Puerto Rico Report #1 | CWA Debuts On Major TV, IWA & WWC Face Issues, Hugo Under Criticism

CWA Logo Marty Scurll
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Hello and welcome to may be a weekly column rounding out what happens in Puerto Rico’s wrestling scene. While the island may not be the major territory it used to be all the way to the 2000s, it is still a very active territory that always tends to have something worth talking about. My name is AB Morales and I cover the news, happenings, and TV programs of the island regularly for my own Spanish news site, Impacto Estelar. Introductions out of the way, let’s get into the news, including the debut of CWA, Champion Wrestling Association, on major TV.

Puerto Rico Report #1 (CWA Debuts on Major TV and More)

CWA To Debut On Major TV Channel This Week

Champion Wrestling Association is a bit of a controversial company these days, given its employment of Marty Scurll, who is now officially going to be a recurring wrestler for the brand. We at Last Word On Pro Wrestling covered said news with the company’s point of view on that regard. However, at the same time, as that was going on, two big announcements were made. For one, the company began to experiment with pay-per-views. In order to avoid IWA Puerto Rico’s problems broadcasting live and suffering from poor servers, they instead opted to tape-delay their first pay-per-view, Halloween Fan Fest, by a day before making it available for 30 days on their company website, mundocwa.com. Their second announcement is the header of this portion.

Starting Friday, November 5, at 11:59 PM (One minute away from midnight and it becoming Saturday, November 6), CWA will debut their major TV new series, Campeones Del Hexadrilatero (Champions of the Six-Sided Ring), on TeleOnce. The channel is one of the 4 top TV stations on the island; arguably, 2nd or 3rd depending on the point of view as far as programming and viewership go. The timeslot sounds very difficult. However, it happens to be the same timeslot the IWA had when it first started airing in 1999 on Telemundo, the other station that fits as 2nd or 3rd on the island.

As local programming has fallen off due to production costs and disgruntled TV personalities, it has opened the doors for the TV stations to look at pre-produced programs to try and fill up timeslots. CWA happened to be ahead of the major TV curve of other promotions of the island with its consistent once-a-month specials even in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic. so they were the ones to get the call. But if the program shows success in the ratings, it wouldn’t be surprising to see it moved to a Saturday or Sunday noon slot, which is traditionally the “wrestling” TV slot. It may even open the doors for other TV stations to look at the other companies that have their products online to fill their own timeslots.

CWA explained to me that they intend to showcase completely new matches for the major TV show, perhaps taped during the PPV taping or in a closed set. Unlike how other companies operate on the island, they have no intentions of using the footage meant for PPV to also air on TV. Traditionally, in Puerto Rico, supercard events would air on TV like any other event taped by a company. PPV is very much still in its infancy here. We will keep you updated on CWA and its move to major TV.

LAWE Sells Out “Red Carpet”

Moving on from the move to major TV for CWA, Latin American Wrestling Entertainment (LAWE) has been a very controversial topic. First, it launched with the intention of assimilating the long-standing World Wrestling Council (WWC). When that failed, the legendary Colon family split, with Carlos Colon’s children Carlito, Eddie (Primo) & Stacy returning to WWC while Colon’s brother and nephew Jose & Orlando (Epico) opted to remain with the new project. LAWE has since re-structured, bringing in the likes of Hector “Moody-Jack” Melendez, a former Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide, IWA, & Total Nonstop Action Wrestling creative writer, as well as his long-time friend and Savio Vega’s younger brother, Dennis Rivera. They were quick to implement their typical “social-political” realism to LAWE’s social media videos.

Their first event is slated for November 20 with pay-per-view plans on the horizon and a main event that can actually capture mainstream attention as the current reigning AEW World Tag Team Champions, The Lucha Brothers, are scheduled to face the NWA’s own World Tag Team Champions, La Rebellion. Rebellion member Mecha Wolf, of course, is very well regarded on the island. The “red carpet” section of their tickets sold out. This is first ‘sell-out’ of any kind in years in Puerto Rico, meaning tickets are moving at a much more healthy pace than any other wrestling event in the past 3 years. We’ll see how things look come bell-time, but matters seem positive.

WWC Suffers Cancellation Due To PR’s Top Heel

If you’ve seen any news regarding our island since Hurricane Maria in 2017, then you might already know we have a very poor electrical structure. It has only gotten worse this year, as the electric company was privatized under dubious circumstances. With this in mind, WWC has been forced to cancel their October 30 card because of poor electric power where the event was scheduled: The Acropolis of Manatí.

The company sent a press release regarding the cancellation and explained their episode to air on Saturday promotes the canceled show as they were hoping the issues would be settled before Saturday morning. Not the case, sadly. The episode as of this writing has not been uploaded to YouTube though. It’s the first time an event suffers from a power outage like this, however, given the behavior of our infrastructure, I doubt this is going to just be a “rare occurrence”.

The card was, on paper, set to be a major one. Carlos Calderon (previously known as Bellito Calderon), WWC’s pet project for the past 3 years, was having his first shot at Gilbert’s WWC Universal Championship. With crowds very low and the company scrambling for their anniversary show, which is still without a date despite a month of promoting it, a lot of people saw it as the ideal scenario to crown Carlos to see if that could spark some interest in the company. Currently, Gilbert vs Eddie Colon is the clear main event for the anniversary show, if it’s to happen.

However, most fans and critics think it best that said feud carries on without the Universal title. It’s not needed for a blood feud. The ideal of some is for the title to go to Carlos Calderon and have him defend either against Carlito for the sake of establishing him by beating the legend or by bringing in a name from the U.S. There is no idea who it could be, as we don’t really know what contacts Eddie Colon can provide that would clash with Orlando’s over in LAWE. Now, we’ll have to wait a week to see if WWC will indeed pull the trigger, put together different booking to prolong the crowning, or simply have the prospect beat.

IWA Struggles Creatively

Wrestling tends to differ by country. Mexico always emphasizes high-flying. Japan focuses on strong style. Europe prioritized mat-based combat. The United States is where the storylines flow. However, Puerto Rico is an odd one, as “hardcore” is the primary style. Much of what would be innovated in Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling (FMW), and later Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), originated in Puerto Rico’s WWC in the 1980s. Inferno matches, Scaffold matches, Barbed Wire matches, and other match types since the early 80s favored crowd-brawling and weapon use.

This type of wrestling drew 20,000 fans weekly, so arguing about the rules goes out the window. Fast-forward to the 2000s and the same person that took that hardcore style from the 80s to Japan in Victor Quiñones returned following the FMW/W*ING/IWA-J boom and a WWF stint. His idea was to adapt Attitude Era-style stories to the same hardcore style we knew, and it worked. Ratings were through the roof, hitting millions by the week and selling out arenas. Again, it drew.

That’s not the case these days, sadly. The revived IWA under Savio Vega seems to struggle creatively and, as such, it has a clear effect on its fanbase. While they do run consistently now, there seems to be no real growth on its fanbase. Their iPPV model is constantly met with technical difficulties, forcing them to refund right after. As such, their October 30 event simply had a portion air as a Facebook Live stream. The rest was likely filmed for their weekly Impacto Total show on YouTube.

Its attendance is a very clear dip from the already low ‘Golpe De Estado’ show. The card was filled with very confusing match finishes and showed a confused crowd. As the island struggles to get its footing following the pandemic, it’s clear the IWA lives on in its nostalgia with fans and even that seems to dwindle, sadly. Their “shock & swerve” style booking and their beloved “Nada Es Lo Que Parece” (Nothing is what it seems) tagline fans hold so dear just does not cut it anymore for their product.

Hugo Savinovich Comes Under Heavy Criticism

He may be a well-regarded commentator and cited by many news websites nowadays, but former WWE commentator Hugo Savinovich also tends to showcase a big ego. Following LAWE’s showcasing of their creative staff, composed of the already mentioned Dennis Rivera, Orlando Colon, “Moody-Jack” Melendez, and recent signee Willie Urbina, the Ecuatorian native took to Facebook Live to proclaim that LAWE “needs credibility”. His only example of such needed credibility? Himself of course.

It was proclaimed that only he could make any kind of positive strive in Puerto Rican wrestling. The act was seen by many as him showing bitterness at LAWE for bringing in Urbina, who was picked over Savinovich for a commentator spot in AEW when Dynamite was starting. Savinovich was brought in to call the Spanish feed of their B/R Live shows in 2019 but was never brought back. He also apparently loaned AEW’s Lucha Brothers to work with the NWA’s top tag team in what is a very clear dream match, especially on Puerto Rico.

Savinovich has always fancied himself as a promoter and, years ago, caused problems for CWA when they announced Mecha Wolf vs Ricky Banderas (Mil Muertes) for their Christmas Showdown 2018 event. This was seen as a slight against him, as he was trying to hold a tribute show for Banderas the month before. In reality, he wanted to book that match, but CWA managed to announce it first, so the fact that a group of people he’s not a fan of managed to book a dream match using talent from a promotion he’s expressed interest in working for was met negatively.

With native English news reporters, for obvious reasons, not paying mind to his ramblings, and most of the Facebook page he uses audience being strict followers of his with any negative feedback being deleted, Savinovich goes completely unchecked. As many critics have pointed out, “if there was any real desire to aid the scene, he would’ve done it a long time ago.” The act is very much seen by many of the more savvy fans and people that work the PR scene as him flaunting his influences to put down LAWE’s work and undermine them. This was probably done in the hopes of getting a call from someone for work.

Other Notes:

  • Organizacion Internacional de Lucha (OIL) also rescheduled their October 30 card with the mayor of Lares (the town the show is scheduled for) asking for a week’s delay due to other activities in the town that day; it’s slated for November 6. There are no plans for a full-blown show despite the over-abundance of short videos, but they like to make big “we’re gonna make a big impact” promises.
  • Ground Zero Wrestling (GZW), a pretty active non-TV indie, has their next event scheduled for November 27.
  • OT Fernandez, a long-standing and talented prospect of the island was featured on AEW Dark recently.
  • Multi-time WWC Women’s Champion Black Rose worked AEW’s most recent Dark tapings in Universal Studios. She’s been prominent in World Wonder Ring Stardom, SHINE Wrestling, and Thunder Rosa’s Mission Pro Wrestling. Rose has been wrestling from a very young age.
  • IWA has announced their next card for November 20, running opposite LAWE’s big show. It’s expected that WWC will follow suit.