As many of you are aware, WWE Network is pretty packed with all sorts of content. And as you may also know, we here at Place to Be Nation love long term, in depth projects. So, as part of this initiative, JT Rozzero, Chad Campbell, Jason Greenhouse, Scott Criscuolo & Dan McGinn are starting in 1975 and are planning to watch the entire offering of the WWE Network chronologically. They have plotted their course and after watching each program, they will share their thoughts, notes and recommendations with our readers. So, settle in and enjoy this epic ride through wrestling history!
Mid-South Wrestling 10/30/82
Run Time: 42:23
Andre the Giant, Junkyard Dog & Mil Mascaras vs. Killer Kahn, Gino Hernandez & Tully Blanchard
Ted Allen vs. Kamala
Junkyard Dog & Mr. Olympia (c) vs. Ted DiBiase & Matt Borne – No Disqualification Loser Leaves Town for 90 Days Tag Team Title match
Tony Atlas vs. Grappler II
Jesse Barr vs. Gino Hernandez
Mr. Wrestling II vs. Marty Lunde
Hiro Matsuda & Yoshi Yatsu vs. Vinnie Romero & Tim Horner
JT: It was definitely the big tag team war. The stories woven throughout were really well done, especially with Bill Watts wondering if things got dicey whether Ted DiBiase would pay off Matt Borne to eat the fall and head back to Atlanta. The crowd was hyped for JYD and backed him the whole way through. The faces controlled for a while until DiBiase changed the course of a match with a back suplex on Mr. Olympia. Olympia would catch a lengthy beating, including a nice Borne bombs away. JYD would come in and drag Olympia to the corner and then tag himself in before cleaning house. And then, the swerve. The gorilla attacks Olympia and unmasks to reveal himself as Jim Duggan. He would wipe out JYD and DiBiase pelted him with a foreign object for the win. JYD is gone for 90 days!
Chad: We really didn’t get a whole lot of competitive matches on this show besides the centerpiece tag. This was a great choice for the first upload chronologically in Mid-South as it really shows the strengths of the Mid-South product and transports the viewer into a deep angle. This match had really strong action and shows genius booking on display. We have a loser leave town stipulation and Bill Watts plants the seed that DiBiase could be bringing in Matt Borne as a sacrificial lamb of sorts as he wasn’t with the company to begin with. Losing the match for him wouldn’t be a big deal. We also see a sweet gorilla playing with the children in the crowd. The action becomes terse and the gorilla makes an appearance to reveal himself as Jim Duggan. Shockingly, the hottest babyface in the promotion, JYD, takes the fall and is gone for 90 days. This was a great angle to play out on television and one of the more memorable finishes in the territory era of the 1980s.
Jason: The tag team match wins easily. Great storytelling by Bill Watts on commentary and by all of the competitors in the ring. DiBiase and Borne made for one hell of a heel team. JYD was super over as expected and the shocking finish sealed the deal on a great match.
Dan: If you don’t say the Mid-South Tag Team Title match with all its storyline implications and the loser leaves town for 90 days stipulation, you probably also don’t think Die Hard is a Christmas movie. That being said, everything else on this card was steaming garbage so this wins by default. It helps that it was actually competitive unlike the other squash matches we were treated to on this program. That all being said, we get a nice back and forth battle, Watts’ “four sisters on thumb street” comment, Hacksaw Duggan in a gorilla costume and a in shape and motivated JYD to energize the crowd. Oh and Mr. Olympia, he loves his arm drags. There is no debate, this match made this program watchable.
Scott: As much as I loved the Kamala squash, the tag title match was what everyone in the circus tent was waiting for. The crowd was on their feet, there were so many layered storylines that Bill Watts did a great job of weaving in an organized fashion. The crowd was so hot and on their feet for the entire match and the shocking finish came out of nowhere.
JT: Bill Watts was fantastic throughout this episode. He got all of the storylines and angles over crisply and concisely and did a strong job of calling the action along the way. He jammed a ton of information into a very short amount of time but somehow wasn’t overbearing.
Chad: I will go with with DiBiase. He was the catalyst for the whole angle and feud and was just coming into his own as a heel and the leader of the Rat Pack. We will see many more loaded gloves in the weeks to come.
Jason: I’ll give the duke to Ted DiBiase. He’s one of my favorite workers of all time and really shined here. From his great bumps and smooth offense, the future Million Dollar Man had money written all over him way before he was given the gimmick.
Dan: Bill Watts poured his heart and soul into this episode and I can only believe he is like that every time he steps up to the microphone on these telecasts. I’m going to have to get used to his unique play calls. Just in that Kamala match alone he used the terms “inbred warrior personality” and “a missionary in a cooking pot.” Maybe Chad can tell me what the hell that second one means someday. He also sold how valuable and indispensable JYD meant to this territory and you can hear in his voice just how miserable he is about losing his top babyface for 90 days. He just brought legitimacy to the broadcast and helped push angles along brilliantly. Nice job Cowboy!
Scott: I will give a tie to Ted DiBiase for his great heel promo and work in the ring, the precursor to the Million Dollar Man persona. Bill Watts did a great job announcing the show and even got very dramatic and had to walk away from the mike, leaving Paul Boesch to cover things.
JT: It was a really nice surprise to see Andre the Giant pop up in the big six man battle. The playing up of Killer Kahn having put Andre the hospital with the leg injury was a good touch and they really talked up how he was the only man to ever put the Giant on the shelf. Also, I was totally shocked that JYD lost the tag match. I thought for sure Mr. Olympia was there to take the fall.
Chad: Marty Lunde was a nice surprise but knowing what Boyd Pierce’s wardrobe usually looks like, he was really tame tonight.
Jason: I’m surprised how much I liked Jim Duggan as a heel. His promo in the gorilla suit was really good. An honorable mention goes out to Paul Boesch. He did a wonderful job on commentary while Bill Watts stepped out following the big tag team match.
Dan: I know he’s in his 80s now, but Mr. Wrestling II looked ancient even in 1982. He’s like watching The Checkmate all over again only this edition of the masked mystery man has significantly larger man boobs. It makes me wonder if that man was ever young.
Scott: I’m surprised that the JYD’s team actually lost that tag match and will be out of Mid-South for 90 days. Jim Duggan, disguised as a gorilla, spears JYD and his guys win the tag titles. The match was fun and a great job by Bill Watts to put that match over and all the storylines that were involved with it.
JT: Minor quibble, but I wish the quality of the Houston six man was better. Those teams were loaded and it was poor quality and quite short all things considered.
Chad: I will add to the other comments that the six man being complete would have been fun to see as both rosters were loaded. This looked like something that would fit right in on nwaclassics.com.
Jason: I was expecting the six man tag to go on a little longer than it did. Nonetheless, it featured quite a bit of star power in it.
Dan: I didn’t even realize the six man was going on until Mil got the pin. I thought it was just highlights of some other event and before you knew it, it was all over but the shouting. Plus the picture quality was almost as brutal as watching scrambled cable back in the 1990s. I also didn’t care for Watts constantly bringing up all the rule differences. We all get it Bill, everything in your company is a disqualification!
Scott: I echo JT’s sentiments and was also was bummed that swank six man tag match at the beginning was chopped up and it wasn’t coming from a projector. That seemed like it was a hot match with a great heel team. Also for some of the newer fans it’s rare to see Andre in.
JT: The super synth opening animation was tremendous; Bill Watts chatting with Paul Boesch to discuss the big Loser Leaves Town match was a nice touch, especially how Boesch said it affect his promotion as well; The gorilla promoting the local fair is perfect; I enjoy how Watts pronounces “Dooggan”; The Houston co-promoted six man tag was loaded; Kamala’s theme music was weird with some sort or sitar or bell noise in the background; The referee of the true MSW opener looked like Judd Hirsch; Kamala was quite spry here, leaping into the air and moving at a good pace before grabbing the easy win; JYD looked fantastic here and the crowd was quite pumped up; Watts rattling off all the ramifications for various territories around the country on the line in the tag match was crazy; Great little touch with Watts saying everything was on standby as the tag match was TV time remaining; I was really surprised JYD took the loss in that match but he is now gone for three months; The air was really out of the arena for poor Tony Atlas as he worked over Grappler II; Gino Hernandez is a good looking cat; Watts losing his voice is pretty funny but I am guessing it was just a way to get Boesch in the booth for the Gino match; Seeing DiBiase, Duggan and Borne with all the gold and bragging about running off JYD was awesome; Seeing Arn Anderson as a jobber under his real name was a fun treat; They certainly made good use of these replacement matches; It is nice to see the Great Yatsu pop up here as he would be heading to WCCW soon enough;
Chad: I always thought the opening synth sound was my son crying throughout the show. I don’t like somber Boyd Pierce. The gorilla teasing and overall setting the stage by Watts and Boesch was great and made the tag team match that much more monumental. Watts leaving the commentary booth afterwards was a nice touch too. Watts not even remembering Ted Allen’s name shows you how competitive his match with Kamala was. We have Friday here instead of Kim Chee. Gino looked good in his squash and had some great heat. Atlas also looked impressive press slamming Grappler II. I never knew Hiro Matsuda wrestled barefoot. DiBiase saying the other monkey is gone from the promotion shows that this was indeed 1982.
Jason: I really dug Killer Kahn going right for Andre’s ankle that he previously shattered. What was up with Kamala’s nose hoop? A very fun squash from the Ugandan Giant. Matt Borne brought the goods. His Bombs Away was hit perfectly. A nice showing from the future woodsman and evil clown. DiBiase, Borne and Duggan make one hell of a heel stable. Grappler II did a phenomenal job bumping and selling for Tony Atlas. I think that Marty Lunde has quite the future ahead of him. I haven’t seen many Gino Hernandez matches so it was nice to see him pop up here. Ted DiBiase’s,”I put bread on the table at whatever expense” was a killer line.
Dan: Without thinking when taking my notes, I literally wrote down “Marty Lunde is a homeless man’s Arn Anderson.” Oops! I also can’t imagine Dibiase’s gorilla line would go over the same way in 2015 as it did in 1982. I’ll leave it at that! I loved the spot where Hernandez lifted his legs and stretched both feet on the top ropes to break up Barr’s full nelson and when he signaled the ref to break the hold, Barr just dropped him on his ass. Great comedy spot.
Scott: The swank opening theme is close to the WCCW and NWA opening themes as fairly bad ass; This announcer is about as good as Bill Mercer is, fumbling through his wrestling vernacular; Hacksaw Dooogan (as Watts calls him) has a “violent nature”? What the hell am I watching?; That Khan/Gino/Tully heel team is pretty awesome; The audio quality of the commentator headsets isn’t that great; Wow Kamala was all over the place in the early 80s; Great effective Kamala squash, the proper way to put over a new top heel; This is the most svelte that I’ve ever seen the Junkyard Dog; Wait, am I actually going to type this: AWESOME HEEL DUGGAN!; This is a who’s who of mid-card NWA guys on this show, from Jesse Barr to Matt Borne to Tony Atlas; That is the most hair I think I’ve ever seen Arn Ander- I mean Marty Lunde have on his head; Great formatting on this show to fit so many matches into an hour; Bill Watts and Fritz Von Erich obviously had a good relationship as a couple of guys on this show would be in WCCW within a few months;
Consensus Best WWE Network Match to Date: Ric Flair vs. Kerry Von Erich (Christmas Star Wars, WCCW 12/28/82)
Consensus Worst WWE Network Match to Date: Ivan Putski vs. Baron Von Raschke (Madison Square Garden, 6/27/77)
JT: That was a pretty fun 40 minutes of old school wrestling action. Bill Watts was pretty amazing on commentary and despite having no context for anything on this show, he laid everything out in a way that made it all easy to understand. The big tag match was well worked, dripping with drama and had a cool swerve finish with a very surprising ending. Besides the novelty of the opener, the rest of the matches were mainly squashes and it did drag things down just a bit after the crowd sat in shock following JYD’s loss, but with such a high stakes bout in the middle of the show, we didn’t need much else to make this worth a watch. Final Grade: 6/10
Chad: The squash matches were mere highlights of guys that will be getting pushes in the promotion and were really too short to be offensive. The centerpiece tag on this show was again brilliant and really makes the show flow very briskly. I look forward to more MId-South to come. Final Grade: 6.5/10
Jason: What an awesome 40 minutes! Seven matches flew by and each had current or future stars involved. The big swerve at the end of the tag match was a perfect example of the great booking from this territory.There were some good squash matches from Kamala, Gino Hernandez and Tony Atlas, plus the tag team match is certainly worth checking out. If you haven’t seen much Mid-South, this show is a great starting point to see some great early 80s wrestling from one of the best territories of all time. Final Grade: 7.5/10
Dan: This really amounted to a one match show with several squashes to highlight Watts’ stable of talent in the promotion. Having the Houston influence certainly helped and for nostalgia purposes, it was fascinating to see many of these guys in their absolute pristine physical conditions. You can also see why Vince had interest in many of these guys, especially Dibiase, Duggan & JYD, when he was looking to expand his own territory. I could be overstating this a bit, but top to bottom, this is undoubtedly the most star-studded and talented group of wrestlers we have seen on any of these programs along this adventure thus far (Andre, Mil, JYD, Dibiase, Duggan, Kamala, Atlas, Matsuda). It was a fun watch but I could have done with fewer squashes with a more competitive bout to offset the shock and sadness we were left with following the main event tag. Still, I remain optimistic for better outings down the road and grateful that the Network continues to expand into the territory era! Final Grade: 6/10
Scott: This was a fun show and I can see why the promotion was so popular in the 80s. They fit a myriad of solid enhancement matches to put stars over and squeeze that main event in the middle. That heel group of DiBiase/Duggan/Borne is pretty awesome, putting over that they own all the titles and kicked the JYD out of the promotion for three months. It was a fun snapshot of guys who a few years later would be stars in other promotions, from Arn Anderson to Jesse Barr to Tully Blanchard, and a pretty rare look at two future Horsemen early in their careers. I really loved all the character development that came from the squash matches and Bill Watts putting it over so much that he left the show really made it stand up. A big thumbs up for me, the first Mid-South episode I’ve ever watched. Final Grade: 7.5/10