Raptor vs Axel, Match 101 (UCW)

Watching Axel's vlog last week, I wanted to touch myself. The guy's hotter now than ever before. His sexy just-woke-up look - like Wolf Boy's and Kenny Star's - has matured beautifully. We see that look in his first match at UCW - THE first match at UCW, Match 101 - which the company sent me last week. It's Axel wrestling Raptor.

I haven't revisited early UCW matches in a while, and I'm amazed how fresh and visceral 101 is. From its first ever video, UCW nailed it. Its defining features - real palpable blows, face-scratching, hair- and ball-grabbing catfight - have been there since the beginning. This is Axel's "Don't Be a Bully" era, and Raptor is deliciously mean as the bully in this match.

This is also the era of the blue tarps, constricting the wrestlers to a tight space, with metal pipes and wooden beams dangerously close to their heads. The wrestlers are limited in their moves, but the unyielding borders make the fighters more inventive, the way 17-count haiku presses poets towards intensity of feeling. The darkness, though, adds grit to this early fight. At times Raptor and Axel appear to be floating  in a void. It's a far cry from the boundless and brightly lit matches of recent years. Though UCW has produced bad-ass fights for over 10 years, this one has a particularly brutal snap.

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