Through the Booking Glass: UWF May 1987 Week 1

May 1987, Monday, Week 1
Ken Mantell got into a heated argument backstage with Eddie Gilbert. Witnesses say it was completely unprovoked but Mantell apparently said he felt disrespected by Gilbert and wasn’t going to take that attitude from a young buck. Mantell is a road agent and can essentially structure a match to bury Gilbert if he chooses to, but owner Jared Hawkins is a huge fan of Gilbert’s so that isn’t likely to fly.

Angel of Death has incredible heat with the entire locker room, as he let out a fart so bad that the entire locker room had to be cleared out for 30 minutes. Even once it was safe, nobody smoked in the locker room the rest of the night.

Expect a ton of roster turnover over the next few weeks. We’ve received word that the deals for Sam Houston, Baby Doll, Mike Jackson and Art Crews all expire at the end of the month and none of them are going to be offered a new deal. Several offers are out on the table, and we’ll announce those signings as we get them.

The next four weeks will also be telling for the future of the UWF, as both the SportsChannel America and KWTV TV deals have four episodes remaining on them. The SportsChannel deal is expected to be renewed but the KWTV ratings have dropped more than 50% in the last two months so that deal is up in the air.

Despite the UWF being among the lowest watched shows in just about every area it airs in, the company has turned a profit for the second straight month and one of its biggest profits since the national expansion started last year.

May 1987, Tuesday, Week 1
There is some animosity between the UWF and the NWA, in particular Jim Crockett Promotions. As a member of the NWA, the UWF has been trying to get dates for title defenses from NWA World Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair, but Jim Crockett has refused claiming Flair is missing too many dates in his territory as it is. Part of the agreement to have the UWF in the NWA was that they were guaranteed a specific number of dates for Flair. This is one we might want to keep an eye on as the weeks progress.

May 1987, Wednesday, Week 1
A potential war is brewing between the UWF and Jim Crockett Promotions which could lead to one (or both) leaving the NWA. Rick Rude, recently one half of the NWA World Tag Team Champions and one of the top 100 wrestlers in the world for 1986, has signed a one year deal with the UWF and will be leaving JCP next week. We reported earlier this week that the UWF was upset over not getting dates for NWA World Champion Ric Flair, and their response is to apparently deplete their roster as much as possible in response.

May 1987, Thursday, Week 1
The UWF was once again thwarted in an attempt to get a date on NWA World Heavyweight Champion this week. The UWF offered a straight up trade: Flair to appear on UWF TV and UWF Champion One Man Gang to appear on JCP TV, and despite the fact the UWF agreed to pay Flair’s appearance fee in full, the offer was turned down. Flair’s deal with JCP commands nearly $6,000 per appearance, so this was a nearly $5,000 loss they were willing to eat to get the date. UWF legal council is currently poring through the NWA by-laws to decide whether to file a grievance or not.

May 1987, Friday, Week 1
Jimmy Garvin has signed a one year deal with the UWF and will be leaving Jim Crockett Promotions following next week’s TV tapings.

Sports Channel America has not only renewed its contract with the UWF to air Power Pro Wrestling through at least the end of November, but the UWF will be getting a higher percentage of the ad sales for the six month period.

May 1987, Saturday, Week 1
Manny Fernandez and Vladimir Petrov have signed one year deals with the UWF. Petrov has given notice to Jim Crockett Promotions but Fernandez will be working for both companies. JCP is also losing Road Warrior Hawk, who has recently signed an exclusive deal with All Japan Pro Wrestling. Fernandez is expected to continue his team with Rick Rude.

May 1987, Sunday, Week 1
UWF Power Pro Wrestling maintained its rating on KWTV. KWTV has agreed to extend their contract with the UWF through August but has said they are putting no money into production for the show as the ratings no longer make that feasible. I guess it’s up to the promotion to spend 6 bucks on a blank VHS tape.

Barry Windham has agreed to a one year deal and is expected to get a big push. He will split his time between the UWF and Jim Crockett Promotions. JCP is breathing a sigh of relief that they will be keeping Windham as Road Warrior Animal will be joining Hawk in All Japan.

Power Pro Wrestling live coverage (May 1987, Sunday, Week 1)
Live from the Prather Coliseum in Natchitoches, Louisiana. If I spelled it wrong, I’m sorry, but I can’t pronounce it either.

In an extremely short match, UWF Television Champion Eddie Gilbert defeated Sam Houston in 2:41 by pinfall, illegally using the ropes for leverage. Not nearly as good as last week’s match as Houston appears to be phoning it in on his way out.

Buddy Roberts pinned Bill Irwin in 5:10.

Jim Ross interviewed One Man Gang and Big Bubba Rogers. Gang bragged about how he’s beaten all the top competition in the UWF when Rogers asked “What about me?” Gang said members of Devastation Inc. need to work together when Bill Watts interrupted and said Gang had an open contract to meet any of the top contenders at any time, and since Rogers was a top five contender, he was ordering Gang to defend the title against Rogers next. Gang yelled at Watts through the commercial break.

Big Bubba Rogers pinned UWF Heavyweight Champion One Man Gang with the Bubba Slam in 12:23 to win the title. Actually a better match than you’d probably think. Skandar Akbar was at ringside and remained neutral, not reacting at all to the finish.

Chris Adams and Terry Taylor defeated Fury and “Vicious” Sid Steele in 3:23 when Adams pinned Steele with a Superkick.

In an extremely short match, Steve Cox defeated Tim Horner in 51 seconds by pinfall with a Russian Leg Sweep. This match could have been good but just didn’t have enough time.

Chavo Guerrero pinned Tim Patterson in 2:19 with a German suplex.

In a non-title match, UWF Tag Team Champions Sting & Rick Steiner defeated Action Jackson and Savannah Jack in 2:28 when Sting defeated Jackson by submission with a Scorpion Deathlock.

Bill Watts joins Jim Ross at the commentary desk. Watts announces that he is going to be shaking things up with upcoming cards and pitting top contenders against each other with no regards to friendships and alliances. For that reason, he announces Chris Adams vs. Terry Taylor for next week’s main event.

A music video is shown to promote Barry Windham.

Buddy Roberts and Michael Hayes are interviewed backstage by Boyd Pierce. They use this time to hype themselves up to the moon and indicate they are looking for a shot at the UWF Tag Team Championship.

Barry Windham pinned Jeff Gaylord in 51 seconds with a Superplex. Ross did a tremendous job on commentary here and Windham is already over with the crowd.

Boyd Pierce interviewed Barry Windham at ringside. Windham said he came to the UWF for championships, and he doesn’t care if it’s Eddie Gilbert’s TV title or the new champion Big Bubba Rogers.

In tonight’s main event with random tag team partners, Michael Hayes and The Missing Link defeated The Sheepherders in 6:29 when Hayes pinned Luke Williams with a DDT. Ross covered the randomness of the team well, saying Hayes and Roberts are looking for a new Freebird now that Terry Gordy is in Japan for the forseeable future and Dark Journey made a “compelling offer” to give Link a tryout.

Really good show this week.


Written by JHawk

Jared Hawkins is an indy wrestling referee and a former recapper of WWE Raw and SmackDown for the now-defunct and co-hosts Pro Wrestling Weekend, available through every Sunday at 6pm Eastern. When not doing something wrestling-related, he is generally getting higher doses of his anxiety medication due to the aggravation of his Cleveland sports teams.

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