength, Mastering yourself is POWER!” (ok I stole that from the OC Dojo wall… good fargin’ night everyone…)