Hip-hop has always played a part in professional wrestling, with rappers recording theme songs for matches and performing during events. But Steve Karel, an original producer of Extreme Championship Wrestling, istaking it to the next level. The mogul is launching the Urban Wrestling Federation this spring, giving professional wrestling an urban flair.

Karel, who sold off ECW to Vince McMahon's WWE in 2003, claims that UWF will feature the same violence, matches and dramatic flair, but with a hip-hop twist. "We've essentially created a 'double brand," he told AllHipHop. "With the marriage of urban music and wrestling, we've expanded our audience reach, while spontaneously opening the door for higher attendance, product development and sponsorship. The crazy wrestling matches of the past will look like a game of cards compared to what is in store for the UWF."

The UWF has partnered with E1 Music to supply hip-hop talent to the league, with rapper Gorilla Zoe and Hot 97's Russell "Block" Spencer on board to promote and participate in the Federation. "We will be supplying some of our urban artists and their music to the first TV event, taping in the next few months," said E1 president Alan Grunblatt. "We will be assisting in the promotion of the first national pay per view broadcast including our artists."

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