This week, we have SEVEN shows to go through. Double shots of Mid-South, WWF, WCW and a single episode of Memphis means that I am going to be non-stop for the next week or so catching up on the best that 1986 Wrestling television had to offer. With that being said, let’s head straight to Mid-South for their two offerings this week.
Mid-South Wrestling TV 15.03.1986
We see footage of Koko Ware taking on Eddie Gilbert from the week previous, before Bill Watts makes it very clear that Dick Slater has to replace the TV Medallion out of his own pocket next week or will be stripped of both of his titles.
Gustavo Mendoza and Sean O’Reilly are having a bit of an extended run as a jobber tag team, this week going up against the team of Brett Wayne Sawyer and David Peterson. Sawyer and Mendoza criss cross to start off, before Sawyer just goes to work with dropkicks on both Mendoza and O’Reilly. Peterson shows he isn’t a pushover by…pushing…over…Mendoza. O’Reilly fares little better initially, but a couple of forearms do seem to have Sawyer on the ropes. It doesn’t last long though, as Sawyer lands another dropkick after a leapfrog, tags in Peterson and all four men are in the ring. A Thesz Press gives Peterson the pinfall over O’Reilly.
Before a match between Terry Taylor and Rob Ricksteiner, Buzz Sawyer gets on the microphone to tell everyone that he is taking Ricksteiner under his wing. We get the normal trading of holds, with Ricksteiner often leaning over to get a word or two of advice from Sawyer. They also trade punches, before Ricksteiner shows off his impressive strength with a press slam. This ties nicely into the finish, as following a bout of Ricksteiner offense, Taylor slips out of a second attempted press and lands the Fivearm for the victory. The association with Sawyer clearly not paying initial dividends for Ricksteiner.
Jim Duggan went up against Rick Davison in the next match of the evening, and nothing of note really took place. Duggan blasted through him with ease, nailing the football tackle for the victory in around the minute mark. However, this is just a precursor to more serious events. I’ll be honest, when I saw Sawyer get into the ring, challenge Duggan to a match on the spot and get beaten in a few minutes, I was livid – even moreso due to the fact that all the action happened in the break. Why kill Sawyer in that way? With Duggan looking to head back to the locker room, Sawyer threw out a second challenge, this time for a dog collar match. Duggan’s pride got in his way, leading to him accepting the match. Little did he know that as he was getting the collar tied around him, Sawyer tied it around the top rope. This left Duggan to get whiplashed backwards as he moved across the ring with Sawyer, leaving him vulnerable to a beating that only stopped upon the arrival of Steve Williams and Ted Dibiase.
After his memorable actions of the week before, we get to see Dick Slater inside the ring this time against Tracy Smothers. Smothers is being sold as one for the future by the commentary team, and he shows this by controlling Slater early on the mat. A couple of times, the ref has to stop Slater from throwing a punch, yet the last time he needs to do this sees Slater hit a knee and a headbutt instead. A throw to the outside allows Slater to get a two count off of a suplex back inside, with another two following a neckbreaker. Smothers uses a backslide and a small package as quick hope spots, only for his sunset flip to be blocked with the good old fashioned punch to the face. Smothers mounts one last offensive push, avoiding a falling headbutt and a building up a head of steam, but he lands hard on a missed second turnbuckle crossbody, allowing Slater to pick up the win with the Samoan drop.
In a piece of a booking that is clearly beginning to show Korchenko moving up the ladder, he takes on Ricky Gibson and absolutely destroys him. Some obligatory Gibson dropkicks do happen, but Korchenko eventually wins with his over the shoulder backbreaker. The most interesting thing about this match is Watts on commentary, who talks about Russia, raping and pillaging for the couple of minutes in which we have Korchenko’s acquaintance.
The match that sits in the main event slot for this week is the team of Perry Jackson and Steve Doll against the Sheepherders. This is apparently the seventh week in a row in which the Sheepherders have been on TV and they are on a winning streak, so much so that they will get a tag team title shot on the inauguration show following Mid-South’s name change, according to Bill Watts. Doll and Jackson are game, but both men are beaten down with relative ease by the New Zealand tag team. Following a Butch slam, Jackson does offer some token resistance, but Miller shrugs it off. A double sledge and a double gut buster is enough for the winning streak to continue. All you pro-US fans, never fear for long, as the tag team champions come down to wave the USA flag! This time, the staredown turns into a brawl that starts off fairly even, only for it to be won fairly handily in the end following three Williams’ tackles taking out the Sheepherders.
Power Pro Wrestling 15.03.1986
Jim Ross introduces us to our second slice of Mid-South action this week, and the big shill is still on for the Jim Crockett Memorial Cup, thus necessitating an appearance from the Road Warriors on this week’s show. Also, we are promised footage from a paint match between Steve Keirn and Chavo Guerrero.
The only problem with two shows from Mid-South is the possibility of seeing Korchenko twice. It is softened somewhat by the stylings of Eddie Gilbert, but Korchenko just has nothing going for him. Even an aging Ivan Koloff in NWA is more watchable at this lesser point in his career. Perry Jackson doesn’t stand much of a chance, and his battering allows Gilbert to wax lyrical about the undefeated streak of his charge, calling out some of the big names in the MId-South region. The arm trap backbreaker is enough for a Korchenko win, and the undefeated streak continues, as does my streak of not giving a shit.
We actually get some NWA footage at this point in the show, as The Road Warriors head out to the familiar strains of ‘Iron Man’. They rush the ring and drop both men with clotheslines, before Animal press slams Hawk onto Ron Rossi (the only man mentioned) for the victory in about eight seconds.
Rob Ricksteiner is getting some opportunities to showcase himself a little bit above the regular Mid-South jobber squad, as we see him in the ring on this show against Koko B. Ware. Ricksteiner is hugely muscular, completely ripped at this point in time and he refuses to shake Ware’s hand before the bell. Ware shows he is able to use leverage to his advantage in the first lock-up by throwing Ricksteiner with a hiptoss, a second hiptoss following after a criss-cross segment. A third hiptoss lands after an irish whip into the corner, and Ricksteiner continues to complain about his tights being pulled. Considering the size disparity, Ware manages to power Ricksteiner to the mat in the top wrist lock in an odd spot, before Ricksteiner has to head to ringside after an armdrag and a hiptoss has him down once again. A cheap shot of a punch to the face off of a tie up in the ropes is the first offense Ricksteiner gets, but this allows him to slam Ware twice, mocking ‘The Bird’ after the second one. This just annoys Koko, who drops Ricksteiner with a punch combo. He fakes a crossbody attempt, leaving Ricksteiner to get up into a second rope dropkick. Oddly organised in nature, as I felt Ricksteiner might have had a little bit more offense.
Jim Ross tries to sell us on the idea that the Bladerunners might be the ‘tag team of the 80s’, which is about as big a stretch as you can get. Flash and Rock look huge, especially when you compare this era Sting to how he would look as he rose to prominence in the NWA. I mean, he was muscular, but nothing on what he looked like in 1986. They are up against the team of Brett Wayne Sawyer and Sean O’Reilly, and it is Sawyer who starts off with Flash. Sawyer actually manages to get a side headlock, but is dumped on the mat with two successive shoulderblock attempts. A third time hitting the ropes sees Sawyer slide through the legs and nail a dropkick! When Rock comes in the ring following a tag, there is a reference on commentary to steroids, which feels very surprising watching this from 2016. After getting pressed and slammed, Sawyer also manages to hit a dropkick on Rock. The tag to O’Reilly is where things begin to go downhill for the face team, as Rock hits a legdrop and a bearhug. Quick tags allow them to beat up O’Reilly with relative ease. They do manage to screw up their finish, as the ref sends Flash to the outside when they were setting up for a double team bearhug/clothesline – they repeat the spot and that is enough for the victory. Jim Ross says they are ‘not polished’. You can say that again.
The main event footage we have for this episode is a ‘Loser Gets Painted Yellow’ match between Chavo Guerrero and Steve Keirn. This feels as if a large chunk gets missed in the middle, as we head from the early stages, where Chavo easily bests Keirn in several altercations, often seeing Keirn head to the floor, to suplexes by Chavo after an advert break and an Irish whip into the corner, followed by a German suplex, for the victory. Keirn gets very little offense, if any. In this instance though, it is more about the angle than the match, with Keirn loading his fist and knocking Chavo down before Chavo can exact the stipulation of the match. The ref meets with a similar fate, though Chavo does manage to fight back and land a piledriver. Stan Lane, Keirn’s partner, hits the ring and the numbers game eventually pays off, leaving Chavo to get hit with a piledriver of his own. The paint that was meant for Keirn gets dumped all over Chavo.
The final footage of the show is a recap of a Midnight/Rock and Roll Express angle to help further publicise the Jim Crockett Sr Memorial Cup. In it, the Midnights are celebrating winning the Mid-South Tag Team Titles, yet leave Cornette undefended near a cake whilst they spend time showing off to the fans. Unsurprisingly, the cake ends up in Cornette’s face as the Rock and Roll Express rush him and force him into it face first! Classic Cornette angle.