Mid-South Wrestling (TV #162)
October 16th 1982
Irish McNeil Boys Club: Shreveport, LA.
Boyd Pierce & Bill Watts opened the show from the desk; Boyd was wearing a plain navy blue suit which was positively tame compared to the usual monstrosities he wore. He hyped Mr Olympia vs. Ted DiBiase in a Champion vs. Champion match, plus a battle of the masked men(!) with Mr Wrestling II vs. The Grappler. Boyd also put over a Louisiana title match with Mike Sharpe defending against “Hacksaw” Duggan and footage over Chavo Guerrero in action from Tokyo. Watts did a hard sell for the Superdome show on Thanksgiving night and listed all the stars who would be coming to the Mid-South area very soon: Mil Mascaras, Gino Hernandez & Tony Atlas were the names he dropped. Watts threw to a video of Chavo Guerrero challenging for the “World’s Junior Heavyweight Championship” against “Kenji Kimura.” He didn’t give a date for the match and said that the commentary would remain, “in the Japanese,” however he noted that Paul Boesch from Houston added a few comments here and there.
What we actually got were clips of Chavo Guerrero challenging Kengo Kimura for the NWA International Junior Heavyweight Championship from New Japan Pro Wrestling on November 3rd 1980 – nearly two years earlier. Kimura naturally looked great in the highlights and hit a beautiful Back Suplex and a pair of lovely Piledrivers. Finish saw Kimura go for a Plancha, but Chavo moved and Kimura took a brutal bump on the floor. Chavo got back in the ring and won the title via count-out; Paul Boesch noted that winning a title meant the same if it happened in Tokyo or Texas. Back with Watts & Boyd; Watts put Chavo over by saying even though he was a Junior he wrestled like a Heavyweight then hilariously compared him to Danny Hodge. Watts also explained that titles could change hands via count-out in Japan. – It’s always fun to see tapes from Japan, even if they are nearly two years out of date. Watts must have just called Paul Boesch and asked him to send him some footage of Chavo in action, as the tape clearly aired on Houston Wrestling first. At this point in 1982, Chavo was actually working for All Japan as part of the Giant Series tour and wouldn’t show up in Mid-South for another month on Thanksgiving night at the Superdome.
Buck Robely & Tim Horner vs. Ted Allen & Marty Lunde. – Robley & Horner over in 3:36. As we’ve noted before, Marty Lunde is in fact a young Arn Anderson working under his real name as a young enhancement guy. Watts talked about the University of Oklahoma beating the Texas Longhorns and congratulated coach Barry Switzer, who would go on to coach the Dallas Cowboys and took them to the Superbowl championship in 1995. Watts noted that “Dr Death” Steve Williams was a key part in the victory and ran most of the yardage for OU. Match was a basic squash for the babyfaces. Everyone in the match looked better than Robley though, especially Allen & Lunde. Robley pinned Allen with his loaded Forearm pad Elbow Drop.
Kamala w/Friday vs. Jesse Barr. – Kamala over in 1:19. Watts speculated that Kamala would one day want a shot at the JYD, because everyone that comes to Mid-South at some point wanted a piece of the Dog. Kamala tossed Barr all over the place and killed him quickly with a couple of splashes to the back. Watts called Kamala’s belly slapping a “macabre, comical type of situation,” but he added that his opponents certainly didn’t find anything funny about it. – I said last week that Barr should have been the first opponent for the Mongolian Stomper instead of Mike Bond, and Barr vindicated that statement by taking a tremendous ass-kicking here.
Non-Title, Champion vs. Champion: Ted DiBiase (North American Heavyweight Champion) vs. Mr Olympia (Mississippi Heavyweight & Mid-South Tag Team Champion.) – DiBiase over in 5:23. Olympia started off hot with a Dropkick then after an awesome criss-cross, he got a near-fall with a Flying Crossbody. Story of the match was Olympia being one step ahead of DiBiase, who tried to use Olympia’s own holds against him, including the Sleeper and a Crossbody off the second rope, but Olympia countered every time. DiBiase went for his Figure Four, but Olympia countered that too and got a near-fall with DiBiase’s own Powerslam. When DiBiase kicked out, Olympia landed on top of the referee Alfred Neeley, which gave DiBiase just enough time to load up his black glove of doom and he KO’d Olympia with a right hand. DiBiase put Olympia in his own Sleeper hold to win the match and Watts made sure to pint out that DiBiase loaded up his glove. – This was as basic as a match between two big stars gets, but it was absolutely great. The story was easy enough for everybody to follow and the finish gave a real sense that DiBiase & Duggan could cheat their way to the Tag Titles in two weeks when they face JYD & Olympia.
Mr Wrestling II vs. The Grappler. – Wrestling II over in 5:05. Two controlled early and sent Grappler over the top onto the apron with an Atomic Drop. Grappler cut Two off with a right hand and worked him over for the heat. Grappler went after Two’s mask and Two fired up with some big forearm smashes. Two set up for his running Knee Lift, but Grappler moved and Two smashed his knee into the turnbuckle. Watts went crazy and said it was the first mistake we’d seen Mr Wrestling II make on television! Grappler didn’t go after the leg for some reason – probably because Two was going over – and hit Two with some Knee Lifts to the arm. Grappler worked on the arm, but Two countered his Shoulder Breaker and running Fujiwara Armbar – which Watts finally gave a name for after all these months, “the Grappler Twist.” Grappler avoided a Knee Lift, but Two caught him with a Back Suplex then drilled him with the big Knee Lift to get the win. Afterwards, Grappler went after Two, but Two sent him packing like a chump and stood tall. – Match was okay, but the way they teased and built towards Two finally hitting the Knee Lift was great. Wrestling II was booked in such a superior manner to the Grapplers over the course of their feud that the poor old Graps had to leave the territory and head south to San Antonio. Don’t worry though, the Graps would land on their orthopaedic boot wearing feet, as they would appear on the first ever episode of Southwest Championship Wrestling on the USA Network on December 5th 1982.
Louisiana Heavyweight Championship: “Iron” Mike Sharpe (C) vs. “Hacksaw” Duggan. – Duggan became the new champion at 4:57. Match was pretty much what you would expect from these two: clunky and awkward. They botched up a Canadian Backbreaker at one point and the only reason they didn’t both collapse in a heap is because they were too close to the ropes. Finish saw Sharpe go for a Piledriver, but Duggan countered then Sharpe missed a shoulder tackle in the corner and Duggan pinned him with his NFL Flying Headbutt. – This wasn’t great, but I’ll take Duggan in 1982 as the third singles champion over Sharpe any day. Surprisingly, there was a group of four young women in the crowd who were very upset that Sharpe lost the title. I never pictured Sharpe as being over with the girls, but clearly he did all right for himself.
Vladic Smirnoff w/Skandor Akbar vs. Vinnie Romeo. – Smirnoff over in 2:38. Resser Bowden introduced Smirnoff as Akbar’s, “new protégée.” Watts was clearly not too high on the guy because we didn’t get any hype like with Kamala or the Mongolian Stomper. Also, unlike Kamala or Stomper, Smirnoff actually sold a little for his jobber and even took a bump, which didn’t help establish him as a new monster to fear. Smirnoff won with a backbreaker; it was no good. – Smirnoff wouldn’t last long in Mid-South, as Skandor Akbar would soon be heading to Dallas for his famous run in World Class, so there wasn’t much use for a phony Russian with no heel manager. Smirnoff would go on to become Kortsia Korchenko in Memphis, Georgia & the Central States and most famously of all was part of the huge angle in 1986 in the UWF when the Russians buried Bill Watts under the Soviet flag.
The Grappler #2 vs. Bob Stabler. – Grappler #2 over in 1:16. Watts hyped Hiro Matsuda & Yoshiaki Yatsu in tag team action in two weeks. Watts also noted that the Duggan & DiBiase vs. JYD & Mr Olympia Tag Title match was in two weeks and the loser of the fall would have to leave Mid-South. Grappler #2 won with a flying clothesline off the second rope.
Back at the desk with Boyd & Watts to wrap up the show. They talked about the big Tag Title match in two weeks and said someone was leaving town. Boyd hyped JYD in action next week and Watts noted that Bob Roop would be back as the guest commentator. Boyd said that Roop had great insight as a colour commentator, but stated that they received “cards and letters” every week from people who loved Watts and thought he was the best commentator in the world. Maybe Boyd was angling for a bonus this week to go buy some more hideous suits.
This was a huge show in terms of setting things up for the future and it is clear that there was a conscious decision to ramp up the booking with the big Superdome card only a month away. The clip of Chavo beating Kimura was cool and helped get him over as a big deal for his debut at the Superdome. DiBiase & Mr Olympia had a great TV match that built to the Tag Title match in two weeks perfectly and things would continue on to the Superdome. Duggan winning the Louisiana title was noteworthy and positioned him as one of the top heels as they headed towards Thanksgiving night. The show was also notable for other reasons, as it was the beginning of the end for some of the top acts in the territory. The Grapplers & Skandor Akbar would not be around too much longer and the same goes for Kamala, who would famously follow Akbar to World Class in early 1983. Not only was this a very strong episode of Mid-South TV in terms of product quality, but it also could be seen as historically important due to the shift in the direction of the promotion that began with this show.