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The Furious Flashbacks – UWF Blackjack Brawl

March 17, 2012 | Posted by Arnold Furious
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The Furious Flashbacks – UWF Blackjack Brawl  

The Furious Flashbacks – UWF Blackjack Brawl

Drunk Herb = bad show.

Having a bit of free time today, and fancying something different, I reached into my ‘to review’ pile of DVD’s and discovered something simply labelled “BLACKJACK”. Best of the Blackjacks perhaps? So, I stick it into my computer and up pops the UWF Blackjack Brawl. I sit at my desk thinking for a few minutes. UWF? Surely not Herb Abrams UWF? Those shows suck-diddly-uck. So its search time and lo and fucking behold its Abrams company. This would be the show that aired on SportChannel America long after the rest of the wrestling world stopped caring that Herb was promoting. Looking down the card it looks like Herb invented a load of titles to make the show look more important. There are no less than FIVE new titles to be decided on this show, as well as matchup for the vacant women’s title and the return of the Southern States title. If you’re not familiar with Herb’s method of booking this may come as a surprise. Who just invents five titles because he’s got a TV show? Herb wasn’t exactly mentally stable. The Blackjack Brawl was Herb’s very last chance at getting this promotion to work. If this show went south, it was game over.

23rd September 1994. We’re in Las Vegas, Nevada. Hosts are Carlo Gianelli & John Tolos. Thankfully Herb isn’t commentating himself. We’re JIP as SportsChannel’s previous live broadcast overran.

Johnny Ace v Dan Spivey

This is for one of Herb’s made-up titles. Ace is currently head of talent relations in the WWE and an onscreen authority personality. For those who’ve not had the pleasure he’s not a bad in-ring talent. Agile for a big man and his Japanese experience has given him a harder style than your average US worker. He’s also managed by Missy Hyatt, who’s gone from WCW after issues with management. Missy looks smoking hot here, which is contrary to her appearance during his WCW run where she overdid it (in every sense of the word) and got stuck managing the Nasty Boys. They know she looks good because the camera tends to wander over to her on a regular basis. Its during an abdominal stretch that Spivey discovers he can’t apply an abdominal stretch. It’s a mess. Missy throws the towel in thus changing her managerial allegiances. *. A dull opener with a pointless overemphasis on booking.

POST MATCH Herb Abrams, who sounds drunk as fuck, grabs the mic and shouts abuse at Missy & Spivey. He attempts to wrestle the prestigious Made Up Title #1 off the latter. Unsuccessfully. This whole thing is stupid as they deliberately attempt to setup a re-match on a show they’ve not even got yet. Check the record books for Blackjack Brawl II and you’ll be disappointed.

Mando Guerrero v Jack Armstrong

Mando is Eddie’s brother. He’s not particularly well known and spent most of his career as a stuntman in Hollywood. This is for Made Up title #2. Allegedly for the junior heavyweight strap although Jack looks a bit too big for that title. Carlo can’t pronounce the name “Guerrero”, which doesn’t bode well. He also calls this the opening match, which Tolos spots. Mando brings the lucha, which Jack doesn’t follow. Mando even breaks out the Asai Moonsault! Jack looks out of his depth and the heel gets dominated by the babyface. Mando misses a moonsault though and Jack elbows him a few times for the win. *1/2. Jack Armstrong wasn’t really a cruiserweight performer. He did bust up the top of his head on the rail thus giving the card unexpected juice. Not for the last time, either.

POST MATCH Herb jumps in there to slight his new cruiser champ but he’s happy Jack got busted open. Herb is rocking an ugly yellow jacket this evening.

Sunny Beach v Dr Feelgood

Feelgood has Missy as a manager and claims to be a physician. UWF also claim he’s 6’ 7” tall, which would mean Missy has enormous heels on this evening OR she’s had a growth spurt OR UWF are full of shit. Feelgood is former WWF jobber Al Burke who actually owns the rights to this footage. Unlucky, sir. He’s a solid hand. Beach has a bit of flash about him but Steve Ray was the star of the team they had. He has a few power moves and can get his pop with suplexes and such. Feelgood heads over to his medical kit, and takes his time about it, pours some liquid onto a rag and goes to smother Beach with it. Beach sees it coming and forces the rag back into his face for the pin. Ether maybe? Its usually ether. *.

POST MATCH Missy slaps Beach allowing Feelgood to ether him into submission.

UWF Southern States title: Bob Orton Jr (c) v Finland “Hellraiser” Thor

Thor is Ludwig Borga. This is an actual title that Orton jobbed to Paul Orndorff in one the UWF’s most famous and best matches. Unfortunately Orndorff then quit UWF and the belt was unused until Orton was awarded it, again, to increase the flurry of titles on this show. Tolos’ knowledge of anatomy is seriously called into question as he calls a punch to the ribs (from the front, mind you) a kidney punch. Where do you keep your kidneys, John? Thor’s offence is routinely boring so Orton decides to teach him what a decent punch looks like. Orton gets backdropped over the top attempting a powerbomb and wipes out Herb. The fight heads outside and the ref decides to call it a day. *. The mediocrity continues. It looked like a punch up rather than a wrestling match and this is evidenced by Orton taking a cut under the eye from one of Tony Halme’s shoot-style punches. Had they let this go it could have become a decent fight. Truncated, although based on Borga’s usual standard that’s not surprising.

Midget World Championship: The Karate Kid v Little Tokyo

I’m reporting on this EXACTLY as it is displayed onscreen. Little Tokyo looks like a shrunken Masa Fuchi. The midgets get a few chuckles with KK hiding behind the ref while Tokyo runs the ropes and gets tired. Tolos uses the term “goofy Jap” on commentary. The actual style of wrestling is more akin to cruiserweight action than the cruiserweight match. The ref’s count is PAINFULLY slow so Tokyo busts out an impression of him including a mock count where he picks his nose and checks his watch in between counts. Both commentators completely miss the point of it. I can only assume Carlo is commentating with his eyes shut. KK keeps suckering Tokyo into a full nelson, which is fun stuff and in wrestling terms the best action of the night. Tokyo gets tiny boots up for the pin and becomes midget world champion. A title deserving of a tiny title belt. **1/2. Depressingly this is the best match on the card.

POST MATCH Herb’s interview is almost insulting and Tokyo looks offended although he’s slightly impressed that Herb knows the word ‘kanpai’, which means ‘cheers’. They’ll be drinking sake to celebrate later. Or in Herb’s case 30 minutes ago with a crack cocaine chaser.

BACKSTAGE Sid, perhaps in training for softball season, cuts a promo that the mic doesn’t seem to pick up. Mainly because he’s not holding it anywhere near his face. I’m guessing he’s used to better quality mics that they have in the big leagues. This ain’t the big leagues.

Sidenote: this DVD seems to have a few matches clipped off. Shame, I was looking forward to Tyler Mane v Steve Ray!

Tina Moretti v Candy Devine

This is for the newly created women’s title. The idiot ring announcer, one Steven Rossi, calls Candy “Devvy-ann”. Quite how someone can’t pronounce Devine is beyond me. Moretti is the future Ivory. This is her as a plucky young babyface. Women’s wrestling wasn’t really over in the 90s thanks to both the WWF and WCW not taking the division seriously. At this time the WWF had taken an interest in women’s wrestling after acquiring Madusa’s services and re-naming her Alundra Blayze but she was the full extent of the division and when she quit the company the belt was deactivated for 3 years and ended up in the trash on Nitro. Prior to Alundra’s title run starting in late 1993 the WWF’s women’s title had been vacant for some 3 years or so. Which shows you exactly how serious anyone was about it. I’ve given this match far more history than it deserves as Candy wins in about 3 minutes with a scoop slam. ¼*.

BACKSTAGE Steve Williams puts over Sid Vicious as an opponent. He’s tried getting Hogan and Flair to come down to UWF and wrestle him for the title but they’re too scared of him.

Tag titles: New Powers of Pain (Warlord/Power Warrior) v The Killer Bees

UWF had previously avoided using the term “Killer Bees” because the WWF threatened them with legal action and they had been called Masked Confusion. Herb taking the ‘fuck it’ route and just calling them Killer Bees anyway. Not that anyone cares about either team in 1994. Poor Warlord has got stuck with some poor scrub jobber as a partner. He doesn’t look like he belongs in the same team. He just looks highly generic. Its one of the two Power Twins. The Bees make frequent tags or “switching” as Talos calls it. Yeah, ok. Whatever you say, John. I don’t think he entirely understands the gimmick. The match feels like something the WWF put out in the late 80s/Hogan era. The smaller team being superior at the wrestling and the big lugs clubbering away. It all breaks down and the ref manages to get himself bumped, at the second attempt, thus preventing the Bees from taking it. The other Power twin turns up, to turn the tables on the usual Bees switching, only for Blair to pin the new Power twin off camera. **. Decent formula stuff with the Bees performing to a reasonable standard. Shocking that something this bland would be one of the best matches of the night.

BACKSTAGE Jimmy Snuka tells Cactus Jack there will be no monkeying around tonight!

Lumberjack Match: Jimmy Snuka v Cactus Jack

Interesting to see Mick wrestle the man who inspired him to become a pro. Its literally the only interesting match UWF have put on tonight and I’m fairly certain its not intentional. Carlo uses a different tack to get the match over; making dated John Wayne Bobbitt jokes. Perfect. That sums up UWF, nicely. Of course it could be worse; Herb could be commentating himself. Based on his earlier appearances I’m guessing he’s too drunk to do so. Making this a lumberjack match stops anything interesting from happening. As good as Mick Foley is; its his extracurricular activities on the floor that made him fun to watch at the time. Thankfully the format gets abandoned and it turns into a huge brawl around the commentary area. Unfortunately that doesn’t make for a decent visual or a good match. Which does rather beg the question; why on Earth did they make this a lumberjack match? They end up fighting into the crowd and getting counted out. Counted out, in a lumberjack match. Only in UWF. ½*. I’m sure Mick was disappointed how this played out but UWF’s stupidity killed this one.

Sidenote: ring announcer Steve Rossi has to be the worst I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen some fucking awful ring announcers.

UWF title: “Dr Death” Steve Williams (c) v “Malicious” Sid Vicious

Yes, they actually added a “malicious” to Sid’s name. But this is the same company that re-named Ludvig Borga as “Finland Thor” and employed Steve Rossi. Sid is a big name at least; having not caught on in the WWF after being fired by WCW in 1993 for stabbing Arn Anderson. He was working Memphis mostly. WWF took him back about 6 months after this. Doc tries to make Eudy look good by making this about countering and letting Sid get his fair share. Technically it might be the best match of Sid’s career. Sid hits a chokeslam to end those antics. When Sid is in charge of a match it’s a far less interesting affair. Popping off the odd power move before settling into a chinlock or similar. Damn it, Sid, I was enjoying the counters. Talos begins to seriously oversell the competitors while Carlo mentions Blackjack Brawl’s 2 and 3 (dates to be announced). Neither would happen. The ring is falling apart btw, which is unfortunate but it could have been worse and happened during the opener. I suspect Doc tries to break the ring as he deliberately starts hitting big spots. Dan Spivey runs in for the DQ, which may have been pre-planned (which is dumb) or perhaps an improvisation to cover for the ring. **1/4. Decent match until the ring issues. Can’t say I agree with a DQ in the main event. Herb might not have known the UWF was done but regardless it’s a big show. You need a finish. Herb actually suggests a cage match in his interview with Doc but this would be the UWF’s last major show.

POST MATCH Herb & Blackjack Mulligan step in for an accusatory rant at Spivey & Sid. You can tell Herb is the promoter because no one punches him out. They get to sign off in the ring. Herb being high enough to close the show with a Michael Jackson song. Not singing it, sadly.

The 411: The usual horseshit from UWF. Stupid stipulations, bad booking, nothing matches and titles that don’t mean anything. You can see why they went out of business. There were a few worthwhile moments. The midget match is pretty good and its weird seeing Sid actually wrestling for a while in the main event.
 
Final Score:  3.0   [ Bad ]  legend

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