At the end of January I was finally able to attend a wrestling event outside of my hometown area of Miami. I ventured up to New Port Richey, a suburb of Tampa, to attend Uproar‘s 2015 kickoff event – First Stike.
While I had seen the majority of the roster wrestle at different promotions, I was excited to see what a new town and a promotion ran by different people was capable of. To much of my enjoyment Mark Karoftis and company delivered a hell of a show.
The venue was sold out before the doors opened and limited standing room only seats were available. Many of the fans crowded near the doors of the Verizon Event Center eager to get in. Uproar has set out to build a name for itself in Central Florida and in my opinion, they have done a damn good job.
Lince Dorado and Mikaze vs Worst Case Scenario
If there is any other way to start a night of wrestling off, I don’t want to know what it is. Always impressive with their high flying abilities Mikaze and Dorado put on a show. Mikaze even managed to make a mockery of Worst Case Scenario when he pulled his face mask up, covering his eyes yet continued to duck punches and kicks. Worst Case Scenario finally had enough of the games and used the size advantage to double team Mikaze, stomping him repeatedly. Although Mikaze and Dorado would mount a come back and even hit impressive high flying moves, Worst Case Scenario was able to us their size to silence the two high flyers and claim the victory.
Grade – A
I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, Mikaze never disappoints. All four men put on a great opener for the sold out crowd and definitely energized the building. Plus you can’t go wrong when a team enters to Dire Straits.
Sever vs. Aron Agony
This match was pretty much over before it even had a chance. Agony came out first and began to address the crowd as he went on making remarks the lights went out. When power was restored to the Verizon Event Center, Sever was there in the ring waiting for him. Though he usually puts on impressive high paced matches Agony was no match for the sheer brute force of Sever. The only way one could describe this match is watch Bane dismantling Batman in the Dark Knight Rises if Batman was 5’10” and 155 lbs.
Grade – B
Nothing crazy to write home about but Sever’s strength and fierceness definitely made for an entertaining 2 minutes.
Oliver Cain vs. Leo Brien
This match was an interesting one. Brien has a huge size advantage over Cain however Cain was able to use a combination of his in-ring ability and his loud mouthed manager Evan Starsmore to create some momentum during the match. Brien started this match looking to put Cain down fast but it seemed that Cain had no interest in locking up and would slide out of the ring every time Brien advanced. Eventually the ref had enough of Starsmore’s presence and he was banned from ringside. Cain and Brien went back and forth trading blows but in the end Brien’s size advantage was too much as he delivered a running power slam and put Cain down for the three count.
Grade – B
I’ll be honest. Based on the size difference alone, I wasn’t expecting much from this match but was pleasantly surprised. Both wrestlers used their different stregnths to their advantage but much like Highlander, in the end there can only be one.
Justine Silver vs. Luscious Latasha
The featured ladies match of the night gave us Silver vs Latasha. The ladies had a very back and forth match. While it was a decent match, nothing really stood out from it. I will say that Silver was very methodical in her movements and ultimately used her in ring skills to capitalize on Latasha and pick up the victory.
Grade – C+
As I’ve stated before both put on a decent match but there was nothing to really stand out and grab my attention. Both ladies look to have a lot of promise so I wouldn’t mind seeing them wrestle again.
Team Lucha (Cruz and Rios) vs. TNT (Terrell & Terrence) (w/Devon Dudley)
Hands down this was the match of the night. Seeing Cruz and Rios a few months earlier taking on T.E.C.H. in South Florida, I knew I was in store for a great match. What I didn’t know was that TNT are Devon Dudley’s sons and it was their first match together! Both teams put on a remarkable match showing great abilities in technical wrestling as well as high flying moves. Both teams wanted this match bad and it showed, but in the end Team Lucha would seal the victory over TNT. Post match, Devon came out to not only show respect to his sons and their superb performance in their first match but also to Team Lucha declaring that the four men were “the future of wrestling.“
Grade – A+
Nothing short of a perfect match. I always expect great matches from Cruz and Rios but my hat goes off to TNT. If no one had told me, I wouldn’t have had any idea that it was their first match. They wrestled like veterans and I see great things in all four men’s futures.
Uproar Pro Wrestling Rookie Battle Royal
Aside from putting on a great show every few months Uproar also runs a wrestling developmental program. Under the tutelage of head trainer Jay Lethal they’ve put forth a great effort in training the next generation of quality wrestlers. As the rookies fought hard to eliminate each other it was clear that they had done a great job training these already talented athletes. Most memorable parts of this match for me was Troy Hollywood hitting one of the rookies coming off the top rope with what I can only describe as a flying horizontal corkscrew kick to the head, and Eric Curtis who ran into the thick of things and proceeded to hit stunners on every wrestler in the ring.
Grade – A
Very impressed with what Jay Lethal and Mark Karoftis have done training young wrestlers and I saw quite a few that should be very impressive in the coming years.
Edward Malken and Shawn Prime vs. Misled Youth (Jude Mackenzie and Josh Rayne)
Another great group of individual wrestlers coming together and putting on one hell of a tag match. Unlike the Team Lucha/TNT match earlier, this one was less high flying action and more hard hitting violence. This feud had been brewing for quite some time and it was extremely apparent that these guys hated each other. Back and forth this match went with neither team being able to put down the other for the win. As the match was declared a no contest, you could see the combination of exhaustion and frustration on all four men’s faces. They continued brawling up the ramp and into the backstage area, fighting hard and yet all looking like they were ready to collapse. Something tells me, this war isn’t over.
Grade – A
Misled Youth was Uproar’s 2014 Tag Team of the Year and you could see why with this match – they work great in tandem. Equally impressive was the team of Prime and Malken. Prime may not be the most agile but his ring psychology is second to none. Malken delivered again as a humorous persona (see the Nippleplex) and great grappler this was a great outing for him as well.
Eddie Graves (with Trina Michaels) vs. Torcher
For the main event of the evening we saw Graves take on Torcher in hopes of gaining the Uproar Championship Belt that had recently been vacated. Graves was clearly outsized by the fire blowing big man but still managed to use his speed to avoid letting Torcher get the upper hand. Torcher looked like he would be able to silence Graves but Trina Michaels provided the distraction and gave Graves just enough of a window to gain the upper hand on Torcher and put him down for the three count. Graves boasted post match but Nick Thorn emerged to let Graves know that he had not won the belt but rather secured a prime spot in the 20-man Battle Royal taking place at Danger Zone on April 11th. Lets just say, Graves and his manager were not pleased.
Grade – B
Solid showing for Graves with the always unpredictable Michaels who seems to have a knack for letting her presence known to anyone that fights one of her clients. Torcher may still get his hands on Graves as he will also be in the Battle Royal at Danger Zone. We’ll know for sure come Saturday.
Overall Grade: A-
I was thoroughly impressed with the entire show from the promotion to the crowd and the matches this was the epitome of everything I enjoy about wrestling.
All photos by Speedy’s Productions
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