Where Wrestling's Regional History Lives!
- Jason Hess
Hello and welcome to the latest installment of
Houston Wrestling here at Kayfabe Memories.
Everyone has a favorite era, or year that they like to look back
in fondness of, for their favorite promotions.
Some have years that they would like to avoid.
Whether it was a downturn in business, a wrestler leaving that
they particularly liked, or just some angles that never went anywhere
(the latter two reasons usually being the foundation behind the first),
there are some periods in our territorial look at history that folks do
not like to look back on.
This month, we will take a look at one such period
in Houston Wrestling history as we examine the year of 1987.
1987 could legitimately be called the worst year of Houston
Wrestling’s long history, and not necessarily because of bad gates.
The landscape of Houston Wrestling would change drastically from
January to December, and had all of us catching our respective breaths.
In 1986, Bill Watts had established Mid-South
Sports under a new name, The UWF (Universal Wrestling Federation). In fact, he even held the first ever UWF title tournament in
Houston under the promotional banner of Paul Boesch. For the rest of 1986, crowds would be fair-good at the
largest city in the UWF arsenal, but not as great as years past.
To start 1987, Watts still had the majority of his top stars like
Hacksaw Duggan, Ted DiBiase, Steve Williams, the Freebirds, Terry
Taylor, and more. He also
had increasing debt from heavy syndication fees. The stage is set for a year like no other.
The first card of the year would feature a $39,000 battle royal,
with the odd dollar amount as a tribute to KHTV Channel 39, which
Houston Wrestling broadcast on for years. The battle royal was won by
Chavo Guerrero, and actually caused “jobber” Gary Young to be
programmed into a brief feud with Guerrero over the victory, as Young
turned heel. Young earlier
had wrestled Sting to a draw, cementing in the fans’ eyes that he was
on the rise. Little else happened in front of the camera during the first
three months of the year to make the fans nervous about the future of
“our Houston Wrestling.” But
there was plenty of fireworks going on behind the scenes. Hacksaw Duggan had left in early January, much like Jake
Roberts ten months earlier, to go the WWF.
The UWF was sent reeling by the loss of its biggest babyface.
Obviously, this loss didn’t help business one bit.
Bill Watts was trying to stay in business, and was
looking for more people to invest in the company. The problem was that
in doing so, he was not as readily available as he was in the past to
Boesch, and began to leave Boesch out of the loop when planning.
This was not a good thing to do, considering that Boesch had the
promotional key to most of the city.
Although tempestuous, their business relationship was able to be
maintained through the first three months of the year...
Spring: While most promotions had battled a soft end to 1986, the WWF was going for it all in the spring of 1987. More...