ESPN Classic Presents:
by Scrooge McSuck
UWF Fury Hour - May 1991
- I think it would be best to call this Fury Half-Hour, because the ESPN Classic version cuts shows down to a half-four format, but whatever. I was up late and I couldn't believe that ESPN Classic was still airing old AWA episodes, but then THIS came on. The UWF. Not Bill Watts' UWF, that was eventually bought out and morphed into JCP, but a UWF started up by a guy named Herb Abrams, who took advantage of the fact that Watts never put a copyright on the name, and thus swept in and did so himself,no doubt tricking a few people into thinking THAT UWF was coming back.
By 1991, that standards and development of wrestling was seriously different from the days of the territories. With WWF reigning supreme as a company with global exposure, and the recently renamed World Championship Wrestling trying to keep up, there wasn't a whole lot left other than Independent promotions trying to get by with local, new talent, and the few names not presently signed by one of the big two, or off with long-term commitments in Japan. The UWF pretty much went the route of the latter. While they did have a handful of names unknown to the national audience, their roster consistedly mainly of wrestlers who either wore out their welcome or were probably considered useless at the time.
- This weeks episode, piecing together the commentary, aired a few weeks before the Beach Brawl PPV. The less said about that poor excuse for a PPV, the better. I'm only really doing this episode for the fact it was taped outside the Nickelodeon lot at Universal Studios! You can even see the giant, orange, vomit-looking logo of Nickelodeon every now and then, and yes, I love outdoor shows, even when the attendance was roughly 250 people, and that's probably being generous. Oh, and the dynamic duo of Craig DeGeorge and Lou Albano are calling the action. That's still better than Craig and Bruno Sammartino. I mention this all the time, but Craig DeGeorge eventually got a real job as Craig Minervini and has been doing Marlins pre-games for the last decade or so. Lou Albano was screaming "it's all real!" until the day he died a couple of years ago.
The Black Harts (w/ Luna Vachon) vs. Dusty Wolfe & Bobby Bitman:
For the two people that are reading this, the Black Harts were Tom Nash and David Heath, the former being Luna's wife before she married Heath, and the latter probably best known as Gangrel, or Vampire Warrior I guess. Heath even wrestled with this outfit on various WWF synidicated shows, being squashed countless times throughout the mid-90's. I suppose the best way to describe them is as a masked team that came to the ring in black robes, while wearing some sort of white mask that you've seen in countless B-movies about cults and devil worshiping. Oh, and their names are Destruction and Apocalypse. It sounds like their entrance music is a Dio song, but I can't tell over Lou Albano's bland color commentary. The Black Harts attack before the bell, and do some weird somersault clothesline to Wolfe. Irish whip, and Wolfe with a cross body on one of them for a two count. We'll call him Destruction. Irish whip, and Wolfe with a sunset flip, but Apocalypse breaks the pin. Destruction tosses Wolfe out of the ring, then comes off the top rope with a double axehandle. Destruction with a clothesline, and Apocalpyse comes in and gets a boot to the face. Bitman, a fat jobber, comes in and pounds away. Irish whip, and Apocalypse takes him down with a bulldog. Apocalypse tosses chubs out of the ring, allowing Luna some cheap shots. Back in the ring, and Destruction with a spinning heel kick to Bitman. Irish whip, and a double diving shoulder tackle gets a two count. Apocalypse with a short-arm clothesline. They do a very poor job of a guillotine leg drop, but points for attempting to keep someone that fat up off the ground. That's enough for the three count at 3:30. The Black Harts actually looked decent, but this looked a little awkward at times, probably because they're doing a squash match in front of such a small crowd, and there's really very little to respond to. They needed to heel it up a little bit more, especially since they had LUNA in their corner.
The Power Twins (w/ John Tolos) vs. Corporal Kirchner & David Perry:
Egads, where did they dig Kirchner up from? I don't know how regularly he was working in North America at the time, but he was doing a lot of stuff overseas as Leatherface, a direct knock-off of the character from the Texas ChainSaw Massacre. Never heard of the Power Twins, but their names are Larry and David, because the names Larry Power and David Power are so intimidating. They also have the Scorpions "Rock You Like a Hurricane" as their entrance music. Captain Lou hypes the upcoming PPV, for only $14.95! Albano and DeGeorge take a crack at Kirchner for still being a "Corporal", but the humor is so dry and uninspired... Kirchner goes face-to-face with Power #2, and unloads with rights. Irish whip, and Kirchner with a clothesline. Kirchner grabs a headlock, as the commentary team discusses the whistle that John Tolos carries around. Power #1 tags in and rams Kirchner into a turnbuckle. Lockup, and Kirchner with an arm drag. Perry tags in and works the arm before being clubbed down. Irish whip, and Power with a SHITTY clothesline, and I mean shitty. Irish whip, and Power #2 with a sligthly less bad clothesline. It's like if Hercules and Ted Arcidi had lovechild twins. Another clothesline from a Power, followed by a double suplex and double elbow drop for the three count at 2:26. Ew... these guys SUCKED. There was not one moment from this match that was something to compliment. Even Kirchner looked like he didn't want to be there.
The Lynx vs. Vern Henderson:
Oh, God, WHY? I'm going to go into a little bit of a rant here, so don't mind. From the best I could tell from watching some UWF, this is Brady Boone under a mask, directly ripping off his character of Battle Kat, that was such a good gimmick in the WWF, they copped out showing him the first time they promised he would appear, and then had SEAN MOONEY routinely make fun of it on PrimeTime Wrestling. But wait, there's more! While the mask he wore as Battle Kat was terrible and second rate, the mask he's wearing here is even worse! It's like comparing the sharks from Jaws and Jaws the Revenge. For some reason, they just went from awkwardly fake to laughably fake. Out of all the gimmicks to bring back and market as your own idea, they chose THIS! And then they changed his name to Fire Cat, because I guess Lynx was too good sounding, or maybe Atari got an itch up their ass and tried suing because their handheld system at the time was called a Lynx. Who knows. I don't know why, but I picture Saba Simba when I hear Lynx's music. It sounds more like African drums more than whatever the hell it's supposed to be.
Lockup to start, and Henderson takes Lynx over with an arm drag. Lockup and the Lynx returns the favor. Henderson with a go-behind waistlock, then a half-nelson pin attempt for a two count. Lynx with some quick moves, resulting in a drop toe hold. Lockup into the corner, and Henderson drives a shoulder to the midsection. Whip to the corner, and a monkey flip is countered and Henderson takes Lynx down with a clothesline. Lou Albano admits wetting the bed at 19 years old, because he drank so much beer. Henderson presses Lynx into the air, then slips diving off the top rope for whatever the hell he was trying to do. I keep wanting to call Henderson "Johnson." Lockup to the corner, and Lynx conncts with a heel kick to the mdsection, then knocks Henderson down with a knee lift. They counter stuff and Lynx misses an elbow. Henderson with a scoop slam, then goes for a piledriver, but Lynx escapes with a back drop. What the HELL is Lou Albano talking about on commentary? I swear, I heard names like Babe Ruth, Abe Lincoln, and Ronald Reagan dropped in a span of 45-seconds. Irish whip, and they blow a dropkick somehow. Henderson goes for a suplex, but it's countered with a snap suplex from Lynx. The pussycat goes to the top rope but gets taken down with an atomic drop. Irish whip, and Lynx with a crummy clothesline. Lynx fakes Henderson out, then counters an atomic drop with a victory roll, and that thankfully ends this at 5:09. Sloppy, boring, and just a chore to watch, plus some atrocious commentary. It makes me want to listen to Superstar Billy Graham... almost.
Bam Bam Bigelow, Paul Orndorff, Brian Blair vs. Bob Orton Jr., Boris Zhukov, Rusty Brooks:
What a six-man tag we have here, and what an awful combination of heels. It's like someone picked names out of a hat at random. Let's see... Orndorff was in-between tenures at WCW, Blair wasn't really in the national spotlight since 1988, Brooks is just a fat jobber probably best known for being squashed by WWF Champion Hulk Hogan, Bob Orton was probably hanging around WCW for a little bit as one of those "old guys who did nothing of note", and Zhukov was released from the WWF at the top of the year. Only Bigelow seemed to have hope for his career, doing tours around the world before returning to the WWF, then venturing off to ECW and WCW in high-ish profile runs. Blair and Zhukov start with a feeling out process.
Lockup into the corner, and Blair with a clean break. Zhukov with a side headlock, but Blair comes back with a yank of the beard. Bigelow gets the tag and does the same. Blair with a snapmare and elbow, followed by a slam. Orndorff tags in for a double back drop. Brooks tags in and grabs a headlock, followed by as shoulder block. Irish whip, and Orndorff with a dropkick. Bigelow tags in and headbutts the lower back. Irish whip and Bigelow with a back elbow. Bigelow takes Brooks over with a suplex, followed by a snapmare and head scissors. Blair tags in, and does that dumb bee thing before coming off the top rope with an axehandle. Blair gets caught in the heels corner and gets triple teamed. Orton tags in as we take a quick break. We return, with Orton hammering away. Orton wipes his ass on Blair's head (I'm not kidding), and Zhukov comes in for more Jobber-level offense. Irish whip, and Brooks in with a back elbow. Brooks with a snapmare, and Zhukov tags in to grab a front facelock. They do a TERRIBLE job at the fake hot tag spot, and Blair continues to take a weak beating. Then they do it again?! Why would you repeat the same stupid spot when it got no reaction the first time?! Brooks with a splash for a two count. Zhukov tags in and grabs a bearhug. Albano constantly yells at the heels, and they're actually taking time to chatter back. They do the fakr hot tag spot AGAIN!!!! Zhukov with a slam, and Brooks comes in to miss an elbow. Bigelow gets the heatless tag and hammers away on Brooks. Whip to the corner, and Bigelow charges in with a splash. Bigelow with a headbutt for a two count. Orton tags in and takes Bigelow into the heel. Bigelow fights free and pounds Zhukov. Everyone comes in for a pier-six brawl, but it ends with Bigelow leveling Zhukov with an enziguri, then something happens off camera, allowing Bigelow to make the pin at 7:02. Blech... I find it funny, that two guys who were actually above the status of scrub (Orndorff and Orton) barely saw any time in the ring. This was basically Blair vs. Zhukov and Brooks, which seems like a really lame squash match on Superstars circa 1988.
Final Thoughts: I didn't really know what to expect going into this episode, and I still don't know what to say about it afterwards, other than that the wrestling was pretty bad. The lack of a crowd really makes it hard to watch, and the fact they kept trying to do spots that would generally cause a reaction just fell flat on their ass because it wasn't working. Every match seemed like a chore to sit through, thanks to the god awful PBP from Captain Lou, who I don't think once mentioned anything of significance going on in the promotion regarding any of the participants. I don't know, maybe Bruno would've been a better choice to listen to after all. I was thinking of maybe doing these occasionally when I am actually up to watch them, but this one episode already made me tire of them.
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