2003 and beyond


Founded in 1998, UPW is likely the best known and most active media entity in the world of “independent (non-WWE)” pro wrestling.


In April of 2003, UPW signed a North American distribution deal with St. Clair Entertainment, for mainstream distribution of its Live Event titles on DVD format. UPW titles hit the shelves at major retailers –Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, K-Mart and Sam Goodys, etc. -- beginning July, 2003, with subsequent releases slated to follow bi-monthly.  Each DVD will be packed with extras and will be a low-priced alternative to WWE product, the only other wrestling company with wide distribution.


In February of 2003, UPW entered into an agreement with Maxtron Media of Ireland, relative to Maxtron’s 12-hour-per-day “All Wrestling Satellite Network (AWSN) debuting late this Summer in the United Kingdom (England, Ireland, Scotland & Wales).  AWSN will air a weekly one hour “UPW Live,” in primetime, as part of its launch package.


Ultimate University, UPW’s instructional arm, is known as “The #1 pro wrestling school in the world.”  Approximately 70 students, from all over the US and Russia, Hong Kong, Australia, Europe and South Africa train at UU at any given time.  Over the past 4 years, we’ve trained 15 students (10 men and 5 women) who have signed to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE, formerly WWF).  Our graduates include current Victoria, John Cena, Nathan Jones and Spanky.


UPW supplies American talent to Japan’s hottest pro wrestling company, Zero-One.  Since entering into a contractual agreement with Zero-One in mid 2001, over 25 UPW wrestlers have competed in Japan, with several UPW standouts becoming bona fide superstars in the land of the rising sun.  The name UPW has become with Japanese fans and media alike, synonymous with quality American pro wrestling.


UPW often assists WWE, including casting WWE commercials with UPW talent and providing “extra” talent to WWE shows in the Western US.  WWE Superstars oftentimes appear on UPW “home” shows.


UPW’s live “Entertainment Overload” events are often referred to throughout the industry as “mini WWE.”  Featuring more than 30 of the most colorful, emerging stars in the business, coupled with first-rate production in venues throughout the Western US, UPW sets the standard for live pro wrestling.  Quarterly shows/TV/DVD tapings take place at Nederlander’s state-of-the-art Grove Concert Theatre in Anaheim, and through PSO Enterprises and Mountain High Entertainment, UPW appears regularly in casinos, in California, Oregon, Washington, Oklahoma, Minnesota and other locations.


UPW is active in the Theatrical and Commercial casting of its talent, amassing over 1000 casting credits, including many national commercials, TV shows like “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Mad About You” and “The X Files” and features films such as  “Any Given Sunday,” “15 Minutes” and  “Daredevil.”


UPW has now starred in two of its own highly-rated 1-hour documentaries, “On The Inside: Pro Wrestling School (August, 2000 The Discovery Channel) and “Bodyslam: The Making of A Pro Wrestler (The Learning Channel, April 2001).  Both are still re-run often.  2003 will see the debut of two more documentaries featuring UPW, one on The Travel Channel and the other on The Oxygen Network.


UPW, represented by a contingent of 16 of its wrestlers, traveled to Detroit to take on the NFL in the FX Network’s highest ever rated Team Toughman event.  With our decisive victory, UPW put to rest forever the question “Are pro wrestlers ‘real athletes’?”


UPW is more often than not, the company sought out by major media when it wants to do stories on pro wrestling.  In 2003 alone, we’ve been featured on “Inside Edition,” “EXTRA” and “Access Hollywood” and in the pages of The New York Post, The Los Angeles Times and US Magazine.


With more live shows than ever, greater video production quality, more than 4000 visitors a day to upw.com and an always-greater pool of talent, UPW continues to add to its growth and reputation.


Ultimate, c/o Rick Bassman

63 Via Pico Plaza, #139 * San Clemente, CA 92672

Tel:  (949) 475-7663 * Fax:  (949) 361-3358 * e-mail:  rick@upw.com

Official web site:  www.upw.com



Rick first ventured into professional wrestling in 1985, with the formation of PowerTeam USA, from which he discovered Sting and The Ultimate Warrior.  With a self-admitted "on and "off" involvement in wrestling between 1986 and 1990, during that period, Rick was involved with various independent promotions, such as Lia Maivia's Polynesian Pro Wrestling and Karl Lauer's California Championship Wrestling.  Rick's responsibilities with these organizations included ring crew, marketing and promotions, referee, ring announcer and heel manager. Rick joined the Walt Disney Company in Florida full-time in 1990 as a Television and Marketing Executive.  While in Florida, Rick is credited as bringing pro wrestling to both Disney and to Universal Studios for the first time. 

In 1998, Rick founded UPW and Ultimate University and has dedicated himself to the pro wrestling business and particularly, the development of future Superstars

From the earliest days of Ultimate Pro Wrestling, Rick Bassman has let the fans and the wrestlers know that HE holds the ULTIMATE POWER in UPW.

Rick's shown his authority in numerous ways throughout the history of UPW - from smashing a clipboard over the head of Sylvester "The Escapee", to forcing Funky Billy Kim and Troubled Youth to wrestle under the dubious name "Jobbers-R-Us", to stripping "Mad Dog" of his UPW championship. Now, Rick has found a new way to exert his authority - The Ultimate Power. These monsters are huge, ruthless, and completely loyal to Rick [or at least his money, anyway].

Behind the scenes, Rick has taken UPW and Ultimate University from a fledgling wrestling school, to one of the world's most successful up-and-coming and respected professional wrestling organizations in the world. Recent highlights for Rick and his family of companies include:

* Signing over a dozen people to the WWF.

* Winning the UPW vs. NFL Toughman Competition.

* Featuring the school in a recent Discovery Channel Documentary.

* Landing his clients roles on commercials, feature films, and TV shows.

Truly, Rick has demonstrated his Ultimate Power over the past year - the power to build a successful empire, both in the ring and out.


In some ways, UPW has been in a "holding pattern."  In others, as UPW approaches its fifth anniversary, we've seen more growth than ever in our Company's history.


By appearances, due to a very limited live show schedule, it looks as if we've slowed down.  After our last extravaganza at The Grove, a realization hit clear as day   In the world of pro wrestling, live shows are --for the most part-- big losers from a financial perspective.  At UPW, we've always had a philosophy that each and every show must be a special experience.  This results in many talented individuals putting many hours into creating a "show."  Pre-tapes, storylines, props, etc.  It's time consuming, costly, and generally results in a financial loss.  End of the day, does it make sense to work dozens and dozens of hours to produce a live event, only to lose $1000?


I keep coming back to financial references because there certainly are reasons to do these shows.  Each show is so well done that even major entertainment industry "players" are impressed when they see them.  This can --and has-- resulted in UPW talent being cast in major theatrical and commercial roles, in new sponsorship and merchandise deals, in creating content for DVD and Video releases, etc.


So, on one hand, there is a real value in doing our "home"/" Entertainment Overload" shows.  But for now, with the exception of our upcoming "Possession" event at The Galaxy (with Roddy Piper!) on October 22, and with our upcoming 5th Anniversary spectacular at The Grove, we're taking a bit of a breather so to speak.  Live shows will consist mainly of casino engagements and through our diligent agents at Mountain High Entertainment, the calendar is filling up.  Oregon, Washington and Nevada dates are inevitable, as are others.  This is doubly a blessing, as the onus of promoting these events is on the Casino, plus we go in knowing that everyone is getting a good payoff.


So, while we're taking our "breather," we've in fact turned our attention to strengthening and developing areas that will hopefully contribute to the longevity of UPW.


I'm happy to say that Chris Bell has returned to the UPW fold.  Along with myself and the ever multi-talented Todd Keneley, we're busting our collective asses putting together a UPW TV Pilot.  Yeah, this is a "spec" endeavor and like most UPW projects, done on a virtual shoestring.  But I'm excited.  We've returned to our early days in doing this.  No drama.  No politics.  Just fun, enthusiasm and like our early days, very, very rough.  The concept behind it is extremely unique....actually, really unique.  And that, coupled with its roughness and the talent behind it, will I believe, result in a well-received effort. 


After nearly five years in this business, so much of which I've spent being both a hobbyist and being caught up in the bullshit and politics often inherent in pro wrestling, I've come to realize that to make UPW meaningful, some things must change.  The biggest realizations are to focus on what simultaneously can and will bring UPW to the masses and advance/create careers for the many exceptional talents who comprise the UPW Superstars roster, as well as its talent folks working  "behind the scene." .  TV is obviously one way, if not the way to accomplish this, and I'm confident we have both the concept and the ability to execute.  The story will be told over the next couple of months.


Another important tool to utilize in our development is upw.com.  I get e-mails every day --from around the world-- complimenting us on our site.  Yet, with an average of roughly 4000 unique visitors (and over 80,000 "hits") a day, upw.com is a vastly underutilized tool for us.  Murphy McDermott is and has been for nearly a year, our Webmaster.  During that time, under Murph's watchful guidance, I believe that upw.com has become in terms of content and overall look, one of the finest sites in all of pro wrestling.  Les Honig, with UPW from its early days, continues to make a big contribution.  As with TV, we're also now turning our attention to the "cleaning up" and marketing of upw.com.  By executing our current plan, I expect and hope that upwards of 30,000 wrestling fans worldwide will soon be logging onto and enjoying upw.com each day.  Part and parcel of this new "launch" will be a whole new line of UPW logo merchandise, courtesy of Speedwear, the folks behind Tito Ortiz, Social Outcast and Team Punishment.


Of equal, if not greater importance, is maintaining and continually strengthening the backbones of the UPW operation.


As I seem to have written in each Ultimate Update, I'm happy to write again that UPW sister-school, Ultimate University, is stronger than ever.  We have an amazing "student body," who you can meet at Rollcall at upw.com.  Consistency has also been key at UU, as our excellent "Faculty" has not changed in nearly two years.  Tom Howard, Shane & Shannon Ballard and Aaron Aguilera are still our regular instructors on Saturdays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.  As scheduling dictates, Frankie Kazarian and Ryan Sakoda continue as our regular Substitute Instructors.  Enrolment, including the addition of several legitimate big-time prospects, is at an all time high.  Brett Wagner and I have re-started "promo class," which is adding a whole new dimension to the development experience of our more advances prospects.  Not to mention, it's a lot of fun! The time I spend at Ultimate University is the best I spend in this business.  I am absolutely, 100% confident that there is no better school, in terms of enthusiasm, friendliness, personal growth and professional development...anywhere in the world.


I haven't written in a long, long time, and there are far too numerous "highlights" to list here.  Nonetheless, here are a few:

  • WWE.  Over the past several months, more UPW Superstars and Students than ever before have had the opportunity to appear for WWE in paid positions.  Individuals such as Mako'a, Sabbath, Funky Billy Kim, Tony Stradlin, Antonio Mestre and many, many more have found themselves involved in WWE commercials, dark matches and on RAW and Smackdown!  Here's a bold prediction -- By December, I firmly believe that UPW will announce the signing of at least 3 more of its Superstars to the WWE roster!  This will bring our total to 20!

  • Zero-One.  Tom Howard.  Sylvester "Predator" Terkay.  Televise "Skulu"/"King Adamo" Masalosalo.  Bar none, 3 of the biggest foreign stars in Japanese wrestling today.  Each of the 3 have progressed in my opinion to the upper rung of the ladder in workrate and charisma and they lead the charge for UPW's ever-increasing prominence in the land of the rising sun.  I write this version of the Ultimate Update on Tuesday, September 2.  Tomorrow, September 3, Zero-One boss Yoshiyuki Namakura, along with All Japan Pro Women's Matsunaga-san will visit Ultimate University to take a look at our top Superstars.  I positively expect this to result in jobs for many of our best.  Samurai TV will also be in tow.

  • The Shark Tank/K-1.  UPW has formed an allegiance with famed NHB/MMA and Kickboxing group, The Shark Tank, run by my good friend Eddy Millis.  Our first big announcement...long-time UPW Superstar, Stefan Gamlin, will fight none other than Bob Sapp at K1 in Japan on September 21.

Just a few other items of interest:

  • Raw Dawg.  I'm pleased to announce that UPW has entered into an annual multi-level sponsorship with energy drink upstart Raw Dawg Energy Drink.  This is a cutting-edge, progressive minded company and the association is already proving great for all involved.

  • DVDs.  UPW's DVDs are now complete and starting to hit the shelves of stores nationwide.  Quality-wise and content-wise, they're as good as anything on the market.  They'll soon be available at upw.com

  • TLC.  UPW has signed a deal to star in an upcoming episode of The Learning Channel's popular series "Faking It." We'll shoot in October, in and around The 10/22 Possession show at The Galaxy, for a January airdate.

  • Casting.  We continue to stay active, casting UPW talent in all kinds of movies, TV shows and commercials.  Here's a good one...Nathan Jones will take on Brad Pitt, mano-a-mano in Wolfgang Peterson's $200 million+ "Troy," shooting now in Mexico.

  • Joe Millionaire.  With a little time off before starting new movie and TV projects, Evan Marriott has been spending some time around Ultimate University.  Neither success nor fame have changed this quality individual.

December 17 at The Grove.  5 years.  Wow!  UPW is down to a smaller, but more quality "core team" than ever before.  Marty, Tom, Todd, Chris, Josh, Murph, Shannon and all that contribute.  Thanks for the continued and dedicated effort as move toward "The Big One" on December 17.  And to our equally dedicated fans, and to the new ones that join us each day...thanks for hanging in there with us.  It's our goal to continue to give you a continued and unique pro wrestling experience.  The time truly is here to take the next step.   




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