1984 Year in Review: Mid South Wrestling 17.02.1984

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

1984 Year in Review: WCCW Fort Worth TV 11.02.1984

For the next column in the 1984 Year in Review, we head back to Texas to see what was happening in WCCW as things are about to be turned upside down and inside out by news from outside of the wrestling ring.

This show would have aired the day after the death of David Von Erich, a death that occurred during a tour of Japan and has had many stories written about what might have happened on that fateful night. I’m not here to cast aspersions or to debate the validity of the stories that are out there, just to focus on the wrestling. With only a day having passed and the nature of the way wrestling shows would have been produced, moved and aired during those days, nothing is mentioned and the show carries on as normal – a focus on the 30th January show the modus operandi of this weeks’ TV. Unlike other NWA affiliates I’ve looked at, a lot of WCCW’s focus when it comes to their TV does seem to be old matches from the supershows, rather than taped-for-TV matches. Naturally, that means that the quality of match on offer is generally better, but it lacks the immediacy that you feel when watching Mid-South or Georgia.

The first match of the night unsurprisingly is a six man tag team match between The Freebirds and The Von Erichs. The Freebirds Six Man Tag Team Titles are on the line, as well as there being two stipulations. If the Freebirds win, they will be allowed to wrestle all over Texas with impunity (Roberts and Gordy had storyline bannings from certain areas, if I remember correctly). If the Von Erichs won, the Freebirds would be banned from Texas for a year. The Von Erichs were due to be David, Kevin and Kerry, but an assault backstage by the Freebirds left Kevin injured, Mike Von Erich stepping up to take his place. David Manning, the referee, has a lot of involvement at the start, three times getting on the mic to admonish The Freebirds, especially as they go to leave with their trophy, threatening to strip them of the 6-Man Tag Team Titles if they don’t return to the ring. They do, and the match is on.

As would be expected, a match between these 6-men is never going to be anything other than watchable, and that’s what it is. It lacks a little something – the big match feel is lacking, especially when you compare it to some of their bigger arena matches and stadium matches. Mike Von Erich is also a poor substitute for Kevin, even though he is given a lot of opportunities to shine. Unlike how you might expect a tag team match to go, with the heel heat and the hot tag, this match is a lot more even, with each team having their time to shine. David’s leg is worked on by the Freebirds, whilst the Von Erichs focus on Roberts’ leg when they get the chance. The crowd are hot and the match chugs along at a decent pace so as to make twenty minutes fly by.

There are two criminal offences in the match. One is the use (twice!) of a stomach claw, which is probably the worst move in wrestling. Hayes at least sells it like a champ in the first instance.

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The second instance sees Roberts lifted clean off of his feet by Kerry Von Erich in at least what amounts to an impressive feat of strength.

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The second criminal offense is the finish, which leads on from this second stomach claw. With his brothers in complete control, Kevin rushes the ring, bloody and bandaged up, to attack the Freebirds. Why he would do this when his brothers were arguably about to win the titles is beyond me. You do at least get to see a frustrated Kevin lay a couple of nice punches on his brothers as well before they smother him to the canvas. The winners by DQ are the Freebirds and they are allowed to wrestle anywhere in Texas going forward.

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Later on in the same card, we see a second outing for Mike Von Erich as he takes on Ric Flair in a ten minute challenge match. The stipulation here is that if Mike can last ten minutes with Ric Flair, David Von Erich will be allowed to challenge for the NWA World Title in match with stipulations of his choice. If Ric Flair did win, David wouldn’t get another shot at the title.

This match is a masterclass of making someone look better then they are to serve the storyline; Flair makes Mike look like a legitimate threat, being outmuscled and outmatched several times in the fight. Mike controls more of the ten minutes than Flair does as the cockiness of the champ comes back to bite him on the ass. He even comes close to beating Flair, a roll-up getting a two count and a sleeper hold only broken by the time limit. The reaction of the crowd to what amounts to a draw is pretty impressive, and the family are quickly in to hug Mike. Sadly, David Von Erich would never get his re-match for the NWA World Title.

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The final match of the night and what seemingly amounted to the main event of that evening was Chris Adams vs Jimmy Garvin for the NWA American Heavyweight Title which was held by Garvin. It was to be a cage match, but both valets were allowed in the ring; Precious for Gavin, Sunshine for Adams. This felt a little bit like it negated the need for a cage, as the cage would primarily be there to stop the interference of the women. The first seven minutes of the match also felt that they forgot it was a cage match, as there was a lot of technical work and very little heat.

Finally, Garvin rammed Adams’ head into the cage and split him open. This seemed to light a fire in Adams and the match itself, with a heated final three minutes as Adams looked to take out his frustrations on the champ. The finishing stretch saved this match from tedium, especially the closing sequence that saw Adams win the title from Garvin.

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Whilst the match didn’t show him at his best, it is hard not to watch Adams and think that it was a waste of life how things developed for him going forward. A very talented wrestler who worked well as both face and heel. Jimmy Garvin from around this time has always been a surprise to me, due to my initial time seeing him as a wrestler being his fairly naff run as a WCW Freebird. At this time, he is a premier heel and is easy to hate.

A decent little show, though lacking that high-end feeling that you would get for the bigger named events WCCW ran. It will be interesting going forward to see the effect the death of David Von Erich has on programming. The immediate knock-on effect is that Bill Watts isn’t on Mid-South TV, but that’s a story for another episode. So long, take care.

1984 Year in Review: NWA World Wide Wrestling 11.02.1984

NWA World Wide Wrestling 11.02.1984

When I first began this attempt to review the NWA TV over the course of 1984, it was this show I was most looking forward to. However, as I’ve moved through the first months of the year, it has rapidly sank to the bottom of my interest list. Outside of the odd wrestler here and there, it seems to showcase a bunch of wrestlers I couldn’t care less about. No wonder that my output for this column slows down when this is the next show I have to review…

There is an interesting start to this show, as we see Mark Youngblood and Wahoo McDaniel fighting my favourite jobber, Tony Russo, and his partner, Bill White. At this time, it seemed that Wahoo McDaniel was moving between the territories with a different Youngblood as partner depending on where he was situated. Mark seems the more high profile of the two, and this match is a showcase for their chop-based offense. Both the Youngbloods look exciting for the time period, though haven’t really been extended in front of the TV cameras. Beautiful bump by Russo for the finish in the GIF below.

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Dick Slater is the REAL World Champion! At least, that is what he will still have you believe. We head to the ring to see a young Tim Horner attempting to take on Slater. A short match, made watchable due to the amount of control Slater is willing to give Horner, making this a somewhat competitive match. The commentary adds to this, as Horner is really being sold as an exciting wrestler for the future. Indeed, it takes a Slater reversal and nefarious pin to grab the victory to the shock of the commentators. They seem to be treating Horner the same way Mid-South seemed to be treating wrestlers like Rude and Poffo, named guys who were a step above the standard jobber.

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In what could be considered a fairly big match for the TV era, Jimmy Valiant finally gets an opportunity to get his hands on Paul Jones’ Army in a match as he teams with Dory Funk Jr. to battle against The Assassins. Standard heel vs face dynamic, with the face team taking over at the start before a prolonged beatdown by the Assassins. Whether I like him or not, I can’t fault the fact that Valiant is over with the crowd, and a hot tag to him gets the crowd on their feet. Unfortunately, the ending is just not logical and ruins a perfectly acceptable match. The Assassins initially win, an axehandle off the top rope by Fat Assassin allows them to get the pinfall on Valiant.

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However, Mark Youngblood hits the ring to explain this to the ref – WHO RESTARTS THE MATCH! Didn’t see anything, no word from any other official, just puts his trust in the friend of one of the losing team. Outrageous. Almost instantaneously, the Assassins are looked in submission holds, forcing Jones to enter the ring and clobber Funk Jr. with his shoe.

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I’ve already made my feelings known about Rufus R. Jones, but he is mildly entertaining in his squash victory over Jeff Sword – mainly due to his Freight Train finishing sequence. Guy got some moves.

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With TV Title Tournaments the thing de jour at the moment, we head to another match in this particular version as Greg Valentine clashes with Ernie Ladd. In terms of match ‘draw’, this show has been one of the biggest I’ve watched, as this match follows closely on from the Valiant/Funk Jr. vs Assassins in terms of notable occurrences. Valentine and Ladd don’t mess around, and spend their allotted time beating each other up with nary a technical move thrown in. Valentine is even able to jump out of Ladd’s double leg drop, a move that put some other jobbers away in recent weeks. Unfortunately, as would naturally be the way during this era, the decision to have two top guys go at it in the ring meant that you were never going to get a clean finish – and that is the way with this one. Valentine makes his way through in the tournament when an overwhelmed Ladd goes to his trunks to blast Valentine with a foreign object, leaving the referee no choice but to call for the bell. Entertaining for what it was, but Ladd does just look quite awkward in the ring – Taue-esque, without the wrestling ability to overshadow that.

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Finally, we get to see the Moscas in action as they take on Hans Schroeder and Gary Royal. The Moscas win the match in short order, but it is interesting to look at the difference between Sr. and Jr. during these tag team matches. Mosca Sr. doesn’t do much, but what he does looks good, with the additional benefit of a charismatic presence in the ring. Jr. just lacks in every department, though I do give him some props for the nice looking crossbody block which wins this match for the father and son team.

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A fine show by all accounts, just the usual issue with the wrestlers that are being highlighted. In contrast, all WCCW do is highlight their biggest guys, and they are all worth watching – and we will see them next time on the 1984 Year in Review.

 

 

 

 

1984 Year in Review: NWA Georgia Championship Wrestling 11.02.1984

NWA World Championship Wrestling 11.02.1984

Considering the majority of the shows so far have looked at WCCW, Mid-South and NWA World Wide Wrestling shows, it is exciting to have an opportunity to explore a different territory, if only for a few shows. For this review, we head to Georgia during the ownership (according to my Wiki-fu skills) of Ole Anderson, Jack Brisco and Jerry Brisco. Whilst a lot of wrestlers move between the NWA territories, this will be my first chance to see a number of other big names from the world of wrestling.

As a potential sign of things to come, Gordon Solie and Ole Anderson are front and center at the start of the show, with both men discussing some of the big angles that have been happening in the territory at this time. The big story seems to be Ted Dibiase and his use of a loaded glove, used in a match against what appears to be Tommy Rich.

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It is a shame that I couldn’t have joined Georgia the week before, as we are also informed of a falling out between the members of the Legion of Doom. Paul Ellering was caught out speaking ill of King Kong Bundy, and Bundy is now a face! Bundy is our first man in the ring tonight as he takes on Jessie Barr and Pat Rose. This match is slightly more competitive that I expected, as I did expect a complete and utter squash. However, after fighting off a double team, Bundy turns it into a legitimate squash with a powerslam for the five count.

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One of the perks of watching these shows is the chance to see wrestlers that I’ve often read about but never seen – this show allows me my first time viewing The Spoiler. He battles Dale Veasey, a wrestler who apparently is returning from injuries sustained in a crash. I’d heard before that the Undertaker had ‘stolen’ his top-rope walk off of The Spoiler, and that move is used to great effect. In some ways, I feel that the match is a little bit too prolonged and aimless, but The Spoiler eventually locks in an iron claw for the victory. I’d be interested to see how The Spoiler does in a match where the tempo is pushed.

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Holy potential angle! The next two interviews set up the prospect of King Kong Bundy and STAN HANSEN vs The Roadwarriors. If any of that plays out on TV, should be awesome. KKB is also an under-rated, solid guy on the microphone, doing a good job to sell his anger at Paul Ellering.

We get a chance to see the controversial man of the moment in the next match as Ted Dibiase faces off against Jason Walker. This is a complete squash, though it does give the audience a chance to see more potential Dibiase heeling with the loaded glove. The fact that he uses it on a jobber is a great move and made me laugh at least.

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A tag match follows as we see the team of Wahoo McDaniel and Jay Youngblood versus Gary Ellis and a man whose name I’m not able to ascertain, even with Google search as my aid. As is mentioned on commentary, I do enjoy the veteran/excitable rookie mix of McDaniel/Youngblood, although they are then compared to the Moscas – poor guys. A pretty comprehensive showcase of Youngblood’s athleticism is finished off my a McDaniel’s chop.

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As the show has progressed, the tone has shifted at points to what is presented as a more serious issue – the condition of Bob Armstrong. Whilst the official incident isn’t discussed, it would appear that the Legion of Doom had some role in the attack. The refusal of Dibiase to speak about it makes it seem a lot more serious than some of the angles on the show, and brings an element of tension – I want to see what happens next.

This angle probably explains the next match, as Jake Roberts fights Brad Armstrong. When I first watched this match, and it ended up a time-limit draw, I really didn’t understand it. However, with Roberts’ potential involvement in Brad’s Dad’s beatdown, a stalemate probably makes a lot of sense. It’s funny watching Roberts during his run before WWF, as he is just lacking that slight fine tuning that he eventually gets to make him a star. Rough around the edges, definitely. Here’s a kneelift in light of no finish.

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The Roadwarriors then destroy Johnny Rich and Bob Brown. Compare the Animal clothesline to the McDaniel chop – Animal almost kills the guy. It is little or no surprise looking back as to why the Warriors were popular. The idea of them against Hansen and Bundy is hard to comprehend – who would sell?

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The main event (or at least as much of a main event as you get on NWA TV in 1984) is Les Thornton vs Bruno Sammartino Jr. Weirdly enough, considering events earlier in the match and the amount of verbal love Thornton gets on commentary (which has Jay Youngblood as a guest to boot), the match ends as a draw. Nothing really doing in this match means no gif – believe me, you didn’t miss much.

Georgia has grabbed my attention – I want to know what happened to Bob Armstrong, whether Dibiase is ever found out, and what happens between The Road Warriors and Bundy/Hansen? Pretty simple formula to good wrestling.

1984 Year in Review: Mid-South Wrestling 10.02.1984

Mid-South Wrestling 10.02.1984

As with the NWA World Wide Wrestling taping, the big push in the upcoming weeks seems to be aimed towards the TV Title, with Lanny Poffo replacing Hacksaw Duggan in a match against Masao Ito the main attraction tonight. Typically, the first match between two ‘big’ names (in as far as you can suggest Ito is – the mystique more than anything) sees a bait and switch, although at least it was announced on last week’s show.

The first match of the night brings up another interesting feature of doing these reviews – wrestlers that wrestle in more than one place and in vastly different places on the card. The Midnight Express open the night in a match against Tommy Heggie and Brian Adidas, a man we just saw losing tag team title belts on WCCW television less than a week ago. This time, he is just there to make The Express look good, and look good they do. Adidas is also, strangely, a wrestler who was seemingly in a high profile position last month in Mid-South, now doing opening match job duty. The Express nail some vicious tag team moves (a top rope powerslam a particularly nice move that I’ve .gif’d before) before hitting their tag finisher for the victory.

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The ‘big’ match of the evening goes on second, as Lanny Poffo and Masao Ito face off in the first round of the TV Title Tournament. A scrappy match, mostly on the part of Poffo, who seems to try and match Ito in the brawling stakes. Rather than add to the match, it just makes it feel very stilted and awkward. Unsurprisingly, Ito defeats Poffo, though I guess we could have seen another DQ finish in a match, so maybe it wasn’t as cut and dry as all that. A splash is a little bit of a boring finish, though he had nailed his kick to the throat first – a move that is being sold as death.

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As the ‘main event’ went on second, all the other matches on the show are considered additional attractions. Mr Wrestling II versus Larry Santana is one of them, and it is just a quick showcase for Wrestling II, defeating Santana with his running knee-lift.

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Of more interest than the match itself is the angle that follows, as all the big stars in Mid-South get involved. Firstly, the Midnight Express attack Mr Wrestling II. Junkyard Dog is on commentary and, as is always the case in Mid-South, the guest commentator has to interject themselves into proceedings (specifically, JYD can’t handle the Express trying to rip off Wrestling II’s mask).

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As the Express leave and JYD has a chat at ringside, the Russians (Volkoff and Kruschev) head to ringisde, looking to soften up JYD before a TV Title match next week between the Dog and Volkoff. A brawl breaks out, but Terry Taylor hits the ring to even the odds. THEN, Masao Ito comes out and attacks JYD, only for Magnum TA to (finally) head out and defend his tag team partner by running off Ito and the Russians.

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The final two matches of the evening become a little bit of an afterthought after the big storyline developments in the middle of the card. Firstly, The Russians are back out to face George Weingroff and John King. Quick tags and general roughhousing allow the Russians to control from start to finish, a backbreaker submission eventually being enough for the victory. Mid-South are very behind the Russians as an outfit, though I do feel they pale a little bit when compared to the NWA alternatives.

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The final match of the night sees Tom Lentz fighting Terry Taylor. Taylor is exciting to watch and the fans are behind him – the booking of his character generally has been a particular highlight of Mid-South this year. He hits Lentz with a flying forearm, and we are done for another week outside of one more hype video for the Rock and Roll Express.

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Though I’m not particularly excited by the idea of JYD vs Nikolai Volkoff, the 2nd round of the Mid-South TV Title Tournament now will see Masao Ito face the undefeated (on TV at least) Terry Taylor.

I feel like I should be liking the NWA World Wide Wrestling shows more, but they just aren’t competing in terms of storyline or matches when compared to Mid-South. Maybe it is just personal preference, but Mid-South just does more (with arguably some weaker characters) to make me want to watch another show. If wrestling does that, you can’t really argue.

As a small sideways move, the next show will be a Georgia Championship Wrestling show, one of the few I have from this year. I look forward to seeing what another NWA territory has to offer.

1984 Year in Review: NWA World Wide Wrestling 04.02.1984

NWA World Wide Wrestling 04.02.1984

As always in the world of NWA World Wide Wrestling, we hit the ring part way through a match with no indication of who is fighting who. Always a joy. In the ring this week is the team of Wahoo McDaniel, Dory Funk Jr., and Rufus R. Jones, (any face that isn’t currently doing anything of note, so it would seem) who are facing off against Bill White, Gary Royal, and Hans Schroeder. Whilst I may not care about anyone in this match, I can’t argue that the face team is over with the crowd. We get two minutes of action before Rufus Jones headbutts one of the jobbers and falls on his for a pinfall. To the bigger picture, ultimately pointless.

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The big rematch is next, as we get Ivan Koloff defending his NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title against Angelo Mosca Jr. As mentioned before, Koloff actually made Mosca Jr. interesting last time, and does his best again. The actual story of the match isn’t bad, as work on Koloff’s leg feeds into the finish as he collapses whilst trying to slam Mosca Jr. Seeing this as his opportunity, Jr. heads to the top rope and nails a crossbody for the title victory. Dad joins him in the ring for the celebration.

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The Assassins are another group of men I don’t really care for, but here they are squashing another bunch of jobbers. One fact of note coming out of this match is that it is against Mark Fleming and Brett Hart – otherwise known as Barry Horowitz. This caused me no end of confusion, as I could never quite get the shot of ‘Hart’ in the ring that would confirm whether it was the one from Calgary or not. The action is pedestrian, the finish below.

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Just as Mid-South are, the NWA are running a tournament for their TV Title, and we get a match from the tournament in Mark Youngblood and Barry Orton. The commentary in particular seems very high on Youngblood, and after a fairly competitive match (yet also fairly short), Youngblood hits a crossbody for the victory. More of interest is the suggestion that next weeks show will see Greg Valentine vs Ernie Ladd in another match from the tournament.

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What follows is a strange interlude, as we cut to a two minute match between Junkyard Dog and Mr Olympia from Mid-South. This is the first big sign of the NWA alliance in action, as this seems to be promoting a possible JYD run in the near future. The match is two minutes long, and ends when JYD takes a foreign object out of Olympia’s boots to then blast him in the face with it. The ref seems to see and doesn’t particularly mind. There is no real indication of when this match comes from, which also doesn’t really hurt.

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Tim Horner faces everyone’s favourite jobber, Tony Russo, in the semi-main of this evening’s show. Horner is able, but bland (as he would be in his runs in SMW and WWF), pinning Russo with a Thesz Press.

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The ‘main event’ (read: last match on the show) sees Dick Slater fighting Vinny Valentino. For a squash match, this instantly is raised above the other matches this evening due to not only Dick Slater being in it, but also by having some form of storyline attached. Slater is lazy, Valentino makes him look silly in a couple of the altercations, Slater gets pissed off and steamrollers through the poor boy. Slater finishes him off with a jumping elbow from the top rope.

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In between matches, we see the usual advertisements for the up-coming local shows. Koloff and Mosca Jr., Valentine/Slater and Slater’s belief in himself as the ‘real World Champion’ are the main angles being played out in the local markets.

A decent enough show, with an entertaining enough Koloff/Mosca Jr. match probably offering the most in terms of interesting action. Too much of the other stuff that is on offer is just a little bland unfortunately – some new names/faces need to come in as people like Funk Jr., McDaniel and Jones just don’t really cut it at this point in time.

1984 Year in Review: WCCW 04.02.1984

I find WCCW’s approach to TV rather odd in comparison to some of the other territories I’ve watched during this series of reviews. Rather than Mid-South’s ‘for TV’ style, WCCW just seems to stick arbitrary old matches on, with the occasional new match to shift things up. In this episode, two older matches were shown and, outside of a promo from the Freebirds, that was it. To suggest that this show was more than a little painful to get through could be a real understatement.

This isn’t helped by the most interesting moment on the show coming right at the start. My knowledge of the feuds that are playing out across these NWA shows tends to be directly garnered from the TV shows I’m watching. Therefore, my understanding is that members of the Freebirds had been out of Texas for a while following ‘loser-leaves’ matches with the Von Erichs. Whatever conditions were set on their expulsion from the territory have clearly ran out though, as the show opens with the Freebirds in the ring. Whilst they don’t really say much outside of highlighting their return and voicing their general distaste for the Von Erichs, any opportunity to see Hayes (and also Gordy, who doesn’t get as much props on the microphone but is very entertaining in my eyes) is a pleasure, especially during this time frame.

One piece of knowledge that I do have about WCCW at this time is that we are days away from David Von Erich’s death in Japan. How WCCW TV is affected in the immediate aftermath of this tragedy will be of real interest as February progresses.

Things rapidly head downhill in the first match shown on the night as Kamala fights The Junkyard Dog in a match which had no readily apparent date attached to it. Now, I love Kamala, often in spite of his ability in the wrestling ring. My first sight of him as a wrestling character was the broken down version that battled the Undertaker in the WWF, but having spent time investigating the wrestling annals, I’ve grown to enjoy what he brought to the table in a myriad of different territories. However, even though this is also at a time were Junkyard Dog wasn’t a complete waste of time, the match is awful. Any match that involves an extended nipple cripple/pectoral claw (I guess that would be the more appropriate ‘technical’ name for it) is always going to be a struggle to get through and this spot takes up the majority of the in-ring time. Just as JYD begins to fight back against Kamala, The Missing Link hits the ring and attacks JYD, giving him the DQ victory. The Missing Link’s headbutt based offence sees him careen into Kamala shortly afterwards, allowing JYD to head to the floor and avoid any extended beatdown. Dissension in Devestation Inc. is about the only interesting thing this match offers, as Kimchee and Skandar Akbar need to calm down the two monsters.

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The only other match on the show is a match for the NWA American Tag Team Championships. Skandar Akbar is at ringside again for this match, leading The Destroyers against the reigning champions, Iceman King Parsons and Brian Adias. Adias is lower-level talent in Mid-South, so to see him with a tag title (admittedly, a tag title I’ve never heard of before) is interesting.

What confuses me straight away in this match is that we are told at the start that Parsons will get five minutes in the ring at the end of the match with Akbar, irrelevant of the result. Normally, I always expect these stipulations to come based on victory-alone, though I guess this might detract from the Destroyers’ chances of winning the titles.

The match is two out of three falls, and is relatively entertaining for the most part, even though there aren’t really anyone I’d consider ‘stars’ in the match. The faces take the 1st fall, as Parsons uses a flying hip attack (…bum to the face) to get the three count and put the champions in the driving seat to retain their titles.

Hip_attack

The next two falls follow a similar pattern, with the Destroyers taking control and cutting the ring in half. Parsons is the man who takes the brunt of the punishment, a clever idea considering the promised time with Akbar still to come. The Destroyers eventually even the match up, a backbreaker on Parsons giving them the 2nd fall.

Backbreaker

Parsons’ punishment continues in the 3rd fall, with Adias a mere passenger at ringside. The ending, therefore, is a little bit strange, as Adias gets the hot tag but is pinned for the 3rd fall about a minute later off of a nasty looking Brogue kick-esque move which sees his face trodden on upon landing. The beat down on Parsons leaves him with no chance of breaking the pin, and also leaves him vulnerable to Akbar, who flies into the ring to continue to attack the ex-champ. It is three minutes into the five before Parsons finally is able to fight back, and to the wrestler’s credit, the crowd do go crazy when it happens. The five minutes elapses with Parson’s choking Akbar; the Destroyers grab Akbar’s leg to make the save for their manager.

Brogue_Kick

I feel a little bit like I’ve talked myself into liking this more than I initially did. The tag titles match was actually a very solid effort, it was just a shame that I had to sit through a horrible Kamala/JYD match to get to it. WCCW’s next show is for the 11th of February; the day after the death of David Von Erich – who knows how the next few weeks might pan out?