The Urban Wrestling Federation (UWF), a new professional wrestling entertainment league started by Steve Karel, one of the original producers of Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), will debut its first pay-per-view special on Sunday, June 26. What differentiates the UWF from other professional wrestling enterprises is that it seeks to truly merge hip-hop music and culture with a brand of wrestling that's less concerned with being family friendly, and more concerned with in-your-face, uncensored action. The league is also extremely diverse; one insider approximated the league's makeup as "40 percent black, 40 percent Hispanic, and 20 percent white."
UWF owner, founder, and CEO Steve Karel told HispanicBusiness.com that he's "excited to bring the fans of hip-hop music and culture the first-ever wrestling brand that plays to their passions."
He further explained: "This is raw, gritty and true to the streets. The action inside the ring is top-notch and world-class. I would even say much more exciting than what you see on either of the two national wrestling products currently. Beyond the incredible wrestling, for us it is the out-of-ring action, which is very over-the-top and aggressive, that separates the Urban Wrestling Federation from all else. WWE has targeted families with their attempt to be PG. The UWF product is absolutely not that. It is TV-14 for language and violence and the pay-per-view events definitely fall in that category. We're blending the worlds of hip-hop and wrestling for the first time and are confident that there is success to be had with fans of both entertainment forms."
Importantly, Karel notes that the UWF is specifically catering to English-speaking Hispanics. Much of the Hispanic/Latino-oriented professional wrestling product on the market today is in Spanish, and classic Lucha Libre style. While that product has proven its worth, Karel believes there is a market for Hispanic fans of wrestling in the American tradition.
"With the hip-hop names we have, including New York's Cuban Link, who used to be part of the Terror Squad Camp and was the protege of the legendary Big Pun, to the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Melle Mel, to some of the hottest rappers today like Uncle Murder, Brisco (Cash Money), Billy Blue (Poe Boy), and G-Unit-affiliated 40 Glocc, this is delivering real true hood or barrio life, not just some wrestling writer's take on it," said Karel. "Someone described the show as 'Grand Theft Auto' coming to life in the wrestling ring. I think that fits it very well."
Karel points to the approximately 40 percent Hispanic roster, "much larger than any other U.S. wrestling company," which comprises recognizable superstars as well as up-and-coming talents.
"Among the more recognizable names are former WWE superstar Rich Ortiz -- who was known as Ricky Ortiz on WWE's 'Smackdown' program, former 'TNA Wrestling on SpikeTV' star Homicide, former 'Ring of Honor' standouts Ricky Reyes and the SAT, and from Mexico's AAA lucha libre promotion, which airs on Galavision here in the states, Bestia. We've also got a number of young, hungry regional breakout stars who will performing on a national stage for the first time on the UWF Pay-Per-Views, including guys like Eddie Carnage, Bandito and BC Killer. These guys are going to perform never-before-seen moves and stunts that are going to leave people talking in disbelief!"
UWF's "First Blood" airs nationally on Pay Per View Sunday, June 26 at 8 p.m. EDT/5 p.m. PDT. Check out the trailer below:
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