After a few successful shows at Extreme U, I get ambitious. I cold-call legendary rock and roll impresario Gary Folgner, the owner of equally legendary Orange County clubs The Coach House and The Galaxy Concert Theatre. After a conversation in which we share anecdotes about everything from my days booking Motley Crue and The Dead Kennedys and REM at LA clubs to his starting The Offspring and No Doubt, we get down to business. “Pro Wrestling in a nightclub?!?” Gary loves it. He put me onto his booker Roger LeBlanc, who also thinks the idea of wrestling at “his” clubs is nuts. And like Gary, Roger too loves it.
In the Summer of 1998, UPW’s first dates at the Galaxy and The Coach House are sell outs. The rosters are an eclectic who’s who of the Southern California scene and in many ways, a preview of what will be happening worldwide in the coming years. Christopher Daniels, Andrew Bryniarski, Sylvester Terkay, Samoa Joe, Frankie Kazarian, Tom Howard, Josh Dempsey, Justin McCulley and so many more, are part of the action
UPW quickly picks up a small, but rabid following. In addition to growing legions of diehard fans, hard core rock legends Rancid are UPW regulars, as is legendary rock radio impresario Ricky Rachtman. Part and parcel of building a following are offers of help; with artwork, scripting, flier distribution, production, scripting, matchmaking, scripting, and the like. And scripting. Yeah, EVERYONE wants to be a wrestling writer (and over the years, many UPW office alumni will go on to become WWF/WWE writers). Thus, I blessedly assemble a small, but great core team. A BIG part of “Been There, Done That” is to name names; the good, the bad and the ugly. Without the UPW office –and later, the Valor office—I would never have achieved a fraction of the heights I did in the wild worlds of Professional Wrestling & Mixed Martial Arts. So, THANK YOU to Melinda Ackerman,(Samoa) Joe Seanoa, Todd Keneley, Chris Bell, Anthony Rosas, Pete Doyle, Brett “Big Schwag” Wagner, and so many more. In short, my unparalleled Team possesses everything it takes to run a wrestling school that redefines industry standards, present a properly produced event and to exploit the product in virtually all medium Drawing upon my years with Bassman Productions, The Walt Disney Company, Event Entertainment and in many other areas, my goal is for UPW to set the standard for “independent” (non WWF, WCW & ECW) wrestling companies worldwide. And ultimately, it does.