First Posted: 1/15/2009
Getting tossed over the top rope is one way to get off the streets. It might also be one way outta St. Pauls.
A group of local young people has established its own wrestling league, Ultimate Championship Wrestling (UCW), as a way of getting youngsters off the mean and sometimes dead-end streets and into a structured, supportive business environment.
The group will present “Ultimatum,” its first pay for admission event this Saturday, August 26th at 6:30 pm. The UCW fundraiser will be held at the Salvation Army gym on Russell Street in downtown Fayetteville. Admission is $5 per person, with children under 8 being admitted for $3.
“It’s our first, big, indoor event,” said Mike Reynolds, “and we’re excited for several reasons. First, people can get to see the moves we’ve been practicing, they’ll get to support an effort as it gets off the ground, and they’ll get to see some good wrestling.
“Ultimatum will feature six matches, with Ghost, Mr. Extreme Carlton, Dark Warrior, Sam Cook, Cammo, Mr. Nice Guy, Spin, Lotus, ArcAngel, Hot Shot, J2H, Poyzen and Reaper. They will be competing for championship titles, including Extreme Champion, Internet Champion, Ireland Champion and The Ultimate Champion. It should be a whole lot of fun and excitement.”
Mr. Reynolds, a St. Pauls native now serving in the Marine Corps, said the local interest in wrestling has grown steadily from backyard fun.
“We began in 1999, as a backyard sport. We did so to give kids an opportunity to do something organized and fun. I knew the high school sports did not appeal to every student, and I knew some of them were attracted to wrestling. These are probably not the biggest, fastest athletes, but we work with them to get them into shape and then into the ring.
“We began as six neighborhood kids, who enjoyed ‘wrestlin’ on a thick, red mat. We practiced moves, and we got better. I decided I wanted this to be something more than horseplay. I also wanted people to be able to come out and watch us and enjoy us doing what we were doing and what we were enjoying.
“I talked to Mr. Brown of High-Spots.com and arranged to buy a wrestling ring for $5,800. Then we talked to other young men and decided to practice all week and then have family and friends come and watch us perform.
“Next,” Mr. Reynolds said, “we started a website (www.freewebs.com/ucw_semipros1) to help get the word out. Our next move was to recruit Joe Wooten, a former ACPW wrestler, who had experience but who’d been out of the ring two or three years, and he expressed an interest in wrestling without pay (as we all do) and in helping us learn. He was impressed with our determination and our dedication. He’s the one who got us booked into the Salvation Army gym.
“We’re very excited about this. While it’s not exactly the big time, it’s pretty big time for a bunch of guys who used to horseplay on the ground in the backyard. Now we’ve got a rope to throw an opponent over!”