The SmarK Rant for Mid-South Wrestling – 01.08.83
Whoops, I had skipped ahead to the first episode of 1983 a couple of months ago because I wanted to get going on these again, and then promptly forgot about that plan and did other stuff instead. Getting old is rough, man.
Also I’m really gonna have to dive into World Class again one day as we get closer to The Iron Claw.
Taped from Shreveport, LA
Your hosts are Boyd Pierce & Bill Watts
BREAKING NEWS: Bill just got a phone call from Junkyard Dog, and he’ll be back from his suspension at the end of January, and he might even team with Stagger Lee!
BREAKING NEWS #2: Over in Dallas, Ric Flair beat Kerry Von Erich to retain his World title in a cage match, thanks to that long-haired hippie Michael Hayes. Bill hopes to have tape of that one soon. Kind of a hilarious undersell of one of the most business-changing matches in history, given hindsight.
Mr. Wrestling II talks about accidentally costing Mr. Olympia a loser-leaves-town match because he lost his temper and went after Kamala’s handler, allowing Kamala to beat Olympia and send him out of the territory for 90 days. He notes that he’s been a bit on edge lately because of threats against him.
Meanwhile, Bill Watts watches over a weightlifting exhibition by Tony Atlas, as he presses 550 pounds with Junkyard Dog and Stagger Lee both hanging out and assisting. JYD is in street clothes because he’s suspended for 90 days, you see, and he’s just there to help his friend with the bench press. Meanwhile Stagger Lee, who obviously isn’t JYD because there’s video proof now of them standing next to each other, isn’t saying or doing anything, presumably because he has laryngitis and a bad back.
Dr. Death Steve Williams v. Tom Renesto Jr.
Very very early in the career of Doc, as he’s literally still doing college football and wrestling at this point and sporting a very different body. Oh, also, Bill Watts casually mentions that one of the universities in the area that have been courting Williams have also been courting young John Tenta from Canada for their wrestling program. Yeah I’ve heard he’s pretty good too. Oklahoma Stampede finishes at 2:30 as Doc is kind of tentative and lumpy at this point.
Dick Murdoch v. Marty Lunde
Ooooooh, that enhancement youngster who looks like he’s 45 seems like he’d have above average carpentry skills! Lunde attacks to start and puts the boots to Murdoch, but Murdoch dropkicks him and drops an elbow for two. Lunde beats on Murdoch with elbows in the corner, but Murdoch gets a sunset flip for two and then blocks a blind charge with a big boot out of the corner. Murdoch slugs away and beats on Marty with elbows, and then finishes with the brainbuster at 2:38. This was a really good squash showing for Lunde and I think he’s at least a AA talent. I hear he might have some relatives in the sport, too! Hopefully he gets a better spot soon. Not just any spot.
Kamala v. Art Crews
So this was early in the “career” of Kamala, although he had been around for years as Sugarbear Jim Harris. But he had recently been repackaged into the savage killer Kamala in Memphis and then imported to Mid-South, weighing quite a lot less than he would later and moving MUCH faster. And he quickly destroys Crews and splashes him multiple times for the pin at 0:31. So either he got a lot worse and less mobile in a hurry, or someone got in his ear and tipped him off that his career would last longer if he worked a slower pace and leaned heavier into the “confused jungle savage” aspect. I’m guessing it’s the latter. That being said, I kind of liked this leaner and meaner early version of the gimmick!
Meanwhile, Gary Hart and Skandor Akbar negotiate a merger of their organizations, and Gary is totally fine with taking Akbar’s money.
Tim Horner v. The Great Kabuki
Horner manages to take Kabuki down with a flying headscissors, but Kabuki uses his martial arts mastery to beat Horner down and then hits him with a thrust kick a couple of times and then puts him in the dreaded nerve hold until Horner fights out of it. And then Kabuki tortures him with the PURPLE NURPLE OF DEATH and gets two. Another thrust kick and it’s back to the TITTY TWISTER OF DOOM, but Horner somehow escapes having his nipples reddened, and fights back, only to take another kick and get pinned at 4:23.
Ted Dibiase & Matt Borne v. Bruno Sammartino Jr. & Buddy Landell
Bruno Jr of course later changed his name to David, and he’s very green here. OK, so at this point Boyd makes the claim that Bill Watts once faced Bruno Sammartino at the old Garden for the WWWF title, setting an attendance record for wrestling and for any event at the original Garden in general, and that smells that bullshit to me. So a quick check reveals that they indeed had a title match in March of 1965 at the old Garden, although the listed attendance was 19,000, which is pretty goddamned impressive but would be pretty far off from the claim of setting any kind of record, wrestling or otherwise. Still, Cowboy and Bruno apparently did multiple 15K shows in MSG in 65, so hats off to them and obviously Bill was a huge draw regardless of whether or not his claims of being the biggest one is true. Junior hits both Rat Packers with slams as Cowboy warns us to check the crowd for gorillas in case Hacksaw Duggan is planning to try something again. I mean, checking the area for gorillas on the loose is always solid advice anyway. Buddy comes in and Borne goes to work on him while Watts goes on this whole thing about how promotions that add too many titles just dilute their own prestige, and he’d never go that route. I bet he’s not watching AEW these days. Dibiase with a backbreaker on Buddy for two, but Bruno Jr gets the hot tag and does more awkward slams on Borne, as the heels desperately go up for him and try to make him look like a powerhouse monster. Back to Buddy and he cleans house on the Rat Pack, but Dibiase loads up the glove and puts Buddy down as Borne pins him at 6:23. Man this was a mess and a half despite Dibiase and Borne bumping all over for Brunocito.
Gino Hernandez v. Mr. Wrestling II
2 takes Gino down with a headscissors and holds him on the mat with that while Bill goes on a rant about how Oklahoma’s football squad showed up in poor shape after a vacation, and the “country club” atmosphere led to their loss against Arizona. I feel like Bill would be happier with athletes sleeping on concrete slabs like Klingons to prove their manliness. Gino escapes from the headscissors and slaps 2 upside the head, and Bill declares that only SISSIES take that kind of crap from real men. So 2 responds with his own slap and sends Gino into the corner for a bump to the apron, but Gino fights his way back in. He goes up for the diving elbow, but that misses and Wrestling II finishes him with the Million Dollar Kneelift at 5:00.
NEXT WEEK: Kevin Von Erich! More Gino Hernandez! Kamala & Kabuki team up, which has Bill Watts pretty afraid.
This show is SO MY JAM. I want to congratulate myself for jumping ahead to 83 because I’m a beautiful genius, along with of course being very humble.