Several years ago, I attended and covered the launch of The Urban Wrestling Federation, a PPV promotion that was built around the concept of taking the sort of urban drama seen in "The Wire" and the street credibility of hip hop music, crossing it over with professional wrestling, specifically the blood and guts, physical style that pervaded the likes of ECW and CZW.
The concept was the brain child of former ECW General Manager (as in the real type of GM, not the TV performer type) Steve Karel, who had firmly kept one foot in the hip hop world and another in the PPV world via his company Stonecutter Media. The UWF was/is very much Karel's passion project. The promotion put together a series of one hour PPVs that were solid in terms of the action but in terms of the storylines, never seemed to get across what they were trying to do as the short PPV window was, at best, too rushed for the characters and the back stories of what was going on to truly be executed correctly.
You could read between the lines and get the idea, but unless you were really understanding what they were trying to get across, it might be hard to catch up. The series of PPVs were never supposed to be a traditional PPV wrestling show but really an amalgamation of an urban drama where the beefs were resolved in a pro wrestling ring. There were allusions to the crews from different areas dealing "product", there were shootings and even murder. It was audacious and probably ahead of it's time in the scope of what they were trying to accomplish. It didn't appear to be something that the audience would be willing to embrace, it was too "out there", perhaps too niche, perhaps even too urban for the average wrestling fans.
But then Lucha Underground came along on The El Rey Network. LU was very similar to the mindset of the UWF as wrestling was the central battle zone for what was meant to be an alternative world with that world's universe having rules to that series and that presentation. A few years ago, Urban probably too unique in how it was trying tell it's stories, but in 2016, where fans are watching a product where Drago is a dragon who turns into a man to wrestle and Lucha Underground's a mix of lucha underground, grindhouse and science fiction-fantasy? Where fans can take the mythology of ancient aztecs and everything else LU has tossed at them? It may be that the rest of the world is starting to catch up with Steve Karel's crazed vision to mix hip hop thuggery and pro wrestling violence.
So, it was with great interest when I saw that it was announced that The Urban Wrestling Federation was releasing a "new" PPV, titled Bloody Bullet. There had been a tease for this last March but like shots in the night, after the initial bang, it was all silent. Besides that, after all, I had personally attended all of their tapings and no one had been booked for additional tapings, so what was "new" about this show? Why was this being touted as taking place and what did it feature? That's what I was curious about, so I took the gamble and ordered the show. Onto my report:
URBAN WRESTLING FEDERATION BLOODY BULLET
The PPV opened with a promo from hip hop star Uncle Murda, explaining that there was some hood stuff going down and "the ring is the new block" and if any of the other crews run the ring. He said if you are from NY and you aren't with them, you are going up against his crew, he's going to have his crew crush them. He said the ring is the new block, i.e. the turf to protect. He said he doesn't care where anyone is from, they are finished and said it's a "man's game now."
We then went to a recording studio where Russell “Block” Spencer, a well know veteran producer in the hip hop world, said that he was all about taking something from nothing and he's the one who brought everyone Boyz N The Hood and was not partnering with the Urban Wrestling Federation.
Inside a club, we see hip hop star Red Cafe walking through. He said he kicked in the door for the UWF and his mafia was taking over. The gloves were off.
We go to a clip of Homicide and Slyck Wagner Brown in the street. Homicide said the other crews were coming to their area and trying to get their money but they need their "bread." He said it was getting real.
Somewhere else, Red Cafe, was with Jorel and Jose, The Maximos. Cafe said the "Shakedown Mafia" was taking over. The Maximos said they control Brooklyn and if someone enters Brooklyn, you have to pay a toll. They said when one of them fights, they all fight and that they would take what they want. Cafe promised he would see the other crews "when I see you."
Back to Homicide and Brown. Homicide said that they have kids. Brown notices some of Block's "boys" rolling up and they run off to chase someone.
In a club, Block was with Murder-One and Ruckus. Ruckus said that he didn't care what crew they were going to run up against, because they were going to take it - belts, women, money, whatever. Murder-One said that no one was ready for what the South had. He said that when everyone sees the "red tracks" they will know that Atlanta was there.
We see Uncle Murda's crew and Block's crew going back to face in an empty club. They start all brawling and Homicide hiptosses Ruckus out of an elevated area through a table below.
We go to an official UWF opening, which sort of doubled as a sizzle reel that broke down the concept of the promotion - which is that all these crews from different areas were sending their soldiers to fight for them because if they could get control in the ring, it was more, legal money they could bring back to their bosses and more power that they would have to expand their personal empires. It was a pretty slick presentation and honestly, it's probably the first time we've seen that explained on a UWF PPV that I can recall.
We then see the Bloody Bullet promo.
Ruckus and Grim Reefer step off a bus. They said NYC smelled like sh**. Ruckus said they are from Atlanta and they were real motherf**ers. Ruckus said they came here to get high and beat people up and they were going to take out all the p***ies in NYC.
The Dirty Rotten Scoundrelz said they were representing East New York and Uncle Murda. They said they were the best tag team in the world and would be breaking necks and collecting checks.
Ghetto Mafia, Dope and Creed. said they were here straight for Miami to take over The Urban Wrestling Federation.
Lowlife Louie Ramos came to the ring. They were in the Hammerstein Ballroom, so this is all footage from the first PPV taping. They showed a close-up of Ramos and identified him as from East New York and part of Uncle Murda's crew. Smart idea to break that down as I remember it felt at times likes the teams all blended together since so many of them were thrown at you at the same time. If you want people to understand the concept, you have to break it down for them and I'm glad to see UWF did that here.
Ramos entered the ring and says the UWF has brought the streets to the ring. He says it’s all about Uncle Murda’s crew. Music starts playing and Ramos asked who has beef.
Murder-One(Atlanta, Block's crew) hits the ring from the crowd and attacks Ramos, destroying him with brutal chairshots to the head. Ramos is busted open. Murder One brandished a shank and started stabbing Ramos in the head and the arm. He drilled Ramos with a big boot and an Ace Crusher.
Murder One cut a promo saying he was told that New York had the hardest mother f***ers, but not today. He said that when he came to NYC, everyone was straight up rude. He boasted that he drew first blood and was doing it in the name of Atlanta. He told Murda that if he thinks he’s got a hard crew, no one has seen a hard crew until we’ve seen his and introduces Big Block with his tag team, Grim Reefer and Ruckus. Block said he was there to get that money. He said what happened to Louie was how they get down. He said he loves NYC because he's here to get his money. Ramos is carried to the back
This brought out Uncle Murda, who brought out his team, The Dirty Rotten Scoundrelz. Ruckus tried to throw a chair at EC Negro, who caught it and threw it back in the ring. Murda said this was his town and they were going to give them a NYC ass-whipping. He said that there's no place like New York and said it was time to get it popping
This brought out Brisco and his team of Ghetto Mafia, Dope and Creed. Brisco said while everyone else was out partying, he was f***ing all the Atlanta and NYC b***hes. Everyone started brawling.....so, it's.....
Ghetto Mafia vs. Dirty Rotten Scoundrelz vs. Grimm Reefer & Ruckus
All six brawled around and inside the ring. KC Blade hit a nice powerslam on one of the Mafia, Reefer and Blade chopped back and forth. Reefer missed a clothesline but nailed a secind one. Negro nailed a nice cobra clutch slam. One of the Mafia ducked a charge and Negro took a bump to the floor. One of the Mafia hit a nice pescado to the floor on everyone as they brawled. Reefer went to the top and hit a springboard flip into the chaos. Ruckus hit a backflip moonsault off the apron, followed by Reefer hitting a splash to the floor on a DRS member. He tossed Negro back into the ring and worked him over with a series of rights. Reefer hit a flying headscissors into a crippler crossface on Negro but Blade broke it up. DRS drilled Reefer with his finisher but The Mafia returned to the ring and broke up the pinfall. The fans began chanting "Let's go New York." Murda started chanting it on the mic. Mafia tried to work over Negro, who fired back against both. They nailed a variation of the old Demolition finisher on him. Ruckus and Reefer returned to the fray. Ruckus hit the Razzle Dazzle on a member of the Mafia. Reefer worked him over with chops. The Mafia made a comeback and worked over Reefer, nailing a double powerbomb into the corner. DRS attacked and threw the Mafia out of the ring. They nailed a spike reverse tombstone on Reefer. Blade played to the crowd as Negro sold an arm injury, allowing the Mafia to score the pinfall.
Your winners, The Ghetto Mafia!
A crazy brawl.
Ghetto Mafia and Brisco celebrated as they returned to the back. Someone on the mic said, this was "bullsh**" but we couldn't see. Brisco's crew returned to the back and said, "F*** NY!"
The Dirty Rotten Scoundrelz brawled to the back with Reefer and Ruckus.
Hip Hop legend Melle Mel did a promo saying he was representing Bronx to the fullest.
We went to Brisco in a recording studio. He said they kick ass and take names. He said 305 was taking over.
Hip hop star Cuban Link said he was down with the Urban Wrestling Federation. He promised they were on point and were taking names.
Melle Mel was out on a balcony somewhere with Red Cafe's crew - The SAT, Eddie Kingston and Slugga. Mel was on the phone with Red. Red told him something and he said he wasn't trying to hang out with no young kids anymore and was out cruising on the yacht these days. He told Red to tell his crew himself. Kingston took the phone and was obviously instructed to have the crew run with Melle Mel going forward.
In a car, Cuban Link joined Brisco. Brisco said that he wanted to get some help and handed Link an envelope of cash for that help. He wanted details on what Melle Mel and Red Cafe were doing helping each other. He said it was all about the UWF title and getting the power. Link said to keep their partnership on the low but when it was time to make fireworks happen, they would make it happen.
Backstage, Uncle Murda was with his team. He said that after Louie got laid out the way he did, he was going to have to do something to earn back his stripes with Murda's crew.
Melle Mel came to his crew. He said Red is out and they have to deal with it like Red's out. He said he's an OG and they are going to make that money. He wanted a status report on what was going on. Kingston explained they had several neighborhoods in The Bronx covered and just moved up to Yonkers. He said the only problem they have is Uncle Murda's crew, especially Homicide, were coming into their area and trying to take their money. Kingston said he wanted Homicide's blood on his hands and never wanted to fight someone as much as he wanted.
Uncle Murda told Homicide he was their guy to get the UWF title. He said they were here to win and get the money - the street money and the PPV money. He said he's hearing Link and Brisco are hooking up and told them to go take them out.
Back with Mel's crew, Joel Maximo said that their home area of Bushwick is shut down and nothing is coming in or out because Brisco's crew has moved in. n Mel said they were gonna move them like they were never there thanks to Slugga. Slugga told Mel he's a legend in music and on the street. He said that whatever Mel needs, he can count on Slugga. Mel said they were going to get the street money, the wrestling money and the recording money and they were going to live to spend it.
Homicide cut a promo about Eddie Kingston. He said this was his game, his hustle, his money and his show. He said he would get everything and Kingston would get nothing.
The SAT were walking through Brooklyn. Slyck Wagner Brown said they were on the wrong side of Brooklyn. He said everyone expects them to be cool because they are all from Brooklyn but when Uncle Murda has a problem, they are going to have a problem. He said he's hearing Red Cafe and Melle Mel are running together. Joel Maximo said that has nothing to do with them. They told him to go bother their boys in Miami. They told him to stop pointing fingers at them.
Melle Mel was backstage talking up Eddie Kingston. He said this was for the title and the money. He said Homicide has carjacked Kingston's entire career. He said Kingston has to prove to Mel and Red that he can get it done. He said he has to "f*** his a**." Kingston said he was tired of struggling and being compared to Homicide. He was tired of being secondary to Homicide. He said that he wants money.
UWF Title Tournament: Homicide vs. Eddie Kingston
Kingston attacked Homicide and threw him to the floor. Homicide fought back and tossed him into the rail. He went for a tope con hilo but Kingston walked away. Homicide went to the apron and nailed a flip off to the floor on Kingston.
They chopped the hell out of each other oin the floor. Homicide tossed him back in the ring and nailed a running knee to the prone Kingston in the corner. He nailed a Facewash. Kingston was placed on the top rope but tried to scrape his way out. Homicide got the better of the exchange and tossed him into the ring. Homicide and Melle Mel started going at it, jawing with the other so Homicide ripped at Kingston's face, holding him in front of Mel.
Kingston made a comeback and nailed a gourd buster. He ripped at Homicide's face and stomped on his chest. Homicide tried to fight back but ate a thumb to the eye. Kingston chopped away at him in the corner. Homicide fought back and slammed him into the buckles. Homicide nailed a running clothesline but was caught and slammed into the mat.
Kingston locked on a waistlock, trying to wear Homicide down. Homicide began to fight his way to his feet and reversed Kingston into a pinning combination for a two count. Kingston slipped out and cinched in a side chinlock. He whipped Homicide into the corners. The second time Homicide grabbed his arm and went down. Kingston scissored Homicide's body with his legs, trying to force a submission. Homicide made it to the ropes and help Kingston's leg as he went to the floor, slamming his leg over the apron.
They battled on the floor. Homicide ran a section of the barricade into Kingston's chest and then threw it atop of him. They battled back to the ring. Kingston went for the rapid fire chops in the corner but they only fired Homicide up. Homicide nailed several leaping forearm smashes in the corner. He went for another but was caught with a Yakuza kick. This is good stuff!
Kingston avalanched him in the corner. He whipped Homicide to the opposite corner but was caught with a drop toehold when he charged. Homicide slammed him and nailed a flying headbutt off the top for a two count. Homicide nailed a hangman's neckbreaker for another two cout. He went for an Ace Crusher but was sent into the corner and nailed with a backdrop driver. Homicide kicked up at two.
Kingston caught Homicide with a lariat but again, Homicide kicked up. Kingston was getting frustrated. He made his way to the ropes but was caught by Homicide. Homicide nailed the Ace Crusher out of the corner and the Gringo Killer. He covered Kingston for the pin.
Your winner, Homicide!
Very good match
Uncle Murda boated about Homicide's win as they headed to the back.
Outsidde of the Hammerstein Ballroom, Murda said Homicide whipped his a** and they were the champions of this sh**. Homicide said they were sending out a warning that it was Brooklyn all day, every day. He said everyone should worry about Homicide and Uncle Murda. Murda said everyone else was a non-factor
Backstage, Kingston swore this was all far from over and that he was still standing.
The show closed with a video montage on Uncle Murda's crew.
So what was all this?
The show was absolutely new material and it wasn't. I'm sure that sounds insane but here is what it was. It was footage that was filmed around the time of the first taping that had never been used or seen before and the matches were re-edited to feature more material and more of an organic, real feeling of what happened before, during and after the matches in the venue. The show didn't feel as rushed as it had in the past and if anything, it was probably easier for someone to walk in and understand what the concept was, especially after they saw the sizzle reel, which probably should have just opened the show. Homicide vs. Kingston was a great match and a lot of fun The three way tag was a good brawl. The concepts of the company may not be for everyone but if they ever find the right backer or partner, it's so unique that it could catch on in a major way for the audience it's being aimed at. Lucha Underground is produced for a certain audience and network in mind. Certainly there are outlets that Urban could potentially click with, especially if they wanted to invest money into showcasing the concept in a grander presentation.
Overall though it's still a pretty damn good and different hour of pro wrestling programming.
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