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Wrestling / Herb Abrams' UWF

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"Herb Abrams left this world doing what he loved: Cocaine and hookers."
A Weeping Brian Blair, Dark Side of the Ring
Herb Abrams (July 9, 1955 - July 23, 1996) was an American Professional Wrestling promoter who ran the Universal Wrestling Federationnote  from 1991-1994.

Initially a contract salesman of women's dresses, Abrams first made his exposure with professional wrestling when he let the New York territory wrestlers know that any that made appearances at his father's business would be allowed to take a dress home with them for their wives and girlfriends. It seems that the world of the squared circle seemed to speak to him, and after starting up his own business in California, he decided to get into the business as a promoter in 1990, starting the UWF in Reseda thanks to a generous million dollar donation from SportChannel America.

While the shows were small, the relative distance to the WWF and his ability to convince current stars and up-and-coming rookies to come take a date with Herb allowed him to develop a small but devoted following. His early success immediately went to his head, and Herb went from commentator to interviewer to the stars, and occasional manager, going by the name "Mr. Electricity" due to his (extremely cocaine fueled) extremely eccentric and over the top persona. This led to him getting into a one-sided battle with Vince McMahon, a failed bid at expanding into Pay-Per-View, and a recurring trend of him being unable to pay the venues he was running in, and even his own wrestlers. None of this ever stopped Herb from being the insanely over the top character right up until 1994, where he left the business to care for his mother, and the abject failure of the Blackjack Brawl PPV sank his ambitions to try and become the Vince McMahon of the west.

He died in the only way someone like Herb could've, after a confrontation with police while high on valium and cocaine and caught destroying his own furniture, he suffered cardiac arrest; succumbing to his Rockstar lifestyle in 1996. His life story, as well as UWF's, is chronicled in VICE Media's Dark Side of the Ring series as the subject of its 14th episode.

"Mr. Electricity's Tropes":

  • Action Girl: Tina Moretti, Miss Texas, Rockin' Robin (the sister of Jake Roberts), Velvet McIntyre
  • Alliterative Name:
  • Amoral Afrikaner: Col. DeBeers, whose gimmick was of a South African who was a militant racist pro-Apartheid.
  • Badass Israeli: Joshua Ben-Gurion, who was the UWF's first and only UWF Israeli Champion.
  • Dr. Feelgood: Al Burke wrestled under this name.
  • Foreign Wrestling Heel: Col. DeBeers, whose gimmick was of a South African who was a militant racist pro-Apartheid.
  • Fun with Acronyms: Well, they tried.
    • Kevin Casey was the manager of CHAOS Enterprises, with CHAOS standing for Casey's House Of All-Stars.
    • As revealed on Dark Side of the Ring, Herb Abrams had the UWF Television Championship belt designed with the letters "UWF" placed on both sides of the gold plate so when the belt was focused on camera or folded, the "F" on the left and "U" on the right would be shown. It was meant to say "Fuck You" to Vince McMahon.
  • Hammy Herald: "Dr. Death" Steve Williams faced Bam Bam Bigelow at the UWF's only PPV, Beach Brawl, in the tournament final for the UWF SportsChannel Television Championship. Bigelow got a normal introduction (weight, hometown, name.) Doc, on the other hand, got this, which presumably crushed the dreams of any Bigelow fans watching that night.
    "And his opponent, the roughest, toughest man in wrestling today, 'Dr. Death' Steve Williams. Coming down the aisle right now, getting cheered on by the crowd, 285-pounder from Lakewood, Colorado, a former football star, tremendous athlete, here vying for that championship belt to become the first-ever UWF Champion, and here they're squaring off in the middle of the ring, 'Dr. Death' and Bam Bam Bigelow."
  • Hookers and Blow: What he spent his free time on and unfortunately is the one of the defining things he is remembered for. His last moments of life were spent naked (or only in his underwear) with two prostitutes and a mountain of cocaine. He even used this trope as a recruiting tool for a manager he ended up hiring.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Abrams had no experience or qualifications for running a wrestling promotion and wasn't going to let anyone tell him otherwise. He also burned through money like it was made of gunpowder; on Dark Side of the Ring, Mick Foley, asked what Herb Abrams would be doing if he was still alive, simply said, "Time", as he believed Abrams would never be able to recoup his debts.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Col. DeBeers, whose gimmick, left over from his time in the AWA, was of a militant racist pro-Apartheid South African.
  • Ring Oldies: Ivan Koloff, Col. DeBeers, Paul Orndorff, Bob Orton Jr., Don Muraco, Ken Patera...
  • Shrouded in Myth: After Herb Abram's untimely passing, stories began to circulate about him having faked his own death (possibly to escape his creditors). At least one man swears he saw Abrams the night after his supposed death, threatening to sue him for using the UWF name. These days, almost everyone believes he died (some claiming he couldn't possibly stay out of the limelight for three decades), but most agree he would have loved to hear the stories about his survival.
  • Tag Team:
    • Mask Confusion, better known as The Killer Bees (B. Brian Blair and Jumpin' Jim Brunzell)
    • Wet 'N' Wild (Sunny Beach and Steve Ray)
    • The Blackharts (Apocalypse and Destruction)
  • Tag Team Twins: The Power Twins, Dave and Larry
  • Take a Third Option: At the UWF's last chance at a supercard, UWF Blackjack Brawl I, September 23, 1994, there was a Lumberjack Matchnote  between Cactus Jack and Jimmy Snuka. According to Mick Foley's autobiography Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks, Herb didn't want him to lose "and there was no way I was going to let Jimmy lie down for me." So, they did exactly what Lumberjack Matches are designed to prevent: They fought to a double-countout. When the other wrestlers said they couldn't do that, Cactus replied, "Hey, it's Herb's show, we can do anything."
  • Take That!: They had "Dr. Death" Steve Williams Squash a geeky Jobber named "Davey Meltzer," as a response to how The Wrestling Observer Newsletter hated the UWF. The WON named Abrams "Worst Television Announcer" in 1990, the UWF the worst promotion and Fury Hour the worst TV show in 1991, and their live TV special Blackjack Brawl the worst major wrestling show in 1994.
  • Talk Show with Fists: "Captain Lou's Corner"
  • Trademark Favorite Food: The UWF pushed "Herbie's Cookies".
  • You Wanna Get Sued?: Averted. "Cowboy" Bill Watts hadn't bothered to trademark the UWF name, so Herb took it for himself.