Axel vs Rico, Match 509 (UCW)

Any newcomer who gets the competition Rico is getting at UCW should count himself lucky:
  1. first, Nero, whose invasive tactics raise eyebrows, yet give a rookie the one thing he needs most: loads of attention;
  2. then Eli, a moray eel in human form, vicious and oblivious to pain (his or his adversary's), against whom victory is 99% impossible, so defeat at Eli's hands is never a black mark;
  3. and now Axel, UCW's sensei in residence, whose "friendly" fights are as grueling and scary as any heel's grudge match, though usually more instructive; but, unfortunately for Rico, Axel is unusually cranky today.
All three are grandmasters of the company's peculiar style of MMA as well as masters of other forms of combat.

UCW seems committed to putting Rico over with the fans,  who over the years have become accustomed to a steady stream of newcomers who get thrown immediately into the "deep end of the pool," some striking it big and others merely providing grist for the atrocity mill. Given stellar competition, Rico has proved to have the right fighting spirit and appreciation for the company's wreck-all anything-goes ethos. From the start, he has jumped right in, heedlessly, so now it's hard to judge how much he's picked up from the men at whose feet he has writhed.

Rico came to UCW with readymade confidence and raw ability. I haven't yet heard what his fan count is, but, with the possible exception of Austin Tyler, a new babyface  hardly ever makes as big a splash as the debut of a dynamic heel like Quinn Harper or Derrick Cole. Usually, faces have to grow on fans over time. The real test may come when he faces another new pledge--Xander Caden, perhaps, or Kevin Lin. Then we'll see which one rises to the top.


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