UWF – November 15th, 1986
By Dave Newman on 1st May 2022
After reviewing an episode of Championship Wrestling from Florida previously, soon to be bought up by the NWA, I thought I’d look at the biggest episode from the promotion that Jim Crockett would also absorb later on.
In the cold opening, General Skandor Akbar promises the One Man Gang will take the UWF heavyweight championship from Terry Gordy. Michael Hayes responds on Bam Bam’s behalf, although he has Gang two and a half inches taller than Ak does!
Bill Watts Presents… UWF
Hosted by Jim Ross from the Tulsa Convention Center, promoting a PACKED show!
The Fabulous Freebirds are already on the way to the ring in their civvies, although P.S. wears tights as his normal clothes. Michael bitches at Tommy Gilbert about how there’s NO WAY that they’re going to have a six man with Ted Dibiase, Steve Williams and Terry Taylor when they already have championship defenses booked as well! Does seem like the organisation is working against them, although Hayes bites off more than he can chew by running his mouth about how they’re going to destroy the faces anyway (“You’re looking at a hurricane!”). Michael was a great talker. The faces come out to, of course, Born in the U.S.A. and the fight is on, with Taylor trying to rub Buddy Jack’s face in the mat for revenge and Gordy taking a spill. Doc and Dibiase set up Michael for a stomp off the ropes to break his leg, but Gordy makes the mistake of reaching in to pull him out and Doc changes direction and drops a knee on his forearm, breaking it! Great bit of acting from Williams as he weighs it up to get his revenge and Gordy sells it like a mad man on the floor!
Sting and Rick Steiner vs. The Missing Link and Jumping Joe Savoldi
In a weird twist, Sting and Steiner are the heels flanked by Eddie Gilbert and Missy Hyatt, while the Link is a babyface managed by Dark Journey. Can’t help but think the plaster on Link’s shoulder detracts from his caveman character. The ladies are thrown out after a chase initiated by Journey. Savoldi and Steiner fly around like powerballs before Sting gets a cheap shot. Stinger had trimmed down a lot already and was more agile and improving far quicker than the Warrior, even though the Warrior obviously went on to be the bigger star. Steiner misses an elbow and Link tags in and runs wild with battering ram headbutts, even bringing Gilbert in for a beating, but Savoldi gets dumped and the heels team up on Link and hold him down to spray his back yellow after a DQ. Savoldi makes the save with a chair. Really quick, so hard to rate, but the WWF probably missed out on Link as a babyface.
Promo from Skandor Akbar, talking up the potential success of Devastation Incorporated and misnaming Terry Gordy as “Boom Boom”. It’s actually really charming how much he mispronounced names and titles.
One Man Gang vs. Terry Gordy
For the UWF heavyweight championship, although Gordy comes out with his arm in a sling and Michael tells “camel breath” that he’s too injured to wrestle. Akbar says it’s “Put up or shut up”, which Tommy Gilbert seems to agree with, as after it’s determined Terry can’t wrestle he just takes the belt over to Gang and awards it to him. No match and really a disappointment, but obviously designed to set up a face Freebirds/heel Devastation feud. Great fade out to break as well with Terry looking equally devastated and confused and a recap of OMG holding the belt up to Rush’s The Big Money.
Savannah Jack vs. Buddy Jack Roberts
For the TV championship, as Buddy defends against Devastation reject and forgotten wrestler Savannah Jack. Hayes joins Jim on commentary, who refuses to get heated (Jim: “Remember when Dr. Death was injured and you still wanted to wrestle him…?” Hayes: “I BET IF YOU SHOT HIM WITH A GUN YOU’D STILL EXPECT HIM TO GO OUT TOO!” Jim: “I’m not going to get into an argument with you, just stating facts.”), so with that unsympathetic response Michael stomps off. Jack attacks early and gets Buddy in the tree of woe, but Buddy catches him with a clothesline out of the corner. Terry Taylor comes out to back up Jack. Buddy rakes the eyes with his boots and tries a piledriver, but gets backdropped. Clothesline and slam by the ropes, which Hayes breaks up the pin with a slap. Taylor chases him off while Roberts gets distracted and gets superkicked (which barely hits) for the upset win for the belt. Jack was really green, but this got a big reaction and was fun while it lasted.
Bad Bad Leroy Brown and Wild Bill Irwin vs. Hollywood John Tatum and Jack Victory
Heels against heels, with the two big guys being managed by Skandor Akbar and Tatum and Victory being the tag team champs, with the belts on the line. Devastation attacks quickly and single out John Tatum for punishment, although Jack gets in and hits Brown, but gets caught with a double clothesline. Jack avoids an elbow and Tatum tags in, but gets caught with a pump kick with Irwin’s loaded boot. Another, which Tatum visibly blades for, holding his blade prior. Brown works on the cut. Tilt-a-whirl slam sets up Brown’s elbowdrop for the win and the belts. Not much to it, but the significance of this was ALL THREE BELTS in the promotion had changed hands in ONE programme. Victory kinda walks off after, as this was designed to oust Tatum from the territory, I believe after he got into a legal problem following a car crash that a woman died in.
Chavo Guerrero vs. Buddy Landell
Ernie Ladd joins Jim Ross on commentary, freshly returned from the WWF, and he looks bizarre with just a moustache and an attempt at blonde hair. He manages to say the word “affiliation” about three times in twenty seconds – “You couldn’t get this much entertainment at the World’s Fair!”. I’d be remiss in mentioning how the security crew look like Hell’s Angels and are bigger than most of the wrestlers. Buddy tries to get into it with Tommy Gilbert and then backs off when Chavo goes for him. Dropkick with a brilliant dead-eyed stare from Budro. Ernie reminisces about a loss to Chavo back in the day while worrying his vocabulary isn’t big enough while sounding more eloquent than Jim. Buddy cheats to hold an armbar. Tommy gets his revenge by blocking an attempted cheap shot, allowing Chavo to take Buddy down for a crossface. Chavo didn’t get the same exposure on TV that Eddie, Hector and his son got, but certainly was not letdown when it came to keeping up the family name. When both men are up they’re firing them off, when they’re down they’re grinding it in on the mat. Chavo dropkicks Buddy out and follows with a plancha while Jack Victory comes out to align with Buddy. Back in, Tommy takes a bump off a backdrop gone awry and Chavo finishes with the moonsault press, but Victory runs in with an elbow and turns it over for Buddy to get the win. Pretty decent.
The Fantastics with a promo, with Bobby doing the words and Tommy doing the actions, with revenge in mind for Tatum and Victory and a new challenge for Brown and Irwin.
One Man Gang vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan
A cage match, with TV time remaining, to give away the ending. This was booked based off Gang trying to 747 Gary Young multiple times and Hacksaw making the save. Gordy wanders back out to mouth off at Gang over losing his belt. Duggan comes out and beats up Michael Hayes while Akbar further injures Gordy’s arm by slamming it with the cage door. The new tag team champs come out and attack Duggan before he can get in the cage, slamming him into the VERY flimsy cage, then chucking him in. Jim of course is bleeding for that and amusingly Irwin and Brown carry Tommy Gilbert out to let him go. The outro music starts bleeding in as OMG mounts the ropes, goes to jump, and…
WE’LL SEE YOU NEXT WEEK ON THE UWF!
Melting it down: Legendary episode of the show, helped by being more exciting than good. If there’s interest I’ll maybe do Watts’ UWF episodes on a Sunday regularly while Maffew does the Herbie ones.