Welcome back to Paradigm Pro and the grand finale of the UWFI Rules Contender’s Series. After four weeks of hard-hitting fights and martial arts-infused matches, we come to the season’s end. It will be going out with a bang though, not a whimper. We’ll see Big Beef vs Austin Connelly, Lexus Montez battle Bobby Beverly, Jordan Blade get a shot at Chase Holliday and the Midwest Territory Chain, AKIRA kick the life out of Ron Mathis, and the main event between Matthew Justice and Aaron Williams that threatened to break into insanity. It’s time to get into the action on final time.

Before that though, let’s go over the rules one final time too. Victories can come from knock-out, TKO, submission, and by having more points than your opponents by the end. You won’t win by DQ, pinfall, or count-out. There’s no frills or pageantry, just knock your opponent down, try to tap them out, or Suplex them on their heads. If your opponent goes for the ropes or gets knocked down, then they lose points so try to drain those 15 points fast. You can only use open strikes to the head and neck, can’t use dirty tricks so keep your dick kicks at home and stay in the ring as you can’t intentionally leave at any time.

AKIRA defeated Ron Mathis (w/officially licensed manager Bruce Grey) via Head Kick KO

Up first was something that was still odd to me. White Trash and UWFI, still a combo I can’t quite get my head around. Ron Mathis earned this ass-kicking by attacking AKIRA after his match with Yoya. You can send a message sure, but are you willing to take the painful receipt that AKIRA was going to give you? Mathis had his cheerleader Bruce Grey with him and tried to cheap shot AKIRA off the bat but AKIRA dodged and locked in a Cross-Armbreaker. Mathis scrambled to the ropes, losing a point. He lost more points a second later as AKIRA knocked him down with a stiff head kick. Mathis fought out of a single-leg attempt and dumped AKIRA with a duo of T-Bone Suplexes into a Vertical Suplex. Not to be outdone, AKIRA struck and forced Mathis to the ropes again with a Butterfly Suplex. He tried to charge Mathis but got caught into an Overhead Belly-to-Belly. He took AKIRA to the ground for a guillotine but AKIRA broke free and forced Mathis to the ropes again with a kneebar. The pair traded corner barrages, then Mathis launched AKIRA again with an Exploder and locked on the guillotine again. AKIRA bridged out and gave Mathis a double stomp to the throat. He continued the assault with corner kicks, cravat knees, and a vicious spinning back elbow into a German. Mathis popped up so AKIRA downed him for good with another nasty head kick. To his credit, Mathis lasted a lot longer than I thought he would and got some good licks in on AKIRA but this was always going to be AKIRA’s fight. The UWFI Samurai has claimed another scalp under the rules-set by taking out the DDTrash. He also impressed the right people as the Hoodfoot wants him.

Big Beef Gnarls Garvin defeated Austin Connelly via Forearm Club KO

Up next was a match that was going to get ugly. Big Beef loves to dish out punishment and Austin Connelly is almost zombie-like in his inability to take damage. Who would win here, the unstoppable force or the immovable object? Both men charged out of the corners but only Connelly got hurt as he ran into a big boot and powerbomb from Beef. He got up so Beef hammered him with palm strikes and knees, then launched him across the ring with a Tiger Suplex. Beef continued using Connelly as his own pummelling bag until Connelly reversed a German and threw Beef with a Northern Lights. He forced Beef to the ropes with a Thesz Press and took another barrage of forearm clubs from a very angry Beef. The ref called for a KO and the match was given to Beef. He was even angrier to be asked about Connelly post-match and the pair ended up fighting again on Beef’s provocation. Beef overpowered Connelly and dropped the madman on the floor with another sickening powerbomb.

Lexus Montez defeated Bobby Beverly (w/Forgotten Fight Team) via Palm Strike knock-out

After that was a fight, I never knew I needed. The former heavy-hitters champion Bobby Beverly was taking on the man who demanded respect, Lexus Montez. This was fairly even in terms of fighters so I was looking forward to a highly competitive fight. We got a rare sign of sportsmanship from Beverly but Montez wasn’t biting. He sent his cronies to the back, then smacked Montez in the face as they shook hands. So much for sportsmanship. He dropped Montez with a pair of devastating Saito Suplexes for an eight-count. Montez fought out of a third and wrecked Beverly with Muay Thai knees and a deadly spinning back elbow. Beverly was leaning on the ropes so Montez brutalised him with palm strikes until the ref called for the bell. Montez was given the win as Forgotten Fight Team called BS. They pretended to go off blasé about the whole thing, then launched an attack as Montez gave his interview. Members of the Paradigm locker room came out to send them packing, with Hoodfoot giving some special attention to Beverly.

Midwest Territory Championship Chain: Chase Holliday defeated Jordan Blade via Back Elbow KO

It was time for a title match, Jordan Blade had called out the Midwest Territory Champion and now their wish had been granted. We were about to get an aggressive fight between the Ankle Breaker and the Beast King and that really could threaten to steal the show. The pair started with a grounded technical exchange where both jockeyed for holds whilst throwing in some palm strikes and kicks. Blade attempted a triangle but Holliday broke free and the fight reset. Blade snatched the ankle and drove Holliday to the ropes instantly. Blade went back on the attack and thudded knees into Holliday’s midsection to soften him up for a guillotine, forcing Holliday to the ropes again. Holliday was able to avenge some of the point loss quickly as he downed Blade with a series of palm strikes, prompting a ref count. Blade jumped into a Kimura Lock but Holliday hammered shots into Blade’s back, breaking the hold. Once again, Blade was right back on him and drove him down with a half and half. Holliday struggled to his feet and caught Blade flush in the jaw with a knee, then ended it with a back elbow for the knockout. Blade has taken Holliday to the limit but the Beast King was able to find that killing blow and fell another strong challenger. Post-match, he let Adam Slade know their match will still happen whenever he’s ready and warned anyone who thinks they deserve anything to go through him and find out. For their efforts, Jordan Blade was also given a permanent Paradigm Pro spot. Well earned too, I would say.

Matthew Justice defeated Aaron Williams via Knees to Head KO

Last but not least, the final main event. Aaron Williams has a storied reputation in Paradigm. He has taken out their best before and he wanted to do the same again now as he set his sights on Matthew Justice. Whilst Justice is still proving he can handle UWFI rules, Williams has made them work for him. Now was put up or shut up time for Williams. We got a handshake start and both guys got early licks in through knee strikes from Williams and a Spinebuster from Justice. The two attempted full mount strikes and Williams tried to bar an arm. He transitioned to a choke but Justice broke free and elbowed Williams on the way back up. Things got worse for Justice as the pair found their feet as Williams trapped Justice’s head and locked on a guillotine. Justice found a unique way to break the hold by throwing Williams against the ropes and both broke the rules by rolling outside. They threatened to fight outside but the ref was having none of it. Back in-ring, the pair had a cagey standoff, then Justice brought the pain with a series of strikes into a stalling Back Suplex. Williams countered on landing though and trapped Justice in a risky Kimura Lock. They found their feet again and Justice dumped Williams through the ropes again. Justice posed on the ropes so a very pissed-off Williams marched back into the ring and knocked Justice outside with a sickening strike to the head. He posed as Justice recovered on the outside. The pair threw hands and Justice downed Williams with a spear, then rained elbows down on him. Williams locked on a triangle but Justice broke out with a buckle bomb and dropped Williams on his neck with a DVD. He dropped knees onto Williams’ head and took the win as the ref called for the bell. Matthew Justice had saved his spot and seen off the UWFI supervillain. They may have been lax on the rules but this was a pretty intense fight and a fitting way to end. Oh, and Matthew Justice called out Josh Barnett. Yes, please.

With that, season one comes to a close. This has been a joy to review and I cannot wait for season two. Paradigm has found an excellent way to bring an old-school product to modern audiences and has shown the range of the wrestlers they use. AKIRA looks to be the favourite at the moment as he has the Hoodfoot’s attention, Montez scored an upset and we have a whole host of fighters looking to prove themselves in the no-frills setting of the UWFI Rules. If you’re sleeping on this series or think it ain’t for you, I can assure you, you’ll find something to grip you. This is physical violence at its best. Roll on season two!

All images courtesy of Paradigm Pro, ThatRoseTattoo