UWF #35 Page #2

Bill Watts hit the ground running with Mid South. With the Junkyard Dog, Ted DiBiase, the Fabulous Freebirds, Paul Orndorff, Killer Karl Kox, Ernie Ladd, and Watts himself leading the initial charge, Mid South was a standout promotion among the territory system. Why, the first Mid South Superdome Extravaganza in August 1980 had a match pitting Andre the Giant against some guy named Hulk Hogan, long before 162, 251 or so saw the “Match of the Century” at Wrestlemania 3.

My first exposure to Mid South came in 1983, when Paul Boesch formed an alliance with Bill Watts to use Mid South talent on Houston Wrestling cards and television shows. The result was wrestling that, at least for me, was better than anything offered elsewhere in the burgeoning era of cable televised wrestling. Mid South was considered by many others to be the best wrestling company around in the mid-1980s. Watts made his national move in 1986. He renamed Mid South, a regional moniker, the Universal Wrestling Federation. He syndicated the promotion’s television programming nationally and also received much coverage from Bill Apter’s wrestling publications, at that time the standard for coverage of the business, kayfabed or not. Watts was determined to rival and overtake Vince McMahon as the United States’ number one promotion. The UWF offered consistently great wrestling action, exciting, well-produced television programming, and expert commentary from Jim Ross, Michael Hayes, and Watts.  

"Dog eat dog
Read the news
Someone win
Someone lose
Up's above and down's below 
And limbo's in between
Up you win, down you lose
It's anybody's game”

In January 1987, the UWF had an impressive roster of established veterans and rising stars. The good guys or faces featured “Dr. Death” Steve Williams, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Ted DiBiase, Chris Adams, Terry Taylor and the Fantastics. Chavo Guerrero, the Missing Link and Television Title champ Savannah Jack also received their share of cheers… 

“And it's a eye for eye
Tooth for tooth
It's a lie
That's the truth
See a blind man on the street 
Looking for something free
Hear the kind man ask his friends
‘Hey, what's in it for me?’”

The heels were plentiful and nefarious. Bill Watts’ old nemesis Skandor Akbar had re-formed Devastation Inc., drafting the UWF World Champion One Man Gang, Wild Bill Irwin, and Eli the Eliminator. Hot Stuff International was helmed by Eddie Gilbert and Missy Hyatt and included Sting and Rick Steiner. The Fabulous Freebirds were everywhere, from singles and tag competition, as well as Michael Hayes’ aforementioned heel commentator role.

The One Man Gang was the second UWF World Heavyweight champ. He won the strap in an odd way on November 9, 1986, in Tulsa from Terry Gordy by forfeit after Gordy was injured in an auto accident and rendered unable to defend the belt. Terry Taylor and Jim Duggan were the tag team titleholders, capturing the belts from Wild Bill Irwin and Leroy Brown on December 27 in Fort Worth. Savannah Jack held the television title via a victory over Buddy Roberts on the same card Gordy gave up the title to the gang. A dark night for the Freebirds, that was.

The UWF continued its regular tour stops in Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, but it also branched out it shows in correlation with Bill Watts’” national” move. In Mick Foley’s “Have a Nice Day,” he mentions his UWF bouts that occurred in West Virginia in the spring of 1987. The company also did a California swing and went all the way to Atlanta (calling Clawmaster or anyone else—if you’ve got results for the aforementioned cards, send ‘em my way at CL11@txstate.edu.). But, the promotion’s foundations undoubtedly remained in Oklahoma and Texas. Every other week, the company would have a three-day run on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Typically, Fridays were reserved for Houston, Saturdays for television tapings at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, and Sundays in either Oklahoma City or Tulsa.

Here are some results for card held in the latter part of January 1987:

January 23—-Houston.

The Ninja defeats Johnny West

Wild Bill Irwin and Eli the Eliminator defeat The Fantastics

Rick Steiner defeats Jeff Gaylord

Chavo Guerrero downs Buddy Roberts

Steve “Dr. Death” Williams over the Angel of Death

In the “Glove on a Pole” main event, Ted DiBiase beat Michael Hayes 

January 23—Jackson, MS

Gary Young over Art Crews

Eddie Gilbert beat Ken Massey

Jack Victory over Terry Taylor

Iceman King Parsons defeated Mike George and Jack Victory (must of been a handicap match?)

Savannah Jack pinned Sting

One Man Gang over Hacksaw Duggan in a “Loser Leaves Town Chain Match”

January 24—Fort Worth

Michael Hayes and Terry Gordy battled Steve Williams and Ted DiBiase to a double disqualification

The Missing Link defeated Buddy Roberts by DQ

Wild Bill Irwin and Eli the Eliminator defeated the Fantastics

(I have a feeling there were more matches, but these are all the results I have for this particular date.) 

January 25—Oklahoma City

Iceman King Parsons downs Ken Massey

The Angel of Death over Johnny West

Savannah Jack defeated Jack Victory

Eddie Gilbert and Sting over the Fantastics

Terry Taylor pinned Art Crews

Chavo Guerrero and Iceman King Parsons over Art Crews and Mike George

Terry Taylor defeated Skip Young

One Man Gang beat Johnny West

The Ninja over Jeff Raitz

Sting defeated Bobby Walker

Steve Williams and Terry Gordy had a time limit draw 

There are some trends here, if even for a three-day period. We will discuss those more next time. The one thing that is somewhat of an anomaly is the split shows on the 23rd. As far as the information I have indicates, Bill Watts rarely divided his roster on the same date. It was commonplace for the WWF to do the same at this time.

Well, that it for this time. Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings. Any questions, suggestions, remarks, money, etc. can be sent to CL11@txstate.edu. Thanks to Vince for allowing me to keep up the good(??) work. Stop by and visit the Mid South/UWF message board at KM. Happy Independence Day to all, and please keep those who are defending our country in our hearts and prayers.

Until we meet again, take care. 


Some gotta win, some gotta lose—comings and goings in the UWF in early 1987.

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