UWF Fury Hour - Episode 1 Review - 10/1/90

UWF Fury Hour - Episode 1 Review - 10/1/90

Aired October 1, 1990
Reseda Country Club, Reseda, California

The Darkside of the Ring episode on Herb Abrams sent me down a major rabbit hole. For reasons I can't explain, I felt compelled to learn as much as I could about his ill-fated Universal Wrestling Federation, starting with its flagship TV show, UWF Fury Hour

Today, we'll begin with the show's premiere episode, taped on September 24, 1990, and airing one week later on October 1, 1990. 

Featuring aahem - star-studded main event between B. Brian Blair and Dangerous Dan Spivey, David Sammartino interrupting his own match with Cactus Jack to put the company over, and an unfunny dig at Wrestling Observer writer, Dave Meltzer, there's a lot to get through in this show. 

Before we begin, however, there's something important I need to address:

I originally wrote this review in late 2023, months before former UWF performer Billy Jack Haynes was arrested for murdering his wife.

Haynes performed on this show, and I'll keep my original commentary intact with the same mindset that I have to use when I review a Chris Benoit match

Without further ado then, let's get on with it.

Welcome to Fury Hour!   

And so we began with a dramatic growling voice welcoming us to UWF Fury  Hour, after which our cameras ran past a highly enthusiastic LA crowd towards our hosts for this inaugural show, Herb Abrams himself and none other than all-time legend, Bruno Sammartino.

UWF Fury Hour Review - Herb Abrams & Bruno Sammartino on commentary

For all the legendary (should that be cautionary?) tales of what a raving lunatic Abrams was, he came across as relatively subdued here as he welcomed us to this premier edition of UWF Fury Hour.

Abrams noted the “excitement in the air” despite sounding like he'd rather be anywhere else than at the launch of his own show.

For his part, Sammartino put over what a tremendous company the Universal Wrestling Federation was before praising he stacked roster, segueing neatly into a pre-taped run down of tonight’s card.

That preview faded, giving way to the arrival of Dr. Death Steve Williams who made history as the first active wrestler to appear on this show.

Dr. Death’s arrival was announced by Abrams himself on commentary, after which Sammartino talked for roughly two whole minutes about how awesome Williams was without pausing for breath.

All Bruno’s talking meant we didn’t get to hear Steve’s opponent being announced. 

The poor chap’s name wasn't even presented on the screen as has been customary in pro wrestling since the year dot.

That wouldn’t usually be such an issue for a jobber (such as Dr. Death’s opponent was),  but when you see what the guy was called, you’d imagine that announcing his name was crucial for Herb's terrible joke to land. 

Dr. Death Steve Williams vs. Davey Meltzer

I mean, aren’t your sides just splitting with laughter?

UWF Fury Hour Review - Davey Meltzer offers a handshake to Steve Williams

Yeah, I thought not.

To give this one context, Herb was annoyed that the Wrestling Observer guy had openly criticized him and his new promotion, and decided to get back at him by naming a jobber after him. 

Thus, the first-ever UWF match saw a preliminary talent named Davey 'The Observer' Meltzer get his ass solidly handed to him by Dr. Death. 

Take that, dirt sheets!

As you might expect, poor old Davey Meltzer got in precisely zero offense. Not even an attempt at a punch or anything.

Instead, Williams simply battered him from corner to corner in a typical early 90s squash match that went on for about five minutes but stopped being interesting after about 90 seconds.

As Big Steve continued to destroy his opponent, Abrams asked Sammartino what he thought of Mr. Meltzer.

“Well, I don’t know much about Meltzer,” admitted Bruno, “But I wouldn’t say he’s a veteran and probably doesn’t have much experience.

Eventually, Williams hit a power slam to put Meltzer, and the TV-viewing audience, out of their misery.
Your Winner: Steve Williams 

Post-match, Dr. Death scribbled something on a piece of paper and shoved it in Meltzer’s mouth.

I imagine the paper was supposed to be a copy of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (get it? Abrams -via Williams- was making Meltzer eat his words).

However, the announcers acted like they didn’t know what was on the paper and the camera didn’t get in close enough for us to see, so again, the joke failed to land.

Then, just to cap the whole thing off perfectly, Abrams declared:

Steve is sending a message to Dr. Death.

Because that’s what I do when I need to make a note to myself, beat a guy up, write it on a piece of paper, and shove it in the poor bastard’s mouth.

For the record, I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to find anything about the wrestler behind the 'Davey Meltzer' character. 

I found precisely nothing. Not even on the usually excellent CageMatch.

Up next, a lengthy infomercial for Nordic Track, then, this:

Cactus Jack vs. David Sammartino

Billed as ‘The Unpredictable’ Cactus Jack, the future WWF Champion came out sporting hair braids and was, according to Herb, coming to us not from Truth or Consequences, but The Twilight Zone.

UWF Fury Hour - Episode 1 - Cactus Jack vs. David Sammartino

The Twilight Zone, ladies and gentlemen.

And you thought Damien Demento hailing from 'The Outer Reaches of Your Mind' was silly.

Jack's opponent this evening, David Sammartino, was, of course, Bruno’s son. 

You could tell Bruno was proud of his son because this was the first match in which the legendary grappler displayed any real emotion on the show.

Early on, the focus shifted from the action towards a couple of inset promos from our combatants.

This is Cactus Jack, and I would rather hurt a man than love a woman,” said Cactus. “but tonight, David Sammartino, I guess I’ll have to settle for hurting you.”

Ouch. Excuse me while I go dig out that old Ashton Kutcher BURN meme.

Offering a retort, David told his opponent that he needed to worry more about surviving than hurting him. He then went off on some unintelligible ramble about the match not being a walk in the park.

Back in the ring, this was a competently performed TV bout with a lively crowd and some brief moments of genuinely enjoyable wrestling.

Sammartino constantly got the better of his opponent. However, before he could get up too much momentum, that crazy madman Cactus would lash out and fight back, only to find himself on the defensive once more.

After a good six minutes of this, we inexplicably got a second David Sammartino promo while the match was in progress.

WTF is Going On?

This wasn't an inset promo. 

The show literally stopped showing David Sammartino wrestling so that we could watch him cut a promo explaining why the UWF was the only promotion worth wrestling for because it was the only promotion not “making a mockery of professional wrestling.”

UWF Fury Hour - Episode 1 - David Sammartino cuts a promo

You can make your own jokes about that one.

Before we could get back to the match, we had a brilliant UWF merchandise commercial starring B. Brian Blair.

“LOOK AT THESE CAPS!” He exclaimed, flipping the lid of a UWF-branded baseball cap atop the head of a nervously giggling teenager.

“LOOK AT THESE T-SHIRTS!” He cried, pointing at t-shirts featuring the likes of himself and Paul Orndorf.

I won’t lie, I’m so far into this UWF obsession now that I would pay good money for an original t-shirt.

If anyone has one for sale, get in touch! 

If you were eager to know the fate of Cactus and David, you’d have to maintain your suspense for a little longer while Steve Williams cut a raving and lively promo putting himself and the company over.

Back to the Action

After that frustrating delay, we returned to the match with Cactus in full control, supleximg Sammartino into the ring and wearing him down with a chinlock.

This part of the match was all Cactus as he began to dominate his opponent but failed to put him away.

Eventually getting frustrated, Jack resorted to headbutting the referee and walking off.
Your Winner via DQ: David Sammartino 

The stupid promo party in the middle of the match and the disappointing finish aside, this was otherwise an enjoyable contest if you set your expectations accordingly.

Billy Jack Haynes vs. Spitball Patterson

Both announcers claimed not to know much about the wonderfully-named Spitball Patterson which, if the Meltzer debacle was anything to go by, meant that Spitters was an ‘enhancement talent.’

Of course, that wasn’t the only way to tell he was a jobber. 

He also got his ass handed to him by Billy Jack Haynes.

Another inoffensive TV squash match, this one ended with a win for Billy Jack Haynes courtesy of his trusted full Nelson.
Your Winner: Billy Jack Haynes

Up next, we got a look back to August 26th, 1990 when the formation of the Universal Wrestling Federation was announced at a press conference during a fan festival in New York:

At that event, Brian Blair dissed Dan Spivey for being unsuccessful without his Skyscraper partner Sid Vicious.

Spivey responded by saying that lives were gonna be in his hands.

I’m kidding.

He criticized Killer B for working a desk job at a gym, rammed his head into the press conference table, slammed him into a wall, and walked off.

Angle done, match set, Blair and Spivey would face off in tonight’s main event.

But first, Captain Lou!

Captain Lou’s Corner 

Captain Lou Albano’s first guest on what would become a recurring weekly segment was none other than Brian Blair himself.

UWF Fury Hour - Episode 1 Review - Captain Lou's Corner

Cutting a decent early-90s style promo, Blair shouted through the camera at Dan Spivey and promised to make the former Skyscraper break out in hives.

Yeah, I get it, Blair was a Killer Bee and bees live in hives and Spivey kinda sounds like ‘Hivey’ I guess, but seriously?

Not “F-k you, I’m gonna kick your ass!’

Not ‘F-k you, I’m gonna end your career!’

But ‘F-k you, imma give you HIVES, boy!

It’s something different I suppose.

After that, Billy Jack Haynes was the next star to introduce himself to the TV audience and talk about how great his employer was.

Col. Debeers did the same, kind of. 

He actually spent most of his promo criticizing America and calling its citizens blind.

Col. Debeers vs. Mike Allen

It was Mike Allen (who apparently once wrestled as 'The Mighty Sputnik') who now had the responsibility of playing jobber next as he put Debeers over in another squash.

UWF Fury Hour - Episode 1 Review - Col. Debeers

To be fair to Allen, he did get in more offense than any of his fellow job squad members, even catching Debeers with a head scissors.

Alas, it was obviously never going to be young Allen’s night, and he soon succumbed to the Colnel’s DDT.
Your Winner: Col. Debeers

From that, to this:

Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff vs. Ricky Ataki

Sammartino didn’t know anything about Ataki, so you know what that means.

Yup, he got obliterated by Wrestlemania 1 star Paul Orndorff.

I love how Sammartino was there to put over the show and spent so much time just saying 'nope, never heard of this guy!'

Anyway, Ataki was quickly piledriven into obscurity, never to resurface until the late Blade Braxton covered him on Wrestlecrap.
Your Winner: Paul Orndorff 

Afterward, Dr. Death returned to the ring and got in Orndorff's face.

The two circle each other, ready to fight, but Williams bailed, much to the disdain of the vocal UWF fans.

Dangerous Dan Spivey vs. Brian B. Blair 

Spivey came out cosplaying as Dream Team era Brutus Beefcake, complete with yellow and black attire that was ripped to show his muscles.

UWF Fury Hour - Episode 1 Review - 'Dangerous' Dan Spivey

Meanwhile, Abrams reminded us that Brian B. Blair was a baby face.

He’s a fan favorite. He’s a favorite of the fans,” he said, in case we didn’t know what a fan favorite was.

The match was just what you might expect from Dan Spivey and Brian Blair.

Whether that means it was good or not all depends on your opinion of the two.

The crowd certainly enjoyed it, and would probably get it again sometime as Spivey and Blair brawled to the outside, ignoring the referee’s ten count.
Double Countout 

The duo continued their battle until the locker room eventually ran out to break it apart. 

All the while, Abrams demanded that the two be given a rematch.

If only he knew someone who could make it happen.

After one last look at Brian Blair selling us some caps, Herb and Bruno wrapped up the show and promised us Col. Debeers vs. Billy Jack Haynes for next week's main event.

With that, the first ever episode of UWF Furry Hour was in the record books.

Can’t wait! 

Buy The Complete History of Starrcade Volume 1 on Amazon

All in all, that wasn't the worst start for the Universal Wrestling Federation.

Cactus Jack vs. David Sammartino was a genuinely enjoyable match, though it is mind boggling that they chose to break away from it for some promos when they could have just done that after the bell.

The squash matches and multiple promos were necessary for the first show to introduce the UWF's stars, and we had a couple of feuds brewing in Spivey/Blair, Orndorff/Williams, and Haynes/Debeers.

Let’s see how this plays out.

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