Somewhere I try to find time on top of all of the WWE, TNA, MMA (UFC, Strikeforce, WEC, and more), and AWA (five one-hour programs weekly) programming to now watch Herb Abrams’ UWF which currently airs on Saturday mornings on ESPN Classics. Say so long Saturday morning fare like cartoons and hello to poorly produced half-hour wrestling shows featuring washed up grapplers and some of the worst enhancement talent to ever lace up a pair of borrowed boots. I’ve selected three matches entirely at random from recent episodes to give those less fortunate an opportunity to see what they’re missing out on.
1. Sunny Beach vs. Bob Orton, Jr. – 2
Sunny, if you’ve never see him, and I do remember only knowing of him as a kid through magazines, has a bleached blonde mullet, bad tan, and rocks fluorescent-colored swimsuits. Sunny starts off with arm work, and its not bad, Orton tries to armdrag his way out of it but Beach keeps his grip and rolls through to maintain the hold. Orton’s facial sells and body movements are borderline over-the-top but undeniably classic. John Tolos is Orton’s ringside manager, under his “Coach” guise, which he’d later use in a brief stint in WWF, but reminds me of my elementary school gym teacher Mr. Dupeer who was fired for molesting young boys so I can’t get into it. Orton takes a whip into the corner turnbuckles oddly, leaping into them groin-first. Orton drops a real hard knee onto a downed Beach’s skull, then lays in some mean stomps. Orton from the floor drops an elbow on Sunny who’s draped over the apron and absolutely kills him. Bob does an amusing booty shake before executing a splash. Orton almost dropped Beach twice while hoisting him up for a powerslam. There’s a random brawl that leads to a DQ and post-match brouhaha, including Orton selling a Steve Ray (who aped his look after Shawn Michaels’ Midnight Rockers run) dropkick by gingerly jumping over the top rope.
2. Don Muraco vs. Cactus Jack - 3
Jack gets whipped into the corner early and comes out with a vicious clothesline but Muraco goes down far too slow. Cactus is vocal while selling, which I dig. Jack rams Muraco’s head into the mat and Don does this hilarious delayed roll like a kindergartner on a play mat. Muraco’s facial sell on one punch looks like an old man hitting his knee on a sink. Out on the floor, Muraco goes into the steel ringpost shoulder-first which I applaud. Jack begins wildly walking all over the hotel lobby the show was taking place in, eventually finding a plastic garbage can far from ringside. Cactus does his famous elbow drop from the apron onto the floor, but soon after finds himself with the trash can over his own head at the hands of Muraco, surely not the first time Foley had found himself with garbage on his person. I assume this went to a time-limit draw as the bell eventually rang.
3. Pongo vs. Super Ninja – 0
This was a really fascinating study on burying talent. I don’t know the backstory here, but commentators Bruno Sammartino, Captain Lou Albano, and some other buffoon completely shit all over this admittedly terrible match—but it’s not just the fact that the performances are poor, there’s some kind of inside jab being volleyed that runs personal. Super Ninja is dressed head-to-toe in a baggy black outfit that sags and completely hides him, while Pongo is a skinny white guy wearing a black singlet with an odd airbrushed picture on the back that looks like a Nazi S.S. helmet/skull hybrid.
Pongo starts with some real poor, loose arm work as Bruno calls Ninja a “dimwitted halfwit.” Super Ninja does a leg sweep that comes off real bad. Later, Bruno calls out what he summed up as a, “very poorly executed arm drag.” The burial continues. Captain Lou says, “these guys must have been trained by Jim Barnett, or maybe Ted Turner had something to do with it” and then, “Jim Herd may want to use these guys for the WCW” to which the third announcer gasps in surprise. Pongo’s only wearing one elbow pad that looks like it was stolen from his kid’s skateboard safety set. Albano is being super sarcastic the entire time, saying things like, “ABC, CBS, NBC and the wrestling hall of fame” will all recognize this as “the greatest match of all time.” Super Ninja locks on some sort of hold controlling the arm and head on the mat and the referee calls for the pin fall although one of Pongo’s shoulders clearly wasn’t on the mat. Captain Lou says this match reminded him “of Killer Kowalski and Édouard Carpentier, same type of motions.” Can anybody answer for this shit?