UCW-Wrestling's latest release [#338] gives us the highly anticipated one-on-one, mano-a-mano showdown between Eli Black and former (and original) champ Axel. Although nothing could live up to my fantasies of what this face-off might have been, I must say that the actual contest we get here packs a wallop and, further, seems to promise more to come in the future. (In saying that, I don't mean to imply that this match is left open-ended and unresolved. No, not at all: one of these men walks away in triumph, leaving the other flat on his back and broken. No two ways about it.)
It's a right proper grown-up brawl as these well-trained young wrestlers clash, beginning with taunts, moving on to an exhausting and self-destructive struggle that gives us some of the most outrageous holds and assaults I've seen (even by UCW's usual stiff standards) and plenty of angles from which to enjoy both fighters' never-better physiques.
Besides the obvious question of who's the better man, this match also raises the question of Axel's recent (supposed) flirtations with the dark side. Will he stoop to a cheap shot to gain the edge over a stops-at-nothing aggressor like Eli? Is he really inching towards all-out heel-dom, as I've sometimes surmised while watching his fights this past year? And even fully charged up to win at all costs, does Axel really have the cojones to best a fighter as skilled and merciless as Black?
The longer this 31-minute clash goes (with not a minute of it wasted), the hairier it gets. Eli summons up his inner rage (never too far from the surface) and gets pissed off even at the poor cameraman. Chaos ensues. With Eli distracted and the fight brought to a temporary halt, Axel regroups, and in a matter of seconds, the fight is on again.
By now, both wrestlers are tottering on their feet, staggered by the fight of their lives, already having risked multiple injuries, and wind up agreeing to "settle it" with a gut-punching challenge (i.e. non-wrestling, but certainly in the UCW tradition of maximum-impact bodily mayhem). The gut-punch contest does settle it, for now anyway, but it's hard to believe that this feud is over for long. I won't be surprised to see these two lighting into each other again in the near future.