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USWA Challenge - August 11, 1989
by Scrooge McSuck
- I'm experiencing some wrestling recapper's block, and figured to go really random, stumbling across a handful of episodes of USWA Wrestling from the Summer of '89 through the Spring of '90. USWA was working under the World Class name until a week earlier, when they were forced to stop using it by the Von Erich family. I'll be honest... I have very litle knowledge of southern wrestling, and especially World Class and USWA. Outside of whatever I can find in quick research online, I apologize ahead of time for any information I present as unknowingly false or mis-identified.
Quick Note: I remember quite a few years ago the Sunshine Network (the original network for Fox's Sun-Sports down here) airing a wrestling show recycling any matches they could that were either in the public domain or owned by whoever was behind the production of the shows. Handfuls of USWA matches from 1989-1990 were featured, but this was before I knew of much outside of the WWF/E and WCW, so now I have a bit better of an idea of who I'm watching.
- Last week on World Class Wrestling... Eric Embry is taking on PY Chu-Hi inside of a 7-foot tall steel cage, with Embry attempting to win the rights of World Class from Devastation Inc., otherwise Skandor Akbar's reign of terror will continue. We cut to the introduction, so I guess it's hey, Spoiler Alerts, Embry going over to win the rights of World Class, and rebranding it USWA.
- Marc Lowrance welcomes us to the debut of the USWA. He runs down the action we're going to see in this broadcast.
- Skandor Akbar is standing by with his men Gary Young and Al Perez. Gary Young looks like an ugly cross-breed of Rick Rude and Scott Hall, and I don't recall him ever showing up in WCW or WWF.
- We return to the match between Embry and Chu-Hi, assumingly later in the contest. Chu-Hi lays Embry out with a DDT as we get the count of 15-Minutes elapsed. Chu-Hi is an out of shape, overweight white guy doing a martial arts gimmick. Chu-Hi misses a charge to the corner, and Embry with an oklahoma roll for the three count, officially ending World Class and kicking off USWA. A bunch of babyfaces rush the ring to celebrate. Hey, Percy Pringle was a babyface? They tear down the World Class banner, and stomp on it, which comes across as a little... low class.
- Billy Travis cuts an AWFUL promo. I can't tell if he's high, drunk, or just stupid. He seems to be a babyface, positively name dropping Jeff Jarrett and offering challenges randomly, to PY Chu-Hi among others.
- Marc Lowrance is standing by with Eric Embry (think "Jimmy King" from the "Ready to Rumble" movie) and Percy Pringle (better known as Paul Bearer). Embry still has issues with Chu-Hi over a Championship, but I guess winning AN ENTIRE PROMOTION wasn't good enough for him. Marc promises us some action after nearly ten minutes of highlights and promos.
Kerry Von Erich & Jimmy Jack Funk vs. Al Perez & Taurus Bulba:
I wonder how Jimmy Jack Funk not only retained a WWF gimmick, but was promoted as a babyface. Von Erich looks as if he's going to vomit on Perez during a pre-match "trash talk." No idea who Bulba is. Von Erich and Perez start with a lockup into the corner, and we surprisingly get a clean break. Perez takes Von Erich to the canvas with a wristlock. Von Erich counters, and quickly turns it into an armbar. Jimmy Jack tags in and... let's Perez compose himself. Perez grabs the arm, but Funk quickly counters. Lockup to the corner, and Perez with a series of blows to the midsection. Funk counters a whip to the corner with a hip toss, and goes back to work on the arm. Perez counters with a slam and tags in Bulba, who quickly misses an elbow drop. Von Erich tags in and pounds away in the corner, but misses a charge and over-sells it like his last name was Hennig. Von Erich mostly no-sells Bulba and goes for the Claw, but Bulba stops dead in his tracks coming off the ropes and hides in the corner. Bulba controls, and comes off the ropes with a headbutt, but Von Erich counters with THE CLAW. Bulba is in the ropes and they crawl to the floor, where Von Erich continues to apply preasure. Von Erich levels him with a Discuss Punch as they countdown the time limit of ten minutes, then Perez sucker shots Von Erich from the apron. Perez and Jimmy Jack brawl while Bulba takes over on Von Erich. Whip to the ropes, and Perez applies a sleeper hold. Three minutes left. Von Erich uses the turnbuckle to escape and hits another discuss punch. Jimmy Jack gets the hot tag, connects with a running atomic drop, then lays out Bulba with a clothesline. Funk with a slam on Perez, but he misses a fist drop. Everyone gets into the act, again, with the team of Von Funk in control. ONE MINUTE LEFT! Jimmy Jack with a swinging neck breaker for a two count. Running shoulder breaker for another two count. 30 seconds! Irish whip, and Von Erich with a powerslam, but Bulba breaks the pin. 15-seconds! Claw on Perez! Time is up at 11:34 (commercial break?), and it's a Draw. It seemed obvious once they started counting the time limit, but that's going by the WWF and WCW standards of predicting time limit draws. Perez and Bulba continue to punish Von Erich after the bell, leaving him down following a Mongolian Headbutt. Solid tag team match, but I hate predictable finishes.
- Gary Young is back for a solo promo, putting over Devastation Inc. and generally acting like a douche. I take it back... he looks more like a poor man's Dave Schultz than anything.
- Skandor Akbar and Tojo Yamamoto are offering $100,000 for the head of Eric Embry. He can't be too hard to find. Didn't he live in the Sportatorium for the entire time he was a booker for the promotion?
WCWA/USWA Tag Team Championship Match:
Cactus Jack Manson & Sheikh Scott Braddock © vs. Jeff Jarrett & Matt Borne:
Manson and Braddock won the belts from Jarrett and Borne a week earlier, right before the World Class name was no longer being used. We all know the stories on Jarrett and Cactus Jack, and Matt Borne's stint in WCW as Big Josh, and later in the WWF as the original Doink (the EVIL Clown). Scott Braddock... not so much to talk about. He only had a brief career, with World Class being his primary exposure, and retired by the mid 90's. The heels attak before the bell, but Jarrett and Borne take over, then go after Akbar. Heel miscommunication follows. Is Borne wrestling in his boxer shorts? Cactus with a side headllock on Jarrett, and a criss-cross leads to a Jarrett monkey flip and armbar. Cactus is sporting a cast on his right wrist. Cactus with a knee to the midsection, followed by a slam. Braddock tags in, gets taken over with an arm drag, and Jarrett works the arm. Borne tags in and picks up where Jarrett left off. Borne with a clothesline and dropkick. Jarrett with an elbow from the second rope, and back to the arm. Jarrett changes it up with a head scissors, and Borne is back in with clubberin' blows. Commercial break, and we return with Jarrett working the arm of Braddock. What a surprise. We cut to the crowd... and there must be a ESPN Classic Canada censor, because we see shots of random crowds with NEW WORLD ORDER shirts on! We return to the real footage, with Cactus in control... for a second. Jarrett blocks a hip toss, but a clothesline wipes him out. Cactus chokes away while the referee is distracted. Jarrett with a small package from out of nowhere for a two count. Braddock with a back breaker for a one count, courtesy of Borne. The members of Devastation Inc. double team Jarrett in the corner, and toss him through the ropes. Cactus comes off the apron with a running elbow, and Jarrett plays dead. Back in the ring, and Cactus covers for three after pushing the foot off the ropes, but someone snitches it out, AND THE MATCH MUST CONTINUE! Cactus tosses Jarrett out, but a second elbow misses... that had to hurt. Borne gets the hot tag and pounds away on both opponents. Whip to the ropes, and Cactus with a shot to the throat for two. Cactus with a clothesline for two. Borne ducks another, and a bridge suplex gets three at 13:13, making the team of Jarrett and Borne Tag Champions for a fourth time. An OK match, but a little long for me, and Jarrett wasn't exactly lighting the world on fire with his wrestling at this point.
Final Thoughts: For a show I see as a time capsule, it's always fun to see where some people started out, wound up, or just people that never made it on a national scale. Only two matches were offered, and they were acceptable quality for free television, I suppose, even though I disagree with the finish of one, and poor program production ruined the finish to the Tag Title match, airing a promo from the New Champs during the commercial break. I won't be worried much about week-by-week programs because of the limited episodes I have access to, but we'll see some more of what the USWA had to offer
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