What the World Was Watching: USWA Championship Wrestling – December 30, 1995 (Last of the Series!)

Lance Russell and Dave Brown are doing commentary for the last episode of USWA Championship Wrestling in 1995.  They are broadcasting from the WMC-TV5 studio in Memphis, Tennessee.

Russell and Brown inform fans that Jerry Lawler won the SMW Championship in Memphis from Brad Armstrong.  They remind fans that Bob Armstrong will not be on the show because he is banned from the studio.

Russell interviews Koko B. Ware, who says that he saved Randy Hales from the Smoky Mountain Massacre in Memphis and he is going to beatdown Tony Williams on today’s show.  He warns Brian Christopher that he is coming for him.

Opening Contest:  Koko B. Ware (1-1) beats Tony Williams (3-5) after a Birdbuster at 1:10:

The backstory to this match is that Ware attacked Williams on last week’s show so this is a chance for Williams to get revenge.  Unfortunately, the undercard talent is no match for the former WWF undercard talent, jobbing quickly to a Birdbuster (brainbuster).

Ware revisits his talking points about Brian Christopher when he talks with Russell for the second time.  Then, he charges into the ring and gives Charlie Laird, who is in street clothes, two Birdbusters.  Then, he gives Williams a Birdbuster on the concrete before Christopher makes the save.

Brown talks with Christopher, who says that Jesse James Armstrong prevented him from beating Jeff Jarrett for the USWA Unified World Championship in Memphis.  Ware comes back out and says that Christopher is going to be his steppingstone to bigger and better things.  The two fight until USWA officials and jobbers break it up.

Brian Christopher (45-19-8) defeats Tracy Smothers (w/Scott Bowden) (5-8-1) via disqualification after Koko B. Ware interferes at 5:16:

After going to a time limit draw last week, this is given more time to play out.  However, that extra time is filled with stalling until Smothers is sent to the floor with a superkick.  When Christopher follows up, he decks Bowden and then brawls with Smothers until Ware runs out, smashes Christopher’s head into the announce table, and gets Smothers disqualified.  Rating:  ½*

Brown interviews Christopher.  Christopher says that he is not injured and he cannot wait to fight Koko B. Ware at the Mid-South Coliseum.

The Smoky Mountain Massacre (w/Downtown Bruno) (3-1) pins Ken Raper after a splash in 26 seconds:

The Massacre has no hair, but it does not stop him from winning the squash with a big fat splash.

Russell interviews Bruno and Scott Bowden, who have been booked to face each other in a match this week on the USWA circuit.  Bowden says that Bruno is a piece of white trash who needs to be thrown away to clean up the company.  Bruno responds with a good promo about how he might live in a trailer but bought it after spending sixteen hard years in the business.  When a fight breaks out, Bruno puts Bowden in a crossface chicken wing until the Massacre turns on him and holds him in place for a Bowden beatdown.  Memphis wrestling is like Highlander in that there always seems to only be one heel manager.

PG-13 (51-22-4) defeat Tex Slazenger & Reggie B. Fine (w/Scott Bowden) when Wolfie D pins Fine with a backslide at 9:00:

Russell and Brown have a funny exchange before the match about how Fine is a jobber and will likely fail to offer Slazenger much help in the match.  That continues while the PG-13 get the early shine until Fine tags in and they realize they need to build him up a bit to make the match credible.  The match is slow and dull until the finish where Wolfie D cleans house, avoids a Fine blind charge, and backslides him to score the winning fall.  Rating:  *

Jerry Lawler (26-6) pins Jesse James Armstrong (w/Scott Bowden) (8-9) after a fist drop off the second rope at 5:01:

Armstrong works Lawler over with the phantom object trick in the beginning and lands a knee drop for a near-fall.  However, a blind charge lets Lawler pull the strap down and win after taking a beating for most of the match.  Rating:  ¾*

After the match, Tex Slazenger runs out to try to convince the referee that Armstrong’s foot was on the bottom rope before the three count.  When that fails, the heels beat up Lawler to end the show.

The Last Word:  The last edition of USWA Championship Wrestling for 1995 gave fans lots of matches but none of them were any good.  Brian Christopher and Koko B. Ware were featured too much in the first half of the show, but seeing Ware go wild with the Birdbusters was fun and an effective way to put over his heel character.  The USWA went through a lot of ups and downs in 1995.  Business was great in the summer on the heels of A Night to Remember and the interpromotional angle with Smoky Mountain Wrestling, but struggles at the Mid-South Coliseum in the fall due to the emerging Monday Night Wars were a canary in the coal mine for the tough years that awaited the company in 1996 and 1997.

Backstage News*:        There was almost a fan riot in Nashville on December 30 because a fan hit Tracy Smothers and he retaliated.  Reports say that later about a hundred fans were waiting for Smothers outside the dressing room and fans threw things at him when he emerged.  Smothers needed police help to leave the building.

*In talent relations news, Moondog Cujo quit.  Heel referee Gene Johnson also quit.  Johnson was supposed to job to Frank Morrell across the circuit in “loser leaves town” matches but after he lost the first one in Nashville he no-showed the rest of the week.

*Backstage news is provided courtesy of Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer for January 6, 1996.

And with this column, my journey through the USWA in 1995 comes to a close.  While 1995 was a rough year for most wrestling promotions in North America, Dave Meltzer opined in early 1996 that the USWA might have been the only company that managed to make a profit.  To get there, though, the USWA had to rely on its usual cheap methods of paying little for talent and hardly touching the product’s low rent presentation, exemplified by the company using an old ring mat in Memphis that had a worn away logo in the center.  but on the bright side, the company’s inter-promotional feud with Smoky Mountain Wrestling drew good money in Nashville, Louisville, and Memphis throughout the summer.

More than 100 wrestlers worked in Memphis throughout the year, but the constant churning of the talent pool meant that many storylines were discarded when wrestlers quit to work elsewhere.  The USWA’s talent agreement with the WWF would continue to develop into 1996 and 1997, while its agreement with WCW amounted to little.  That would keep the promotion relevant for a few more years but the writing was on the wall for the territory as the Monday Night Wars forced it to move its shows to a new night at the Mid-South Coliseum and then abandon that venue for good in early 1996.