What the World Was Watching: USWA Championship Wrestling – June 22, 1995

Lance Russell and Dave Brown call today’s action from the WMC-TV5 studio in Memphis, Tennessee.

Opening Number One Contender’s Match for the USWA Southern Heavyweight Championship:  Sid Vicious (4-1) beats Brian Lee (w/Brandon Baxter) (8-9-1) via disqualification when Billy Jack Haynes interferes at 4:13:

This is the first time that Sid has appeared in a match on television in Memphis this year and he is a major upgrade from giving Steven Dunn a chance at the title.  As Sid pounds away in the beginning, he cuts a promo in the split screen about how he rules the world.  Lee uses the phantom object trick to subdue his opponent and when that fails to work over the long run, he goes low.  Lee hits his Primetime Slam finish (a chokeslam) but Sid does not sell it and gives Lee and Baxter a chokeslam of his own.  A powerbomb sends the crowd into a frenzy but Haynes runs in for a disqualification.  The match was sub-par but Sid’s charisma was off the charts as usual.  And this was despite the WWF booking him as a chickenshit heel during this time on the national level.  Rating:  *

After the bell, Haynes chokeslams Sid twice and pounds away until Steven Dunn, Axl Rotten, and Wolfie D make the save.

Russell interviews Haynes.  Haynes puts over his usual talking points about fear and how no one can carry his jockstrap in the USWA.

Axl Rotten pins the Yellow Jacket after an inverted powerslam at 1:58:

Rotten broke into the business in 1986, trained by Jim Leon in Baltimore.  After wrestling on the Maryland independent scene, he had a small run in WCW against PN News and teamed with fictional brother Ian Rotten to win the Global Tag Team Championship.  Just prior to coming to the USWA, Rotten feuded with Ian in a series of violent death matches in ECW.  The USWA will demand he wrestle a cleaner style and, according to Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer, Rotten chose to come to Memphis in the hopes of landing a WWF contract.  Rotten cuts a promo in the split screen to establish his role as a babyface.  He does a good job interacting with the crowd throughout the squash and he showcases a lot of energy, planting the Jacket with a T-Bone suplex and inverted atomic drop before finishing with an inverted powerslam.

Highlights of the Texas death match between the Rock N’ Roll Express and PG-13 in Memphis are shown.  PG-13 took out Mark Curtis at the beginning of the match and the match featured run-ins by Buddy Landel, Jerry Lawler, and Tracy Smothers.  The Express won after Smothers broke a bottle over Ice’s head.

The Express, Smothers, and Curtis cut a taped promo that bashes the USWA.  They vow to take over in a fun, crazy promo from everyone involved.

Johnny Rotten (w/Downtown Bruno) (2-3-1) pins T.D. Steel after a powerbomb in 29 seconds:

Bruno has not been seen in a while as the WWF was recalling him to be Bertha Faye’s manager in the women’s division.  Before the match, Bruno bills Rotten as “the King of the Powerbomb,” which would seemingly set up a feud with Sid Vicious down the line.  Rotten finishes Steel off in 29 seconds with a powerslam and powerbomb.

Russell interviews USWA Tag Team Champions PG-13.  J.C. Ice says that the team has a plan to counter the SMW invasion, and Wolfie D says they need a maniac on their side, so they went and paid someone $1,000 to come ad talk to them today.  That person is Tommy Rich, their rival from the beginning of the year.  Rich makes PG-13 pay him ad then barely listens to their offer, leaving with the money in behavior that is simultaneously hilarious and in perfect keeping with his character.

Russell talks about Rich’s family life and tells Brown that he does not understand what is wrong with him.

Non-Title Match:  PG-13 (USWA Tag Team Champions) (26-14-2) defeat Gorgeous George III & Pat Tanaka (w/Uptown Karen) via disqualification when Mark Curtis, Tracy Smothers, and Robert Gibson interfere at 3:00:

Tanaka was another fresh arrival in Memphis, returning back to his roots after a stint in the big time.  Trained in a New Japan Pro Wrestling Dojo, Tanaka had his first match in 1984 and then came to the Memphis in 1986, winning the AWA Southern Tag Team Championship with Jeff Jarrett and forming the Badd Company with Paul Diamond.  The duo would win tag team titles and later team in the AWA, winning the tag team titles there from the Midnight Rockers in 1988.  Tanaka got a WWF offer in 1990 and stayed until 1992, shifting to a jobber roll after the company phased out the Orient Express tag team that Tanaka was a part of, first with Akio Sato and then Diamond, who wrestled under a mask as Kato.  He and Diamond then wrestled for ECW, feuding with Kevin Sullivan and the Tazmaniac, and had a brief WCW run in 1994.  This match never kicks into gear because it is all about angle development, with PG-13 taking care of the heels early as Curtis comes out and dials someone’s number on a cell phone.  Curtis then goes to the parking lot, gets Smothers and Gibson, and the three of them run in and attack PG-13 with a trash can, a chair, and the Confederate flag.  Rating:  *

After the disqualification is called, T.D. Steel tries to make a save and that goes about as well as one would expect.  Axl Rotten tries his luck but fails too.  Eventually, Tommy Rich makes a successful save with a chair.  This was a great segment, following the template of how an inter-promotional invasion angle should work.

Brown interviews Curtis, Gibson, and Smothers.  Smothers once again runs down the USWA and incites the crowd.

Steven Dunn (3-2) beats Mr. Clyde with a flying forearm in 13 seconds:

As the description above makes clear, Dunn has no problems with Clyde.  His momentum is suffering, though, when he has already blown two recent chances at titles, first against Buddy Landel for the SMW Championship and recently against Billy Jack Haynes for the USWA Southern Heavyweight Championship.

Russell and Brown take some time to reflect on the SMW invasion.

Russell interviews Tommy Rich, who says he saved PG-13 due to what Russell had to say about his family.

The Last Word:  This broadcast featured some great storytelling and having some fresh talent used on the broadcast did not hurt either.  The Smoky Mountain invasion angle was great, providing a unique experience where the SMW talent was booed in Memphis but the USWA talent was booed in Johnson City and Knoxville.  And the character arc provided for Tommy Rich provides a nice build for the next Memphis show, although questions linger about whether PG-13 can trust him.

Here were the results of the July 24 card in Memphis.  According to prowrestlinghistory.com, the show drew 2,400 fans and a gate of $14,000.  This was the best attendance in Memphis for a non-legends themed card so far in the year:

-Axl Rotten (1-0) defeated Gorgeous George III (12-15-1)

-Brandon Baxter (0-2) beat USWA Women’s Champion Miss Texas (13-3-1)

-Pat Tanaka (0-1) wrestled Steven Dunn (4-2) to a draw

-Mark Curtis beat Bill Rush

-Doug Gilbert (7-9-2) beat Buddy Landel (2-1)

-The Allied Powers (Lex Luger & the British Bulldog) defeated Billy Jack Haynes & Brian Lee via disqualification

-Buddy Landel, Robert Gibson & Tracy Smothers defeated PG-13 & Tommy Rich in a Texas Death match at 19:33

Backstage News*:        Ricky Morton did not appear on USWA Championship Wrestling and the Mid-South Coliseum show because he had a backstage issue with Tracy Smothers in Smoky Mountain.

*The beatdown of Sid on USWA Championship Wrestling was done to protect him in the territory before he jobbed to Diesel the next day at In Your House II.

*Backstage news is provided courtesy of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer for July 31.

Up Next:  USWA Championship Wrestling for July 29!