Axel vs Steven, Match 532 (UCW)
Distance may not permit Steven to join the UCW roster, but he's a welcome guest anytime he cares to drop in. Match 532 is the first of two matches the Parisian fought while recently in the Philadelphia area, and Axel gives the fighter a hearty UCW welcome.
Steven's bigger and more muscular than Axel, not that an opponent's size or build ever intimidates Axel. Steven's attitude-free manner seems to promise a friendly tussle, and the host obviously doesn't expect the out-of-towner to pose much of a threat. Friendly, however, is not the same as easy. And having watched the match through twice now, I can't say friendly applies to the fight's final three-quarters.
It takes Steven a few minutes to acclimate to UCW's house style of unruly competition. He's awkward at first, but Axel loosens him up. There's nothing like pain to heat up a fight and strip a man of his inhibitions. Steven is vocal in responding to Axel's attacks--and the moans and recoils seem sincere--but after six minutes of playing the good sport, he turns the tables and gives Axel as good as he gets.
While Steven hasn't the range of moves of an Eli Black or a Quinn Harper, he's obviously a bigger challenge than Axel expected. He has moves enough to keep Axel on his toes and to push the match along at a fine pace. More importantly, he has the stomach for hard roughhouse. Note how quickly he realizes the joys of gut-punching, a longtime staple at UCW, at which point Axel notches the battle up, and things get serious.
A forearm to the adam's apple puts Axel back on top. Earnest violence ensues as Axel puts on his tough-guy face and tears Steven a new asshole. But that lasts a mere minute and a half. Steven reasserts himself with a bear hug--gripping low, crunching the pelvis--letting loose a lively yawp as the former UCW champ squirms like a wriggler on the point of a fishhook.
Claw holds, stretches, low blows, chicken-wings, wedgies, and more round out the rest of the 29-minute battle, which slams shut with a no-pussyfooting figure-four choke-out. In summation, Axel is super cool in this one, and Steven makes his mark in underground wrestling.