My Field Trip to UCW (Day Three, Sunday 7/15/2012)

The only improvement to this weekend would involve staying late enough to see the rest of the matches UCW is shooting this afternoon.  I have to be at the airport by 12:30. Damn it. Aron is the only one of the wrestlers fighting this weekend whom I will not see in a live match. However, I met him briefly late last night after he returned to the company's homebase, having spent the day at a local wrestling meet and then at work. First impressions of the guy are that he has a dry sense of humor concealed behind a deadpan face and the faintest hint of a smirk. In temperament, he's the polar opposite of Joker.

Before I leave, I get to interview Aron on camera. Axel gives him a new T-shirt imprinted with the words "Come At Me Bro." Axel picked the shirt up at the mall on Friday because Aron, in surfer-slash-skater mode, is fond of using the word "bro." Aron is clearly delighted with the new top and slips it on for the interview.

I ask him whether being the youngest member of the UCW roster poses any special challenges for him. Arrogance lights his face as if I had just flipped a switch. In effect, he tells me that being youngest makes him stronger, faster, and nimbler than the older guys, as well as, he adds with a gesture towards his upper body, smoother. He explains that the "old guys" (the oldest of whom is less than half my age, by the way) hate him out of jealousy, so he, in turn, hates them back. I ask him about the constant teasing, but he claims not to be bothered by it much. (Nevertheless, after the interview I make a point of apologizing for having recently referred to him as the "Justin Bieber of UCW." I still think it's a pretty funny tag, but unkind.)

The last match I see (Axel versus Angel Estrada) is killer, somewhat blunting the sad sense that a good time is coming to an end. Axel has the holds  and power to beat Angel, but Angel is a dirty fighter. "Dirty" because he specializes in tricks and low blows, and "dirty" because his body movements in this contest are surrealistically lewd. At one point he humps the side of Axel's head and then compliments the new co-owner of UCW on his "tight ear." In effect, Angel works Axel's head and works every conceivable pun on "head." Angel is as quick-witted as Joker, and possibly a bit more sadistic, if that's possible.

Sooner than I would like, it's time for me to say goodbye. If I had to choose one word to describe this weekend, it would be "jamboree." I don't care for the word's scouting associations, but the sound of it captures a bit of the spirit of the last 48 hours. It also reminds me of the robust, reckless, but affectionate monsters in Maurice Sendak's Where the Wild Things Are when they pile on top of each other. It would be rash to say that this weekend changed my life. I won't know that until years from now, I suppose. It has definitely been the highpoint of 2012 so far. And it does feel like the last two days have had an impact on me, if only a minor one, and somehow it makes me want to start living my life a little differently, but what changes (if any) are difficult to pinpoint or predict.

In closing, I want to thank Michael Tovar (BodySlam) and Axel for the invitation and their hospitality, and to the wrestlers (Aron, Eli Black, Angel Estrada, Joker, Corporal Punishment, and Twisted Torment) who made me feel welcome, and gave me clearer insight to what it means to dedicate one's life to wrestling. I can't imagine that they would be able to top themselves, but should they decide to invite me up again and I happen to have the time and the cost of an airfare, I would not hesitate to accept again.

Angel, Eli, Punishment, Joe, Twisted, Joker, and Axel

Feeling the love with Axel, Eli, and BodySlam

Axel and Angel waiting for their match to start

BodySlam taking the first official photo of Axel in his red trunks

Aron awaiting his on-camera interview

Angel after his match with Axel


  1. Thanks for sharing, Joe! Sounds like you had a great time!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts