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 - Charles Laffere

“You may be an ambassador to England or France,
You may like to gamble, you might like to dance,
You may be the heavyweight champion of the world,
You may be a socialite with a long string of pearls

But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.”

Bob Dylan, “Gotta Serve Somebody”

Bob Dylan, wrestling fan? Who knows? Ol’ Zimmy does box on a recreational level.

Who am I, Charles Laffere, here to serve? You, the loyal readers. This marks the 25th edition of my UWF column here at Kayfabe Memories. It’s been terrific so far, and I thank Mr. Fahey and you, the readers, for making this a great experience.

This week, we will look at the Universal Wrestling Federation at the beginning of 1987. The UWF was justifiably considered to be the best wrestling promotion in existence during the mid 1980s. Bill Watts took his regionally based Mid-South promotion, syndicated its television program nationally, and renamed the promotion. I can still see the big cowboy’s effusive gestures as he made the announcement on television. The renaming was one of Watts’ swipes at Vince McMahon. After all, the Watts Universe was bigger than McMahon’s World. Watts also courted Bill Apter’s newsstand wrestling magazines in a further effort to expand his operation. Mid-South already provided great wrestling, exciting television and two terrific commentators in Watts and Jim Ross. 

“Like a rat in a pack it attacks
From the back
Through a crack in a track
And you take a smack

This Jack has had a hard day
No one told him it would be like this
He's had to score the hard way
Working on twenty hour shifts

This is the toughest street in town
This is the toughest
It's tough stuff
This is the toughest street around

This is the toughest
Don't you go down.”

“Toughest Street in Town,” Thin Lizzy.

Going into 1987, the UWF had a roster of talented veterans and upcoming stars. On the “good guy” or “face” side, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Steve “Dr. Death” Williams, Ted DiBiase, the Fantastics, Chris Adams and Terry Taylor were huge fan favorites. These wrestlers battled the bad guys on their own and in various tandems. On the dark side of the UWF Empire, Skandor Akbar’s latest version of Devastation, Inc. included the One Man Gang, Wild Bill Irwin and Eli the Eliminator. Eddie Gilbert and Missy Hyatt’s nefarious Hot Stuff International had future stars Sting and Rick Steiner. And the Fabulous Freebirds were, well, the FREEBIRDS. They were ostensibly “heels,” but they had some fan support as well.   More...

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