Monday, February 1, 2010
Match 122: Axel versus Andy (Review)
Newcomer Andy goes right to the top in a match against UCW champ, Axel. Andy's got to be UCW's lightest and perhaps youngest wrestler yet; in fact, he makes Axel, a fighter with a slim regular build, look like a roids-stacking Hercules by comparison. This poses two questions for the interested viewer: Does the new kid pack any surprises in the wrestling department? And can he take the punishment of a typical UCW match?
"Feisty little fuck," Axel remarks appreciatively, early on in the fight. For several minutes, Axel, who boasts of being the foe to bullies everywhere, looks very much like a bully himself here, as he punishes, relentlessly punishes, thin-as-a-rail Andy, under the pretext of "breaking him in" for UCW.
So, let's answer the second question first: Andy takes an awful lot. Axel claims he's going easy on the newby. "You gotta be tougher than this," Axel tells him. And I'm inclined to agree with the champ. It's one thing to be able to lie down and take the stretching, twisting, and punching Axel dishes up, but it's another to have the fight to spring back and offer some real competition.
Andy is the inverse of the old complaint: "He can dish it out, but he just can't take it." Andy can take it for miles and miles, but he hardly ever comes round to dishing it out.
A UCW match, like all of wrestling, is at its best when there's give and take between two equal foes. Equality can be established in all sorts of ways: equal in size, experience, heart, or duplicity. And a large fighter can find himself meeting his match in even a guy half as big, if the opponent brings greater skill and determination into the equation.
Maybe Bodyslam, UCW's boss man, should have started little Andy out on someone smaller. What could he have been thinking setting him up with the champ? Well, for one thing Axel DOES go easy on him. I can't see Joker, for instance, being willing to do the same for the new hire. Axel urges the kid, "Hit me" and "You're too slow," practically begging Andy to put up more of a fight.
After a while, you've got to wonder how much of this match is going to be Axel breaking Andy in and how much is going to be Axel breaking Andy apart? Repeatedly, the champ asks him if he really thinks he's ready to be a part of the UCW league. So is Axel trying to get the newby up to snuff, or is he trying to scare him off? About halfway through the match, then, the question becomes ... Will there be anything left of Andy once Axel's done tearing into him?
The outcome of this fight holds no surprises. The real surprises occur in some new turns in the action. UCW is in the process of revamping its image and product, and this video may be one example of the changes being made. For one, trunk-pulling is now a much more prominent feature of the match, with both fighters yanking down tights to expose their opponent's derriere to the camera. Humiliation? or a sop for us guys aching for a peek at Axel's snowy white cheeks? You decide.
The other surprise is Andy's potential as a heel. He slugs and scratches his way out of a punishing hold about halfway through the fight and subjects Axel to one of the longest and most intense gut-punching sessions the champ has ever undergone. And when he has to grab balls to get out of a fix, Andy is ready to fight dirty ... in fact, I get the clear impression that dirty is the only way Andy likes to fight.
So, my recommendation to Andy is this: "If you want to make it big in UCW, really really big, you need to cultivate the cowardly heel angle. Fight dirty ... and do it relentlessly. Keep pulling those trunks, especially those worn by hot, young opponents. Pull some hair too. Take all kinds of cheap shots, just as you're already doing, but do it a lot more. A lot more. Run away from guys like Axel; make them chase and catch you and then teach you a thing or two about taking your licks like a man. Take unfair advantage, every chance you get ... take advantage of a lucky accident, a corruptible ref, an opponent's Achilles' heel, or even a readily available foreign object. Scream, complain to the ref, burst into tears, bawling. Make everybody hate and despise you. Rebranding yourself as the ultimate Cowardly Heel is the way to go if you're serious about carving a niche for yourself alongside guys like Axel, Klown, and Joker at UCW."