I'm looking forward to visiting the UCW guys this weekend. Last July, I met a good many of the company's stars, including then-champion Corporal Punishment and Aron, both pictured above in a just-released "Lost" wrestling match [#287] that seems to answer every question anybody might have about the ways toes can be used in wrestling (one that's brand new to me: eye-gouging!). I don't know if I'll get to see Punishment and Aron this year--both have been out of commission lately (hopefully only temporarily) due to non-wrestling-related injuries, but I'm looking forward to this year's visit more than last year's, when I had no idea what to expect.
And last year I had a blast, having quiet side conversations with guys I had previously known only through their video work. Receiving a glancing blow from a folding chair that Joker hurled wildly during a match was like the best 3-D wrestling experience ever (no harm done, and Joker was genuinely, sweetly apologetic). Plus there have been plenty of new additions to the roster in the past eleven months, so there's a good chance it will be mostly new faces (and heels) to me this year. But everybody treated me royally last year, especially the bosses Bodyslam and Axel, and for a couple of days at least I was made to feel like a part of the family.
I feel a special kinship to UCW. It was the first wrestling promotion to reach out to this blog, the first to grant me an interview, and the first (and so far only) to let me sit in on match tapings (see here, here, and here). Some UCW headliners, like Axel, have capitalized on their success at UCW to succeed at other underground wrestling sites, too. They're basically regular, blue-collar guys, totally unpretentious (off the mat, anyway--once the cameras roll, the egos go into overdrive)--the sort of "real people" I feel most comfortable hanging with--very young, but then as a community college instructor, I am well used to being the oldest dude in the room.