Mid-South Wrestling (TV #168)
November 27th 1982
Irish McNeil Boys Club: Shreveport, LA.
Boyd Pierce & Bill Watts opened the show from the desk. Boyd was wearing a brown sports coat with matching tie, which was pretty tame by his standards, and he ran down the card for today’s card, including Ted DiBiase vs. Tiger Conway Jr, the return of Bob Roop and the “Japanese all-star team.” Watts talked about reading a Sports Illustrated article the other day about University of Nebraska Centre Dave Rimington, whom he put over for being able to bench 485lbs. Watts noted that Tony Atlas performed three reps at 500lbs then followed up with a straight 550lbs, before hilariously adding that the Junkyard Dog could bench 560lbs. They aired footage from two weeks ago of Tony Atlas performing the bench presses, while JYD spotted him and the bogus Stagger Lee watched on. The entire five-plus minute segment aired, including the promo from JYD about how Stagger Lee used to beat him up on the school bus and take his milk money. Afterwards, Boyd & Watts were at the desk and Boyd politely asked Watts to excuse himself so Ted DiBiase could come in to do commentary on his own match from Houston. Watts put over Tony Atlas again before he left and said he was proud that such fine athletes like that were right here in Mid-South Wrestling.
After the break, Ted DiBiase was with Boyd at the desk. DiBiase said he had held the North American Heavyweight title longer and more times than anyone, which is almost true as he was only second to Bill Watts, who had held the title nine times by this point. He claimed to have raised the profile of the North American title and talked about defending the belt all over the North American continent, including a recent match against a good friend of the Junkyard Dog, Tiger Conway Jr. Boyd brought up that DiBiase had been named the most hated wrestler by a “recent publication from New York” (PWI) and told him that if his goal was to make the people dislike him then he had succeeded. DiBiase was great, as he acted appalled at the idea of being the most hated man in professional wresting.
North American Heavyweight Championship: Ted DiBiase (C) vs. Tiger Conway Jr. – DiBiase over in 10:21. This was from the October 1st 1982 show at the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston, TX. Match started with Conway chasing DiBiase all over; he eventually caught him and put a beating on the cowardly heel. On commentary, DiBiase said he wasn’t ready and that Conway attempted to jump him while he was trying to listen to the referee’s instructions. Conway continued to shine and sent DiBiase outside with a Dropkick. Like a good babyface, Conway had a counter for everything DiBiase tried, however Teddy finally took control after raking the eyes. DiBiase started the heat around the five-minute mark and used a Backbreaker, Fist drops and Chinlocks. They teased the babyface come back a couple of times then DiBiase missed an Elbow Drop off the second rope and Conway ran wild on the heel champion. Finish saw DiBiase block a Diving Headbutt off the top rope then he loaded up his Black Glove and nailed Conway with it to get the pin. On Commentary, Ted said that many people had accused him of putting something in his glove, however he clarified he was simply getting his breath back. He also put himself over for going in to Houston and beating the hometown boy on his own turf. – Since this was a complete match from an arena show at the Sam Houston Coliseum, it felt very different from the usual Mid-South TV matches we see every week. It was paced much slower and wasn’t rushed in any way due to time cues like some of the TV matches offered up on Mid-South TV. DiBiase gave the hometown babyface a ton of shine and had to use illegal tactics to get the advantage and to ultimately win the match. Great old-school pro-wrestling.
Bill Watts was back on colour duty after the break and talked about the reemergence of Skandor Akbar in the Mid-South area; he threw to a pre-tape with Reeser Bowden interviewing Akbar. Reeser mentioned Akbar’s previous run with Killer Khan & One Man Gang then asked why he had returned and who he had brought with him. Akbar said he had leased the services of Kamala for “an astronomical amount of money” and complained that Kamala was left off the Superdome show on Thanksgiving night. He stated that Kamala would never be overlooked for a big show again and went on a tirade about everybody knowing the real identity of Stagger Lee. Akbar claimed that Kamala was the only man to ever beat the Junkyard Dog with no outside interference which proved he was unbeatable. He finished by declaring that all roads led to the Ugandan Warrior Kamala & General Skador Akbar and told everyone it would be no picnic when they got there. – It’s cool to see Akbar back, as it’s always useful to have a heel manager bent on destroying the top babyfaces. Kamala had very little direction prior to Akbar returning and needed a mouthpiece badly at this stage. An interesting note about this promo was Akbar acknowledging the Superdome show which happened on Thanksgiving night (November 25th 1982). As we noted last week, the TV taping schedule meant that the subsequent two weeks of shows following the Superdome were actually taped on November 24th, so they couldn’t shoot any follow up angles until the next set of tapings on December 8th. This wasn’t WCW at Centre Stage in the mid-nineties with guys winning and losing championships before any of it aired on television. Presumably, they just had Akbar cut the promo with the knowledge that Kamala really wasn’t going to be on the Superdome card and since it didn’t expose the non-linear time-line they were able to air it a week later.
Kamala w/Skandor Akbar & Friday vs. El Silencio. – Kamala over in 0:43. Kamala utterly destroyed Silencio and got the pin after two big Splashes. Afterwards, he unmasked Silencio (who was Tom Renesto Jr, although nobody pointed that out) and Watts said it was almost like Kamala had “scalped” his opponent. Akbar went over to the announce desk to declare that Kamala had taken himself a trophy and said they would keep collecting masks just like the “Indians used to collect scalps in this area.” Akbar brought up Stagger Lee, Mr Olympia & Mr Wrestling II and stated they would take all of their masks before they were done. – I’ve noted many times during our run of covering these shows that I am a sucker for the old-school masked wrestlers, so this angle is right up my alley. We’ve got a monster heel symbolically “scalping” people by taking their masks and it just so happens three of the top babyfaces in the territory all wear hoods too. It’s such a simple concept, but the importance of the masks had been driven home to the audience for a long time with the likes of The Grappler, The Assassin & Mr Wrestling II, therefore Akbar sending his hired gun after the top masked stars in the promotion came off like a big deal.
Mr Olympia & Mike Sharpe vs. Rick & John Davidson. – Olympia & Sharpe over in 3:38. Watts continued to talk about Akbar & Kamala and speculated whether Ted DiBiase had anything to do with the plan to go after the masks, since DiBiase & Matt Borne had that 90 day deadline to unmask Stagger Lee and prove it was the Junkyard Dog. Watts also noted that Olympia & Sharpe would face the Tag Team champs DiBiase & Borne next week. Olympia & Sharpe had no problem at all with the Davidsons and virtually controlled the whole match. Olympia got the pin with a Crossbody off the second rope. – Nice showing for Olympia & Sharpe heading into their non-title match with DiBiase & Borne next week.
Mr Wrestling II vs. Marty Lunde. – Wrestling II over in 2:29. Two did some nice Armdrags that Lunde took great bumps for early. Two got the better of the mat-work then caught Lunde with a snap Knee Lift in the corner. After a couple of Bodyslams and a Backdrop, Two smashed Lunde with a couple more Knee Lifts to get the win. – We’ve seen the future Arn Anderson many times in this enhancement role, but it was never more apparent that he was destined for stardom than this little match right here. Lunde made the 49 year-old Two look like a world-beater and was clearly good enough to be deserving of a better role than that of a TV jobber.
Bob Roop vs. Mike Bond. – Roop over in 3:03. This was Roop’s first match on Mid-South TV in four months; Watts said he had been enjoying his time off and put over the fact that pro-wrestlers were independent contractors who could dictate their own work schedule. Watts again hyped up the Akbar/Kamala mask storyline and once more implicated Ted DiBiase in the plot to unmask all the babyfaces. I’m just going to leave this comment here and you can infer whatever you want from it: Watts said that the promoter from Hope, Arkansas, John May, was in attendance and that he had promised the Junkyard Dog “one of the biggest watermelons ever” when he returned from his 90 suspension. Roop gave Bond a couple of shine spots, but he was too much for the youngster and debuted a Brainbuster as his new finish. – Roop almost feels somewhat out of place in the current Mid-South landscape. He was once a top heel, but his former rival Ted DiBiase leapfrogged him months ago and with the young Rat Pack running wild, plus the monster heel Kamala on the loose “scalping” guys, Roop’s no-nonsense 1970’s bad-guy act came across as outdated by comparison.
Hiro Matsuda & Yoshiaki Yatsu vs. King Cobra & Tim Horner. – TV Time Limit Draw at 2:33. The last time we saw Matsuda & Yatsu it was on the famous October 30th episode with the Gorilla suit angle during the DiBiase & Borne vs. JYD & Mr Olympia Tag Team title match. Matsuda & Yatsu made frequent tags and worked over Cobra; Yatsu landed a nice Gutwrench Suplex. Horner made a brief comeback on Matsuda but Yatsu shut him down and delivered a Bodyslam. Cobra ran wild for a little while but the bell rang as the TV time ran out. Boyd Pierce & Bill Watts thanked us for watching and signed off for another week.– Why Matsuda & Yatsu didn’t just smash the lower-card babyfaces like the last time they were in the territory is questionable. Perhaps the idea was that Horner, who faced the Japanese team last time out, had upped his game and found a stronger partner. Either way, this was a disappointing use of Matsuda & Yatsu.
Not to belabour the point, but the TV taping schedule didn’t fall kindly for Watts & Co. following the Superdome event on November 25th. This was a solid episode, however the lack of information given regarding the results of the Thanksgiving Superdome show was almost incomprehensible from a modern perspective. Stagger Lee beat Ted DiBiase for the North American Heavyweight title a mere three days before this episode aired and there was not a single word mentioned about it on television. It just goes to show how different the pro-wrestling landscape was in 1982 without the instant “breaking news” provided by contemporary social media and news sites. The surprisingly decent DiBiase/Conway Jr match from Houston, Skandor Akbar’s promo and the beginning of Kamala’s quest to unmask the top babyfaces were the only real highlights this week.