This is nuts, but for the past three and a half months I feel like I’ve been cheating on Axel with the two guys who have had the run of UCW-Wrestling these days—top contender and all-around cool-cat Klown and, due to some defect in my moral fiber, all-around bad-ass Joker, who (I can't help it) I think is the shit.
Now Axel’s back in town, no doubt clearing the stage for a title defense in three new video uploads, with numbers not titles, sort of like Emily Dickinson’s poems. (Look, I’m an arrogant jerk with a PhD, so I don’t care who does or does not get my analogies, OK?) Still, not titling the vids is kind of genius of BodySlam, UCW’s head honcho; it fits the Milwaukee-based fed’s whole minimalist ethos—the no-frills box arena covered in bodybag-blue plastic and the slender balls-to-the-wall wrestlers who don’t pull their punches.
Axel’s a smart and cool-headed guy, so he probably holds no grudge against me. (I kind of wish he would, though. Not much would give me more pleasure than to find him on my doorstep some evening, in his low-slung black Speedo, itching to take me down a notch.)
Anyway, once the vids popped up for download this afternoon, I busted my ass to be first in line for a look-see.
In 1109118. Axel has a rematch with James Never Give Up Kid, one of the first guys Axel fought at UCW when it launched over the summer. James is a resilient fighter, hence the moniker, but Axel works him over but good. James gives as good as he gets. The match has the sort of gut punching we’ve come to expect at UCW, along with some vicious stomach clawing, trunk pulling, ballbashing, backbreakers, bearhugs, and bitch slaps. The guys noisily express the pain of each and every twist and blow. And any civility to be found in the bout breaks down as the fighters, sweaty and sick of each other, trade punches to the mouth. This is a match to savor!
(Crappy captures all my own doing.)
In 1209119, Axel faces down Black Dragon, a masked fighter from “parts unknown.” Dragon speaks in a heavy accent of no discernable origin, saying stuff, like “Osk heem!” when he wants the fresh-faced ref to see if Axel’s ready to submit. Fat fuckin chance of that! The title’s on the line for this battle, and Axel fights for it with every ounce of his being. The mysterious foreigner does not play nice, and in this bout Axel takes about as much raw punishment as I’ve ever seen him take from anybody. Nobody, but nobody takes a punch to the belly like the champ. When Dragon crosses the line, though, slashing his fingers cross Axel’s eyes, … well, let’s just say there’s one seriously trounced green-card-holder at the end of this fight.
In 1209120, the card I’ve been awaiting for 82 days and 15 hours now, trash-talking punk Joker gives the champ some ill-advised lip, threatening to “take his punk ass home.” Now Axel is nothing if not sure of his abilities, even up against a more experienced street-fighter like Joker. Still, when you ask a disciplined fighter like Axel what he’s got, you can’t expect the upshot to be pain-free. “You is my bitch,” Joker snarls, “and you will STAY my bitch!” I won’t give anything away, but this brawl puts it out there for the champ and the out-of-line challenger. Nothing but pride is on the line in this fight, but to guys like these two, pride can mean as much as a title or a belt. You’d think somebody would walk out of this plastic arena with a little more humility than he had, and you wouldn’t be off the mark ... but you may just be surprised. Make no mistake: this fight is THE test of Axel’s right to the UCW title.
After the licks he takes in these three matches, I wonder if Axel has got the moxie left to face Klown, who, in my opinion, is the number-one contender for his title and deserves a shot as soon as possible.
And if the reigning champ does bear me a grudge because I all but wrote him off these past few months, I hope he has to go through James, Dragon, and Joker again before he shows up on my doorstep to dust me off.