After jaw-dropping showings in his last few bouts, the time may have come for James the Never Give Up Kid to take the UCW championship belt away from Axel, who once reportedly declared that, if he ever had to relinquish the belt, it should go to James.
Previously, Joker and especially Klown looked like more likely candidates for championship status, though Joker is more mouth than the belt can possibly contain, and, even with recent changes in gear and attitude, Klown looks too taciturn and retiring to be a traditional champ. And then for a few seconds, anyway, it looked like dashing and arrogant Angel Estrada would be a contender, but now he's mysteriously out of the picture and may remain so for a good, um, two to five years or so.
So then there's James, technically proficient, tenacious, quiet and methodical, with a long fuse, but once it's spent up, watch out!
This is the third time James and Axel have faced off, but this is the first time, in the past seven months, that the future ownership of the title has been seriously in question. Axel may wish James well, as mentioned, but, in his much talked about new white briefs, Axel steps onto the mat clearly with the attitude that, if James wants the belt, he's going to have to pry it out of Axel's hands first.
Lurking in the shadows, though, is somebody rooting for Axel. It's Joker, who's convinced either that his shot at the title will be easier if Axel remains champion or else that he wants the belt only on condition that he can seize it after planting his boot firmly on handsome Axel's tormented balls. He's a silent and ominous presence for the first four minutes of the fight, but then, unable to contain himself, Joker starts mouthing off, "cheering" for the champ, who makes no bones about the fact that he definitely does not want Joker in his corner.
It's a pretty even fight. Both men are competent, Axel a bit more cocky than he's ever been (the magic of those tight white briefs, perhaps) and James full of steely determination that he's going to make the champ submit. At one point, early on, when James works Axel in a punishing toe hold, Joker screams out to Axel, "Don't you tap out! Don't you lose MY BELT!" Joker encroaches on the mat, despite the ref's repeated warnings, drawing closer and closer to the two combatants. There's a constant threat of interference.
Fans of UCW staples such as long agonizing leg locks, gut punches and kidney jabs, rear naked chokes, hair pulling, body slams, knee and elbow drops, wedgies, and ball shots will find plenty to love in this battle between two hot and barefoot young competitors. With the stakes this high, both men are tougher than you've ever seen them before. Axel often presents himself as the punisher of bullies. It's interesting to watch what he does here against another "good guy" like James, even more interesting, as the 30-minute battle heats up and the evenly matched rivals get more frustrated and cross, to watch as the brutality boils up to the surface in both these men.
Soon enough all UCW fans will know the outcome of this match. My lips are sealed for now. BodySlam, UCW's boss, will kick my butt if I disclose any more than I already have. All I can say is you won't want to hear the aftermath at second hand. See it for yourself. In the unlikely event you can guess it, you will still be happy to watch its ineluctable unfolding--as in any fight worth watching and stroking to, it's the journey, not the destination, that puts the stupid and dazed grin on your face.