Watts you gonna’ do? – 1981 Year in Review

Whilst I enjoy watching the matches from the time of the territories (primarily due to my time spent posting over at the DVDVR board), I’ve enjoyed one specific territory above and beyond all – Mid-South. Working somewhat in tandem with my attempt to chronicle the year 1984 in the world of the NWA, I’m also going to try and look at Mid-South through the 1980s, starting from 1982 and heading into 1987. This will cover some of the glory years for the company, as well as its transition to UWF and its slow demise. Unlike the 1984 reviews, this will be gif-less, unless I feel it entirely necessary – the gif work does add a fair bit of time to any reviews that are written – and it will probably encapsulate multiple shows at a time. The format is fluid though, and may change.

To look at Mid-South in 1982, it would make sense to look at the year that just went, and Mid-South did me the benefit of producing a ‘Year in Review’ show, charting the highs and lows for the some of the biggest names in the Mid-South territory. Specifically, it focused on three feuds; Mike George and The Junkyard Dog vs The Samoans (w/Ernie Ladd); Paul Orndorff , Terry Orndorff, Bob Roop and Bob Orton Jr. vs Ted Dibiase, Junkyard Dog and Mike George; and Dusty Rhodes vs The Great Kabuki and Gary Hart.

Tag Champions Wild Samoans vs. Mike George & Junkyard Dog (Highlights from 10/15/81 in Jackson, Mississippi)

The Ladd/JYD and George feud is largely glossed over, with a short piece of footage from October showing the JYD and George winning the titles off of the Wild Samoans, Ernie Ladd bringing down a chair on the head of Afa to gift the title to the faces.  This was the end of the Samoans’ second title reign and it will be interesting to see where they go in the new year. Ladd is their financial adviser, but whether they keep him on in lieu of his interference is yet to be seen.

(JIP) Tag Champions Junkyard Dog & Mike George vs. Paul Orndorff & ‘Terry Orndorff’

(JIP) Tag Champions Junkyard Dog & Mike George vs. Bob Roop & Paul Orndorff

The saga of the yellow mask. Following a tag team match which he was pinned in, Terry Orndorff (Paul’s legitimate little brother) was forced to wear a yellow mask to show how much of a coward he was. In a non-title match the followed, not only did ‘Orndorff’ load it up with a foriegn object, he used the distraction of Ernie Ladd at ringside to hit a piledriver and get the pin on Mike George.

With Terry Orndorff injured, Bob Roop acted as his replacement for another shot at the tag team titles. As the match progressed, a yellow masked man ran down to ringside in an attempt to piledrive JYD on the concrete floor, forcing the referee to throw the match out. The masked man was none other than Bob Orton Jr., though the heels would leave JYD laying with the yellow mask on following a beat down.

~ Interviews w/Dusty Rhodes/Gary Hart w/Great Kabuki

We are promised in the near future a Bunkhouse Match between Rhodes and Kabuki. Both men are interviewed, Rhodes looking especially impressive in face paint designed to match that of Kabuki himself.

(Highlights) North American Champion Paul Orndorff vs. Ted Dibiase (Highlights from 10/15/81 in Jackson, Mississippi)
– (JIP) North American Champion Ted Dibiase vs. Ed Wiskowski
(JIP) Ed Wiskowski vs. Jimmy Garvin
– (JIP) North American Champion Ted Dibiase vs. Paul Orndorff

To finish the show, the travails of the North American Heavyweight Championship are detailed. Paul Orndorff was enjoying his 4th reign as champion when he was saved by from losing the title to Ted Dibiase in Mississippi by Bob Roop’s interference. Eventually, he would not be so lucky in a title change that isn’t broadcast on the show, Dibiase defeating him in Louisiana.

We then see Dibiase’s resilient nature in a title defense against Ed Wiskowski, a roll-through of a crossbody off of the top rope enough for the three count, a move made all the more impressive by Dibiase’s stunned nature after hitting the turnbuckle on a figure four reversal. Wiskowski himself is highlight in the next clip, a victory over a very young looking Jimmy Garvin. Wiskowski almost made a similar mistake to the Dibiase match, allowin Garvin to roll through a slam attempt for a two count, but a high knee, snakes eyes on the top rope and gut buster were enough for the three count.

Finally, we see the end of a re-match between Orndorff and Dibiase for the North American Heavyweight Championship as Orndorff manages to do what he has apparently suggested all along, and that is reverse the figure four leglock that Dibiase has relied on so heavily throughout the year. Using his own move against him, it seems like Orndorff is only seconds away from victory, only for the TV time limit to expire. I can only assume that means we haven’t truly seen the end of Orndorff and Dibiase’s feud for the title.

So that was how the ground lay as we entered 1982. It is always interesting to see which guys promotions like to put over, and obvious names such as Paul Orndorff, Ted Dibiase and The Junkyard Dog get time in the spotlight. The decision to show some lesser names like Ed Wiskowski is interesting, and we will see how that plays itself out in the near future.



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