This week Throwback Thursday on WrestlingDVDNetwork.com digs deep into the vault of the WWE Network to revisit a classic edition of Bill Watt’s landmark Mid-South Wrestling.
The Network lists this episode as having aired 32 years ago today, but, as is the case with a number of programs on the service, the date for this particular edition of MSW isn’t correct. Nailing down exact dates is incredibly difficult with Mid-South Wrestling. Though the territory was as popular as Verne Gagne’s and the McMahon’s, complete, concise records just don’t exist for MSW.
Judging by the fact that Brad Armstrong is the North American Champion, the Rock ‘N’ Roll Express are no longer Tag Team Champions, and Buddy Landel has yet to win the TV title (or be announced as such), this edition of the show likely aired on Saturday December 8th, as Landel would win the TV title from Dundee on the 15th.
By this time in 1984 Bill Watts’ Mid-South Wrestling Association, just 5 years old, was having incredible success. On April 7, 1984 over 25,000 fans came to the New Orleans Superdome to watch Bill Watts and Stagger Lee (JYD) defeat the Midnight Express. Superdome Extravaganza’s in July, August, and November drew 20,000, 18,000, and 14,000 respectively. Despite cable TV Bill Watts’ territory was, in many ways, still thriving. Feeling the pressure from the WWF, which was a national promotion thanks to cable TV, Bill Watts was beginning to make the necessary moves to take Mid-South Wrestling national, but that wouldn’t happen for another 6 months, even after landing the Sunday evening time slot on TBS in spring of ’85.
Unfortunately context surrounding this one is virtually non-existent on the WWE Network. Aside from a few older shows there’s not much MSW on the Network to speak of.
Mid-South Wrestling (WATCH)
Date: December 8, 1984 – Location: Irish McNeal Boys Club, Shreveport, Louisiana
Commentators: Boyd Pierce & Jim Ross – Interviews: Jim Ross
CHAMPIONS AT THE TIME
NWA World Heavyweight Champion: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair
Mid-South North American Heavyweight Champion: Brad Armstrong
Mid-South Tag Team Champions: Ted DiBiase & “Sheik” Hercules Hernandez
Mid-South Television Champion : “Superstar” Bill Dundee
After the usual, classic opening, Boyd Pierce and Jim Ross welcome us to the show and run down the card. Before we get to the action we get a music video featuring Terry Taylor set to Rod Stewart’s 1978 hit “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?” (which is replaced with canned music). The video is a highlight package of Taylor’s success in MSW and putting the moves on the ladies.
— Tag Team Match (WATCH – 3:43)
Dale Veasey & “Nature Boy” Buddy Landel vs. Terry Taylor & Mid-South North American Heavyweight Champion Brad Armstrong
This match starts out as a “house of fire”, as Jim Ross says, before settling down. Before you know it Terry Taylor hits Veasy with the flying forearm for the 1-2-3 at 1:31.
WINNERS are Terry Taylor and Mid-South North American Heavyweight Champion Brad Armstrong (Pin, 3:31)
Next we get a pre-taped promo from “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan about the continued battles with Skandor Akbar and Ted DiBiase. A music video, set to The Charlie Daniel’s Band’s 1974 hit “The South’s Gonna Do It Again” (which is replaced with rubbish), plays next. The video itself, a highlight package, is full of unintentionally hilarious clips of Duggan doing everything from aimlessly walking to putting in a dip. In the end, Duggan says he’s standing tall for the American flag.
After a break JR interviews “Iceman” King Parsons. Parsons talks about Skandor Akbar not having any guts and about going back to Dallas to finish his business before packing up all he’s got and moving to Mid-South to deal with Akbar. “Iceman” says Mid-South isn’t big enough for both of them, that one of them has got to go. Parsons tell JR that when he gets back he and Butch Reed are going to battle Akbar together.
— Singles Match (WATCH – 13:01)
Mike Starbuck vs. “The Ugandan Warrior” Kamala w/Friday & “Sheik” Skandor Akbar
This one is just a straight, old school squash. Getting Kamala’s gimmicks off lasts longer than the match. After mauling Mike Starbuck, Kamala hits the double throat thrust and the running splash for the pin at 1:52.
WINNER is “The Ugandan Warrior” Kamala w/Friday & “Sheik” Skandor Akbar (Pin, 1:52)
— Tag Team Match (WATCH – 17:00)
“Bad” Bob Owens & Mark Hill vs. The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson)
Owens and Hill get next to no offense in in this one, another old school squash match. Owens and Hill are bumping, selling machines for the Express, making Morton and Gibson look like world beaters. Soon enough, though, Morton and Gibson hit the double dropkick on Mark Hill for the pin at 2:34.
WINNERS are The Rock ‘N’ Roll Express (Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson) (Pin, 2:34)
— Singles Match (WATCH – 21:11)
Shawn Michaels vs. Mid-South Tag Team Champion Ted DiBiase
Shawn Michaels was little less than 2 months into the business at the time of this match, one of the earliest TV matches of Michaels’ career. Though green, DiBiase makes the young Texan look great in this short match, giving the impression that someone in MSW saw real potential Michaels. After a somewhat competitive match DiBiase hits Michaels with a beautiful powerslam before cinching in the figure four leg lock for the the submission win at 3:04.
WINNER is Mid-South Tag Team Champion Ted DiBiase (Submission, 3:04)
— Tag Team Match (WATCH – 25:09)
Tim Horner & Tony Faulk vs. The Alamo Busters (Chavo & Hector Guerrero)
Though the Guerreros dominate the match, Tim Horner shines early. The Alamo Busters are just too much for these guys. Hector holds down Tony Faulk as Chavo comes off the top with a somersault splash, or “cannonball type maneuver” as JR calls it, for the pin at 3:13.
WINNERS are The Alamo Busters (Chavo & Hector Guerrero) (Pin, 3:13)
— Singles Match (WATCH – 30:19)
Mike Jackson vs. Mid-South Tag Team Champion “Sheik” Hercules Hernandez w/”Sheik” Skandor Akbar
This one isn’t even close. Hercules, looking like a wrestling monster, makes mince meat of Jackson. After beating the snort out of Jackson, Hercules locks in the “dreaded” Shininomake (a.k.a. the Cobra clutch) for the submission win at 2:56.
WINNER is Mid-South Tag Team Champion “Sheik” Hercules Hernandez w/”Sheik” Skandor Akbar (Submission, 2:56)
— Singles Match (WATCH – 34:23)
Jack Victory vs. “Hacksaw” Butch Reed
Victory bumps and sells like an old pro here, making Reed look even better than he usually does. After cutting off a Victory comeback Reed lifts Victory for a gorilla press slam before hitting the running shoulder block for the pin at 3:47.
WINNER is “Hacksaw” Butch Reed (Pin, 3:47)
After the match Boyd Pierce and Jim Ross wrap up the show and talk about next week’s card before throwing to a Butch Reed music video set to Grandmaster Melle Mel’s 1982 “Survival (Message 2)”, which is, you guessed it, overdubbed! The video features some great highlights of Reed’s MSW career to this point in 1984 as well as some incredible workout footage. After the video the credits roll and the show is over.
While this edition of MSW would be considered more of a maintenance show than a true classic, it does give new fans important insight into why Mid-South worked for so long.
A programming style often seen in NXT, this MSW show packed more action into an hour than some can produce in two. If you’re already subscribed to WWE Network, what are you waiting for? Check out this classic edition of Mid-South Wrestling and let us know what you think.
Thanks for reading – until next week, see ya at ringside!
Watch Mid-South Wrestling, this Sunday’s WWE TLC PPV, and 6,000 more hours of content on WWE Network. Your first month is 100% FREE! Click here to subscribe to WWE Network.
Unfortunately, this episode falls in line with what WWE is doing with promotions such as Stampede, SMW, AWA and World Class.
Rather than add episodes in order, it seems they only spotlight episodes that feature stars that went onto work for Vince.
Jake Roberts, JYD, Bulldogs, Jericho, Shawn Michaels, Ultimate Warrior, Sting, Jerry Lawler, Jeff Jarrett, etc are featured in many of these episodes as they trickled in periodically.
I understand that vintage episodes are the primary driving factor for Network subscribers, but my preference was always for vintage shows to run back to back from the same era or timeframe. Week after week, one new episode is revealed. For example, tonight would feature the Dec 3, 1986 episodes of Mid South, World Class, AWA and NWA wrestling. So fans would be able to grasp an idea of what the business was like at that period of time across the country.
But then again, that would further spotlight how inferior the WWF in-ring product was at that time.
I agree, Richard, that the way some the classic content is added is asinine. I am in total agreement with that. However, I can tell you that the classic content isn’t the boon WWE thought or expected it to be. Quite frankly, as much as you or I may love the old promotions, they’re not being watched by a sizeable audience. There’s a reason why Raw and SmackDown are the main additions as of late: people watch them. The “Collections” feature isn’t just for convenience but a way to introduce older content to the younger or novice fan, as are themed content drops like the ones you’ve mentioned. It’s easy for us to enjoy the product we grew up with but it’s hard for a 13-year-old today to understand why these shows mattered or why they should watch any of it its entirety. I’m ranting a bit, I know, but there are realistic reasons for what WWE does in terms of the Network.
I do disagree, however, that WWE would be holding back footage simply to make their own product look better in hindsight. Nitro, after all, is now complete, as is the weekly televised archive of ECW. This is simply a matter of business for WWE, additions to the Network. The lack of interest in classic content led WWE to ramp up the number of live shows on the Network, from PPVs to 205 Live to possibly even including indy promotions. I fully suspect one day to see the infamous Black Saturday edition of WCW and the rest of the series. It’s only been two and half years, after all. It’s not perfect by any stretch but it’s getting much better. I’m eager to see what the Network will look like and what content will be on it at the 5-year mark.
Thanks for reading, Richard, and taking the time to leave your thoughts. It’s much appreciated. Take care!
I saw a typo in my previous post, so I will correct here.
I understand the vintage episodes are NOT the driving factor for new subscribers. New fans are all about NEW content featuring CURRENT stars, and while that’s all well and good – it doesn’t help those of us that would like to see vintage stuff come out with more regularity.
I think the in-ring product of the mid 80s was superior to what WWE was doing at that time.That’s what always kept Crockett in the argument against WWF, that their bell to bell product was infinitely better. I think that has bugged Vince over the years.
I feel both Nitro and ECW are spotlighted because they are a significant part of the period WWE holds most dear: the Attitude Era and MNWs. That’s why I think we have those shows in such a heavy dose. Plus, many of those stars from both shows went on to a role in WWE.
You’re right, it’s not a perfect situation by any means and it’s always a work in progress. I enjoy the hell out of it. I’d love to see more Hidden Gems and actually, a section for the WWE Hall of Fame.
Not only including every ceremony in its entirety, but also for NEW, YOUNG fans – a brief 5-15 video bio on each Hall of Famer, in the style of the ESPN Sportscentury docs that ran for a few years. WWE does a great job on the video packages when each inductee is announced, I’d love to see these slightly expanded upon. I think it’s a nice way for fans to be introduced to some of the pioneers of the business and names they may have only heard or read about.
Wasn’t the Shawn Michaels vs Ted DiBiase on The Best of Mid-South Wrestling DVD and bluray?
Yes it was, Uncle Pat.
*shaking my head at WWE for overdubbing Grandmaster Melle Mel* I get why, it’s still bs.. great article again.. 🙂
I know, Ruthless.Attitude.Eras.4Life, it gets old after awhile. It is fun to hear what they replace some of the music with, though. Sometimes it’s hilarious.
Thanks for reading, Ruthless.Attitude.Eras.4Life. Have a good one!