Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net, starting today. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Date: June 9, 1991
Location: Manatee Civic Center, Palmetto, Florida
Commentators: Craig DeGeorge, Bruno Sammartino
Since my readers enjoy seeing my never ending spiral into madness, I present to you the Universal Wrestling Federation’s lone pay per view effort. This show is legendarily bad and one that I had on my original list of shows that I wanted to look at when I started reviewing shows. I’m not sure why I never got around to it but here we go. Let’s get to it.
We open with a look at Gorgeous George and Bruno Sammartino, when wrestling was still great. That’s how the UWF was founded, with Herb Abrams wanting to bring things back to the glory days.
A not exactly inspiring opening video shows what we’ve got coming tonight. It’s like the 1980s fell asleep and stumbled into a mostly empty arena.
Bam Bam Bigelow is ready to win the TV Title.
Steve Williams is ready to win the TV Title. Or as he puts it, he’s “going to wear the gold around his belt.”
The arena is dark, likely because no one is here.
Herb brings out the TV Title and picks Gordy to win.
Ricco explains what we’re going to be seeing tonight and gives us the two hotlines to call. He’s no Gene Okerlund.
Bam Bam Bigelow has been training hard for his match, but clearly not for thinking of interesting to say for this interview. The most interesting thing mentioned here: it’s his son’s birthday.
Steve Williams doesn’t have any surprises for Bigelow tonight because Bigelow knows what to expect. He’s been on top of the world everywhere so everyone knows that when he walks into a room, excitement happens. So Bigelow, be ready for a fireman’s carry or an armdrag! Or maybe the Oklahoma Stampede.
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Black Hearts vs. Fire Cat/Jim Cooper
The Black Hearts (which was spelled Black Harts during the opening video) are Apocalypse and Destruction (better known as Gangrel) and have Luna Vachon, with a snake around her neck, with them (Whom Bruno says is attractive. There’s an image I NEVER need to see again.). Cat would be briefly known as Battle Kat in the WWF. Luna and the Hearts have a small goblet which spits out some smoke and now we’re ready to go.
Cooper gets double shouldered down to start but manages to legsweep let’s say Destruction. A middle rope elbow takes Cooper down though and a jumping clothesline drops him again. Destruction gets uppercutted into the corner and it’s Cat coming in for two off a Hart Attack (with an elbow instead of a clothesline). A shoulder puts Cat down but he’s right back with a wristlock….to send Destruction outside?
Back in and it seems that the Hearts have changed places, with commentary not being sure which is which. Cooper avoids a middle rope elbow and it’s Cat coming back in to pick up the pace. A superkick puts Apocalypse on the floor again and it’s time for a breather. Back in again and Cat rolls Destruction up for two as DeGeorge talks about all the media covering the show. They probably didn’t have trouble finding a seat.
A crucifix gives Cat two, with Bruno calling it clever. That’s enough for the Hearts, who hit a double flying shoulder for two more. Apocalypse’s northern lights suplex gets two on Cat but he DDTs his way to freedom. Cooper comes back in but gets cheapshotted as everything breaks down. The Veg-O-Matic finishes Cooper at 6:51.
Rating: D+. Oh yeah this is going to be a rough one if this is what they picked for an opener. It’s not a terrible match or anything but it’s something that has been done better about a million times. This was a pretty dull and lifeless match with little doubt about who was winning the whole way. If this was supposed to make me want to watch the rest of the show, we’re in trouble.
Post match, Luna chokes a bit.
DeGeorge tries to explain where Palmetto is, eventually saying it’s about 45 miles south of Tampa. Maybe that has something to do with the horrible attendance? Just perhaps?
Luna wants more competition for the Black Hearts.
Terry Gordy vs. Johnny Ace
Street fight (also known as “we wish we were in Japan”) and Ace is Mr. All America. Even commentary acknowledges that the fans don’t care about him. They grapple against the ropes to start and it’s already a bit more energetic than the opener. Ace counters an atomic drop into a headlock, meaning that energy is already gone.
The headlock takeover puts Gordy down again and they stay on the mat for a bit. Gordy fights back up so Ace hits a middle rope spinning crossbody but Gordy blasts him with a clothesline for two. They go into the corner as DeGeorge talks about the Blackhawks in the first match. Gordy’s belly to back suplex gets a rather slow two, followed by a powerbomb for two more.
Gordy charges into a boot in the corner and Ace dropkicks him to the floor, setting up a dive to take him down again. Ace sends him into some chairs as they finally remember that this is a street fight. They fight beyond the crowd to show off the empty seats….and it’s a double countout at 6:27. In a street fight, leaving the announcers rather confused.
Rating: F. They had a double countout in a street fight. It doesn’t help that there was nothing street fightish about it until the last thirty seconds and what we got before then was hardly anything worth seeing. This show is already showing how weak it really is as we’re thirty minutes in and it feels like a bad indy show rather than some game changing pay per view.
Post match they keep fighting for a few more minutes until….well no one breaks it up actually. Gordy throws a chair in and dares Ace to join him but that’s not happening. For some reason Gordy turns his back and Ace chases him off, even stealing the chair. What a villain….I think? Gordy leaves but Ace follows him to brawl some more as this is almost longer than the match itself.
Mask Confusion vs. Power Twins
Mask Confusion is the Killer Bees and the Power Twins are Larry and David with John Tolos. Well they’re supposed to have him at least but the UWF isn’t allowing him to be here in front of these idiot fans. As you would guess, Masked Confusion is not masked. Larry shoves Brunzell around to start and a cheap shot from the apron lets the twins pound away. They aren’t bright enough to keep Brunzell from crawling to the corner so it’s off to Blair.
Larry is catapulted into David to knock both of them outside in the requisite heap. Back in and it’s a double spinning toehold on Larry, allowing Brunzell to crank on the leg. Black twists it around a bit as they start laying on the leg. There’s a double wishbone for two and it’s right back to the leglocking. Larry rakes the eye though and brings in David, who is taken straight down into the same spinning toehold.
This one doesn’t work as well and some forearms to the back set up the bearhug on Blair. The Twins stay on the back and add a double backdrop, with Blair landing on his hip. Choking on the rope and in the corner ensues as Blair can’t get anything going. A double clothesline gives Blair a breather but David is smart enough to knock Brunzell off the apron.
Blair is knocked outside as well and they come up in masks, meaning that other than their size, shape, height and energy levels, there is no way of telling them apart. They make the most obvious switch possible and Brunzell makes the comeback, including the dropkick for two. An assisted sunset flip lets Blair pin David at 13:04.
Rating: D+. And that might be the match of the night so far. I still don’t get why we’re supposed to cheer for a team like Masked Confusion who blatantly cheat but they were faces for most of their WWF run so I guess it counts. Sure they did the masked thing there too so it doesn’t make much more sense either, but never let that be a problem. This was a formula based tag match so it was a little better, though not by much.
Ladies Championship: Candi Devine vs. Rockin Robin
For the inaugural title and Sammartino is having none of DeGeorge oogling Devine. They start fast with Devine knocking her down and hitting a backdrop but Robin gets her boots up in the corner. The front facelock goes on and a sunset flip only gets two. Devine slingshots her down and grabs the Boston crab (not a very good one mind you). Back up and Robin slugs away before avoiding a knee to the ribs. Robin hits a clothesline and takes her into the corner for some right hands. A missed charge into the corner lets Robin grab a rollup for the pin and the title at 6:20.
Rating: D. This was a slightly above average women’s match for the time but you could tell that they weren’t going to get much better than they did here. That’s fair enough to them as well as women’s wrestling just did not matter at this point. To her credit though, Robin was one of the better and more under appreciated women of the time. Given that there was no story here and what they had to work with, they did as much as they could have.
We recap Colonel DeBeers vs. Paul Orndorff. DeBeers didn’t like the idea of a black man refereeing his match and attacked him a few times, including one rather big beating. Then one day the referee started wrestling so DeBeers whipped him with a belt….and Orndorff is in there somewhere, even if he’s not shown here.
Paul Orndorff vs. Colonel DeBeers
Strap match and Orndorff comes out to Can’t Touch This, which is rather disturbing in a variety of ways. The rules are a little weird here as there is one strap and the referee throws it into the air like a jump ball in a basketball game to determine who gets it. The taller DeBeers gets it and hammers away, including some shots in the corner.
DeBeers misses a charge into the corner though and Orndorff uses his feet to bounce DeBeers on the top. The strap to the throat sets up some choking from DeBeers but he comes back with a slam. He can’t find the strap so he goes up, allowing Orndorff to pull out the strap and knock him out of the air. Orndorff grabs a quick piledriver for the pin at 3:17, even though DeBeers’ shoulder was up.
Rating: D+. There was no time here but Orndorff had the same energy and intensity that he always showed. The strap rules were a bit weird but I’ll take this over the touch all four corners deal any day. It helped that this was the only match with and kind of a story so far too, so I’ll take what little I can get.
Post match Orndorff waves the American flag but DeBeers comes back up with a taser to knock Orndorff out. DeBeers even steals the flag to make sure that this continues.
Here’s Captain Lou Albano for the Captain’s Corner. He doesn’t like his guests tonight but he’ll bring them out anyway, meaning the Black Hearts with Luna Vachon. Albano rants about how he doesn’t like all the evil talk….and he walks away without any of the three talking. Did they just need to fill in some time here?
Bob Backlund vs. Ivan Koloff
Legends match and Koloff has a generic manager named Mr. Red. Koloff has the chain of course and Backlund comes out to Stars And Stripes Forever, just in case you needed to have the idea hammered into you. Neither gets anywhere with a hammerlock attempt to start as Koloff drop toeholds his way out of a hammerlock.
Koloff goes to the ropes to escape another hammerlock and then takes Backlund down for some legdrops on the arm. The short armscissors has Backlund in trouble but he does the lift, which isn’t as impressive as Sammartino was explaining what he would be able to do. A backdrop sets up Backlund’s O’Connor roll out of the corner…..for the pin at 2:27. Well that was quick, with Backlund looking almost as polished as anyone on the show so far.
Post match, Backlund talks to some kids for a nice moment. After Backlund leaves, here’s Lou Albano to knock out Mr. Red and steal his pants.
We recap Bob Orton/Cactus Jack vs. Wet N Wild, which seems to be a rematch from February and March, with both times seeing a surfboard involved.
Wet N Wild vs. Cactus Jack/Bob Orton Jr.
Jack and Orton have John Tolos with them. Wet N Wild are Sunny Beach and Steve Ray and one of the few gimmicks that makes a lot of sense at a show called BEACH Brawl. It’s a brawl to start with Wet N Wild dropping Orton and Jack so they can shove Tolos into a shark cage. The cage is raised and we settle down into a regular match. Jack throws Beach outside in a hurry and Orton knocks him down again, setting up the middle rope elbow to the concrete. Seriously…….just dang Jack.
Back in and Orton stomps away on Beach, setting up a not great looking suplex. Jack’s Russian legsweep gets two but Beach grabs a fall away slam. The hot tag brings in Ray to clean house but the ref gets bumped in the corner. Everything breaks down and Tolos throws brass knuckles to Orton. If you don’t know what is going to happen next, you have no business reading this. Beach gets the pin on Jack at 4:33.
Rating: D+. This felt like “we’re desperately out of time but here’s a finish”. The ending was one of the lamer finishes you can find but at least they did something to give the good guys the win. It doesn’t help that the match was, yet again, something that flew by and didn’t have time to do anything whatsoever.
Post match Jack is busted open and the brawl is on with Tolos not being able to break it up.
We look at how Bam Bam Bigelow and Steve Williams made the tournament finals. Bigelow beat Ivan Koloff, Colonel DeBeers and Cactus Jack while Williams beat Nikolai Volkoff, Steve Ray and then drew a bye.
UWF SportsChannel TV Title: Bam Bigelow vs. Steve Williams
For the inaugural title. The bell rings but we need to have Herb Abrams bring out the title, which will be the company’s top title as they don’t have a World Title. Williams isn’t waiting though and Abrams is shoved down, only to have Bigelow hit a clothesline and headbutts. Some shots to the face have Williams busted open early but he explodes with a heck of a clothesline.
Some knees to the face have Bigelow down again but he comes back with the headbutts (not a good idea as he is busted open as well). Bigelow’s slingshot splash gets two and he plants Williams with a DDT. The top rope splash gets two but Williams is back with a belly to belly suplex for his own near fall. Another clothesline connects and Williams is getting all fired up. Some running shoulders drop Bigelow and a powerslam gets two. Williams can’t hit the Oklahoma Stampede so he settles for another powerslam to finish Bigelow for the title at 7:33.
Rating: C-. And that’s your match of the night with a resounding “well it wasn’t THAT bad”. They did a decent power match here and Williams winning is a marginally better choice. Then again, Bigelow would be main eventing Wrestlemania in less than four years and Williams would be heading back to Japan so…..honestly it’s about a tossup for their respective futures.
Post match, Williams praises Bigelow and says he’s ready for every challenger. Abrams challenges every champion everywhere to come and face Williams.
The announcers talk about what we just saw.
Williams talks about how awesome he is but needs to leave to see another doctor. For some reason, the interviewer counts the pin on the replay in Spanish.
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Quick recap of the results (again with the Black Harts being spelled differently and it’s Backlund, not Backland) wraps things up.
Overall Rating: F. I don’t know how to say this, but it’s really not the worst thing I’ve ever see. It’s really, REALLY bad, but there’s nothing on there that makes it legendarily bad. The bigger problem here is more that there’s absolutely nothing worth watching and the show is a big waste of time. If this is what they wanted to challenge the main two promotions, they’re reaching Vince Russo levels of delusion.
Overall, the show just feels like the most low budget of indy shows with a bunch of names who were past their primes but probably worked cheap. There isn’t even anything to get mad about, as the only really bad/stupid thing was the double countout in the street fight. There is no reason to watch this as it’s not Heroes of Wrestling or anything close to it, but rather a completely lifeless show that felt like it got caught in a time warp and staggered into 1991. Don’t watch this and just let it be remembered for what it was: forgetful.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!