Universal Wrestling Association – July, 1976

The last episode of this short run now. Hope you’ve enjoyed them while they’ve lasted.

Hosted by Lou Thesz and Ken Wallace. What happened to Buzz? Lou really struggles to look at the camera when doing the introduction on these shows.

Dr. Jerry Watson vs. Don Greene

Watson is a big guy with blonde hair and probably trying to ape the name of Dr. Jerry Graham. Don Greene is a local legend with his brother Al (the original Heavenly Bodies) and absolutely covered in hair. Lou doesn’t sound into it and immediately you can tell he needed Buzz along with him because he’s struggling things to say, zeroing in on how pale Watson is. Don works the leg with a reversed spinning toehold, which he then grabs the near arm in. Watson gets the break on the leg and tries to walk it off, so Don kicks his leg out from under him to be a dick. Watson goes for the tights, which Don points out, then punches him in the head while the ref checks. Watson wises up and does the same. He puts his head down for a back drop and gets kicked, and Don finishes off with a nice spinning neckbreaker for the win. Good opening match.

The Islanders vs. Eric the Red and Troy Graham

Wallace gives the weight and place of origin for Eric, but no name! He’s far worse than Buzz and not even contributing on commentary. Graham and Afa start, with Graham pulling hair, so Sika comes in and yanks him by his. Eric comes in and gets caught in a full nelson, leading to a miscommunication and tension spot between the heels. Graham’s cowardly mannerisms are great and he looks like the chubby little brother of Crusher Broomfield (One Man Gang) at this point, trimming down a bit as he moved into the eighties. Sika comes in and works with Troy, who Eric won’t tag in to now after getting accidentally hit by him earlier. He eventually plays ball again and reaches in for a tag, so Sika shakes the ropes to make him fall in. Eric gets the tag after an eye poke. Just about gets Sika up for a slam, which Lou is far more complimentary about than he should be. Misses a splash, however, and Afa tags in. Eric goes up and gets slammed off while Lou asks off mic, but loud enough to be heard, how much time is left in the match. Everyone is in until it’s just Afa and Troy again. Eric uses his bone to hit Afa in the back. Afa gets the tag to Sika, who quickly splashes Troy for the pinfall. So-so match.

The Destroyer vs. Tommy Seigler

The Destroyer isn’t Dick Beyers, but is a masked man. Not entirely sure who he is, but he looks incredibly young from what can you see in the mouth and eye holes, so would imagine it’s a teenager they covered up to protect his identity while at school. Another teenager who’d go onto greater fame is on afterwards. Referee is Paul Morton, Ricky’s dad, who’s covered in tattoos and looks like Popeye. Tommy controls with a side headlock until Destroyer grabs the hair and gets some shots in. He takes his own side headlock for a little while, but tries a snapmare, which Tommy turns into an abdominal stretch for the submission, or “concession hold” as Lou calls it. All fine, it went quickly.

Mr. Wrestling vs. George Weingeroff

The latter, first, is the son of Saul and is known for being a good amateur wrestling even though he was legally blind. According to his old partner Lanny Poffo, he ended up becoming more successful through a vending machine business. Mr. Wrestling is in white boots, trunks and a mask and is pretty tall but not filled out even as big as he is. He was actually Terry Gordy, aged 15, masked because he was still in school too. No real greenness even as young as he is. Lou reminisces fondly about Ed “Strangler” Lewis while the pair trade headlocks and headscissors. They then trade dropkicks, but neither actually hit fully despite being sold, culminating in a double dropkick that both take a bump on. They then run into one another and try to splash one another, obviously having a routine down. Slam for a slam, resulting in a double block next. Wrestling gets a hammerlock, which they roll through to the mat. George with a pretty clever step out of it to break. A bizarre crab move leads to a stalemate, so back to the hammerlock. George lifts Wrestling over his back to break and Wrestling hurts his knee when he tumbles to the floor, getting counted out. Shame, as that was a good little match, botches aside, which could’ve done with a winner. George checks on him on the outside as a good winner. George was good, but Gordy was a natural.

The Spoiler and Beautiful Bruce Swayze vs. Big Jim Wilson and Luis Martinez

What happened to Ray Parker and Lorenzo Parente? The heels are tag champs at this point, as signified by the big trophy they have. Wilson is less famous for anything he did in the ring, more famous for being the guy with Eddie Mansfield who was willing to expose the business in the eighties after claiming Jim Barnett wanted him to go to bed with him, leading to a very embarrassing appearance on the Morton Downey Jr. Show where he was being the unique position of being honest but looking the worst for telling it. Wrestling-wise, he’s awful, stomping around like a hillbilly. It’s like someone has told him to be a fiery babyface and demonstrated how, and he’s copying that exactly without understanding the idiosyncrasies. The heels work him over in their corner and cut off the ring. Luis gets a tag that looks like it was supposed to be one the ref missed but accidentally saw. Wilson hangs around for a double back drop, which looks ridiculous because there’s a foot of height difference between the two. Spoiler gets the claw on the stomach as the camera gets dangerously close to showing that Martinez doesn’t have anything on under his white trunks. Ear clap to break and Wilson tags in, who gets caught right in the stomach claw himself. Eye rake to break, but Swayze comes in quickly. Wilson makes his own comeback, including a terrible cross body where his feet don’t even leave the ground. Sleeper, but Spoiler gets Al Costello’s boomerang in behind the ref’s back and hits him with it for the knockout blow for the pinfall. Match was decent, although Wilson was terrible.

Spoiler, Swayze and Al stop by to talk to Lou, with Spoiler naming Pez Whatley as the heavyweight champion now, although he put him out with the claw. After a couple of random threats, they then start antagonising Lou about having beaten him up themselves while standing over him. Shaking hands with danger there! And that’s a wrap for the show!

Melting it down: Interesting to see these few episodes and working out what they did well (big emphasis on wrestling) and where they lacked (zero promotion of live events), so no wonder why they didn’t survive the year. If something else like this comes along I’ll cover it too.