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The Godfather
Staff member
Mar 17, 1988

(CUTTO: A spotlight shines on a large trophy. The shot shows the immensity of the man-sized trophy, then zooms in to show the intricacy. Finally small gold plaques are visible with a list of champions. Interspersed with the shots of the trophy are old clips, clearly not in HD. A voiceover begins with a very familiar voice we haven’t heard in a while. The first clip shows a long-haired man with the figure four leglock cinched in on an older man. The series of clips gets clearer, more modern, until the final clip shows slow motion of man coming off the top rope with a moonsault into an Arabian facebuster on his opponent. The crowd is going wild in the background as the pin is counted.)

BILL BUCKLEY: (V/O) Twenty years ago, an open invitational tournament took the CSWA from being a regional promotion to a national entity. The search for the “Ultimate Champion” was once a yearly test, an annual feat of grandeur that brought the best wrestlers in the world together for a chance for glory.

Twenty years later, the ULTRATITLE Tournament has returned, and it looks to live up to his name. Even if you’ve had your head under a rock, it is impossible not to know the name of at least one of these participants. The original CSWA World Champion from 1988 and two-time ULTRATITLE Tournament winner, Joey Melton, has come out of retirement. Eli Flair has done the same, stepping back into the ring after a fifteen-plus career that saw him carry both the FWO and CSWA World Championships.

The list goes on and on, with the best of the last four decades signing up, from the 80s to this decade. Current superstar leagues like NFW, EPW, ACW, DEFIANCE, IWF and so many others are being represented along side brand new promotions like INFINITE. Circuits like the PWA, AoWF and CWC all have wrestlers who have answered the call to step in the ring and test their mettle – to stand up and name themselves the best in the world.

There have always been tournaments. There have always been championships. But there is no tournament with the pedigree of ULTRATITLE. It’s gone as high as 256 competitors. In 1996, it was used to fill the vacant UNIFIED World Championship. In 2005 and 2007 the NFW put a roll call of champions through a grueling season-long struggle with the ULTRATITLE as the ultimate prize.

Twenty years later the call went out, and once again, it has been answered. Starting tonight the road to the ULTRATITLE begins. At the end, the Ultimate Champion stands alone.

Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Bill Buckley here on ESEN, and this is the 2012 ULTRATITLE Tournament!

(CUE: “Survivalism” by Nine Inch Nails)
I got my propaganda
I got revisionism
I got my violence
In hi-def ultra realism

All a part of this great nation
I got my fist
I got my plan
I got survivalism

BUCKLEY: The wrestling world sat up and took notice just three weeks ago when the ULTRATITLE Tournament was announced. We have had a tournament to decide the champion since the late 1990s. The NFW ceased using the ULTRATITLE Championship and the lease reverted back to former CSWA co-founder and owner Chad Merritt, who has partnered with ESEN and its partner leagues to present the tournament. Let’s take a look back at the announcement just four weeks ago today.


(CUTTO: The lobby of CS Enterprises in Greensboro, NC. The office tower sitting next door to the Merritt Auditorium hasn't seen this much activity in years. It's a little like the Wonka factory opening to the public as the press mills around and a few wrestling smarks hang around outside on the sidewalk trying to see what's going on. They know something's up, just as sure as if they saw smoke coming from the building.

A podium sits in the center of a small dais. The wall behind it has a blue banner draped over it, covering the spot where a giant CSWA logo hung on the wall. The press are gathered in the space in front of the dais; behind them a large fountain in the center of the massive room gurgles quietly. But any noise carries here -- the room is open for three stories and enclosed in glass. The bustle of activity seen in the hallways above is minute compared to the "good ol' days."

CS Enterprises has felt the sting of the financial recession like everyone else. But the real reason for all the cuts was the loss of the CSWA was back in 2008. The Hacker debacle still sours everything here: you can almost taste it on the tongue -- sharp, metallic, biting. This used to be a place of wrestling magic -- the CSWA Hall of Fame is still open to the public in the adjacent wing, but it's just nostalgia now.

Half the press is bored to tears, here only because a press conference was announced and their sports or entertainment editors sent them out. For others this used to be a key part of their beat -- they crowd together and whisper, waiting to see what it could be. Is the CSWA coming back? Is CS Enterprises shutting down entirely -- abandoning the holdings in entertainment and music they still have? Is the ESEN/FWrestling partnership ending?

A small, older woman steps to the podium. A few of the older press recognize her as Marsha, the long-time, long suffering executive assistant for whoever the acting executive of the CSWA was at the time -- either Merritt or Thomas most days. She makes a quick announcement with little fanfare. CS Enterprises CEO and former CSWA President Chad Merritt steps up to the podium -- no music, no hoohah.)

MERRITT: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming. I know it's been a long time since we did one of these. In fact, I honestly didn't think I'd ever be involved in one again. My life for the last several years has been outside this company and this business. As we all know now, that was likely one of the reasons that things ended up the way they did with the CSWA. No one's hand was on the tiller and that left an opening for our enemies.

But that's neither here nor there. This announcement isn't about the CSWA, but about a piece of history nonetheless. CS Enterprises may not own the CSWA any longer, but we do still have active interests in professional wrestling. You all know about our FWrestling.com site and partnership with ESEN, including our back library of CSWA and other league content.

Several years ago we leased the ULTRATITLE Championship to our friends at NFW. Mr. Miles and company added to the legacy of the title at the time. That lease has ended and the ULTRATITLE has reverted back to me.

For those of you that don't know, the ULTRATITLE was the key part of the expansion of this company and the CSWA as far back as 1992. It has an incredible history that was always focused around being inclusive -- looking for the best wrestlers around the world and giving them a chance to compete on a global stage. The ULTRATITLE is about finding the "Ultimate Champion." And as of today, it's back.

Beginning later this month, FWrestling.com and ESEN will serve as the media outlets for a series of events focused around the ULTRATITLE Tournament. We expect to host a field of 64 of the best wrestlers in the world, competing in a tournament to find today's best wrestling champion. Early rounds will be presented live on ESEN, with some of the channel's best talent serving as commentators and announcers as we watch the world's best wrestling.

The winner of the tournament will receive the ULTRATITLE Championship (he gestures to a large trophy, taller than him being brought out by two employees) and a cash prize of a half million dollars sponsored by ESEN and CS Enterprises (OORP: $100 in real life). I look forward to advancing the ULTRATITLE legacy and expect this to my last hurrah in the world of professional wrestling before I officially retire back to the Caymans.

Good luck to all the competitors and congratulations to all the fans who get to see it unfold on ESEN. My thanks to all the other wrestling executives who have committed time, effort and talent to this, including Craig Miles and Dan Ryan. Thanks to all of you for joining us today for this special announcement.

(Merritt steps down from the podium as the buzz intensifies.)



Greensboro, North Carolina.
April 6th, 2012.

The CS Enterprises Tower was thirty floors, filled with a myriad of creative and media endeavors. CS Enterprises, Inc. had its hand in music, both recording and distribution; motion picture post production, and a highly talented computer graphics department.

It also used to be the headquarters for the most influential professional wrestling promotion in the world.

Everything is controlled from the penthouses. The thirtieth floor contains three offices: one for Chad Merritt, one for Stephen Thomas, and one for the CS Enterprises Chief of Security, Mr. Gethard.

At least it had: during Merritt's exile, Thomas had the wall between their offices knocked down and extended, so the top floor is an anteroom with their long-suffering secretary Marsha's desk, a glorified broom closet for Gethard, and an office that's bigger than most split-level condos.

It was a strange hierarchy that the organization held: the higher in status you were, the higher floor your office was on. Twenty-eight was the highest floor for the non-CS personnel, as the twenty-ninth floor was a gigantic press room.

"Stupid elevator."

This was a fact that was currently annoying the crap out of Ivy Lillian McGinnis. She was proud of her 28th Floor office, and was glad that she had a small exercise room off her main office, it made it easier to stick to her schedule when the native of Queens, New York went south.

Finally, the elevator opened. She stepped forward, and immediately stopped. The elevator was filled to the brim with journalists and photographers, some of whom took photographs of the sweaty, unkempt woman.

"Great," said Ivy, to the empty hallway.

After another few minutes, the elevator stopped in front of her again. She prepared to step inside, but once again, the elevator was full.

And there were more pictures.

Woe to the architect who gave a thirty floor office building just two elevators, and woe to whoever it was who broke the other.

Finally, an empty elevator opened in front of her, and Ivy stepped inside. Her hand reached for the lobby button, but she paused.

Two elevators full of reporters, her brain reminded her.

She stepped outside and walked to the staircase. It was only one flight up to the conference area and even though she'd waited for a long time for the elevator, the stairs were necessary for health reasons. At thirty-seven years old she was still a fit, attractive woman, but she intended on working as hard as she could to stay that way. Her six-year old son hadn't helped matters when she was pregnant, but keeping up with a hyperactive child did in fact work wonders.

By the time Ivy opened the heavy double doors to the conference area, the room was cleared of all sign of the press conference, except for two people at the opposite end. There was a woman holding two folding chairs, and a man with his hands full of papers watching her.

"Excuse me, Commissioner," said Ivy, her voice carrying, "But how is it you managed to shrug off your Howard Hughes style isolation for a press conference without attracting the attention of the entire entertainment industry?"

"McGinnis," said the man, "I thought that was you, I saw your car in the parking lot."

Ivy rolled her eyes as she approached. "That wasn't funny when I was twenty-two, Merritt, and it isn't funny now."

"Thank you, Marsha," said the man - Chad Merritt, "Just the two chairs if you don't mind."

Merritt's long-suffering secretary out of the room, Ivy sat in the front row of the conference room. "So what's going on?" she asked, "Another semi - talented band you signed because someone told you they were the next big thing? I'm telling you, sir, if you don't actually listen to music you shouldn't be involved in the creative process of getting these guys recorded."

"No, no," replied Merritt, "I'm smart enough these days to keep my nose out of the various moving parts of the Enterprise that I don't understand. From what I understand we're pretty far in the black for the fiscal year on that strategy."

"We are," agreed Ivy, "So if you're not doing anything that you don't know in and out... what was the press conference all about?" She laughed. "I mean, the only thing you're really good at understanding is..."

Her words trailed off as her eyes met Merritt's. He raised an eyebrow and smirked.

"You're not," she said.

"Not what?"

"Bringing it back. The CSWA, I mean. We don't have any of the old contacts, the U-62 deal is as dead as the channel, and everything that went down at the last PRIMETIME, I can't--"

"Ivy," interrupted Merritt.


"Shut up."

Merritt - and Eli - were the only two people who were ever able to get away with telling her to do that.

"So what's the deal then," she asked, "and if it does involve the business, when were you gonna tell me?"

"One word, one guess," said Merritt.

"One word... ULTRATITLE," replied Ivy.

"See?" asked Merritt, "That MIT education is still paying off for you."

"Hah, hah," said Ivy, "So you're gonna run an ULTRATITLE, huh? Is this the start of something grand? Have you been talking to Mayfield and Ryan about ESEN?"

Merritt gestured to the double doors, and they walked through them. "Not a word," he said, "though I might need to get Ryan involved since he's still holding onto the UNIFIED Title belt. As far as the start of something grand, if everything goes absolutely perfectly - and I mean everything - then there's a possibility. If not..."

She stopped at the door. "If not?"

"Then this is going to be a fitting book-end. Going out the way we came in - on top."

Ivy nodded. "There's a symmetry to that, I like it. So what can I do?"

"You?" asked Merritt, pressing the elevator button, "You don't work for the CSWA anymore, do you?"

"Give me twenty minutes with my computer and I will be."

"We've changed the security protocols in the past month."

"Who do you think Rudy and Marvin asked to help them with it?"

Merritt shook his head. "We can't actually get rid of you, can we?"


He smiled at her and gave her a one - handed hug as the elevator door opened. "Actually, there's two things I could use from you if you're willing," he said as they stepped inside.

"Shoot," replied Ivy.

The elevator shot up one flight to the penthouse, and Merritt held the door for his visitor. "For some reason you do two things really, really well: you keep in touch with the boys and you stir up trouble."

"I thought you wanted my help?" asked Ivy, threatening to leave but not really.

"Whatever you could do to get some buzz on this thing - it's been what, almost five years now since the CSWA, and CS Enterprises had any kind of name whatsoever in professional wrestling? We need to get people talking about this if we're going to be able to attract the talent and book the brackets. And since you do still have contact with a ton of the boys, do you think you could make some calls?"

"So you want me to hit the blogs and the net radio and get people all in a tizzy?" she asked, "And then turn around and ask pretty please, will you come compete?"

"Exactly," replied Merritt.

"I can do that," said Ivy. "There was something else?"

Merritt hesitated at his office door. "This one, I don't know about."

Ivy folded her arms. "I don't have all day to wait, Merritt."

"Is there... any chance you can convince... him to make a comeback for this?"

Him... "To wrestle for you? To go back on the road for six months? To essentially tell his daughter that Daddy is going away again?"

She thought about it. "To actually have the chance to win one of these things? Yeah... I think I can convince him."

"Great," replied Merritt, "I have faith in you."

"I can get him here too," said Ivy.

"Just work on the hype and the old man," said Merritt, "and the rest will fall into place."

Ivy nodded and shook his hand, and turned back toward the elevator. Merritt entered his office and started to let the door close, but at the last minute he grabbed it and held it open.

"Ivy," he said, as the elevator arrived.

"What's up?" asked Ivy, stepping inside and holding the door.

"Whether this is the last hurrah or not, it's going to be something that we'll never forget. I'm glad you were here this week so I could tell you about it firsthand."

She cocked her head to the side.

"And I'm glad you're here to be a part of it," he finished.

Now she smiled.

"Any time, Merritt."

After all, this was home.


BUCKLEY: Wrestling fans, it’s my pleasure to have you here for an event unlike any other the sport as we here at ESEN cover SIXTY-FOUR first round matches. Tonight we’ve got look at those in unassumingly-named Bracket One. Those matches take place here in Greensboro, North Carolina, just next door at the Merritt Auditorium, as well as at Hobart Arena in Troy, Ohio. We have sixteen matches to cover as ESEN bounces you between sites. Other Round 1 matches will take place over the course of the week to whittle the field down to 64 contenders.

The pundits have been out in force, both here on ESEN and elsewhere, to make their predictions and give their thoughts. The only thing guaranteed is that no one knows exactly what is going to happen over the next several nights. This field has any number of up-and-coming superstars, balanced with a field of household names. We have rookie pro wrestlers who may have to meet up with twenty-year veterans. From promising rookies to the last Unified World Champion, this field is absolutely and undeniably stacked.

On that note, let’s send it next door where my long-time colleagues STAN PARSONS and RUDY SEITZER have the call in the Merritt Auditorium.


The two men engaged in a straight up brawl that lasted for about five minutes with the ref having little ability to maintain order in the ring. Finally the action spilled out to the floor where the two men continued to fight and the ref gave a ten-count that neither man cared about as they kept trading blows until they both found themselves tossed out of the ULTRATITLE Tournament. An inauspicious beginning.



Tarrasque opened the match with a hyper violent offense, working the neck of the giant clown and scoring near falls with a series of strikes and running attacks, but Allen held on and began a comeback of his own, beating down the seemingly unstoppable Tarrasque and scoring a series of two counts for himself, but failing to find the finishing blow against his opponent.

Tarrasque rallied and attempted to secure a grip on Allen’s neck, but Allen fought free and then hit a Murder-Go-Round on Tarrasque but even that wasn’t enough to drop the madman, who kicked out. Allen kept putting the hammer down, landing two more Murder-Go-Rounds and finally did enough damage to put Tarrasque away. After the match there were unconfirmed reports that FBI agents had arrived at the arena in connection with a man who had been thrown into the path of a speeding bus recently.

WINNER: “JESTER” CHAD ALLEN (Murder Go Round 3x > Pin) at 13:21


Andrews put on an incredible display in this match, keeping the good Doctor off balance with a mix of holds, strikes and counters that kept Andrews in control and pouring on the pressure from the opening bell. Curiosity attempted to make comebacks but was constantly cut off by Andrews who finally hit an Ultraglide top rope Senton to score the fall and move on to the round of 64.

WINNER: JEFF ANDREWS (Ultraglide > Pin) at 8:30


This was a fierce battle as the two men fought a mostly technical contest for the first ten minutes of the match, wrist locks and headlocks were countered and reversed, submission attempts were made and neither man was able to get an advantage, finally a brutal running knee by Maverick swung the match solidly in his favor.

Maverick landed a series of suplexes and other high impact moves trying to secure a finish but Voss kept fighting his way out of the pins and then he avoided a corner charge and really turned the tide of battle in his favor with a series of big strikes and slams of his own, and then landed a vDriver II to secure the victory in this spirited contest.

WINNER: JUSTIN VOSS (vDriver II > pin) at 22:19

BUCKLEY: We’re four matches in and we’ve already seen wrestlers with incredibly different styles and backgrounds. And we’ve already got an open spot in the tournament due to the double count-out in the first match. We’ve received word from Chad Merritt’s office that tournament officials will select a “Lucky Loser” at the close of the first round. That first-round loser will get a second chance into the tournament and will be matches up against “Jester” Chad Allen, who was dominant in his match.

Action in Greensboro will continue, but right now let’s head down for the start of the festivities in Troy, Ohio! A big ESEN welcome to my son, Billy Buckley, Jr.

BUCKLEY JR: We are live in front of 5,000 screaming fans at the Hobart Arena in the beautiful Midwestern city of Troy, Ohio, home of one of the United States most decorated high school football programs and the only small town city in America with such a big time arena. After weeks of anticipation and even longer negotiations to host a subset of this ULTRATITLE Tournament, this small town is indeed about to get a big city dose of the greatest wrestling on either side of the Mississippi. The fans have already been entertained by indy promotions Dynamic Championship Wrestling, Ohio Championship Wrestling & Bizarro Live Wrestling, but they have waited all night for this once in a lifetime opportunity.


The two-time winner of the ULTRATITLE was in full nostalgic mode as he came out, clad in sequins and Meatloaf blaring. I wish he wouldn’t do that. Ethan Archer waited in the ring, suitably terrified -- OR SO WE THOUGHT. Archer dives at Melton’s knee while his back is turned, making Melton stumble briefly. Melton turns around while Archer is trying to take him to the mat, however and leans over, twisting Archer onto his back where Melton rolls through and immediately stands with Archer’s leg in his left hand. He smirks and quickly spins into the figure four lock. The referee realizes he hasn’t even called for the bell yet and does so, and five seconds later, he rang it again as Archer furiously began slapping the mat in submission.



Kin Hiroshi entered first and waited in one corner as Davis made his entrance to some weird ass music. Just kidding, it was catchy. Former NFW World Champion Hiroshi worked the advantage early on, deciding to try and ground Davis with ground wrestling and focus on his left knee. Hiroshi dragged him to the ropes and used them for leverage as he dropped the leg across Davis’ knee multiple times. With Davis’ knee immobilized, Hiroshi turned to the neck, locking in a front facelock and bending Davis’ neck in an awkward angle against the mat. Davis, however was able to flip over onto his back, pulling Hiroshi with him and landing in and armbar variation that caused Hiroshi to scream out in pain and relinquish the hold.

Still in the armbar, Hiroshi managed to get the other arm out and onto the ropes, causing the break. Hiroshi quickly got up, shaking the affected arm trying to shake off the effects of the armbar, then unleashed a series of knife edge chops on Davis. Davis fought off the third and returned fire with a rapid series of kicks to the thigh and midsection, finishing in a spin kick that caught Hiroshi in the upper chest and sent him into the corner. Hiroshi slumped there and Davis charged.

Davis approached quickly, but Hiroshi used his quickness to hop up over the running Davis, ending up perched on the top rope as Davis came in. Davis saw this coming, and as Hiroshi dove at him, Davis caught him in a ¾ Neckbreaker, a move he calls “Sudden Stop.” The momentum caused Hiroshi to go head first into the mat and left him out cold, where he was easy pickings for the three count.



Wells was an instant fan favorite here due to his antics with the crowd, simultaneously mocking them and playing to them at the same time. Showtime was all business and was on the attack early, blinding Wells with a series of rapid chain wrestling. An armdrag was followed by a dragon screw and a dropkick before Wells could get his bearings. Finally Wells blocked an attempted spinning back kick and followed in with a vicious clothesline that took Showtime to the mat.

Wells followed up with pummeling forearms to the back and head and, after an Irish Whip, hit a big powerslam in the middle of the ring that got a two-count. Wells gave the referee a dirty look and went back to work, putting Showtime to the mat with a full nelson slam and a series of shoulder thrusts in the corner. Wells, however, made a fatal mistake in taking to the second turnbuckle to attempt a knee drop that missed the mark. It was enough for Showtime to get to his own corner and climb to the top, hitting the Final Curtain, a corkscrew moonsault that got him a mild upset according to the pundits. Wells was incredulous after the match, thinking he had kicked out in time, but he was, indeed, a split second too late.



Jace Gryphon made pretty quick work of AJ Johnson, taking the cocky Johnson (heh) to school with a succession of ground and pound tactics, then pulling him up and tossing him with a German, Dragon and Belly to Belly suplex in succession. Johnson swung wildly to try and make a comeback, but was easy picking for Gryphon, who hit his Phoenix Rising powerbomb and got the three count, and a trip to the second round.



“Pet” by A Perfect Circle (Wrythm Mix) blares just as the announcer starts his introduction for Sylo. The 7 -oot monster stepped through the curtain, and to his surprise, received Cena-like cheers (because they did have some boos mixed in, but only by the die-hard haters – most were just happy to have the ULTRATITLE underway). Already in the ring, The Big Sauce Man awaited his opponent. When the referee called him next to the big Sylo, Mr. Sauce seemed to prefer waiting a bit longer. The referee started giving the instructions. He didn’t make it through them as Sylo dropped the Big Sauce Man with a stiff elbow and began dropping repeated knees to Sauce Man, forcing the referee to push him back or threaten disqualification. Sylo moved away, his hands gripping the ropes as if it took all of his strength to just avoid charging forward again. The referee asked Sauce if he wanted to continue and he nodded. That was all it took. Sylo charged forward again and showed Sauce all 3 faces of Sin (2 powerbombs and then a chokeslam). The referee went to ask if Sauce was still willing to go but Sylo didn’t stop. He grabbed Sauce Man, tossing him onto Sylo’s shoulders before doing a Systematic Shutdown (reverse F-5). Sylo stood over Sauce for a moment, looking down, shaking his head. He put a foot on Sauce. The referee counted to one then Sylo dropped to the ground, grabbing Sauce Man in the Straight Jacket (Triangle Choke). This time, the referee didn’t bother to do a count or anything, he just called for the bell to end the suffering and the match.



BUCKLEY JR: After a dominating performance by Sylo, the crowd really needed a match that exceeded squash status. They got it in Umpiro vs. TROY Douglas.

Umpiro came out first, the mariachi-styled, Spanish language version of “Take me out to the ballgame” playing. The crowd, of course, sang along in their own Midwestern dialect, but choosing the English version. Umpiro ran to the ring like a bat out of hell rounding third on its way home, leap frogging the ropes and calling for the timekeeper to join the referee and announcer. The masked Umpiro instructed the announcer to get down like a catcher, reached into his back pocket and pulled out a wiffle ball and bat (not the rodent variety, the kind that hits things). He then directed the referee to the other end of the ring and tossed the ref the ball. After giving the bat to the timekeeper, Umpiro instructed them to, “jugar a la pelota.” They didn’t know what that meant, everyone turning towards him. He repeated it. Still, the three stared at him. He repeated it 3 more times, each time adding emphasis until –

“You know my name” by Chris Cornell blared and TROY Douglas stepped out of the curtain. Almost immediately, a chant of “TROY-TROY-TROY” echoed through the arena, either for Mr. Douglas or for the hosting city, no one was quite sure. Troy got to the ring area. Umpiro took the wiffle ball and bat and sent the others away, except for the referee. Umpiro nodded with a shrug to the man in stripes as if he understood his predicament. The referee didn’t respond. Troy Douglas did. Grabbing the bat from behind and chasing Umpiro out of the ring after repeated poundings with its hollow, cheap plastic devastation. Umpiro leaped over the top rope and down to the floor, rolling through and back to their feet before throwing the plastic baseball at Douglas and shouting, “Usted está fuera!”

BUCKLEY JR: It took a bit to get everything sorted, but eventually we did get in the ring and ready for the two to square off against one another.

Douglas looked down at the smaller Umpiro, a smirk growing on Douglas’ face, at least until the Lucha Libre reached up and slapped Troy. Douglas charged forward and Umpiro dodged beneath the ropes, grabbing Troy and pulling him outside. That was a mistake. Troy hit a stiff elbow that got a huge pop from the crowd and began tossing the Luchador all over the ringside area until the referee got to the count of seven.

BUCKLEY JR: The crowd remained hot for Troy Douglas. With the crowd and size advantage, he dominated the early going of the bout.

Douglas seated Umpiro on the top rope facing the crowd and mounted the 2nd rope. Locking arms, he pulled back. Umpiro didn’t budge – STRIKE ONE! He shouted. Douglas pulled back. Umpiro didn’t budge – STRIKE TWO! Douglas hit two stiff forearms and SUPER German Suplex off the top. Douglas crawled over and said – “Strike 3 – you’re out.” The referee started the count.

BUCKLEY JR: But Umpiro wasn’t out, though it certainly appeared that he was close, especially when Troy Douglas put Umpiro back on the top rope, this time for the End of the Road (Underhook piledriver off the top rope). If Umpiro was going to show some offense, now was the time.

And Umpiro did. He pushed Troy back, hit Troy several times as Douglas tried to recover, and finally caught him with a stiff kick before mounting the top rope fully – leaping off with a spinning, corkscrew plancha onto Douglas that got the town fired up. Umpiro followed that with several dropkicks and his Grande Quadrangular (Four-revolution headscissor take down).

BUCKLEY JR: Umpiro continued with the assault, initially fast paced but slowly developing a plan to work the lower back and knee of Troy Douglas, placing him in a Bridging Inverted Indian Death Lock. This seemed to last quite a long time and take a good deal out of Troy, especially the fight to get to the ropes.

Douglas strained for the bottom rope and finally got it, garnering appreciation from the crowd. With the exertion, Troy seemed incapable of getting back to his feet, but Umpiro, ever the helpful sort, pulled Troy up and began lighting him up with a series of stiff kicks. About the sixth one, Troy crumbled to his knees and Umpiro lifted his fist into the air. He swung. Troy grabbed the arm and quickly performed a trap belly-to-belly suplex.

BUCKLEY JR: Both men were down and both answered the referee’s count at eight.

Umpiro and Douglas traded punches until Douglas got the upper hand with a series of rights and lefts, forcing the smaller Umpiro into the corner. Douglas with a whip to the far corner, following Umpiro in. Umpiro ran up the buckles and backflipped off the top rope, leaping over Troy before running into the ropes and leaping with a cross body block.

BUCKLEY JR: Douglas caught Umpiro with his patented Lariat. The count then, was elementary.


BUCKLEY JR: After a hot contest, we could put another Squash out there, and Cameron Cruise was more than happy to oblige.


BUCKLEY JR: Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing (In the Name of)” garnered Cruise one of the biggest pops of the night. It also was a prophetic oracle of Ikan Jobtayoo’s future. Cruise dominated the match from the outset, the only offensive moves shown by Ikan were ones that it seemed Cruise allowed in order to setup a spectacular counter move.

Ikan holds Cruise in an armbar, wrenching it in with all he’s worth, which honestly, isn’t all that much. Cruise flips over, relieving the pressure. Ikan tries to catch up, but ends up catching his head locked into Cameron Cruise’s arms for about one second until the high impact DDT.

BUCKLEY JR: And the victory was obvious, Cameron setting his “Cruise Control” (Intensified STF) to the tap out.


BUCKLEY JR: And the led to the main event for Troy’s portion of Round One of the ULTRATITLE Tournament –


BUCKLEY JR: This was obviously a test of youthful athleticism versus size and experience, made apparent as soon as both stood in the center of the ring.

They spoke a bit, each making their point one final time until the referee completed his instructions and called for the bell. Then, the lock up. Krusher backed Marx into the corner. The ref called for a clean break and got it. Another lock up and Krusher backed Marx, but just before getting into the corner, he flipped Marx over and onto the mat. It should’ve hurt, except Marx had studied and rolled through. He dashed into the ropes and back with a running high knee that staggered the larger Krusher, following it with a surprising double-arm suplex. Holding the arms, he quickly locked on a bow-&-arrow hold. Or tried to as Krusher rotated his body enough to relieve the pressure and then picked up Marx and dropped him with a powerbomb, or at least what could be called a powerbomb. Suffice to say – it just hurt! In spite of the heavy drop, Marx had enough brains unscrambled to roll out of the ring.

BUCKLEY JR: This back and forth game continued for quite some time as each person tried to get the upper hand, or at least hold the upper hand for more than a couple of moves. For that to happen, it seemed a mistake was required from the youth or an injury to the aged, or some combination of the two. We got it in the form of a missed diving knee drop by Marx, who tried to get to his feet but found King Krusher’s foot instead, stiff-kicking him into next week. Marx put that power to good use, pummeling the Gentleman with a series of throws, but never getting more than a 2 count.

King Krusher picks up Jonathon Marx, gorilla press style. Marx gets away from one hand and rolls down the back, kicking Krusher’s knee, and then latching on an Octopus hold.

BUCKLEY JR: But the kid didn’t give up, using a variety of submission holds to wear down the larger Krusher, prepping him for Marxism, an STF. But the fans, and evidently Krusher, had seen that move once already tonight, and unlike Ikan Jobtoya, King Krusher knew exactly what to do when Marx grabbed his leg and dropped down.

Stiff back elbow to the face that stunned Marx. Krusher pulled himself up by the ropes. Marx moved in again. Krusher leveled him with a kick to the midsection and then waited no longer…

BUCKLEY JR: SLINGSHOT BRAINBUSTER! King Krusher went over with a 3-count, ending what was an amazing first round in the greatest arena in small town America, the Hobart Arena in Troy, Ohio. Back to you, Dad.


BUCKLEY: While the night in Troy was heating up, Greensboro was going berserk for its first wrestling since the last time EPW was in town at the Coliseum across town. And they had reason to get hot, with four huge matches, including a man they know well, Dan Ryan, coming up in the main event.


The lights cut out as a giant “X” came up on the big screen formerly known as CSWAvision. A shout belted out “THE REVOLUTION IS COMING!” and Dom Jacobs made his ULTRATITLE Tournament debut. The Straight Edge Superstar, Dom Jacobs, hit the ring and began bouncing off the ropes as “La Bamba” began to blare over the sound system introduce the girthy grappler El Gordo Grande. Grande entered waving a Mexican flag and wearing the same colors on his mask and singlet, playing to the large Mexican contingent in the Greensboro audience.

Several minutes into the match, El Gordo Grande’s offense has given way to exhaustion. Jacobs was clearly better conditioned and took advantage of that and his height to take down EGG with a dropkick followed by a running bulldog! A quick two-count saw Jacobs pull EGG to his feet and demolish him with a roundhouse kick. As Jacobs began to climb the ropes, the audience began to chant for the girthy one. Jacobs came off the top with an elbow aimed at Grande’s heart, only to find nothing but ring as the man draped in the Mexican flag found enough heart to roll just out of reach.

Downed by his attempt at a flying elbow, Jacobs managed to pull himself into the safety of the corner as he tried to recover. But El Gordo Grande had recovered just enough to pull himself up… and then down butt-first on Jacobs’ face with a move he calls El Chupacabra. After embarrassing Jacobs with the stinkface, Grande appeared to have gotten his second wind, pulling his opponent up to his feet and delivering chops to the chest that received both WHOO!s and fans counting in Spanish. Grande whipped Jacobs into the opposite corner. Jacobs seemed to recover, charging out, but Grande displayed amazing quickness, ducking the clothesline and then catching Jacobs on the other side with a huge belly to belly.

And when El Gordo Grande hits you with the belly, you don’t get up.



El Lobo Loco certainly got the crowd… involved… as he entered the ring to “Livin’ La Vida Loca” with a cast of characters straight out of Carnivale. The party in the ring continued even as the music changed to a remix of Kiss called “Spike-It-Up.” The Merritt Auditorium crowd was introduced to the 7’3” former NBW and WWR World Champion, who seemed to simply smirk at the antics inside the ring.

Saunders hopped onto the apron, watching the conga line go around the ring to his own music. As El Lobo Loco came by, he encouraged Spike to join the end of the conga line. Spike shrugged and stepped over the ropes, taking a seat on the top rope. As El Lobo Loco came by for another pass, Spike jumped off and caught him with a BOOM! Headshot punch straight to the temple of the crazy cow. El Lobo Loco’s entourage scattered out of the ring as the referee called for the bell. As the bell rang, Saunders already had Loco pressed over his head. Moments later, the Greensboro crowd got their first look at a man getting SPIKED! (press slam/modified F5), and their first look at Spike Saunders, victor.



The reluctant superstar versus the man who won’t stop until his is a household name. The Oxford grad (“Oxonian” you know) and NFW standout versus the former fWo and CSWA superstar who stepped out of the sport 10 years ago. The crowd came to its feet – many have seen both these men before in the past in this very building. The ones that haven’t caught on to the enthusiasm and knew something special was coming up.

With Calvin Carlton yelling last-minute instructions to Hollywood from ringside, the bell rang. Zero seemed hesitant at first, while Blaine was clearly amused and ready to go on the attack. It started verbally, Blaine berating Zero in the ring, apparently suggesting that he didn’t belong in the ring against an Oxonian, that he couldn’t hope to… Zero cut him off, leaping forward into a collar-and-elbow-standing-switch and dropping Hollywood with a Russian leg sweep. Blaine quickly rolled out of the ring, conferring with Calvin. But Zero continued the offensive, coming through the ropes with a plancha that ended up catching only Calvin as Blaine dived out of the way!

Blaine pulled Zero to his feet and tossed him back into the ring, taking control of the match and using his imposing frame to treat Zero like a ragdoll. A quick belly-to-belly gave way to vicious stomps reminiscent of Ronnie Garvin and Steve Austin. Somehow the ring held under those huge boots, but Zero was clearly the worse for wear as Blaine launched him into the ropes and dropped him with a spinebuster who’s shockwave blew the toupee off a security guard in the first row. Somehow Zero got a shoulder up, simply leading Blaine to up the ante, both verbally and physically.

Lifting Zero, Blaine planted him with a huge exploder suplex, then eschewed the cover and went to the second rope, dropping a fist straight to Zero’s face. The sloppy cover allowed Zero to squeak a shoulder up, frustrating Blaine further. Hollywood turned over the aging superstar and locked in a crippler crossface, his long arms flexing. Zero’s face contorted in pain while the rest of his body tensed as well. Blaine yelled at Zero to tap, but in one quick motion, Zero flexed forward, grabbing the ropes. The referee called for the break, which Blaine gave quickly, only to then use the rope to choke Zero.

Another four-count later, Blaine pulled Zero back to a vertical base, dropping him with a huge fist. Zero grabbed Hollywood’s waist, trying to pull himself up, only to be brought back down by the sledgehammer blow. Pulling up once again, Zero jumped up, cracking Hollywood’s jaw. Bending over in pain, Zero hooked in a front facelock. Enraged, Hollywood forced Zero into the corner, but Zero was prepared, using the ropes as leverage to float over and hit the LEVEL ZERO DDT. It was just enough to get the three-count. Zero quickly rolled out of the ring as a recovered Calvin Carlton rolled in to counsel the furious Blaine Hollywood.



RUDY SEITZER: Metallica’s “Wherever I may roam” sounded out. The crowd popped for the song, and everyone rose to their feet to get a good look at Cobra as he stepped through the curtain. The Greensboro fans regarded Cobra with respect, he was walking fearlessly toward the ring for his first round match: most of the oddsmakers were calling this his final match in the ULTRATITLE.

STAN PARSONS: On paper, this match did in fact look to be an afterthought: while the tournament was not officially sponsored by any wrestling promotion, the fact that Cobra was wrestling the last man to hold the UNIFIED Championship put him, at least to the oddsmakers, as one of the biggest underdogs involved in the event. If this bothered Cobra, however, he didn't show it.

RUDY SEITZER: “Zero” by Smashing Pumpkins hit and Dan Ryan entered the arena like a conquering hero. He played to the crowd a little more than normal on his way to the ring, and they ate it up: I mean, everyone has an equal chance to win the ULTRATITLE but on paper, like you said, Stan, this is DAN RYAN.

STAN PARSONS: Neither of these guys are known for theatrics, Rudy. And as soon as the bell rang, both men were all business.

Dan & Cobra stood in the center of the ring, both jawing as referee Patrick Young gave his instructions. At least, almost all of them. He was almost finished when the trash talk gave way to quite the intense nose - to - nose staredown. Having seen this enough times over the course of his referee career, Young called for the bell and got out of the way.

No sooner did it ring, than Dan shoved Cobra back and charged forward. Cobra hit the rope and bounded back into Dan Ryan’s boot. However, he had studied his opponent and anticipated this maneuver, and he slipped underneath Ryan's attempted kick and rolled through, into a rollup that nearly gave him the three! The Ego Buster popped up, stunned, and found himself in a headlock. Ryan shoved quickly before his opponent could lock it down, and sent Cobra back into the ropes. Cobra came off with a flying clothesline but this time, the Ego Buster ducked it and retaliated with one of his own on Cobra's rebound!

RUDY SEITZER: The matchup’s opening didn’t slow either. Cobra popped back to his feet, and they locked up, with Ryan hooking an armbar, twisting it and throwing a stiff jab into the kidneys before whipping Cobra into the ropes. Cobra came off with a body press, but Ryan caught him and spun him around into a powerslam that shook the mat, and a pinfall attempt of his own. ONE... TWO... Kickout by Cobra!

Ryan stayed on him, pounding him in the head and back with a series of stiff forearms to keep the advantage, but the final one missed its mark - Cobra grabbed him and rolled him over into a reclining armbar, and Ryan had to struggle, not only with the pressure on his shoulder, but with keeping both shoulders off the mat.

STAN PARSONS: These two continued testing one another, each pushing for an advantage and only holding it for a few seconds until the other found a counter or an escape. These two veterans were still feeling each other out, but it was clear Cobra had surprised the Ego Buster.

Ryan fired one punch, then another, and Cobra staggered but held the armlock. He finally broke the armlock on his third attempt, but Cobra released only to grab both arms, using them to execute an over-the-head release suplex. Cobra popped up, shaking his head and rolling his shoulders before going into the ropes, springboarding onto them and back with a moonsault.

A bit too early.

RUDY SEITZER: No sooner had Cobra gotten to the ropes, than Dan Ryan climbed to his feet and caught his airborne opponent and threw him in the opposite direction with a heavy slam that took the crowd to their feet. Ryan stood over his downed opponent and shouted out that this is how to do a springboard before bounding into the ropes himself, jumping up and popping back with a legdrop! Cover, ONE... TWO... Kickout!

STAN PARSONS: Ryan looked surprised by the kickout, but he stayed on Cobra, pummeling him with all the power moves that we've come to know and love from the Ego Buster. He controlled the next five + minutes of the match with overpowering clubbing forearms interspersed with headlocks, hammerlocks, and armlocks, all designed to wear Cobra down while carrying his own weight.

Neither of these men, however, were going to win or lose the match on a hold, as Ryan illustrated when he flipped a full nelson into a bridging dragon suplex that gained another near fall. Releasing Cobra, Ryan climbed to the middle rope and leaped off with a legdrop and another near fall, dropped a fist from a standing position for yet another near fall, and sent Cobra into the ropes for a rebound spinebuster and another maddeningly, frustrating near fall!

DAN RYAN: That’s enough – I’m finishing this!

RUDY SEITZER: Ryan hooked Cobra and pulled him up... HEADLINER!

Except Cobra had studied his opponent, and he took his own momentum and kicked free at the last possible second, landing mostly securely on his feet and ran into the ropes - only to eat another heavy baseball swing from the Ego Buster! He shook his head at the continued resilience of Cobra, but stayed on him with a release German suplex.

STAN PARSONS: He should've held on.

RUDY SEITZER: Indeed he should have, Stan! Cobra flipped with it and landed in a defensive pose, and just as Dan Ryan turned around - BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX!

STAN PARSONS: ONE... TWO... Kickout, but the shock on Ryan’s face was overwhelming, especially when he got back up and ate a stiff kick and a T-Bone suplex. The stunned crowd had been hot throughout the match, but their energy kept building, reaching a fever pitch as Cobra surprised everyone with his ability to hang with the reigning UNIFIED Champion!

Cobra had Ryan locked in the Cobra Clutch as the fans cheered - some for Ryan to break, some for Ryan to tap - but everyone was on their feet. Patrick Young raised Ryan's hand once... twice... three times-NO! Ryan held it up, and he slowly started to fight back! He powered himself to his knees, and fought his way through Cobra's leverage as best he could, but it took a pair of sharp elbows to the head for Ryan to free himself completely. Spin around, and a belly to back suplex!

RUDY SEITZER: Both men were down while Patrick Young started the count... ONE... TWO... THREE... FOUR... FIVE... SIX... SEVEN... EIGHT... and Cobra was on his knees, pulling himself up on the ropes while Dan Ryan slowly climbed to his feet in the middle of the ring. Ryan with a right hand! Cobra with one of his own! RYAN! COBRA! RYAN! COBRA! RYAN! RYAN! RYAN! Cobra was staggered back into the corner with each thunderous blow! Cross - corner whip, Ryan followed through with a splash! COBRA WITH A BOOT! He hooked Ryan by the arms with his ankles and pulled himself over the top rope with a tarantula!

Young began the count, and Cobra broke the hold before he found himself disqualified from the ULTRATITLE. Ryan crubmled into the corner, and Cobra sent him across with a whip of his own, but the splash attempt did not do any better for Cobra than it did for Ryan - the Ego Buster stepped forward and drove his shoulder into Cobra's jaw, stopping him cold! Hook by Ryan... Belly to Belly overhead suplex back into that same corner! Ryan with another scoop, and a vise-like Fujikawa armbar, flipping Cobra to the middle of the mat in the process!

STAN PARSONS: It continued like that, with Cobra fighting his way to the ropes to get the break. Frustrated, Ryan tossed Cobra into the corner and proceeded to lay into him with a series of punches to the midsection until Young forced the break. A crumpled Cobra collapsed in the corner, holding his ribs in pain when Ryan hooked him once again. COBRA WITH A HOOK OF THE NECK AND AN OVERHAND PULL INTO THE CORNER! Ryan's face hit the turnbuckle and he staggered back, with Cobra hopping to the middle rope and spinning around, catching the Ego Buster with a spinning armdrag! Ryan to his feet, Cobra sent him to the mat with a dropkick! Another pull, another dropkock! Forearm and an uppercut sent Ryan back into the corner, where Cobra tried the cross - corner whip once more.

It didn't work any better this time.

RUDY SEITZER: Cobra leaped in with a shoulder to the midsection, but Ryan moved, and he yanked Cobra out of the corner for a HUMILITY BOMB!

STAN PARSONS: It should've been over there, except when he dropped, he found his hands slip - and Cobra caught him with a Hurricarana pin attempt! This time, it was one surprise too many.




RUDY SEITZER: Dan Ryan popped up with a look of total surprise on his face as the arena became completely unglued. Patrick Young raised Cobra's hand in victory with what is probably the biggest upset of the first round.

And in the span of three seconds, Cobra went from one of the biggest underdogs in the ULTRATITLE... to one of the biggest favorites.


BUCKLEY: Ryan goes down! Ryan goes down! The last man to hold the Unified World Championship and one of the most decorated men in the business, Dan Ryan is OUT of the Tournament. He will join a group that will grow to sixty-four, as they hope that the ULTRATITLE officials deem them the “Lucky Loser” and put them back in the tournament.

We’ve seen the gamut tonight, folks. A double count-out resulting in an open spot in Round 2. The rise of faces new to ESEN like Cobra, Chad Allen and Showtime, among so many others. Former two-time ULTRATITLE winner Joey Melton is still in the hunt, along with another man around his age in King Krusher!

Join us here this weekend as we move into Bracket 2 and the next sixteen matches, including the Tournament debut of NFW World Champion Castor Strife, former ULTRATITLE Champion Doc Silver and former World Champions all over with names like Anarky, Orphan, Khristian Keller, Chris Hopper and “Triple X” Sean Stevens joined by another group of possible spoilers.

We’ll see you then! For ESEN, I’m Bill Buckley, and thanks for joining the ongoing coverage of the ULTRATITLE Tournament! Stay tuned for a special rebroadcast of NFW BRAWL 50 from Philadelphia, next on ESEN!
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