Ah yes, the Herb Abrams version of the UWF. I’ve relentlessy pummelled both of their “major” shows and Brian tackled some random matches from them recently. Just this week, however, the episodes re-emerged on ESPN Classic, replacing AWA in the midnight time slot for the time being with two 30 minute episodes. I figure since I’m snowed in and off work, now is as good of a time as any to evalute some of their horrendously shoddy ring work.
Episode #1 – Taped 10/11/90 in Reseda, CA
1) Billy Jack Haynes vs. Gary Keyes – 2
2) Ken Patera vs. Rikki Ataki – 2
3) Paul Orndorff vs. Matt Starr – 2
4) Ivan Koloff vs. Nikita Koloff – 4
The production on this show is pretty rough. It’s not terrible like your local indy show, but it definitely lacks the value of the WWF and WCW at the time. The commentators are Herb Abrams and Bruno Sammartino, a terrible combination to say the least. Abrams is so over the top and Bruno is so straight ahead in the calling of the moves that they don’t compliment each other at all. The first three bouts on this episode were all squash matches and all hade the same basic formula with the big name star dominating the under-prepared jobber. Haynes looked like he gained a bunch of weight compared to when I last saw him during his WWF run. He was also rocking a mullet and wearing a weight belt, as if he would need such an item to lift up his scrawny opponent for a bodyslam. The announcers kept hyping a potential match with Haynes and Patera, which probably wouldn’t consisted of more that ten moves between the two. Speaking of Patera, his opponent was a bit more bulky and was sporting mullet number two of the night. Wait, an Asian dude with a mullet? No freakin’ way! Patera just toyed with his eastern opponent for a while before polishing him off with a submission hold. Orndorff had the least impressive squash with a crappy guy the probably pulled from the front row and threw a singlet on. Honestly, it got a bonus point for the sick piledriver more so than anything that happened in the actual bout. Finally, the main event had some potential but never really got out of first gear. The intense brawling to begin was nice but it soon settled down into a series of chinlocks and clotheslines. Ivan tried to do a top-rope splash to Nikita but Nikita got the knees up in a fairly decent moment. Nikita applied the figure-four and then the bell rang. No, Ivan didn’t give up … the match went the time limit. Wait, there was a time limit? When did they announce that? Ivan’s selling of the figure-four was nice but his selling of rib roast out of a meat truck in Siberia was better.
Episode #2 – Taped 9/24/90 in Reseda, CA
1) Steve “Dr. Death” Williams vs. Davey Meltzer – 2
2) Col. DeBeers vs. Michael Allen – 2
3) Cactus Jack vs. David Sammartino – 5
Same crappy production and same crappy comentators with this episode. The first two bouts again were squashes. Doc toyed with his pudgy opponent, whose name was a blatant jab at wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer, while Abrams spewed rhetoric on commentary while taking shots at the journalist. A few football tackles and an Oklahoma slam sends Meltzer back to the showers. Doc didn’t look very impressive and looked like he was just there to collect a paycheck. DeBeers always seems to show up in the oddest places, like here. This time he’s sporting an eyepatch, in case you didn’t know he was supposed to be evil. He made quick work of Allen and finished him off with a sick DDT. The main event of this episode was a pleasant surprise. Sammartino got some ripped abs and lost all the mass he had during his mid-80s run and looked like a completey different person. The match started off and it seemed like it was going to be another basic main event bout with Cactus no-selling David’s gut shots and chops. However, in the third segment they definitely turned up the intensity. Jack did his patented Cactus Clothesline and they were throwing some good shots at each other. Back in the ring, they continued throwing shots at each other then Cactus randomly headbutts the referee who promptly ends the match. Damn! It would’ve gotten a “6” had it not been for the random, bullshit finish. As far as overall thoughts, if you feel the need to watch one of these, I recommened the second episode as the first didn’t have much behind it.