Written By: Nate ‘Devlin’ Callaghan
I’ve noticed the more I fly the less I look out the window, forgotten is the fact I’m going 600km/hr sitting in an aluminium tube 30,000 feet in the air. I don’t have time for that, I’m too busy muttering to myself about the guy next to me hogging the arm rest. It all reminds me of the UWA, I didn’t realise what this little break away crew would come to mean to me, especially now as I ride into middle age.
I was in the UWA from the very start right through until its sale. My earliest memory from UWA was the first meeting at one of the boy’s houses, It was a small group of mainly disgruntled AWF workers. The meeting was hush hush and people took turns going around the room airing their grievances. I said very little, I was still a teenager and didn’t seem to have the same problems that the others had. To be honest I was flattered by the invitation and just had a lot of respect for the boys involved.
I remember I was disheartened when the AWF training moved into the Minto martial arts centre. We had lost our dirty little Mt Druitt warehouse that I came to love. It was that same place (armed with a cheque from my Mum) that a 16year old me rocked up to on his skateboard lying about his age to sign up for training.
It was the place I first saw wrestling up close in real life, I can still remember Taylor Baines doing a demo match towards the end of the session and just being awed by a stalling vertical suplex. The sounds the ring made in that tiny warehouse I was hooked. It was our home for 3 times a week and hours on end, we took our bumps, learned our holds and ran our drills. Without that place I was worried we would lose something. That feeling of brotherhood, that feeling I had just been welcomed into this tight little community of wrestling loving misfits. UWA for me was the continuation of that bond, of that community.
Some of my memories from that first UWA meeting was Ed Lock’s speech, he always showed the workers so much respect. For me it was great affirmation coming from someone so knowledgeable in the business, it meant a lot to me.
Discord was new to the business but always had strong opinions, I loved it, but it did rub some the wrong way. I remember Ill Cognito seething every time she talked which entertained me to no end.
Scarecrow’s ability to take charge was another standout, probably the best worker in the room and his role as a leader was made clear that day. It was the early 2000’s and most of us from the meeting went on to form the faction for an invasion angle in Melbourne for PCW. It was on the show that featured the notorious Lobo vs Mad Dog McCrea raining thumbtacks match with barb wire ropes, which still blows my mind to this day. A young Tennille (Emma WWE) was on the show and I did my best to get her attention but she wasn’t having a bar of it (perhaps it was the over dyed black hair or the PVC tights).
That invasion angle was the first time the UWA crew was together on a show and it
was very well produced. The lights went out, the UWA logo hit the big screen, the theme music played and we came in from the crowd. We jumped the PCW guys to set up a 10 man tag match, UWA vs PCW. And UWA was born.
Scarecrow was the heart and soul of the UWA and the Carnival of Carnage was such a great tag team. Scarecrow was head trainer, had the ring built, set up the training centre and got the belts made. The training centre was amazing I loved it, it was a bigger and better version of the Mt Druitt AWF warehouse, we even had a little office and a gym.
Our first show was at St Mary’s Leagues club in western Sydney. I wasn’t told until years later, but I was jobbed out in the first match as an ‘ego test’ because I was being considered as the first UWA champ. That always made me laugh because behind that bravado I was just happy to be there.
I worked Scarecrow in that first UWA title match and got the win and became the first ever UWA Heavyweight champ, which I was/am very proud of. In a worked business getting the belt is the ultimate sign of respect from the boys and getting it over arguably the best worker was honour. Amy Actions crew joined us to complete our full roster and bringing excellent workers like Will Phoenix, Bishop Summers and Troy the Boy and TJ Haze.
Scarecrow a Halloween nut was the driver of the Hallowikkid concept, we ran annual Halloween themed shows with 2 rings and featured a ‘Double Rumble’ main event. Apart from our involvement in the Australian Wrestling Supershows these were probably the biggest spectacles we were able to produce as the UWA. One year at a Hallowikkid a reporter from FHM magazine covered the event and I selfishly pulled out a balcony dive to ensure coverage in the mag. A fan named Chris was able to catch it from the front row with perfect timing and became my favourite wrestling picture.
Once I was out of the title mix I was booked with Salem and started our run as a tag team, for anyone that read my article on Salem would understand, this was my favourite period in wrestling and one of my favourite people I met in the business.
My life outside of wrestling was changing, work opportunities, commitments and some poor decisions were taking more and more of my energy and I found myself thinking about wrestling less and less. I was slowly being pulled away from the business I loved. Until then my life revolved around wrestling, and I found myself very lost without a show coming up.
My last match for the UWA was around 2011 in Maroubra, by then the new owners had taken over and although they were great guys, to me it just felt different. It didn’t help that I was not at my best physically or mentally back then. I do still wish I could have gone out in a better way
The UWA was a tight crew that had a bond that maybe I didn’t fully appreciate at the time. I’ll spare you the ‘journey is the destination’ cliche, but perhaps I should’ve have been looking out the window just a little more.