Welcome to this week’s edition of United We Stand! This week, the United Wrestling Network has seen the major announcement of a match to finally crown the UWN World Heavyweight Champion and is also the appearance in Memphis of a different type of king, a Tiger King, one whose celebrity and mouth has got him into a little bit of trouble with a member of the Memphis roster.

Yes; I’m talking about the one and only Tiger King, Joe Exotic.

Before we get into Carole Baskin’s arch-nemesis, let’s take a look at what’s going down around the UWN World Heavyweight Championship.

A Coronation In Atlanta

Back in 2020, when the UWN were running their weekly Prime Time Live Pay-Per-Views, there was a tournament to decide the first-ever UWN World Heavyweight Champion. It seems crazy that there has never been a UWN World Heavyweight Champion before this, but it has been an ongoing challenge for the promotion to find the right person, the right moment, and the right circumstances in which to crown their first overarching champion.

The tournament itself was exciting and featured some great names, such as Fred Rosser, UWN alumni Peter Avalon and the former Erick Rowan, Erick Redbeard. But, in the end, it all came down to two names: ‘The Dirty Daddy’ Chris Dickinson and Mike Bennett. The final was set and was much anticipated by the UWN audience, but COVID, unfortunately, derailed the Prime Time Live series and prevented the first UWN World Heavyweight Champion from being crowned.

There were then plans to crown the champion in Egypt in an attempt to make history, much in the same way that David Marquez Productions and the NWA did by bringing Nick Aldis over to defend the Ten Pounds of Gold in China. Unfortunately for all concerned, the Egyptian plan didn’t come to fruition and the promotion was back to square one.

Now, with the launch of Championship Wrestling from Atlanta, the UWN has an excellent window of opportunity here to crown their world champion. It might not be exactly how David Marquez wanted to do it, but in a lot of ways, it’s good just to get it over and done with and get on with the (ultimately) more exciting business of promoting your champion across all your territories (Hollywood, Arizona, Memphis, and Atlanta). In a lot of ways, the crowning of the champion has been a little bit of a millstone around the United Wrestling Network’s neck. The hope is that by having the champion crowned once and for all, the promotion will be able to use the energy from it to ride a whole new wave of momentum moving forward.

Mike Bennett vs. Chris Dickinson poster for Championship Wrestling from Atlanta
Credit: Championship Wrestling from Atlanta/United Wrestling Network

One thing I am very happy about is that the UWN was able to get both Chris Dickinson and Mike Bennett back to have their finals match from the original tournament. Things have changed in the last 12 months; both Bennett and Dickinson are a big part of ROH nowadays, and although both men have been able to wrestle elsewhere at the same time, there was always the risk that they would be unable to appear anymore or would have scheduling conflicts that would prevent them from appearing. That both can appear is definitely a positive, not just because either man would make fine champions in and of themselves, but a match between the two over a big title is likely going to be a fantastic confrontation.

Whoever wins, they’ve already got a challenger waiting in the wings; Jack Banning made it known on Twitter that he’s very interested in the outcome of the match…

A Tiger King Angers The Wrong Person…Again

When I heard that Joe Exotic had been booked for Championship Wrestling from Memphis, I didn’t know what to expect. I mean, like everyone, I binge-watched Tiger King during the lockdown and, even though you knew he was one wild cat (pun intended), I was very much fascinated by the man and his feud with “Carole F****n’ Baskin’. It was so over the top and larger than life that it might as well have been a wrestling feud.

That was one thing; having Joe Exotic actually appear at a wrestling show was certainly another. What were they going to do with him?

Well, it appears that they’re going to do the unthinkable: they’re actually going to have him in the ring in a match!

Last week on Championship Wrestling from Memphis, Joe came out and announced that he’d heard Memphis was full of kings but, as a king himself, he was yet to find one. It was all a bit tenuous but I enjoyed Joe being a cocky piece of work. A natural wrestling orator he is not, but the force of his personality won through. He made a challenge to anyone in the locker room, which was answered by Derrick King, who got a slap around his face for his trouble.

This week, Joe ran Memphis down again and found himself confronted by Derrick King, who once again challenged him to a match. At which point, Joe tried quite amusingly to back out of the match. Even Dustin Starr seemed infuriated by the cowardliness on display. Still, the match has been booked: on a three-main event show, with Memphis Heritage Champion Alan Steel taking on The Posse’s Simon, and Mike Anthony and Justin Cole going at it for the number one contenders, the ‘Tiger King’ Joe Exotic will actually be in a ring, wrestling a match, with Derrick King.

2021 has been such a strange year.

I don’t know what we can expect. I don’t even know if it will be any good. But, perhaps astonishingly, I’m kinda looking forward to it. Whatever it ends up being, it’s certain that it’s going to be a spectacle. You’re not going to see Joe giving a virtuoso display of Gresham-esque pure wrestling, but you are going to see Exotic at his most flamboyant. You might even see him cheat to get an advantage.

But will we see him get a total kicking from Derrick King?

Watch Championship Wrestling from Memphis next week and find out!

Written by Chris Flackett

Wrestling obsessed since '91. Lived through the Monday Night Wars and is still here to tell the tale. Major fan of Strong Style, technical and Super Jr. Wrestling, as well as big versatile hosses smacking the hell out of each other. Lives in Manchester, England.

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