Slam U Wrestling doesn't exactly pull any punches when it comes to its hard sell. Flyers for the new Phoenix-based indie wrestling promotion declare that its monthly smackdowns, which kick off on Thursday, July 25, at the Arizona Event Center in Mesa, will be adult-oriented and feature a mix of "BANDS, BOOZE, & BLOOD!!" Meanwhile, its Facebook states that local wrestling fans can expect an "ANYTHING GOES!!" atmosphere.
And Slam U's general manager Gabriel Gallo backs up these proclamations, telling us that its brand of pro wrestling will feature risqué storylines and material, as well as other edgier aspects. Hence, the promotion is "geared more towards adults and the more rowdier type of fan." Especially those who aren't afraid to drop F-bombs.
"We actually specifically want the fans that chant and yell obscene things, the ones that usually aren't welcome at the more child-friendly shows," Gallo says, possibly alluding to the more family-oriented content of World Wrestling Entertainment, which has infamously eschewed violence and more adult material in recent years.
"We're not going to be dumbing it down for kids," Gallo adds. "It's not PG-13. We're rated R."
In other words, local fans with children had better get a sitter if they plan on attending Slam U's debut Thursday night.
It's the first of a series of monthly cards the promotion will organize in connection with Valley radio station KUPD's URock Thursday. As such, local hard rock bands will also perform during the events, such as While She Waits, which is scheduled to appear during the evening.
Besides hearing metal riffs and hard rock hooks, fans will also get to witness five different battles featuring the stars of Slam U's roster. The main event of the night will involve Gallo (dubbed the "King of No Rules") facing The Almighty Sheik in a grudge match, while the undercard offers a women-only contest between Angel Blue and SHIMMER/SHINE star Leva Bates, and a fight between "The Anti-Hero" Josh Pain of The DeathRage Cartel and "The Butcher" Tyler Bateman.
Also seeing action tomorrow night will be the other members of The DRC, a curious and insidious stable of wrestlers who created a video promo for Slam U's debut where they play soccer will a freshly severed head. As gauche as kicking around a decapitated noggin may seem, Gallo says its indicative of the sort of more adult material that's on tap for the promotion.
"You'll see a lot more adult oriented storylines like that. It's definitely a little bit different from what you might see," Gallo says.
While such content with wrestling shows in nothing new -- as organizations like Philadelphia's notorious Combat Zone Wrestling or the old Extreme Championship Wrestling from the late '90s specialized in bloodier and more shocking material -- Gallo says it's sort of newer to Arizona wrestling fans.
"I'm not going to say [Slam U] is not like any other kind of company, it's just new to this part of the country," he says.
At the same time, Gallo adds, there will be plenty of a focus on actual wrestling and a few limits to the more adult stuff. For instance, Slam U won't feature much in the way of "extreme" combat with barbed wire or the heavy use of weapons like chairs.
"Mostly when people think of an adult type of company, they think of more like a hard core company like [Xtreme Pro Wrestling] or something," he says. "It's not going to be anything like that either. We're still a professional wrestling company. We still have athletes that push the limits but don't get gory. That's cheesy entertainment. We can push the limits a lot more than you can on a show that you're going to see with children around."
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He also says that another thing fans won't see at Slam U shows is a "lazy work ethic" by its stars. Gallo, who lives in Metro Phoenix but wrestles around the world, claims that sort of thing has affected other local promotions in the past. As such, Slam U will be bringing in independent stars from across the U.S., with the exception of himself and fellow Valley wrestler Dom Vitalli. Willie Mack, for example, is from California, while Bates resides in Florida, and the Death Rage Cartel hails from New Mexico.
"We're doing something different; we're not using a lot of the local guys. It's the first time me and Dom have wrestled in state in almost a year. We don't really wrestle in town anymore, until this company came up and offered us a spot," Gallo says. "A lot of the guys they're bringing in, there's a couple locals, but for the most part everybody coming in is from out of town. We're bringing all new faces; we're bring a whole new team in. We don't want the same sort of wrestling that been around here before."
Slam U Wrestling takes place at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Arizona Event Center in Mesa. Admission is free for ladies, $10 for guys.