I watched this “classic” pay per view this week for two reasons. One, the Dark Side of the Ring next episode is all about Herb Abrams and the UWF. Two, my friends over at At Odds with Wrestling will be reviewing this show on their podcast later this week, and I’m a known third wheel. Check out their podcast feed here: http://longboxheroes.com/category/wrestling/
Taking place June 9, 1991 Manatee Civic Center in Palmetto, Florida. (Where the namesake bugs are from?) The attendance was 550 fans and it shows.
First of all, this event is mostly awful. Bad matches, bad wrestling, bad characters, bad lighting, just on and on. Which is a shame because there is plenty of known talent on this show. Multiple times this show goes against any wrestling logic. Any of a hundred years of how professional wrestling is supposed to happen logic is gone.
The Blackhearts with Luna Vachon vs. Fire Cat and Jim Cooper.
Fire Cat was also known as Battle Cat during a brief run in WWF. He’s 5’10” but looks much shorter in this match. The Blackhearts are both under masks and pull the switch on the referee. Stay tuned if you like that. Fire Cat is fine. Cooper showed nothing. Both Blackhearts (one of which is most likely Gangrel) are meant to be two big guys who throw their opponents around and were destined to get the win.
Johnny Ace vs Terry Gordy in a Street Fight.
Have any of you ever seen The Last Dragon? There is a quote in there, to paraphrase, a fortune cookie without a fortune from a master who does not exist. Which is how I felt watching this match. A Street Fight that ends in a double count out. A double count out! Against the entire rules of a street fight. Best case, the referee forgot it’s a street fight and called for the bell. If that’s not the situation, then this was a poorly booked street fight and pointless. The two men battle through the sparse and oddly set up crowd. It may have been the same 5 people following them around, giving the illusion of a larger crowd. Ace and Gordy both play King of the Mountain with the ring and dare the other one to come in.
The Power Twins vs Mask Confusion.
The Power Twins are introduced with John Tolos but come out without him. Mass or Masked or Mask Confusion are the former Killer Bees. They come out without masks. But put masks on during the match. To switch on the referee. Against Twins. After the Blackhearts already wrestled. This is what happens when you hold a wrestling show in the same building as a twin convention. The Bees have a sunset flip switch into the pin that was well timed and the highlight of the match.
Candy Devine vs Rockin Robin to crown the first UWF Ladies Champion.
Ladies champion. Not womens. This might be the best match on the card. Both women are cuter than the average female wrestler of the time. Nothing against Moolah in her 60’s or anyone else dragged out of mothballs here and there. Not only are they cute, they can wrestle too! Robin wins the match and there is a drastic voice over edit. The first of many.
Speaking of, Bruno Sammartino is one of the announcers for this event and he’s terrible. Yes, he’s a great wrestling talent but as a play by play announcer he’s tied with “how much does this guy weigh?”
Col. DeBeers (with Mr Black, who doesn’t show up) vs. Mr Wonderful Paul Orndorff in a Strap Match.
A strap match without a strap! I recorded The House Show podcast episode 8 this week and we talk about the Caribbean Strap Match between Steve Austin and Savio Vega. Which means I watched two strap matches this week. And only one had a strap. We get highlights of DeBeers being racist. Then the match begins and he beats Orndorff with a strap. Which might be his own belt. I don’t understand why Paul is here and what his feud is with the Colonel. Orndorff wins this match but I think Mr Wonderful also won DeBeers’s mustache. Paul waves the American flag, as he’s known for being a Real American. DeBeers hits him with a taser. There are MANY more voice over edits to close this out. Maybe for time constraints.
Now it’s time for the Captain’s Corner with Captain Lou Albano. The Captain comes out, introduces the Blackhearts with Luna. He says they’re all nasty and the snake they have is nasty. Then Lou leaves. Another classic episode of the Captain’s Corner!
Ivan Koloff (with Mr Red) vs. Bob Backlund.
Mr Red is actually here! He looks like an albino JJ Dillon. Backlund is fantastic and I find myself wishing he had an NWA/WCW run after leaving WWF. Koloff seems past his prime and just here to be the inevitably beaten foil. Great work from Bob, and he looks like a fresh faced kid here.
Captain Lou comes out to confront Mr Red. A punch and a strip of the pants later and Albano is in the room triumphant. Two episodes of Captain’s Corner in one show!
Cactus Jack and Bob Orton Jr (with John Tolos) vs. Wet N Wild.
Tolos is here! Wet N Wild are escorted by the Beach Bunnies. Jack and Orton come out to Bonanaza. Wet N Wild (Stevie Ray and Sunny Beach) hit the ring with surfboards then put Tolos in a shark cage above the ring. Well, adjacent and above the ring.
Cactus with a nasty elbow from the turnbuckles to the floor. Giving his body to wrestling. Tolos tosses brass knuckles from the shark cage to Orton. Orton accidentally hits Cactus. Stevie Ray pins Cactus. Orton and Cactus brawl, Tolos blows his whistle, and Jack bleeds.
These matches are fast too. They feel like they go on forever, but they’re actually very short.
Herb Abrams brings out the Sportschannel title which will be awarded to the winner of the next match.
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Dr Death Steve Williams.
Nothing to even write about. Just two big dudes hitting each other for awhile. Both men bleed. Williams picks up Bam Bam after a struggle then slams him for the win. There’s a post match interview with the new champion. Then about 5 minutes of the announcers saying how great the event was. I hate to tell you guys, through time and space, but it was not. It was not good.
This might be the worst wrestling PPV I’ve ever watched. Heroes of Wrestling is legendary for how bad it was, but it’s become enjoyably bad. Cult bad. Invite friends over and watch how bad it is together. While this is just bad. I don’t want to inflict this punishment on anyone else. I would have survivor’s guilt over it.
That said I can’t wait for the Herb Abrams UWF episode of Dark Side of the Ring later tonight.