At long last, the United Wrestling Network gets to crown its first UWN World Champion. Since UWN President David Marquez announced the title tournament back in October of last year, there was a hard fought match up that narrowed down to two contenders: Mike Bennett and “the Dirty Daddy” Chris Dickinson.
But injuries, and the continuing threat of the pandemic placed the title match on hold. There were attempts to hold to match later in the year, but hurricanes and scheduling conflicts in places like Atlanta and Egypt (!) kept getting in the way.
We’ll get to the action, because after so long, (and as a nice anniversary to what got me into writing about this mad business in the first place) we are live at the Commerce Casino in Commerce, CA. Your ring announcers Todd Keneley and James Kincaid have the call, and they get the night started with a….
Triple Threat Match: Vinny Massaro vs. Honest John vs. “Big Toko” Juicy Finau
When the feed started, the pay-per-view had no audio to start on the Fite app, but it got better, although there were points of lagging and a monotone audio. Still, on a scale of one to The Peacock app, it was still a better show from a technical standpoint. But it’s okay as well if you want to flock to the ‘cock.
Anyway, back to the match, (which is honestly a squash match, with an extra helping of more squash), and Finau is giving some serious Andre the Giant vibes. Both Massaro and John try to double team the New Age Savage, but…Nah. Not happening. He sends Massaro to the outside, and as John goes for a body press, Finau grabs John, and it’s a Toko Driver (sitout Michinoku Driver) for the win.
Your Winner via Pinfall: Juicy Finau
Nothing like an appetizer, as we move to the next course…
Jordan Clearwater vs. Blake “Bulletproof” Troop
Tonight is another night of first, as regular ring color commentator Blake “Bulletproof” Troop makes his debut (which we covered earlier in the week) in the ring tonight against Clearwater, who Troop mentored in MMA tips initially. Nowadays, Clearwater is in the NWA and New Japan Strong (produced by UWN) and seems to channel a bit of smarm, whereas Troop comes to big fanfare, as Keneley and Kincaid notes their erstwhile broadcast partner (being led by trainers Rage and Chris Silvio) gets serious pops from the crowd. Best part was ring announcer Adnan Kureishy saying Troop is “dropping warheads on people’s foreheads.” Nice touch!
Start of the match has the bigger, stronger Troop trY to outwork Clearwater with a Kimura submission, but Clearwater ducks out of the ring. Troop is able to utilize his MMA background with his newfound pro-wrestling knowledge to out wrestles Clearwater with a gut wrench suplex. It’s looking good for troop as he sets Clearwater in the corner, but a high leap to the corner manages to knock himself out going high on the ring scaffold. Clearwater takes advantage, uses the ring as weapon to Keep Troop out of the ring and out of action. As the ref counts Troop out, he barely gets back in the ring at the last second, and Clearwater goes to a ground and pound, then to an armbar to submit Troop. But Troop uses that to transition to a pin attempt for a two count. One power slam by Troop, and he “pulls the pin” on his hand, and one haymaker to Clearwater makes it good night, sleep tight for The Golden Boy.
Your Winner via Pinfall: Blake “Bulletproof” Troop
Afterwards, Jeremy McPeak gets in the ring to interview with Troop on his debut, and Troop uses the opportunity to tell his “squad of troopers in the house to put their ‘hand grenades’ up. United, we stand. Divided, they fall.” As Keneley points out, the promo game is strong with Troop.
But speaking of Strong-Style, let’s head to the next match…
David Finlay vs “All Damn Day” Will Allday
This is a great example of the New Japan Strong showcase here tonight with Allday facing off against one half of the tag team FinJuice. There is some great fundamentals from Finlay, as he works over Allday all damn day.
The match looks to favor the son of Fit Finlay, but Allday stuns Finlay on the ropes and Finlay goes outside the ring, where Allday nails with a tope suicida. Now Allday is in control, with a buzzsaw kick to the neck of Finlay. He goes for his The Autograph finisher, but it’s scouted by Finlay and a slam to the mat knocks winds out of Allday. Now Finlay with European uppercuts, and a flying European uppercut nails the target and he covers Allday for a two count. Allday still has some gas in the tank and delivers a high knee to Finlay’s temple, and he covers for another two count. But it’s too much Finlay, as he gets Allday into a uranage/backbreaker variation, and then a nasty shoulder breaker gets the pin, and the win.
Your Winner via Pinfall: David Finlay
If that wasn’t enough Strong Style for you, how about an all-star six-man tag team with…
Clark Connors, Karl Fredericks, and Alex Coughlin vs. “BHK” Kevin Martinson, Taylor Rust & Daniel Garcia
Commentary bills this as a New Japan L.A. Dojo vs. Team UWN. Connors, Fredericks had graduated the dojo, and Coughlin (who gave me serious Dan “the Beast” Severn vibes with his mustache and no-nonsense demeanor) as the captain of the Dojo gave every indication this will be a hard hitting match, especially with UWN Mainstay BHK, and Garcia and Rust making their way via AEW and ROH, respectively.
All the competitors were evenly matched throughout, and they were very snug with their various offenses. Coughlin was the standout with his fundamental offense, and at one point had BHK caught with a delayed vertical suplex for a nice thirty second count before dropping him to cover for a two count. At one point, we get a Pier Six brawl, and Connors (who’s going by the nickname “wild Rhino” these days) attempts a double suplex with Fredericks, but it gets reversed and Connors gets sandwiched in between the corner turnbuckles, and BHK nails a vicious double stomp to Connors’ exposed head and neck. BHK with a tag to Rust and he unleashed a flurry of scissors kicks to the L.A. Dojo team. A Perfect Circle signature move by Rust to a Splash by Garcia on Connors and Rust covers, but the L.A. Dojo breaks the count. The Pier Six picks up again, and now Garcia is caught in the middle of the ring, and the L.A. Dojo take turns trading blows with Garcia. Fredericks hits the Manifest Destiny for the win.
Your Winners via Pinfall: Clark Connors, Karl Fredericks, and Alex Coughlin
Afterwards, both teams gather in the middle to give handshakes as a show of respect.
That was a badass match. Almost a Chingon (Spanish for “Badass”) match. So it seems appropriate the next match is “Chingona”…
Ruby Raze vs Viva Van (w/ Halston Boddy)
The former valet of Heather Monroe is now backing Van these days, and Raze was last seems in a double DQ with “The American Kaiju” Lindsay Snow. As the start of the bell, Van tried to outwrestle, but silly vixen. You can never stop a Chingona (and I should know! I’ve dealt with my cousins in Ogden, UT.)
Raze gets some heavy elbows in the corner to Van. Kincaid notes that Raze is a surfer, but tonight she is a shark in the ring. Van grabs Raze’s arm, and uses ropes to yank down on shoulder. With her dazed, she attempts to chop down Raze to size. Van focuses the majority of her offense (and uses the ropes) to yank Raze’s arm out of her socket. Afterwards, Van tries to match Raze’s power, but she starts to hulk up…errr, Chingonas up and that put a stop to that in a hurry. Raze then nails clotheslines to Van, and a German suplex the corner, and follows with double knees to cover for a two count. Raze sets up Van feet first on the ropes, but Boddy pulls Van out, and starts to walk away, as the ref has no choice but to count out.
Your Winner via Countout: Ruby Raze.
Well, hopefully the tag match will be more interesting, since it’s for the…
Defy Wrestling Tag Team Championships: Midnight Heat (“Rockin’” Ricky Gibson and “Precious” Eddie Pearl) (c) with Guy Tweakacetti vs PPRay (“Pretty” Peter Avalon & Ray Rosas)
Keneley mentions this match is sanctioned by Defy Wrestling in the Pacific Northwest, and highlights that Avalon and Rosas were originally three-time tag champs in the days of Championship Wrestling From Hollywood, and they recently reunited with wins over Reno Scum. As for the team formerly known as “4 Minutes of Heat”, with their new manager Tweakacetti (which, for a brief second I though the announced him as “Twinkie-cetti, but let’s blame that on the monotone audio), the new Midnight Heat found their way to tag gold whilst discovering their inner douchebags.
Both team had solid tag chemistry throughout, and while Avalon and Rosas tried to play mind game with the Heat members, they proved not to have lost a step as a tag team. While Heat had double team moves like their signature Back Stabbeth to cover Avalon for a two count, PPRay were ready to answer with their Smash and dash (a crossbody cover in the corner with an Avalon kick) to Pearl to cover for one, two…but Gibson breaks the hold. Rosas sends Gibson outside for a somersault senton, and Tweakacetti gets the tag belts too shove in Avalon’s face, but Tweaky comes in to the ring the hard way courtesy of Avalon, and gets super kicked for his troubles. But Tweaky’s sacrifice was not in vain as “Precious” Pearl slams a belt to Avalon’s skull, and gets the pin, in underhanded fashion.
Your Winners, and Still Defy Tag Team Champions: Midnight Heat
That was a fun match, and a fun reason to type “Tweaky.”
Now, UWN President Dave Marquez, who comes out with the UWN World title belt, and it’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for…
The United Wrestling Network World Championship Final Match: “The Dirty Daddy” Chris Dickinson vs. Mike Bennett
Ring announcer Adnan Kureishy starts with boxing-style intros…but this time to a wrestling crowd! What a difference a year and a vaccine makes, eh? The bell rings, and both men swing for the fences. Bennett and Dickinson light each other up with chops, and there is no quarter asked, and none given. The match spills outside, and Dickinson lights up Bennett with more chops. Bennett brings Dickinson back in the ring and nails drop kick to his midsection. Bennett is in control, and Dickinson gets a flying armbar by Bennett to take away any momentum he has.
Bennett picks apart the arm of the “Dirty Daddy”, but a desperation leg kick by Dickinson hobbles the OGK. Now Dickinson comes to life and nails a dragon screw leg whip to further injure his bad leg. Dickinson smells blood in the water, and uses the ropes to hyperextend Bennett’s leg more. Dickinson gets him in a STF, but Bennett crawls right away and reaches the ropes.
Bennett tries to strike his way out, but Dickinson still has power. Bennett still has a few tricks up his sleeve, as he hits an exploder suplex to cover for one, two…no. Bennett rushes at Dickinson, but his leg gives out, and Dickinson steamrolls with shoulder tackles and a suplex. Bennett goes back to the arm attack, and channels his inner Nigel McGuinness with a London Dungeon arm submission, but Dickinson is able to get to the ropes. Now Dickinson gets a wicked lariat and nails a DVD for one, two…no! Dickinson gives Bennett another DVD and then goes for the STF again, and cinches Bennett tight, and he has no choice but to tap out!
Your Winner, and the First UWN World Champion: Chris Dickinson
The newly crowned champion gets a mic, and says the following, so let turn it over to “The Dirty Daddy”:
“This is exactly why I became a professional wrestler! Thank you, Mike Bennet.”
He shakes Bennet’s hand in a show of respect, and continued on…
“There’s a lot that went into this match, [and] a lot that didn’t happen on our way to this match, but all of them are relevant now it’s because I am now *THE* United Wrestling Network World Champion.”
“It could have happened in Egypt. It could have happened in Atlanta. But, to be honest, I’m more than happy that it happened here in Los Angeles, which has become my second home. There’s been more professional wrestling that has taken my career to the next level; whether it’s promotions, events, shows, training, friends, brothers, people that become family. Things that have developed here in this city of Los Angeles and I’m forever in debt to all of you fans, and to everybody involved at this point. Nobody knows this, but before New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring of Honor, and all this stuff this last year I got a phone call last summer when I was doing nothing…except [for] GCW. God bless GCW.”
“But it’s that guy over there. He called me on the phone and told me about this, and I remember I literally was so ecstatic I screamed. It’s because it was like ‘Wow, there’s life after all.’ And since United Wrestling Network; my first match against Jordan Cruz, it’s been nothing but upward trajectory for me.”
The fans chanted “Thank You, Dave!” for David Marquez at this point in the show.
“Thank you, David. Now without further ado, I’d like to say thank you and it is an honor to be your first inaugural United Wrestling world champion!”
A solid card throughout the 2 1/2 hours. The other distraction was the audio issues throughout the show. Not sure iff because of the location at the Casino or it if was something else, the matches helped keep fan interest.
The World title match was everything as advertised and more. It was a wise choice to put the title in Dickinson, as his hard work and ring style fit well with the picture of tough wrestlers to come out of the UWN promotion.
Other highlights were Troop’s debut match, and the New Japan L.A. Dojo (specifically Coughlin) showcase star-making material down the road.
Hopefully, there will be more UWN PPV’s to recap in the future, and more interviews. So stay tuned until the next PPV!