United Wrestling Entertainment provides family fun
6/21/2011 7:06:50 AM
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UWE wrestler Brandon Walker grapples with Max McGuirk during the "Sooner Stampede" event June 4 at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds in Tahlequah, Okla. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
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UWE wrestler Brandon Walker grapples with Max McGuirk during the "Sooner Stampede" event June 4 at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds in Tahlequah, Okla. MARK DREADFULWATER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
By MARK DREADFULWATER Media Specialist TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – When one thinks of professional wrestling, World Wrestling Entertainment comes to mind. Rising to an international phenomenon in the 1980s, it produced stars such as Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant and “Macho Man” Randy Savage. However, those household names did not start at the top. They had to work their way up with hard work and dedication, wrestling in small independent wrestling companies. The Tahlequah-based United Wrestling Entertainment is one of those companies. “This is where everybody starts, is independent companies. They gain their experience here then they go to other independent companies and gain their experience there. When they think they’re ready, they can go try out for the big major leagues like the WWE or go to their different developmental schools and just try out and go from there,” said Brad “Fuel” Eubanks, a UWE co-owner and Cherokee Nation citizen. Eubanks said the UWE has about 30 wrestlers on its roster. For a fee, the company offers training programs, which are open to anyone who wants in the wrestling business. Fellow co-owner Walt “Big Smooth” Davis, who is Choctaw and Chickasaw, said it takes learning proper technique to become a professional wrestler and to be affiliated with UWE. “It takes about six months to go through training, learning how to fall and to learn how to throw your punches and kicks,” Davis said. “You land your punches and kicks, but you’ve got to know where to land them. You don’t want to bust someone open. You’ve got to know where to hit them.” Even though the UWE is a training ground and first step of the ladder for wrestlers, it also has a place for seasoned veterans who made their livings on the independent circuit. “I started back in 1986. I happened to come through here and started out in an independent company, North American,” CN citizen Steve “Rolling Thunder” Perry said. “Then started at Oklahoma Championship Wrestling in the early 90s and teamed up with Mike George. He finished up my training. Then it’s history from there.” The UWE has only existed since 2009, and is one of the top independent companies. It has ongoing story lines, villains and heroes, tag team champions, a United States champion, as well as a UWE champion. Adding to the production value, an entrance video is produced for each competitor and shown on a projections screen as they enter the building and the ring. “It’s takes an all-out effort to put something on like this, to make it look good,” Davis said. “Anyone can set up a ring in a basketball gym and do something, but if you want it to look right. We’ve got a big screen. We’ll put on videos. We try to be as professional as we can.” It’s because of one of those past shows that Brittani “Princess” Liles got into the business. “One time I went to a show…it blew me away so I started training,” Liles said. “I’ve been a professional wrestler for almost three years now.” The UWE prides itself on providing fun for the entire family. Eubanks said they keep their shows to a PG rating while being able to keep adults entertained. “We’re good clean family fun, and we have a genre for all ages,” he said. “It’s edgy enough for the adults and clean enough for the kids.” The UWE hosts live shows every month at the Cherokee County Fairgrounds arena. Its next show is July 1 and Davis said it’s definitely something to see. “For six bucks, I think we’re the cheapest live entertainment around, and kids are $3. It’s the best two hours that you’ll spend. I guarantee you,” he said. For more information, visit www.uwe09.com.
mark-dreadfulwater@cherokee.org • 918-453-5087
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