Mid-South Wrestling (TV #126)
February 4th 1982
Irish McNeil Boys Club: Shreveport, LA.
We’ve jumped ahead two weeks since our last trip down to Shreveport and here’s the important stuff that we missed: Skandor Akbar announced that the Iron Sheik had gone back to Iran to aid Ayatollah Khomeini! – Sad times indeed, as Sheikie killing fools was one of my favourite parts of these shows. Of course, Sheik didn’t really go back to Iran; he worked other Southern territories Georgia, South West, Memphis and Florida before heading for New York in 1983 to break the back of that no good jabroni, Bob Backlund. Mr Olympia defeated Bob Orton Jr. for the Mississippi Heavyweight Championship! Olympia only debuted a month earlier and has looked impressive since. Ted Dibiase & Dick Murdoch vs. Paul Orndorff & Bob Roop went to a no contest when Bob Orton interfered then the following week Roop challenged Dibiase for the North American Heavyweight title which ended in another schmoz when Orndorff ran in and Murdoch made the save. So the Dibiase vs. Orndorff/Roop/Orton crew feud is still running strong.
Boyd Pierce & Bill Watts opened the show; apparently Mid-South TV had expanded into some new markets in 1982 and Boyd gave a shout-out to Tulsa, Oklahoma and Little Rock, Arkansas, as well as the regular viewers in Louisiana, Mississippi and California. Boyd then hyped a big Tag Team Championship main event of the Samoans vs. JYD & Mike George and Watts noted that Mr Olympia was the new Mississippi Champ.
Bob Orton Jr. vs. Ken Woodby. – SQU-IZ-ASH for Orton in 3:48 Boyd & Watts spent most of the time hyping the big Tag Title match and they put over kayfabe “match maker” Grizzly Smith for booking a title match on TV. Orton killed Woodby with a running backbreaker and used his piledriver for the finish. – Basic enhancement match for Orton to get some heat back after losing the Mississippi belt.
Before the Tag Team Championship match, Ernie Ladd, manager of the Samoans, was at the announce desk and demanded some time to talk. Ladd was furious about Dusty Rhodes being signed to a big lucrative contract with Mid-South and put himself over as the master negotiator of big contract dealings and said he had taken the Samoans along for the ride with him. Ladd buried Watts for being a horrible colour commentator and said he should be doing the colour every week, which I agree with 100%. Watts stood up and asked Ladd if Skandor Akbar was part of his entourage; Ladd said “no” and Watts questioned why Akbar was stood in the ring with the Samoans! Ernie Ladd then went all badass Samuel L Jackson and said: “Hold on just a minute. Nobody represent them Samoans but ME. NOBODY!” – His delivery was out of this world. Ladd got in the ring and asked Akbar what the hell was going on. Akbar blamed Ladd for the Samoans losing the Tag Titles and for their suspension last year then said that Ladd had embarrassed the Samoans enough. Akbar called Ladd a “BIG DUMMIE!” and declared himself the sole representative/financial advisor of the Samoans. Ladd fired up and yelled, “Nobody handle business but me!” then dropped Akbar with a big right hand. The Samoans jumped their former manager, but Ladd became a total ass-kicking babyface and ran wild on all three heels! Ladd was whooping all kinds of ass, however Akbar had a plan and waved out a very young One Man Gang, who Boyd & Watts said they had never seen before and were unable to identify. Gang and the Samoans beat down Ladd then Afa & Sika held Ladd’s legs across the bottom rope and Gang came down with a big splash off the top, presumably “breaking” Ladd’s leg! Watts put over that Ladd had suffered serious knee injuries during his NFL days and a couple of wrestlers and referees came out to help Ladd to the back. – FIVE STAR ANGLE!!! The turn of Ladd was masferful, Akbar became the new top heel manager in one segment and One Man Gang made a big impression on his debut. Masterful booking.
After the break, Watts explained that Ladd had been taken back to the “shower area” because Grizzly Smith didn’t know whether to take him to the heel or babyface locker room and was receiving medical attention. Watts teased a bait-and-switch and said that the Tag Team title match was not going to take place so we were going to the stand-by matches!
Non-Title Match: Ted Dibiase (North American Heavyweight Champion) vs. Ron Cheatham. – Dibiase over in 3:16. Total squash for Dibiase, who took the whole match. Women screamed for the white meat babyface and he won with his powerslam and Figure Four. – Keep that in mind.
Back at the desk with Boyd & Watts; Skandor Akbar stormed in and demanded that the Tag Title match take place! Boyd told him he was just a commentator and he needed to go talk to Grizzly Smith. Watts asked who the “big man” was and Akbar told him it was none of his business and demanded to talk to Grizzly! After the break, Watts explained that the issue between Ladd & Akbar was personal and that the contract had been signed by Afa & Sika, so Grizzly Smith had no choice but to sanction the Tag Title match.
Mid-South Tag Team Championship: JYD & Mike George (C) vs. The Samoans w/Skandor Akbar. – The Samoans became the new champs at 5:30. Faces shone early then there was an hilariously horrible double down with JYD & Sika off a double clothesline which turned out to be the heat spot. JYD sold briefly then George ran wild off the hot tag. Get this for a finishing sequence: The ref took a bump to the outside; Sika missed a headbutt off the ropes on JYD and Afa nailed George with a chair shot on the floor. JYD disarmed Afa and drilled him with the chair, but Akbar got in the ring and tried to throw a FIREBALL at the Dog! JYD blocked the fireball with the chair and Akbar took the fire to the face and rolled out. Sika & JYD spilled outside and Afa pinned George after a Samoan Drop onto the chair. The Samoans left with the belts as JYD checked on George in the ring. – That finish was indescribably great. It may have looked a little goofy through 2015 eyes, but imagine seeing this stuff in 1982. It was also a perfect follow up to the Akbar/Ladd angle earlier, as the whole point of it was that the Samoans had lost the titles under Ladd’s watch and Akbar was determined to win them back by any means necessary, including throwing fire! Amazing stuff.
Bob Roop vs. Frank Monte. – Roop over at 3:43. This was our second stand-by match and it was a 70/30 squash for Roop. Monte sandbagged Roop on a hip-toss but Roop powered him over anyway. Boyd announced that Roop would challenge JYD for the Louisiana title next week. Roop won with his shoulder breaker.
Non-Title Match: Mr Olympia (Mississippi Heavyweight Champion) vs. Paul Orndorff. – Olympia via submission at 4:10. Compared to the rest of the show, this was like an X-Division match. Both guys were lightning fast. Orndorff got the heat with a clothesline off the ropes then did a Ted Dibiase powerslam and went for the Figure Four! Olympia escaped then countered a piledriver and made a comeback before applying a sleeper to get the win after the ref checked Orndorff’s arm three times. – Fun little match. Orndorff using Dibiase’s powerslam and going for the Figure Four was a nice touch and fit their program well. Olympia looked impressive yet again.
Ed Wiskowski vs. Brian Blair. – TV Time Limit Draw at 3:24. They did some stuff; Blair used his speed to out-maneuverer the big man. Wiskowski cut him off with a hot shot then Blair made a comeback but the TV time expired. Watts hyped JYD vs. Bob Roop for the Louisiana title next week and he noted that the last 3 title matches to take place on TV had resulted in new champions being crowned.
THIS SHOW RULED!!! It was all about the Akbar/Ladd angle and the Tag Team title match, which was booked so perfectly it was honestly astounding. Even so, there was some great booking elsewhere, with Ted Dibiase winning a squash match with his signature powerslam & Figure Four then Paul Orndorff trying the same later on in his match and Bob Roop looking strong before his title match with JYD next week. We’ve seen some great television during our look back at the Mid-South TV show, but this was by far my favourite episode to date. The whole Akbar/Ladd/Tag Title deal gave the show a real spontaneous, chaotic feel and a sense that anything could happen. Try hunt this show down if you want the full experience of the immensely fun hour of TV, or check out the Akbar/Ladd angle and the Tag Title match here, which has been conveniently edited down into one 13 minute video of awesomeness.