Over the years UCW has been a number of things: the fart-in-your-face brilliance of Joker and Angel Estrada, the scientific deliberation of James "The Never Give Up Kid" and Axel, the macho magnitude of Corporal Punishment and Marcus Ares, the punk moxie of Joey Cantrell and Twisted Torment, the on-again-off-again fabulosity of CJ Devastation and Damien Flawless, the mouthy scenery-chewing of Quinn Harper and Eli Black, the edgy kink of Nick Diesel and Johnny Deep (I'm waiting for their bondage-in-oil match), and the cupcake sweetness of Pippin and Hiro. Each of these wrestlers has put his stamp on the company, some more lastingly than others.

Still, there's a recognizable and consistent style to UCW matches: gut-punching, ball-grabbing, an exhilarating responsiveness on the part of the wrestlers to their fans (and detractors). I wouldn't want the company ever to become predictable, so sure of its formula that it's closed to risky experiments. Cookie-cutter consistency is the hobgoblin of petty promoters. In fact, the company's biggest strength is that high-risk experimentation IS its house style, and there's a steady flood of talent in (and out of) the claustrophobic garage-studio where the magic happens. 

The first thing that strikes me about the new guy Diego Valentino is the flair of a white bowtie: it suggests go-go boy and obviously makes a tempting weapon. He seems to come ready to wrestle, too, without the awkward hesitations typical of new hires. He's well-trained and fairly confident in front of the camera. And by the end he displays savage flourishes like taking a bite out of Axel's foot and, further, in the final five minutes of this 30-minute contest [#392], a definite taste for kink. He has the slightly askew hotness that's popular now, and without trying to predict whether he will catch on with other fans, I will venture to say he makes an impressive debut.

Of course, there's Axel on hand, as well, who has initiated a large number of the newcomers to UCW, ensuring that their first matches stay on an even keel. This match provides Axel with the kind of fight he excels in, heavy on lingering holds and physical exertion, light on wisecracks and drama. Axel's appeal for me has always been his good-neighborly rectitude, from his "Don't Be a Bully" catchphrase at the beginning of his career to his soft-spoken assertiveness in this match--his air of not passing judgment till he's tried you on for size on the wrestling mat. This is a good match, maybe not the best either is capable of, but irresistible and not at all disappointing. It's the kind of give-and-take action I love, and the ending caught me by surprise, while staying consistent with everything that happened before it.


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