The SmarK Rant for Mid-South Wrestling – 12.14.85
Well, for the sake of completeness, let’s finish off the run of Mid-South on the WWE Network and then maybe go back to where we started in 1982 after that.
Taped from Shreveport, LA
Your hosts are Jim Ross & Joel Watts, with Dick Slater also joining them on commentary. And the theme of this week is the TV title tournament, with four matches highlighting the show. And Slater wants to stress that he’s not here to do anything but be a commentator, even though he hates Jake Roberts and other people tonight. JR reminds him that Mid-South has a rule that anyone who leaves the desk to get involved in a match is automatically fined $2500, in case he forgot.
TV title tournament: Jake Roberts v. Eddie Gilbert
Gilbert rolls him up for two, but Jake tries going for the arm and Gilbert hides in the ropes. Jake does it again while Slater complains that fingers are being twisted and that’s illegal. Eddie tries to hide again but Jake yanks him out by the arm and continues working on it with a hammerlock. Slater goes on a rant about how they banned the piledriver at one point and they should ban the DDT as well because it’s dangerous. JR is like “That’s your opinion, but the move is cruel but fair.” That’s kind of a backhanded defense of it. Jake holds an armbar while Slater continues accusing him of doing everything illegally, and Eddie breaks free but then misses a charge and hits the post with his shoulder. Jake goes back to the arm, so Eddie rakes the eyes and slugs him down, but he stops to strut and that’s always a bad idea. Jake is all fired up, so Eddie runs away and lives to fight another day before catching Jake with a knee on the way in. Gilbert goes up with a bodypress for two. Gilbert rakes the eyes again and gets a small package for two, and this time Slater’s excuse is that Roberts has “some kind of grease in his hair” and Eddie couldn’t get a grip. Jake fights back and tries for the DDT, but Gilbert runs him into the corner, and then puts his head down and bam, the DDT finishes at 7:21 as Jake advances. A good basic opener. 1 for 1.
TV title tournament: Mad Dog Buzz Sawyer v. Nick Patrick
Boyd Pierce throws some passive aggressive shade at Sawyer as he paces around the ring, noting “The man who is supposed to be in the red corner…” Meanwhile, Butch Reed stops by the desk in an inset promo, as Slater calls him a “coconut head” and Sawyer powerslams Patrick to advance at 0:40. 1 for 2. Buzz continues on and chokes him out with the chain, but Butch Reed goes to save and…
Yup, Mad Dog was suckering him in for an attack with the chain, but Jim Duggan quickly makes the save for his Hacksaw blood brother and brawls with Sawyer all over the arena while Slater leaves the desk and grabs Mad Dog’s chain, winding up the punch for Reed. Butch recovers and beats the hell out of Slater, however, nailing him with the SOUP BONES and tearing the clothes off him until Dark Journey finally comes out and begs for mercy. And then Reed goes after HER like a maniac, but the refs tackle him and keep him from beating a woman on national TV. OK, I retract my previous zero, this was clearly a point and then some. 2 for 2.
So with Slater gone and now fined $2500, Joel Watts rejoins the commentary desk, as Ross notes that Slater’s $50,000 payoff from Flair is getting wittled down more and more every week.
The Bruise Brothers v. Larry Clarke & Broadway Joe Malcolm
Oh my GOD can I not even get through the final episode of the show on the Network without having to sit through a squash with these goofs? Anyway, Joel Watts reveals that Eddie Gilbert is now offering a reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for stealing his painting last week. Boyd finishes Broadway Joe with a big splash at 1:40. 2 for 3.
Al Perez v. Ricky Starr
Perez works a headlock and takes him down for a leglock as he continues his freefall into midcard nothing. I mean, Perez wasn’t great, but he had a great look and it really feels like they should have been able to figure out something better to do with the poor guy. He could have pulled off something like a Razor Ramon gimmick, I think, or as the gangland heavy for some heel. Put him in a black leather trenchcoat and have him carry a mysterious briefcase around all the time, and you’re golden. Perez works the leg for a few minutes until Starr fights back, but he misses a charge and Perez finishes with the german suplex at 4:50. 2 for 4.
TV title tournament: Steve Williams v. Rob Ricksteiner
Rob takes him down and flexes on him, which feels like an ill-advised move to me. So Doc gets a pair of armdrags and does his own flexing, and Ricksteiner dropkicks him out of the ring. Back in, Ricksteiner rides him from behind and goes for the arm, but Doc rolls out of the hold and beats on him. Back elbow and he goes for a suplex, but Rob reverses to a slam for two. Doc clotheslines him for two, but then picks him up and slams him again, before missing an elbow. Rob fights back and they slug it out, with Rob getting a back elbow and a fistdrop on him. Ricksteiner goes to a chinlock and Steve backdrops out of it…and then misses a hard charge to the corner. Rob keeps fighting and slugs away on the ropes, getting some bigtime shine here, and a powerslam gets two. Doc tries another slam and Ricksteiner reverses out, but Williams clips him and finishes with the Oklahoma Stampede at 5:40 to finally put him away. This was BIG MEATY MEN SLAPPING MEAT and you could tell this Ricksteiner kid was about to be a star. 3 for 5. Perhaps he should throw some more suplexes?
TV title tournament: Hacksaw Jim Duggan v. Humongous
They fight for a shoulderblock and neither goes down, but then Duggan wins that battle. Humongous pounds him on the ropes and uses the CLUBBING FOREARMS to set up a legdrop before going to a bearhug. Duggan tries to slug out of it, but the hockey mask hurts his fist, and Humongous puts him down for another legdrop and chokes him out. Duggan fights back but Humongous won’t sell and goes back to the bearhug again. Duggan slips out, so Humongous goes back to it again and runs Duggan into the corner. Humongous with a back elbow, but he misses the legdrop this time and Duggan makes the comeback and slams him for two. The ref gets bumped on the kickout, so Duggan steals a chair from Humperdink, knocks Humongous loopy with it, and finishes with the three point stance at 5:14 to advance and end the undefeated streak. This was pretty good all things considered. 4 for 6.
So as noted by Jim Ross at the end of this episode, this was not only the end of the run on the Network here, but also the end of the show’s run at the Irish McNeil Boy’s Club in Shreveport, as beginning the next week they shifted to Tulsa for an actual arena shoot in preparation for changing to the UWF in 1986. So I guess this was as good a point as any to end on the Network if they had to end it there. And a really good episode to end on as well. Also if you want spoilers, Jake Roberts went on to win the TV title tournament before leaving for the WWF.
So I guess after this we’ll go back to where I initially left off in 1982, in the prime era of the Rat Pack, and pick it up in March again.
(Also yes I know there’s one more episode from March 86 that’s up on the Network, which was added because of Ultimate Warrior-related stuff and I already did that one a while ago. In fact, let me even repost it for you here.)
The SmarK Rant for Mid-South Wrestling – 03.03.86
I don’t even know where to start with all this new content, so let’s just start here.
Taped from Tulsa, OK
Your hosts are Bill & Joel Watts. Bill immediately announces that in two weeks, they will announce a new name for the promotion, which would eventually be the UWF name that should have made them into a contender for #2 promotion before the oil market collapsed and the territory died. For the moment they would switch to Power Pro Wrestling.
Let us take you back to a title v. title match between North American champion Jake Roberts and TV champion Dick Slater, as Slater hits Roberts with a cheapshot off the top and wins both belts.
Meanwhile, Slater retires the TV title by chucking it off a bridge into the river in a bit that WWF would steal 10 years later.
Last week, Jake Roberts faces Terry Taylor to determine the #1 contender to Slater’s title, as Jake DDTs Tayler but is too close to the ropes to pin him. He gets frustrated and misses the kneelift, allowing Taylor to hit him with a small package for the pin.
Terry Taylor v. Mike Scott
Scott is a jobber who looks like Albert but with hair. On his head. Scott attacks and Taylor goes to work on the arm, then hits the Five Arm to finish at 1:24.
Eddie Gilbert v. Koko B. Ware
Eddie offers him a position in Hot Stuff International, but Koko declines and attacks instead. I’m surprised, I’ve heard their drug plan is EXCELLENT. Wink wink. Koko slugs away and works a headlock, but Gilbert hits him behind the ref’s back and goes to work with the dirty tactics. Bill Watts is SICKENED. Atomic drop gets two. Bill clarifies his disgust with Eddie, in that he’s living off a sugar mama and not making his way like a real man. In a different time, Bill notes, he would call Eddie a PUSSY. I believe his sugar mama ended up as Missy Hyatt, by the way. Koko fights back, but Eddie takes him down with a monkey flip out of the corner, only to miss a bodypress, allowing Koko to finish with the missile dropkick at 5:10. Solid TV match. *** Eddie’s thug Taras Bulba attacks afterwards, and Man did Watts love his Wildman Foreign Heels. He would have pushed Rusev to the MOON.
Meanwhile, Jim Ross interviews the Sheepherders, and Bill Watts hates these fuckers too because they’re UNAMERICAN. Bill Watts sure loves him some America. Butch Miller cuts a ranting promo against America and cowards like Dibiase & Doc that is pretty far from the Bushwacker bullshit they would become famous for later.
Gustovo Mendoza & John O’Reilly v. Steve Williams & Ted Dibiase
Doc and Dibiase are the tag champions at this point and what a team that was. Doc overpowers O’Reilly while the Sheepherders dare to parade around the ring with their flag, so Doc destroys Mendoza with the lariat and Oklahoma Stampede at 2:30 to show that supporting other countries is NOT OKAY. Bill Watts is all “Yeah, go get those New Zealand assholes!” That being said, I bet that was a hell of a blowoff. The Sheepherders threaten an attack, but the Rat Pack yells about how awesome the USA is until they back off.
Korchenko v. Ron Ellis
Korchenko is yet another Russian, this one under the umbrella of Eddie Gilbert. I have no idea who he is and don’t care, as he finishes with a piledriver at 1:00.
The Blade Runners v. Steve Doll & Perry Jackson
Jim Hellwig is so bloated at this point that he makes Ultimate Warrior look like Billy Kidman. Like, seriously, he could he even MOVE? Oh wait, he couldn’t, that’s how. So yeah, they dominate with terrible slams and finish at 2:40 with another slam. They were SO BAD.
Ricky Gibson & Tracy Smothers v. Dick Murdoch & The Masked Superstar
Hey, we were just talking about Ricky Gibson in the last WCW rant! Gibson controls both heels with a side headlock as Watts hypes the upcoming Crockett Cup at the Superdome. Apparently VIP ringside seats are $50! That’s outrageous! Why, in my day ringside seats were a NICKEL! And you’d get change back for popcorn. No wonder he went out of business. Smothers tags in while I’m raging about those expensive prices and Superstar quickly puts him away with a clothesline at 2:00. Well that was abrupt.
More of this. All of this. Keep it coming, WWE Network.
There you go, two Mid-South rants in one!