September 2nd, 1991
Taped July 20th, 1991
War Memorial Auditorium
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
Commentators: Craig DeGeorge & Bruno Sammartino
Jim the Animal & Paul Samson vs Mike Lauria & The Nightmare
A commercial for Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare airs before this match and I wondered if that meant The Nightmare was going to be some kind of homage to Freddy, which would make sense as the rest of the stars are long past their sell-by date too. But no it’s just some masked loser. Paul Samson is Animal’s owner but clearly he doesn’t own a wrestling licence, so the less said about his work in the ring the better. Animal decides the match sucks and goes outside to feed the kids by throwing candy. Bruno uses this opportunity to plug Pittsburgh Zoo and puts over the four hundred pound Gorillas more than the match. Also apparently Bruno wrestled an Orangutan at one point? “That was a young Bruno, and not a smart one.” I feel Orangutan wrestlers aren’t discussed enough. Anyway nothing is happening in this match and it’s a damn shame that this absurdly hot crowd is virtually silent after the rubbish they’ve been fed. Last time people were fed this bad we got Mad Cow Disease. Animal tombstones The Nightmare and tags in Paul to pin him and the crowd can barely muster a boo. Mike Lauria DDTs The Nightmare afterwards for being rubbish and the crowd gives a gentle laugh for that one moment.
A live event scheduled for September 14th in the Bronx, NY is advertised. Cagematch says it didn’t happen, but they play the UWF intro over the advert and it’s the version with Herb yelling THE UUUDOUBLEUUEEFFFF at the top of his coke-filled lungs so the commercial sounds like two Herb’s arguing with one another and I had to pause to control myself.
J.R. James (w/Bobby Rogers) vs David Perry
I’ve made all the Earthworm Jim jokes possible for a guy who retired a year after this. J.R. James is announced as being accompanied by the grand-son of Buddy Rogers which is something. I love this company so much. “Hey there’s going to be a guy who’s the grandson of someone who was a big deal at this show let’s buy tickets!” Nowadays that person would have a fight with Logan Paul lined up. James is a black-shirt Southern Flag waving guy in jeans. Bruno diplomatically praises Herb’s eagerness to bring in new stars regardless of their experience. James and Perry go through some wrestling and you get reminded how empty this sport can be when no-one in the crowd is reacting to anything. At one point someone throws a soft ball at Perry and DeGeorge tries to cover by saying “something fell off him.”
Perry lands a belly-to-belly for two as Rogers puts James’ foot on the rope. None of the commentators noticed it so when Perry argues with the ref they don’t know why and I have to pause again to laugh. Tazz and Excalibur have nothing on Bruno & DeGeorge six hours into a taping they’re unsure they’re getting paid for. Perry grabs Rogers and leaves himself open for James to miss a Patera charge in the corner and for Perry to win clean with a savate kick for a surprisingly big pop. I think they were cheering because it was over. James attacks him with a cowbell afterwards and then Perry beats him and his manager up so bad other wrestlers have to show up to save the heel, hahahaha. James wrestled until 2011. Why.
We get a replay of Captain Lou Albano’s Corner with Mr. Red because apparently Paul Orndorff and Bob Orton left mid-taping so there’s nothing here to fill the time. Or maybe they wanted to remember when the crowd was alive, I dunno.
The Super Ninja (w/Mr. Red) vs Mad Man Pondo
Oh my God, a young singlet-wearing Mad Man Pondo? Craig calls him Pongo because of course he does. First we had The Nightmare and now we have Super Ninja. Jack Victory would have got four bookings out of this taping. Lou tries to battle Mr. Red at ringside but nothing happens so instead we get Ninja kicking away at Pondo and then posing like a guy who isn’t a real Ninja. Albano rags on Pondo’s name and the skulls on his tights, disliking all that dark stuff from the young uns. They exchange armdrags and in a weird bit Bruno yells WOW WHAT AN ARMDRAG and then immediately criticizes it. Lou thinks both these guy were trained by Jim Barnett. “Jim Herd should come out, he might want to use these guys!” What the hell is happening? “One thing’s for sure, they’ve got so much powder on them they won’t need to shower afterwards.” Mr. Red chokes Pondo for about half a minute as Lou calls this match one of the greatest of all time. And now Herb joins commentary to talk about Mr. Red and then Ninja locks in an armbar for the uhhh pinfall victory that was so sudden no-one on commentary noticed. Mr. Red misses a splash on Pondo before getting attacked softly. Even by the standards of 1991 Herb shows, this was bad.
From Pondo’s book:
Brackney was booked on a few shows for UWF down in Florida, but he had no way to get to Florida. I had a nice car, courtesy of my parents, so Howard asked me to drive him south. I agreed on one condition: I wanted to be booked with UWF. Brackney made a call to Herb Abrams at UWF and then called me to let me know I had the job.
When the two of us arrived in Florida, I received a surprisingly warm welcome from Herb Abrams and WWF legends Bruno Sammartino and Captain Lou Albano. Howard and I were treated to dinner and then went to the arena, where the two of us would be working against each other that night with Howard under a hood as the Super Ninja.
The undercard guys had a separate locker room from the big guys. I poked my head in the undercard locker room, where I expected to be, and I remember seeing Luna Vachon getting ready. Right by the door they had everyone’s name written on a piece of paper on the wall, listing who was dressing in that room. I looked up and down and my name wasn’t on the list.
I went to see Sammartino and Albano, and asked them why I had been left off the list. That’s when they directed me to the other locker room. There was a list of names posted by that door as well: Paul Orndorff, Dr. Death Steve Williams, Bam Bam Bigelow, B. Brian Blair, and right there at the bottom of the list was me.
I had no clue why I was on the top stars list. Not only was I brand new in the business I was pretty green and pretty terrible. But I went into the big locker room, shook hands, and put on my gear in the same locker room as the legendary “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff.
I’d love to tell you that being in the locker room with those big time stars brought out the best in me, but I’m not gonna lie to you. I was pretty bad. My complete lack of talent was on full display for all to see. I’m sure Howard looked great, but I stunk up the place so bad, I later found out that Bruno and Captain Lou killed me on the commentary.
After the match, Sammartino and Albano pulled me aside. “What the hell was that out there, kid? Where were the moonsaults?” they asked. “Where were all the flips out of the ring? All the high flying stuff?”
I was confused. “I don’t know. I’ve never tried them. But if you want me to try, I’ll be happy to give it a shot.” Albano and Sammartino were stunned. “We were told you were a high flier.”
And that’s when it clicked. In order to get to Florida, Brackney needed a ride. In order to get the ride, he had to get me booked. In order to get me booked, he made up a ridiculous story about Mad Man Pondo being a high flying aerial daredevil.
I was booked in Miami and Tampa after that first show. They paid me for Ft. Lauderdale, but they canceled me in the other two places. I got a photo with Orndorff out of the deal.
I would have appreciated if Howard had at least clued me in to what was going on. He could have told me what he told them and given me the chance to go out in the ring and fake it. That, or I could have faked an ankle injury to get out of it. Howard felt pretty bad about how things turned out, and being a decent guy, he made it up to me.
And then Herb suspends Mr. Red for thirty days which only makes him mad so Herb brawls with Red to the delight of Herb and Herb alone. Ninja then attacks Herb who sells as well as Pondo as Lou saves the day by smashing a chair over Ninja.
The Firecat & A Mystery Partner vs The Blackharts (w/Luna Vachon)
Oh thank God, The Blackharts will surely save the show, even against Firecat the over-rated flippy idiot. The Blackharts hilariously smash the cat before he can reveal the surprise of Wild Thing Steve Ray. No-one reacts to the announcement so Firecat snap suplexes one of the Blackharts on the concrete. He responds by backdropping Firecrap onto it after two seconds of selling. Whatshername from last week brawls with Luna as Ray goes into the crowd with Apocalypse as this has turned nutty really quick. Firecat smashes the ring-steps into Apocalypse as Ray piledrives Destruction on the floor. Luna launches a non-folding chair into whatshername as there’s more snap suplexes on the concrete as everyone heads to the ring for the DQ but no-one cares as Ray smashes the ring bell over Destruction’s head. This was like a shot of Five Hour Energy after drinking out of the toilet for an hour.
Overall: I can’t believe they killed the crowd harder than Great White but that’s what happens when you air hours of cack. Outside of that crazy main event, the main attraction was listening to Lou, Bruno and Craig giving up on commentary.
Here’s some Meltzer spice to season this rotten dish:
On the ESPN show this past Thursday, the group had probably the best back-to-back interviews I’ve seen all year by Jim Cornette and Scotty Anthony. The Friday show scheduled for ESPN was pulled and a repeat show put in its place because Herb Abrams sent a letter to ESPN claiming that he had trademarked the name Wet’n’Wild for Steve Ray & Sonny Beach and had Ray signed to a contract. Ray denied it to Pedicino, however ESPN pulled the Friday tape and GWF production crew had to erase all mentions of Wet’n’Wild from all syndicated and cable television shows to air in upcoming weeks that had already been taped.
Herb Abrams is trying to sell a 30-minute wrestling talk show with himself and Lou Albano around to cable networks.
Several bill collectors in Florida after Herb Abrams stemming from his PPV show.
I’ve been Maffew and yes, there’s more tapings from the same location next week.