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Wrestling Dreams Coming True In Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Like almost anything you see for the very first time, it takes a little bit to figure out what’s going on.

Especially when you see a bunch of guys, and gals, throwing each other around doing the kinds of things that would get you arrested anywhere else.

“You ready? Heads up!” yelled one fan.

Just remember its good vs bad.

Anyone can win.

But at all times, everything that’s going on has already been designed to make it so you don’t turn away.

“I understand it’s not real,” said Shawn Ballard, a fan of wrestling. “I never knew it was real. I get that its entertainment.”

Yes, entertainment.

Before anything happens in front of a crowd, though, there are hundreds of hours just practicing.

The wrestlers want to make sure fans get the best show possible.

“Yes, it’s preparing a great show for the crowd. And then coming out and executing,” said Jesus Ortiz.

Ortiz, also known as Durango Kid, is one of several wrestlers who spend months, even years, training.

“It was a childhood dream to be a pro wrestler, a luchador, since I was little,” said Ortiz.

However, when he moved to Utah, he thought that dream was smashed.

“Nobody wrestles in Utah. That doesn’t exist here. That’s like, California. Or Florida. Or somewhere else. But Utah? I don’t think so,” he said.

That is, until he heard about Ultra Championship Wrestling Zero, based in Salt Lake City.

“I texted Steve, he said come over and check it out. So i did. Five years later, here i am,” said Ortiz.

Steve is Steve Neilson.

He started UCW-Zero in Salt Lake City 17 years ago when he noticed kids doing backyard wrestling.

“It started off with the young kids from our neighborhood that had dreams and goals and things they wanted to do and there wasn’t a way for them to obtain that,” said Neilson.

He got them together, choreographed a show, and their first event drew 250 people.

That’s when he knew he had something.

UCW-Zero had its beginning.

“Yup. Kind of crazy. But here we are,” said Neilson.

Now, he runs this pro-wrestling school.

The pain is real, even if the actual competition isn’t.

“The ring isn’t a trampoline. It isn’t all that soft,” said Neilson. “The concrete on the outside of the ring is concrete on the outside of the ring. You will be landing on it from time to time.”

But that’s where the training comes in.

“It’s something that always presents a challenge and there’s something to always be working on,” said Brittany Quintana, who is one of the wrestlers.

That work includes mastering the moves, but also learning how to work with your opponent to be safe and give fans a good show.

“The fact that you can do something that can elicit a response from them, that’s a powerful feeling,” said Derrick Hubbard, who also wrestles at the gym.

It’s that’s feeling… That not only fills the seats with fans, but makes all those years of practicing worth it.

“If i could do this for a living, i would. Easy. Hands down. I’d do it,” said Ortiz.

And it’s all right here in Utah.

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