In an attempt to better understand the acclaimed territorial promotions of yesteryear, I thought it best to try my hand at reviewing shows that were uploaded to the WWE Network in the latter half of 2015, beginning with Mid-South Wrestling. For a bit of background information, Mid-South was formed after Bill Watts purchased NWA Tri-State Wrestling in 1979. At that point, Watts decided to re-brand the promotion and detach itself from its NWA roots. Although, NWA championships would still be defended in Mid-South on occasion. Mid-South typically ran shows in Arkansas and Oklahoma, often featuring talents, such as Ted DiBiase, The Junkyard Dog, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, and Butch Reed. In March of 1986, Mid-South was re-branded as the Universal Wrestling Federation, which aired its programs nationally via the TBS Superstation. The departure of several top stars accompanied by poor attendance forced Watts to sell the promotion to Jim Crockett on April 9, 1987, and the UWF closed its doors in December of 1987.
Mid-South Wrestling – October 30, 1982
This episode of Mid-South opens with host Boyd Pierce who informs us that tonight’s matches took place at the Irish McNeil Boys’ Club in Shreveport, Louisiana. Pierce then runs down the card, which includes a Loser Leaves Mid-South match for the Mid-South Tag Team Championships. We head to Bill Watts and Paul Boesch, who introduce a group of children (and a gorilla…or someone in a gorilla suit) attending the show. Afterwards, we get footage of a six-man tag from Boesch’s Houston Wrestling.
This is a basic six-man tag that appears to be joined in progress. Khan, Blanchard, and Hernandez target Andre’s legs. Andre eventually makes the tag to Máscaras. Although Watts mentions that Máscaras may not be the largest competitor in the match, he is quick to put over his athletic ability. Máscaras hits a few dropkicks before leveling Blanchard with a crossbody to pick up the win.
We learn that a No Disqualification, Loser Leaves Mid-South, Tag Team Championship match is still to come, and Watts sends us back to the ring for a match between Ted Allen and Kamala.
Commentary mentions that “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan has been detained. He does not want publicity, so Matt Borne will be replacing him in the upcoming Mid-South Tag Team Championship match. Kamala strikes Allen repeatedly before hitting a big splash and pinning him.
It’s worth noting that the only competitor that must leave Mid-South is the one who gets pinned. Also, said competitor only has to leave the territory for ninety days. The crowd absolutely loves JYD. Olympia and JYD waste no time, as they immediately go after DiBiase and Borne before the bell rings. Watts mentions that if DiBiase loses the fall and has to leave Mid-South, he will also be stripped of his Mid-South North American Heavyweight Championship. The referee manages to regain control over the match, and JYD locks up with DiBiase. JYD goes for an inside cradle, for a near fall, following it up with a side Russian leg sweep. DiBiase rolls out of the ring. He comes back in, and both teams make the tag to their partners. Borne backs Olympia into the corner, but Olympia fires back with a series of punches. Olympia makes the tag to JYD, who grounds Borne. DiBiase breaks the hold, and the camera briefly pans to the fan in a gorilla suit. Borne tags in DiBiase and Olympia takes DiBIase down delivers several arm drags before tagging in JYD. Just as it appears Mr. Olympia and JYD are going to retain their titles, the man in the gorilla suit press slams Olympia on the floor and reveals himself to be Duggan. Dibiase hits JYD with a loaded glove and pins him to capture the tag team gold.
Atlas grounds Grappler with a flying head scissors for a one-count. Watts then informs us that next week there will be a special segment for the children. Atlas wears Grappler down with a side headlock but gets backed into the corner. He fires back with punches, headbutts, and an Irish whip, followed by a monkey flip. Atlas pins Grappler after a military press slam, accompanied by a big splash.
This is Hernandez’s Mid-South debut. At the start of the match, Boyd Pierce informs us that Paul Boesch has joined him on commentary because Bill Watts lost his voice during the Mid-South Tag Team Title match. The match begins with both competitors dragging each other across the ropes, struggling to gain an advantage. Barr applies a full nelson hold, which Gino then escapes by placing both of his feet on the top rope. Barr forces Hernandez to regroup on the outside by hitting several deep arm drags. Shortly thereafter, Hernandez drops Barr with a vertical suplex before going to the second rope and hitting a diving elbow drop to secure the victory.
We come back from a commercial break, and Paul Boesch is joined at ringside by “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan and the newly crowned Mid-South Tag Team Champions, Ted DiBiase and Matt Borne. Boesch is disgusted by their actions, calling their debauchery of the most heinous things he’s ever seen in over fifty years of professional wrestling. He says that their monkey (Duggan) has lost his head, to which DiBiase retorts: “I think the other monkey has lost his head, he’s gone for ninety days.” I don’t think that line would go over well in today’s pro wrestling landscape. DiBiase, Borne, and Duggan then take a second to show off their titles. DiBiase mentions that money is the name of the game, and claims that we will put bread on the table at any expense, and his partners feel the same way.
Mr. Wrestling II goes for a quick cover, which Lunde immediately escapes. Mr. Wrestling briefly works over Lunde’s left leg before being put through the arm wringer. Wrestling eventually got the three-count after striking Lunde with a running knee lift.
Horner and Matsuda start things off. Matsuda grounds Horner with an amateur takedown, Matsuda spends time wearing down the legs of Horner before making the tag to Yatsu. Yatsu continues to apply a toehold and tags in Matsuda, who picks up where he left off. Quick tags from Yatsu and Matsuda. Horner eventually escapes a toehold and makes the tag to Romeo. Romero dropkicks Matsuda and goes for the pin, but Yatsu breaks it up. Yatsu gets the pin on Romeo after hitting an overhead belly-to-belly. Romeo dropkicks Matsuda and goes for the pin, but Yatsu breaks it up. Yatsu then hits an overhead belly-to-belly on Romeo to secure the victory.
Then, we are told that Colonel Buck Robley will team with Mr. Wrestling II to take on The Masked Grapplers on next week’s show. Also advertised for next week’s shows are an interview with Ted DiBiase, and “Gorgeous” Gino Hernandez vs. Tony Atlas. There was nothing “must-see” on this show, but it was incredibly easy to take in for forty-two minutes.