PALMETTO, Fla. — “We’re bringing back the glory days of wrestling — heroes, villains, comic book characters — people larger than life,” – Jeff Crean, Universal Championship Wrestling.
Universal Championship Wrestling is about to turn one, and founder Jeff Crean is prepping for their next event, Nebula Fire, on Aug. 21 in Palmetto.
Crean, himself a professional wrestler, introduced Spectrum News to UCW Champ Bryan Idol, who then introduced Spectrum News to retired WWF wrestler Tiger Chung Lee, visiting from Japan.
Now in his 70s, Lee has been part of the wrestling world for more than 50 years.
Spectrum News then met the person training the new wrestlers — Pro Wrestler Natalia Markova.
She believes getting to know the mat is a must, because before you fly in, you fall.
Literally — there are drills to practice falling.
“Wrestling is an athletic sport,” explained Markova, “and you have to know how to protect yourself.”
Safety is first — from the first engagement with the opponent — when locking arms.
“We look for it to be intense and snug — you know, it’s a fight — you can’t be weak — walking, dancing around,” she said.
When necessary, she demonstrates.
Markova explained an opponent is also a partner, and timing for some moves is crucial.
“It’s really important,” said Markova. “A lot of people have this problem, so you have to focus on feeling your opponent.”
The time Markova spends training new wrestlers is how she gives back to the sport — prepping the next generation.
“It’s inspiring and I really want people to come and join the school, grow with me,” she said. “I like to see people’s success — that means a lot to me.”