Herbert Charles Abrams (July 9, 1955 – July 23, 1996), also known by the nickname Mr. Electricity, was an American professional wrestling promoter from Queens, New York who founded the Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF) in 1990.
Herbert Charles Abrams was born on July 9, 1955 in Queens, New York, the oldest child of Sonia (née Hoffman) and Abram Abrams. His father, Abram Abrams, was a contract salesman of women's dresses who employed 42 workers at his Manhattan office as of 1949. He attended William Cullen Bryant High School in Long Island City, New York.
In 1976, Abrams approached photographer Bill Apter while he was shooting Superstar Billy Graham on the streets of New York. He told Apter to spread word that any wrestlers who made an appearance at his father's clothing store in Flushing, Queens would be allowed to take dresses for their wives as compensation.
Abrams moved to Los Angeles and started his first business, Network '9' Limited in 1983. He also served as Committee Chair of the Builders of Jewish Education (BJE) in 1984. Abrams later started a chain of plus-size clothing stores for women called I'm a Big Girl Now in 1988. Abrams was married in 1989, and his father died that same year at the age of 64.
Abrams founded the Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF) in 1990, receiving $1 million from SportsChannel America to produce the weekly television program UWF Fury Hour. In August 1990, during a press conference announcing the UWF's launch, Abrams was asked how he expected to succeed in the wrestling business with no prior experience in it. Abrams responded: "What they're looking for, I have, and that's the Hollywood glitz". Abrams ran his first television tapings at Reseda Country Club in Reseda, California that fall; the venue's owners would later sue Abrams for money owed. Abrams soon gained a reputation for chronically failing to pay venue owners, and even his own wrestlers.
As the UWF's head booker, Abrams was often criticized for the promotion's inconsistent storylines, and matches that lacked clean-cut finishes. For the first 11 episodes of Fury Hour he was an on-screen commentator alongside Bruno Sammartino, for which the readers of Wrestling Observer Newsletter voted him Worst Television Announcer of 1990. Prior to earning that dubious distinction, Abrams had used a jobber on Fury Hour named "Davey Meltzer" -- an obvious 'jab' at journalist Dave Meltzer, Wrestling Observer Newsletter editor-in-chief and publisher. Abrams was replaced on commentary by Craig DeGeorge, but stayed on-screen as an interviewer.
After the UWF's SportsChannel America deal expired without extension in September 1991, Abrams' live show schedule went from regular, to sporadic. In 1994, coming off a divorce, Abrams made one final, grand attempt to make an impact in professional wrestling: promoting UWF Blackjack Brawl in Las Vegas, Nevada. The show aired live on SportsChannel America, and was a critical and commercial failure. Abrams moved back to New York City soon afterward to care for his ailing mother, and he never promoted another UWF event.
Abrams died on July 23, 1996 at St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan, New York of a heart attack while in police custody. Before his death, police had found Abrams in his Manhattan office naked and covered in baby oil, destroying furniture with a baseball bat. Abrams' autopsy showed he had cocaine and valium in his system when he died.
Abrams' ex-girlfriend said that during the last few years of his life, he had experienced paranoia when high on cocaine. Allegedly, Abrams owed various people money, and insisted on destroying furniture to find non-existent "bugging devices" he believed were secretly recording him.
Abrams was buried in New Montefiore Cemetery in West Babylon, New York.
Dark Side of the Ring aired an episode focused on the life of Abrams titled "Cocaine & Cowboy Boots: The Herb Abrams Story" in May 2020. It was the third-highest rated episode in the show's history.
Jonathan Plombon has been writing a book about Abrams since 2015.
Championships and accomplishments
- Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards
- Worst Television Announcer (1990)