Mid-South Wrestling 13.01.1984
As we head into Mid-South, we are shown an instant replay of the events of last week’s show. In the ring is Krusher Darsow and Nikolai Volkoff offering an open challenge up for anyone to take on big Volkoff in the name of America. Out of the back comes Terry Taylor, who is jumped by the Russians, and the bell rings for a match. A charging Volkoff is almost instantly rolled-up for the three count! A Taylor dropkick (missed in the .gif) to Darsow allows Taylor to escape on his first ever Mid-South TV appearance.
Terry Taylor’s second appearance on Mid-South TV is next, as he goes up against Doug Vines. A showcase for Taylor, he beats him within minutes with the flying forearm. This prompts the Russians arrival, but they are subsequently run off by Jim Duggan and The Junkyard Dog. Clear divisions between the top heels and faces within the company at the turn of the year.
JYD and Hacksaw are out for tag team action next against Jeff Gaylord and Larry Higgens. A short match which sees JYD and Hacksaw win following an awful looking tackle from Hacksaw sees the return of the Russians – they’ve been on screen three times in the first 12 minutes of the show. I get that they are the big heels, but still, it was overkill, especially considering Darsow will also be in a match later on in the evening.
Considering the nature of the matches so far, I was surprised by the next match as Magnum TA and Mr Wrestling II (The Mid-South tag team champions) geared up to wrestle Paul Garner and Don Ralston. Stepping into the ring before the match could even start, Jim Cornette makes his feelings about the title very clear, promising that his Midnight Express will be the next champions. Whilst this promo is taking place, Bobby Eaton and Dennis Condrey sneak attack Magnum and Mr Wrestling II, knocking Wrestling II out and covering Magnum with the good old tar and feathers. A very fun angle that I didn’t see coming, and you have to love any and all opportunities to see The Midnight Express.
Lanny Poffo and George Weingroff make it three jobbers I’ve at least known (Gaylord being the other one), but as they are up against The Midnight Express, it is no surprise who comes out on top. This was a clever match in my opinion (although slightly weird due to the tar and feathers still in the ring), as Poffo and Weingroff are a little better than your average scrubs, and they give the Express enough of a challenge to let the crowd see how capable the heel team are. The double team finish is also pretty sweet.
We have an interview with a feathered Magnum and Wrestling II following the match, which is typical revenge stuff. Magnum does sell it as the most humiliating experience of his life, which is good face mic work.
A brutish Jim Neidhart squashes an equally sizeable Tom Lentz in the next match – the only think really notable was Neidhart using a samoan drop as a finisher, which looked good especially in comparison to some of the weaker finishing moves you see during this time. What I would then consider the main event of the evening occurs next (though not the final match), as we see Krusher Darsow face off against ‘Dr Death’ Steve Williams. I was surprised to see such a ‘big’ match on TV, but seeing Williams in the ring, I can only imagine he was still relatively green at the time and whilst seen as a challenge, not particularly considered as high up the card. As could be expected, Williams manhandled Darsow for long periods, but a Volkoff distraction allowed Darsow to clock Williams over the back of the head, leaving him prey to the 1-2-3. Still too much Russians!
I hadn’t expected a match to follow Darsow vs Williams (which had been heavily pimped throughout the show), but we do get to see Butch Reed close out the evening against some scrub jobber called Rick Rood. Never heard of him before. Whilst this is an athletic display for Reed, Rood is at least competitive and is put over well on commentary which suggests an interest in pushing him higher up the card as the year progresses. Beautiful gorilla press slam from Reed is enough for the three count.
I enjoyed Mid-South, but as territories go, it is the one I am most at home with and have probably seen the most. The make up of the wrestlers that end up going through this territory just works for me (Dibiase, Murdoch, Williams, Gordy et al). This show was good, but very Russian heavy. One thing I’ve found interesting is how succinctly big feuds are promoted on TV, as well as the wrestlers themselves. You rarely see a promo without a match, and if two guys are feuding, you rarely see one fight and not the other. They’ve got it down to a fine art it feels.