Universal Wrestling Association – May 1st, 1976

Jumping ahead a few weeks with this promotion based on the stuff that’s available, we’re skipping a month and the time slot has doubled from thirty minutes to one hour. The ident at the start of the hour also includes the name of Buddy Lee Attractions, and anyone who’s watched the Fabulous Moolah Dark Side should be familiar with him. They’ve also switched from marching band music on the intro to something a bit more jazzy.

Hosted by Lou Thesz and Buzz Benson.

Terrific Tommy Seigler vs. Beautiful Bruce Swayze

Tommy is the face, Bruce is the heel. Both guys are still alive even though they’re in their eighties now. Seigler was apparently working as head of security for a courthouse until he retired three years ago, aged 81. It’s been commented upon online that this group shared wrestlers with Eddie Einhorn’s IWA and Swayze is one that worked for both. Pretty clean but very dry mat wrestling for the first few minutes, with Bruce in control. Tommy gets to the ropes for a break, so Bruce stomps away. Tommy fires back with punches, so Bruce heads out for a breather. Back in, he traps Tommy’s arm in the ropes and drops down while holding it to snap it a bit. Back to his feet, Tommy whips Swayze into the corner, where he does a Flair bump and traps himself in the ropes and begs for mercy. Coming out, it’s Tommy in control with a side headlock. Definitely working towards the time limit of fifteen minutes, with Lou even hinting at it. Bruce tries to smother and fishhook to break, but gets nowhere. More interesting to check out all the hair and clothing styles of the audience members. Bruce breaks with an elbow and tries to finish with a flying legdrop. That misses, so Tommy goes for an O’Connor roll. That’s two, really could’ve been three to finish that close to the bell. The bell rings for the time limit with them still trading shots, a draw. Technically really good, but just a bit boring.

The Islanders vs. The Mighty Yankee and Troy Graham

Frank Morrell wrestled as a Mighty Yankee, but I don’t think it’s him here, too hairy. Gentleman Saul Weingeroff is back from the injured list. Yankee isn’t wearing particularly patriotic colours, just a black and yellow singlet and mask. Afa armdrags him around to start. Fascinating to see him and his brother wrestling as clean babyfaces and talking to the crowd given the years they spent as primitives savages later. Sika comes in with an arm drag and twist and drops a leg on Graham’s left arm. Afa back in with a cradle that gets broken as it’s in the ropes. Sika and the Yankee switch in, with the former smiling at the Yankee trying to lift him, then snarling as he rolls him over. Weird ghost double elbow that neither Samoan hits but Yankee still bumps for. Afa goes to a nervehold, which is much more like what I’m used to these guys doing. Graham keeps on trying to sneak in as Sika switches in. Afa gets the Samoan Sickle (chop to the man running off the ropes) and Sika gets the pin with the splash. OK again, but boring.

Saul and the Islanders head over to talk to Lou about their feud with the Interns and Ramey. One of the best old time clips that’s out there is of Saul as a heel beating up a midget on Bob Luce’s TV show (“I’d fight you to except for your religion – you’re a devout coward!”). He wants a boxing match with Ramey, so Thesz says he’ll try and get it booked.

Big Dale Mann vs. Mario Leone

Dale’s not especially big, to be honest, but he came up in an interesting way a few years ago during some Brian Last podcasts based on his promoting tactics and the accusation that he may have killed someone. One of his relatives had piped up on a message board to defend his honour – specifically, the guy he killed deserved it! Lou speaks to Cora Combs at ringside regarding an upcoming match and she lets us know what it would sound like if you had a Polish yokel: “Well, it’s, er, glad to be here, I live here, y’ know Lou, this is my home, but I ain’t-a wrestled here in quite a, er, be couple and half years, I think, so it’s good to be back to see all my fans.” She also looks like someone’s mom just wandered in off the street and said she was a wrestler. Leone gets a gut shot and pounds a way, but Dale fights back with some blows. Airplane spin out of nowhere for the quick win. Well, that was welcome after the longer first two matches. Leone does a brilliant sell of the move when he tries to get back up, then falls back down without his balance back.

Luis Martinez and Lorenzo Parente vs. The Spoiler and Cowboy Ray Parker

This one doesn’t get started properly, with the faces running out to the outside to take on the heels, who meet them there and sneak attack them with chairs and the boomerang. This takes Parente out of the game early. Al Costello, the best worker of the lot even as a manager, lays some great kicks in. Parente is carried out while Luis goes over to complain to Lou. Luis has this really weird way of talking where he sounds offended all the time and his voice goes up at the end of each sentence like he’s asking a question. What he says is decent, but the way he says it is bizarre. Lou agrees that they’ll rebook the match so that he can take on one at a time in the absence of his partner.

Luis Martinez vs. Cowboy Ray Parker

Parker also looks like Bobby Duncum and Bobby Jaggers, doubtless part of the intention with the blonde hair. He also ain’t afraid of no ghost. Luis whips him from pillar to post and works the leg. Spoiler tries to sneak in to replace Parker, but gets ejected. While that’s happening, Costello gets a shot in with the boomerang to turn it round. Luis makes his own comeback with punches and an airplane spin, but Spoiler breaks up an attempt at a submission with the stump puller. He applies the claw and Luis is bleeding (you see him blading under Spoiler’s hands and putting his blade back in his tights). Parente returns a little too late to send them running.

Luis is back over to the desk and even though his delivery is weird he cuts quite an impassioned promo about how nothing like this has ever happened to him as a wrestler and how the heels were trying to take his livelihood away from him and he needs the money to feed his family and the Bible says not to get revenge but he’s going to get some. Buzz cuts him off for a commercial and they pick the point back up on the other side. Parente offers some stilted words to back him. Obviously the longer time slot was allowing for them to add in some angles and interview spots.

Al Costello and the heels come back out to gloat about what they did. Lou and Buzz ramble a bit about booking the upcoming matches before closing. Weird that they’ve not featured or mentioned any champions for their promotion yet.

Melting it down: They were obviously trying different things given that they had more time, hence going for a decently hot angle in the second half of the show. Probably not enough to totally challenge the established Nashville and Memphis promotion, but made for a respectable show.