Mid-South Wrestling (TV #155)
August 28th 1982
Irish McNeil Boys Club: Shreveport, LA.
General Skandor Akbar was our guest colour commentator this week and he joined Boyd Pierce at the desk to open the show. Boyd hyped Dick Murdoch challenging his former protégée, Ted DiBiase, for the North American Heavyweight title. Akbar said he would conduct himself as a gentleman and would not interfere in any matches while he was commentating. They showed “Iron” Mike Sharpe beating Killer Khan for the Louisiana title last week then Boyd chastised Akbar for interfering in the match and told Akbar he had lost his mind by challenging Buck Robley. Boyd threw to the clip of Akbar challenging Robley last week, where Akbar’s Army hit the ring and triple-teamed Robley. Back at the desk and Akbar said he was merely standing on the apron, which he noted was completely legal, and claimed Sharpe brought him into the ring and tried to “molest” him. Akbar added that he was not finished with Robley and stated that the General would get him one way or another.
Non-Title: “Iron” Mike Sharpe (Louisiana Heavyweight Champion) vs. Mike Bond. – Sharpe over in 1:45. Akbar said that Bond didn’t pose much of a threat to Sharpe and noted that Killer Khan should be facing Sharpe in a rematch for the Louisiana title. Sharpe won a basic squash with a Piledriver. It was short, but that was to Sharpe’s benefit as his weaknesses were hidden and he also looked very strong one week after becoming a champion.
Killer Khan vs. Cocoa Samoa. – Khan over in 2:20. Akbar said he was going to stay at the desk to prove he didn’t need to interfere to help his guys win. Khan was so awesome in the match and he beat the hell out of Cocoa, who resorted to raking Khan’s eyes because he was getting beaten up so much. Khan returned the favour and raked Cocoa’s eyes then Mongolian stomped the crap out of Cocoa. Cocoa raked Khan’s eyes twice more, however Khan wasn’t in the mood to give Cocoa anything and he completely no-sold the eye rakes. Khan gave Cocoa a Hot Shot and a big double chop to the throat then finished him off with his Killer Knee Drop off the second rope, which Akbar pointed out was a completely legal move. – Nobody does a squash match quite like Killer Khan; he was so, so great at killing men in short matches. He barely sold or took any bumps until it came time for him to do so and as a result he came off like a total monster, plus it made the guys that Khan would sell and bump for look like world-beaters for taking it to the unstoppable “Mongolian” killer.
“Hacksaw” Duggan vs. Frank Monte. – Duggan over in 4:09. Akbar corrected Boyd and spelled out Duggan’s name so he could pronounce it properly. Apparently Bill Watts wasn’t listening since he continued to call Duggan, “Doogan” for the next three years. Akbar played the heel’s union card and put Duggan over big time; Boyd called Duggan’s wrestling style, “Wacky and Silly.” Match was an extended squash for Duggan, who hit a bunch of moves including a Neckbreaker, a Suplex and his Flying NFL Headbutt then got the win with his “wacky” Avalanche Backbreaker. – Typical Duggan match: Wacky and silly.
North American Heavyweight Championship: Ted DiBiase (C) vs. Dick Murdoch. – DiBiase retained in 9:10. So the story is that Murdoch took DiBiase under his wing when his father died and became like a big brother who taught him everything he knew about pro wrestling. When DiBiase turned heel on JYD to win the North American title, Murdoch was away in Japan and sent a video back to Mid-South saying how disappointed he was to learn about his protégé’s actions. Match was awesome; the work was hardly smooth, but for the story they told it didn’t need to be. Murdoch hit the ring and immediately started brawling with DiBiase, who quickly rolled outside and complained to the referee about the closed fists. It felt like an actual fight, as both men constantly traded punches in between the odd wrestling hold like a snapmare. Duggan showed up at ringside and distracted Duggan which allowed DiBiase to get the heat and he worked over the back of Murdoch. They traded shots on their knees and Murdoch got the advantage, but DiBiase cut him off and got a couple of near-falls with a Bodyslam and a Backbreaker. Murdoch picked the ankle and worked over DiBiase’s leg then went for the Figure Four. DiBiase kicked free, but Murdoch sent him through the ropes with a right hand. Murdoch prevented Duggan from getting in the ring and DiBiase jumped him from behind then went for an Atomic Drop. Murdoch countered with an O’Connor roll and DiBiased kicked out, which sent Murdoch into Duggan, who had got back on the apron. Finish was wacky, but executed very well: Murdoch hit a crossbody and the referee took a bump to the outside. Murdoch hoisted DiBiase up for the Brainbuster, however Duggan came in and landed his Flying Headbutt. DiBiase fell on top of Murdoch and the referee got back inside to count the pin. – Watts sure loved him some ref bumps and it clearly became a crutch to get out of doing clean finishes on TV. Still, like any time-worn trope, the ref bump at one time was a revolutionary idea and it became overdone because it was effective and easy to get heat with. We’ve mentioned the booking chain of Bill Watts, who learned from Eddie Graham, who learned from Dory Funk Sr, before. I’ve not seen enough Amarillo footage to determine whether ref bumps were commonplace, however I certainly have seen my fair share of ref bumps in Florida. So even here in 1982, hardcore fans with access to different territorial footage would have been exposed to the finish and aware it was a booking device to get out of clean finishes. However, I’m sure most of the Mid-South audience like old Cooter and Mary Ellen sat on their coach in Texarkana, AR weren’t trading tapes and probably weren’t subscribers to the burgeoning Wrestling Observer. My point is that while the ref bumps are becoming excessive for the more discerning viewer, I doubt the majority of people watching Mid-South in 1982 were offended by the occasional ref bump finish.
Mr Wrestling II vs. Billy Starr. – Wrestling II over in 2:36. Two hit his Knee Lift early but Starr rolled outside. Two controlled with holds for a while then Starr cut him off briefly to get a little heat. Two came back to hit a Suplex and his Knee Lift to get the pin in a basic enhancement match.
Buck Robley vs. Tug Taylor. – Robley over in 2:21. Boyd announced that JYD & Mr Olympia would defend the Mid-South Tag Team titles against Ted DiBiase & Hacksaw Duggan next week with Mr Wrestlling II as the special guest referee. Akbar said he was declaring war on Robley and constantly accused him of cheating. Robley won with the Sleeper, which Akbar claimed was a choke.
One Man Gang vs. Vinnie Romeo. – Gang over in .1:39 Akbar again noted he would stay at the desk to prove he was a gentleman and that his guys didn’t need help to win. Gang destroyed Romeo and won with a Bodyslam and a big elbow drop.
Boyd & Akbar were at the desk to wrap up the show. Boyd hyped the JYD/Olympia vs. DiBiase/Duggan Tag Title match for next week and Akbar reiterated that he was declaring war on Mike Sharpe & Buck Robely.
This was a really solid and easy show to watch. It’s always fun to have a guest commentator, as it gives the guys chance to get themselves over with their personality and character, and Akbar was able to do a lot with his evil foreigner general gimmick. The matches on the show were mostly the usual enhancements and squashes, except for Killer Khan, who is always great. In three years time, Murdoch & DiBiase would be involved in one of my favourite angles, not just in Mid-South but in all of pro-wrestling history, in November 1985 when the show TV show was built around DiBiase challenging Ric Flair for the NWA World title. Murdoch told DiBiase he should step aside and let his mentor have the shot at Flair, but when DiBiase refused Murdoch bloodied him up and the match with Flair seemed in jeopardy. Later in the show DiBiase came back out to face Flair and during the match Murdoch ran in and gave the bloody DiBiase a Brainbuster on the floor and Flair won via count-out. Not only did the angle produce amazingly gripping television, but they also pulled off an unlikely double turn with the top heel DiBiase turning face and the beloved legend, Murdoch, going heel. Seeing them wrestling three years before that famous angle here was a great prelude of things to come and helped contextualise one of the most famous episodes of Mid-South Wrestling ever.