NFB Watches Wrestling #13: USWA Challenge Wrestling (06/05/1991)

The RNG has landed on a bit of a deep dive into the balkanisation and reformation of wrestling promotions in the 90’s here. It’s the 6th May 1991 (filmed on the 3rd) and we’re in the Sportatorium of Dallas, Texas for USWA Challenge Wrestling! Your main event tonight, a non-title tag team chain match featuring Danny Davis and Bill Dundee vs the Texas Hangmen.

This is officially listed as an episode of the “Global Wrestling Federation” on the Network, but is actually a show of the United States Wrestling Association. The USWA was a combination of the Von Erich’s World Class Championship Wrestling of Dallas and the Lawlor’s Continental Wrestling Association of Memphis joining forces for a bit to try and compete on a larger, more national, level. The union didn’t last long, with separate USWA shows running for a while, until a new entity, GWF, came along and bought out the USWA name and library, eventually replacing it in Dallas in the Spring of 1992. Somewhere along the line the WWE bought out the GWF library, and hence also got access to the USWA. The main reason why a random selection of USWA shows has been thrown up on the Network is probably because it was an early haunt of the then “Stunning” Steve Austin.

Michael St John is your introduction to Challenge Wrestling, and runs down the card. It is a bunch of names you won’t recognise until we get to a planned “Tennessee Street Fight” to feature Steve Austin, Jeff Jarrett, Dr Tom Prichard and Robert Fuller. After a brief commercial break we’re straight into our first contest

Terry Garvin and Gary Young vs Eric Embry and the Boogeyman

We’re in a small but moderately loud arena, which features only up-close camera work. The presentation starts with the commentators mid-sentence, rambling about how “the Boogeyman don’t look right”. It’s St John and “Superstar” Bill Dundee on the mikes, though Dundee vanishes after the first match. Oh, and no, it’s not Martin Wright with the worms, thankfully, it’s some guy in a full body suit and a hockey mask. Him and Young to start, Young with a hip-toss, drop-kick, and Boogeyman begs off. Embry in, and this is part of some feud he’s having with Young according to the commentators. Garvin in for some basic locks and wrenches, “working that arm like it’s a well and he’s pumping water”. Nice. Young in but eats a knee from Embry.

Garvin beating down Embry with turnbuckle punches, things breakdown with everyone in and suddenly Embry has Garvin pinned with the assistance of the ropes in around three and a half.

Winners: Eric Embry and the Boogeyman. We want worms!

Verdict: Hard to settle into this one, with a real OUTTANOWHERE finish.

There’s a chaotic mess in the aftermath as various random wrestlers and managers, and some of the luchadors, brawl, and the heels get the upper-hand with some nunchucks. Not a scrap of context for large parts of this, so it’s ECW-esque random insanity. Honestly the crowd doesn’t seem to mind too much as we go to commercial. Back from the break and the wrestlers are in the ring for the next match.

El Grande Pistolero vs Terry Daniels

No idea who these two are. Great bit on commentary before we start where they talk about a USWA Southern Heavyweight match that has taken place between Jeff Jarrett and Eric Emrby, that was so brutal, “we can’t even show you two seconds of it on TV”. Way to taunt the audience Michael. Daniels on top early with a body slam, but these guys are mostly just circling each other. Pistolero very obviously grabs the bell-ringer and puts it in his trunks, but after a surprisingly lengthy amount of time the ref finds him out.

Daniels sends Pistolero out and he jaws with the crowd for a bit. Back in Daniels hits him with a drop-kick, and Pistolero complains that his mask was being pulled. This is a pretty whiny brand of heel, huh? Headbutts from the luchador gives him some offence. Snap mare as St John again goes on about the title match they can’t show us, and they aren’t even advertising this as a PPV thing, so I don’t know why they’re going on about it. In the ring Pistolero goes for perhaps a Samoan Drop of some kind but Daniels lands out of it, but very awkwardly, bad spot. Daniels with a small package and that’s the 1, 2, 3 in around three and a half.

Winner: Terry Daniels, whom I assume is some kind of up-and-coming face.

Verdict: Hard to concentrate on a fairly nothing contest when St John kept taunting me with “a once in a lifetime match” we’ll never see.

Back from a break St John introduces a recording of what we’re all here to really see.

Jeff Jarrett and Robert Fuller vs Steve Austin and Dr Tom Prichard (Tennessee Street Fight)

We join this one in-progress. What is a Tennessee Street Fight? I’m not sure, but everyone is in jeans if that helps. Jarrett is beating up Prichard, then in comes Fuller. Awkward suplex for one, then an armdrag. Clawing across the face from Prichard, before Fuller takes control again, sending a reeling Prichard into the wrong corner where Jarrett socks him.

Austin breaks up a count. Lots of right-hands and basic offence here, with the Jarrett/Fuller team on-top. I’m assuming they are the heels? Prichard certainly acting like a face-in-peril. Austin gets the tag and starts beating up “the golden boy” Jarrett, and you do hear some nasty stories about Jarrett at this time along those lines. Fuller in and starts wailing on Austin with his belt. Austin and Prichard take a powder on the outside because this is just too fast-paced. Back in, Prichard with a very awkward Scoop Slam to Jarrett, then more wailing with the belt. Crowd very into this, for what it is worth, chanting for Jeff, so I guess he’s a face?

Jarrett now the face-in-peril, so we’re maintaining the tag rules despite St John insisting “there are no rules”. Austin beating up Jarrett for a bit, again it’s just right hands and kicks, with some rest-holds thrown in for the hell of it. Jarrett eventually gets a nice Irish Whip sequence and floors Austin with a crossbody, but Prichard distracts the ref so no count. Fighting on the outside now, chains and tables are being produced, but nothing actually being used. Back in the ring, Prichard nails Jarrett with the chain, so shows what I know.

Prichard takes his boot off and nails Jarrett with it. Things break-down again for a bit, and Austin is stamping on Jarrett’s head. Spinning clothesline from Austin, but Fuller breaks up the count. Small package from Jarrett but Fuller breaks it up. Things have gotten dangerously close to being entertaining here, so time for a rest-hold. JJ eventually powers out of it, and one of the problems with this one is that the camera perspective is always in-close but they keep switching cameras, so you frequently get disorientated and are confused when it appears that Jarrett just hit his own tag partner. Lengthy Bear Hug spot on Jarrett from Austin. Eventually “Jeffrey” Jarrett dodges a corner splash, then back body-drops Prichard. Hot-tag to Fuller who clears house. Everyone brawling on the outside no, with Prichard thrown into the barricade.

Austin has a metal briefcase from somewhere, but accidentally nails Prichard with it. Fuller grabs it and floors Austin. The faces beating down Austin back in the ring, Prichard nailed with the case one more time, then Jarrett nails Austin with it from the second rope. Both men cover, and that’s it in around ten minutes or so.

Winners: Jeff “My Dad gave me this job” Jarrett and Robert Fuller

Verdict: Had its moments, but too reliant on beatdown wrestling and some lame weapon shots.

Straight into out next contest when we come back.

Mascara del Fuego vs El Grande Coloso

No idea who these two are. I assume the guy in black trunks is the heel. This is Dallas-based, so this is to try and appeal to a Mexican community, right? St John says he should have brushed up on his Spanish, but also thinks the idea of “an Italian boy speaking Spanish” is insane. OK then. Some fast-paced stuff to start, out of all kilter to what we’ve seen earlier, lots of arm drags and even a rana. Coloso drop-kicked out, with del Fuego leaping around. Back in, Coloso taken off his feet, another rana, del Fuego goes for a third but countered into a powerbomb, and that’ll be it in around two minutes or so.

Winner: El Grande Coloso, which seems like they’ve said the same thing twice when you think about it.

Verdict: It was going great before they ended it so quickly.

After a break we are right into our main event.

“Superstar” Bill Dundee and “Nightmare” Danny Davis vs The Texas Hangmen (Psycho and Killer) (Chain Match) (non-title)

You read that right, this is somehow a tag team chain match, so all four guys are chained together. The Hangmen, an indistinguishable luchador duo, are the USWA Tag Champs, but this is non-title. This Danny Davis, not to be mixed-up with the crooked ref from the early 90’s in WWF, is the guy who would go on to found OVW.

Dundee and Davis on top early, and I guess this must be a tornado tag. No context for why this match is happening in this manner. Basic striking, kicks and choking. St John not too interested, talking more about matches next week, and again that seemingly amazing match that they aren’t allowed to show, and from the way he talks it finally dawns that they want people to actually come and watch the shows in person, hence the teasing.

The Hangmen take a powder, so the match is suddenly a tug-of-war. Brawling on the outside, choking with the chains, and everyone back into the ring eventually. Really awkward spot where the Hangmen are collectively Irish Whipped and back body-dropped, trying not to trip up on the chains. Faces (?) in control as we go to a break.

Back and looks like more brawling, and this time it’s the Hangmen performing the awkward stereo Irish Whips. Impossible to tell which of the Hangmen is which, and St John isn’t going to try, referring to them as “one of the Hangmen” and “the other Hangman” respectively. Davis tries to unmask a Hangman, and I thought that was meant to be a heel move, but the crowd is cheering, so what do I know? Lots of slow brawling offence from both teams, lots of chain choking. After a lengthy stereo choke by the Hangmen, Dundee kicks out of a pin attempt at two.

Faces rallying back, one of the Hangmen hits the other with the chain by accident, and a very awkward second-rope spear/crossbody/forearm from Dundee is enough to get the pin in around eight minutes.

Winners: Bill Dundee, Danny Davis and those who think chain matches should not be logically restricted to two men.

Verdict: Slow, boring tag match with a dumb gimmick.

Dundee immediately out of the ring for a promo on his opponent next week, the Boogeyman. USWA feels the need to bleep the word “ass”, but a decent promo otherwise. After the break St John gives a brief plug to the whole organisation, and says good bye. Way too slow repeat of the finish from the main event, and that’s it.

Best Match: I guess the Tennessee Street Fight? You could tell they knew they had something special on their hands with Austin and Jarrett.

Best Wrestler: He might only have gotten two minutes, and lost, but Mascarada del Fuego actually busted out a good few moves when so many others on this show were happy to brawl.

Worst Match: The main event was a snorefest where the flavourless participants were left struggling to make anything out of a stupid gimmick.

Worst Wrestler: Pick one of the Hangmen. Aside from being indistinguishable they were dull as sin.

Overall Verdict: Not to hard to see that USWA was spinning its wheels before the GWF took over completely. This was an awkward presentation of a bunch of humdrum matches and performers, but at least it helped give us Austin (and Jarrett, if I’m feeling generous). Still, there isn’t anything really important to see here. Avoid.

To view more entries in this series, click here to go to the index.

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1 Response to NFB Watches Wrestling #13: USWA Challenge Wrestling (06/05/1991)

  1. Pingback: NFB Watches Wrestling: Index | Never Felt Better

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