It’s time to go back to 1999 for the latest Wrestling Rampage, as the UWA prepared for their TV title tournament!
The fifth episode was billed as a preview for next week’s tournament, with Dan Berlinka telling us that this show will run down everyone involved. It’ll be a “winner stays on” tournament, with eliminations by pinfall or by being thrown over the top rope.
Berlinka tells us that the first and last man in the match are already known: #1 Doug Williams, whilst #10 is going to be Christopher Daniels. I’m not going to recap a load of seventeen-year-old video packages, even if there is a really weird one of Big Papa T – who’s shown at home with his wife and kids with his mask! They insist on calling Congo, Zaire (the country’s old name), whilst the bulk of Papa’s story seems to come from a taxi driver! The only other thing we learn is that the mysterious woman with Dino Scarlo is named “Sorcha”.
Let’s jump forward to the sixth episode! The show opens with Phil Powers giving another vanilla, white-meat babyface promo. He dismisses a few people, and by the end of it I’m glad this is only a 10-man match… oh God, more of these. Danny Royal, Kerry Cabrero, Doug Williams deliver some… as do Steve Lynskey and his horrific American accent.
Finally, we’re in the studio with Dan Berlinka, who runs through the ten men in the tournament, before throwing in some storyline wrinkles such as the sneak attack on Phil Powers. We’re taken to Jameelah outside of Crystal Palace “waiting for the wrestlers to turn up”, but she sees Steve Lynskey, whose American accent is limited to repeating the words “no comment”.
Sorcha comes out with the TV title… which is a trophy for some reason, whilst ring announcer Paul Martin explains the rules.
Ten Man, Winner Stays On UWA TV Title Tournament – Eliminations By Pinfall or Being Thrown Over-The-Top-Rope
Doug Williams is out first, with Big Papa T out second. Good Lord, Doug, who’ve you upset?!
Ross Gordon notes on commentary that Steve Lynskey isn’t at ringside for this match, but nevermind, because as soon as the bell rings, Williams throws Papa T over the top rope as he’s talking to his manager Rebecca, and that’s elimination number one. Papa T is the Warlord of this match, and he wipes out security as we wait for his replacement.
Number three is Paul Sloan, who goes straight into battle, as Doug Williams busts out the Giant Swing! Williams misses a dropkick in the corner, and then takes a back elbow, before a slow motion handspring elbow gets Doug back on top. They trade waistlocks before a bridging German suplex gets Doug the pin… and we’re going for quick falls here, since they didn’t even bust out the Chaos Theory!
Number four is Stevie Knight, throwing back to that match that was abandoned a month earlier when Doug walked out. A spinning heel kick from Knight take down Doug, who then gets thrown through the ropes to the outside. Heck, Knight even throws Williams into the crowd, exposing the empty seats as the officials at ringside try to get the match back into the ring.
Doug takes a suplex on the floor, before Knight rolls him back, only to miss a swandive headbutt. Williams gets a two count with a Fisherman’s suplex, before Knight gets another two count from a leg drop. Knight’s turned around into a Boston crab, but he powers out and gets a near-fall. Williams lands a leaping lariat into the corner on Knight, then a suplex for a near-fall. Knight gets a diving back elbow off the ropes, before the two men clonk heads and fall to the mat. Knight launches into Williams with a crossbody, which eliminates Doug… and after the referees unhook Knight’s foot from the ropes, he falls to the floor two, leading to a double elimination. A nice idea, but awkwardly executed, I’m afraid.
Williams and Knight fight some more outside the ring, and I guess we need two new names? They politely wait for Doug and Stevie to fight to the back before the new names come out, so number five is Kerry Cabrero whilst number six is Danny Royal. Both names are shown on the laser screen as Cabrero came out, yet the commentators questioned who the next two were… pay attention, guys!
Danny and Kerry start out at a blistering pace, with Royal landing a gutwrench sit-out powerbomb for a near-fall. They cut to commercial after Cabrero hit a spinning heel kick, and when we return, they recap the eliminations again. Back to live action, we see Royal and Cabrero trading chops in the corner, before Royal’s eliminated courtesy of a backdrop over the top rope from Cabrero.
The seventh man out is revealed to be Mad Dog McPhie, who sprints to the ring and pounds away on Cabrero. Kerry takes a powerslam for a near-fall, before surprising McPhie with what looked to be a botched Flatliner – what we saw was what D’Lo Brown’s old Sky High Powerbomb would have been… had it been a facebuster. Cabrero doesn’t go for the cover, and instead climbs to the top for a legdrop, which gets the elimination.
With McPhie dispatched, number eight is Phil Powers, who’s briefly attacked by McPhie as he came to the ring. Cabrero chops away at Powers, before a powerbomb gets him a near-fall. Powers chops back at Kerry, but gets an awkward kick to the midsection, then a snapmare, before a dropkick from Cabrero takes down Powers. Powers gets overwhelmed with a Stinger splash in the corner, but he moves out of the way as Cabrero charges at him again, and that sends Kerry sailing out over the top rope and to the floor. That apparently counts as a self-elimination, and we then wait for the ninth man out in Jonny Storm. Even though the laser show still says Cabrero vs Powers…
Storm takes down Powers with a back suplex, before a Quebrada gets him a near-fall. Jonny climbs up top, but Powers kicks the rope to crotch him, and then dropkicks Storm… and there’s another quick elimination! So the last man out is Christopher Daniels, who rushes out and pounds away on Powers, before clobbering him with a clothesline.
A back elbow on Powers sees him land in an awkward fashion – with the relatively simple bump seeing Powers bounce up and land a second time on his head – before a belly-to-belly suplex gets Daniels a near-fall. Daniels chokes away on Powers in the ropes, before he’s kicked away at in the corner.
— Allan (@allan_cheapshot) October 13, 2016
Powers bounces out of the turnbuckles after another Irish whip, but he surprises Daniels with an O’Connor roll for a near-fall. Another back suplex dumps Powers on his head, as Daniels goes to a rear chinlock, and then back to some choking in the ropes. Another clothesline gets an awkward landing from Powers, who seems averse to flat back bumps, as Daniels then gets a rope-assisted abdominal stretch. Which is apparently illegal in a pinfall-or-over-the-top-rope-only match?
Powers hiptosses himself free then dropkicks Daniels, and finally gets a Fisherman’s suplex for a near-fall. A baseball slide sees Powers slide out of the ring to avoid a big boot in the corner, before Phil crotches Daniels in the ring post. After another commercial and recap session, Daniels slams Powers and gets an Arabian moonsault for a near-fall.
A crossbody off the ropes from Powers gets him a near-fall, as does a small package, before Daniels nails an enziguiri. Powers kicked out at two, then again after a gutwrench suplex, as he reverses the cover into another near-fall. We see a scoop slam from Powers for a two-count, before Daniels surprises him with the Angel’s Wings for a near-fall as Powers just about kicked out.
Undeterred, Daniels sets up Powers as he goes up top, and hits what’d become the Best Moonsault Ever, which seemed to see Powers’ elbow hit him in the groin on impact. After making the cover, Daniels gets a series of two counts, before going to a rear chinlock on a grounded Powers.
Phil fights up and falls to yet another awkward bump from a clothesline, as Daniels calls for the finish, but Powers turns the Angel’s Wings into a slingshot as Daniels is sent over the top to the floor… and Phil Powers claims the TV title! Despite being beat down moments earlier, and having taken all manner of weird bumps for clotheslines, Powers found the energy to celebrate with a backflip. Erm, what happened to selling?? **
As a match, this was awkwardly put together – really, only the final match between Powers and Daniels was long enough to be a match, with the rest of it being a series of quick eliminations which did nothing to make this stand out from anything else on the show. They show some more recaps as Powers celebrated around ringside with the trophy, before the episode closes with Dan Berlinka in the studio promising to tell us more about the rest of the UWA’s titles next week.
Six episodes in, and I’m more conflicted than ever with this product. Whilst some of the people involved would go on to bigger things, it really came across as a product put together by someone who’d seen 80s WWF and not much else, going by the overall format. Clearly it wasn’t a success in terms of a live event, as the 12,000 seater Crystal Palace arena was nowhere near full, with plenty of empty seats visible on camera. The promotion wouldn’t be long for this world, with only another fifteen episodes being made before it disappeared from our TV screens forever…