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Urban Empire Wrestling:
The Legacy Begins

Wrestling is a sport that doesn't always reward the innovators. Workers like Karl Gotch and Lanny Poffo were years ahead of the game, and while they had followings, they weren't rewarded with titles or huge pushes. I hope that this fate does not befall Urban Empire Wrestling, as the in-ring product they present on their DVD, The Legacy Begins, is absolutely some of the best wrestling in the world.

The concept behind Urban Empire Wrestling is a smart one: take wrestlers off the indy circuit that will appeal to the young, urban demographic and have them work off the chart matches with each other. The wrestlers are some of the top high spot artists in the world: Sonny Siaki, 1990s Super Indy God Mike Quackenbush, Julio Dinero, Sonjay Dutt, and Qenaan Creed. These guys are all top-notch athletes who can all work above the heads of ninety percent of the world's wrestlers.

Exceptional matches are admittedly hurt to a degree by the small audience. The matches still look amazing, each with a strong build and a smart chain of moves. The opening match, featuring Creed and Ruckus, was very strong and long. Sonny Siaki, who the WWE should be getting a hold of very soon, was about as good as you're going to find regularly wrestling in America. He has an excellent style that works power moves in with mart high spots. He reminds me of many of the Mexican Wrestlers who stayed in Mexico instead of coming to the US when Lucha was all hot in the late 1990s. These wrestlers worked a style that was incredibly fast-paced, but made sense.

Julio Dinero, who I think could be a HUGE star given a little bit of time and a serious push, shines in his match with Mikey Quackenbush. Every match in the tourney is at least very good, but there are a couple that just go far beyond anything you're likely to see on a regular wrestling video.

The downside is the commentary. The three announcers, the luscious Tyi Flood, Keith "From up the block" and DJ Omega (who also provides UEW's official soundtrack) aren't bad, as they seem to try to keep up with things, but they fall apart and at times seem to be more of a morning radio program than a wrestling announcing team. I understand what they are trying to do, and it does speak to their desired demographic, but it does distract a bit from the matches at times. There are some moments where it works, especially when they get more into calling the matches than going on about exterior topics.

This crew could work if they had a Mike Tennay, Joey Styles, or Jim Ross-type play-by-play to carry the important of the matches while the others added the humor and gave the event the pitch that they need to achieve. There were a few miscalled moves, which doesn't hurt too much for the casual fan, but can seriously damage the long-term effect of certain moves if they are not consistently called.

There is a freestyle MC battle in the middle of the DVD, and Mary Sweet Mother of God, I dug it. Normally I would be annoyed to have this crowbarred into the middle of a wrestling DVD, but it works so well with the attitude, and the drops are just so damn solid that I can not complain at all.

The star of the package for me is Sonjay Dutt. He busts out the most amazing moves and seems to work effortlessly. He's a huge star on the East Coast scene, and unfortunately, he's also in what I believe to be the shortest of the matches on the DVD. Still, for the Royal Octopus Variations that he pulls out of what look to be spinning headscissors, I dip my hat to him.

UEW is a promotion that should make a big impact once they get regular syndication. With talent of this level, they should be able to compete by providing an alternative for many types of fans: those who are in it for the wrestling, those who are in it for the spectacle, and those who are in it for the personalities.

While it's always hard to enter into a cage with an 800 pound gorilla like Vince McMahon, UEW could easily carve a niche for itself. And it should do it soon, as the world is ready for what they have to offer. Be sure to check out www.urbanempirewrestling.com to learn all about UEW and to order this DVD that may just end up being the first of a legendary cycle.

Chris Garcia


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