01.07.84 World Wide Wrestling
This version of the show has some really weird cuts, seemingly starting from the first second as we go straight into a match with no introduction or anything. Two guys in black pants make it almost look like a young lions NJPW match, and the term is used soon after to describe Angelo Mosca Jr as he takes on John Bonello. A completely nothing match really, just there to showcase the relative athleticism of Mosca Jr, although the ending looks weak and he lacks any charisma or so it feels.
What follows is the best bit of the two shows I have watched so far, as we see the feud between Greg Valentine and Dick Slater. Valentine is assaulted by Slater and Bob Orton Jr as he is having an in ring conversation with Roddy Piper. Piper tried to fight them off, but he is bumped from the ring, and Slater/Orton lay a beatdown on Valentine. Awesome stuff.
We then get a chance to see the ending of the match that follows. Back and forth action between Valentine and Slater in a No-DQ match leads to an inevitable Orton Jr interference. One back suplex later, Slater is the new US Champion. During this sequence on the tape, Slater commentates on the video footage, which is an interesting way of encapsulating promo work with highlight footage.
One thing I have noticed about Mid Atlantic is that they aren’t very fussed about the jobbers, as I had to seek out a matchlisting to find the names of them, especially for the next match which sees Wahoo McDaniel and Dory Funk Jr. team to face Schroeder and Gray (I don’t even have first names……). So as not to .gif overload, this match gets nothing as nothing really happens outside of generally snappy tag work between Daniel and Funk Jr. and Funk winning with the spinning toe hold.
An interesting video follows, as it seems that this was around the time that they are doing an angle (at least I assume it is an angle) where Ricky Steamboat has retired. We see a music video with some action, and also learn subsequently that his retirement leaves the tag titles vacant, thus necessitating a tag team title tournament.
The following match is a singles bout between Rufus Jones and Tony Russo. I’ve never seen or heard of Jones before, but he seems fun, if relatively lacking in skills. He jukes and jives like Dusty, and has a repertoire consisting mostly of elbows, punches and headbutts. Jones wins with a headbutt in a short match.
The main event involves another two jobbers who are never mentioned (Valentino/Mccord) versus the team of Ivan Koloff and Don Kernodle. Interestingly, the match is commentated on by Gary Hart, seguing straight from an interview he was having with David Crockett. Whilst this is naturally a one sided squash, I really enjoy the team of Koloff and Kernodle. They tear their opponents apart with relative ease, and I especially like the look of Kernodle, as I’ve never really seen him wrestle before. The double teaming is also good, as we see Koloff help push Kernodle’s opponent to add additional velocity to a suplex, amongst other things. The finish is also pretty cool, as Kernodle wins with a clothesline off of the top.
Throughout the show, there are promotional interviews for shows further down the road, as well as interviews with practically every wrestler of note who has fought on the show. This does mean we have three lots of Angelo Mosca Jr, who is a black hole of suck when it comes to talking on the microphone. We also see a very angry Jimmy Valiant, who is promising to take the Assassins’ masks, following them shaving his beard in recent weeks. What these interviews do show is how interconnected a lot of the issues are – McDaniels/Funk Jr./Mosca/Mosca Jr./Valentine are after Slater/Orton Jr./The Assasins/Hart/Koloff/Kernodle in various different guises. Indeed, the card that is coming up that gets more time focuses on these two matches:
Angelo Mosca Jr. vs Ivan Koloff
Wahoo McDaniel/Angelo Mosca vs Dick Slater/Bob Orton Jr.
Overall, a much better show than the AWA show. This is primarily due to the Slater/Valentine footage, but it also just feels a lot more exciting and fresh. The production values are higher, and the crowd seem more excited by what they are seeing. That, and the obvious step up in terms of characters and wrestlers.