Mid-South Wrestling 17.02.1984
As we head to Mid-South, we are met with the tragic news of David Von Erich’s passing in Japan – noticeably, this is the first breaking of the news in any of the 1984 TV I’ve watched due to the nature of the taped TV during this time period. Bill Watts is not in attendance as he is in Texas with the Von Erich family, and the show is commentated on by Jim Ross and Boyd Pierce.
First in action on the show are the Mid-South tag team champions, Magnum TA and Mr Wrestling II vs Tom Lentz and Jerry Gray. Unsurprisingly, the champions control the match; Magnum showing off a backbody drop and a stalling powerslam, whilst Mr Wrestling II used a wristlock to keep his opponent grounded. Inevitably, the champions win, an impressive looking belly to belly suplex enough for Magnum to pick up the victory.
In terms of in ring action, there isn’t a lot going on in this episode, especially as a large chunk of the show is taken up with footage from the previous week’s TV. However, we do get an intriguing couple of promos from a show ran earlier in the week in New Orleans. As Magnum TA and Mr Wrestling II were set to go and defend the titles, Grizzly Smith informed Magnum TA that he was the new Number One Contender for the North American Heavyweight Title, a fact that saw Junkyard Dog, the champion who was in the locker room as well, congratulate his next big competitor. When asked for his opinion though, Mr Wrestling II was outraged, feeling that Mid-South had passed him over and that he was the man that deserved the shot. In what may be a precursor of events to come, he promised that he could beat both Magnum TA and The Junkyard Dog. A very interesting little angle developing for certain.
The second match of the night was effectively the main event as Junkyard Dog fought Nikolai Volkoff in the 1st round of the TV Title Tournament. With Krusher Darsow in attendance, and a rope in Volkoff’s hand, JYD initially had his chain out to even the score. Terry Taylor, still at odds with the Russians, also joined the Dog down at ringside to even up the numbers game. As the bell rang, Darsow handed the rope to Volkoff, only for Taylor to take it away from him. This distraction allowed JYD to instantly pick Volkoff up and drop him with the Big Bump for the victory and to advance in the tournament. You could argue it is a bit of a shame that a tournament that was designed to offer a better standard of match on TV then delivers a ten second match, but JYD is the hot champion and Volkoff is definitely second fiddle to Darsow when it comes to the Russians. How far the North American Heavyweight Champion will go in a TV Title Tournament remains to be seen.
This is probably the most exciting NWA debut of the year so far, as we finally get to see The Rock and Roll Express in Mid-South. Dale Veasey, not content with doing job duty in Georgia, partners with Pat Rose, but they are obviously no match for the newcomers. If anything, the speed of the Rock and Roll Express makes some of the moves in the match look awkward, as if the opposing team were really struggling to keep up. It is easy to see why the R’n’R were one of the big teams of the 80s, as they were really different from what a lot of other teams had to offer. I look forward to them crossing paths with the other teams in Mid-South…especially The Midnight Express, naturally.
As the TV Title match was short, all the following matches were presented as ‘TV Time Limit’ matches, matches that were thrown on the card to fill in the gap. Therefore, it is unsurprising that a couple of these are little more than cheap squashes. Masao Ito is involved in one, as he fights John King. Total domination by Ito, though we finally see him starting to realise that he actually needs to pick up a few victories and DQs will get you nowhere in the long run. A splash is enough for the victory.
Even after the break down of his previous tag team with Jim Neidhart, Butch Reed seems content to try and make his run in the tag team division work, as he teams with Buddy Landell to meet Lanny Poffo and George Weingroff – the very definition of a plucky underdog team. For a short match, this is fairly competitive, with the speed and agility of Poffo and Weingroff allowing them to occasionally outmatch the heel team. It is arguable that in some areas, Poffo is ahead of his time. It is just a shame that there is an awakwardness to his delivery sometimes that makes his moves look ‘off’ – a dropkick to Reed in the corner that seems to overshoot the target a perfect example.
In the end, Landell hits a cheapshot to the back of Weingroff, allowing Reed to hit him with the flying tackle before Landell lands the exclamation mark with his swinging elbow drop. It will be interesting to see whether this heel team stays together for the foreseeable, as I do like the meshing of character and style that the two bring to the ring.
The final match of the night sees Krusher Darsow versus Steve Brinson. This, like the Ito match, is little more than a chance to show off Darsow. He controls the match methodically, before making Brinson submit to his over the shoulder backbreaker.
A decent enough show, though more for the storylines furthered than the action in the ring. The TV Title Tournament is still wide open, yet we have potential dissension amongst the tag team champions and a debut team that are set to really test many of the Mid-South stalwarts in the year to come.