PTBN’s Excellent WWE Network Adventure: Mid-South Wrestling 3/22/85

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 RozzeroChad CampbellJason GreenhouseScott 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!

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Mid-South Wrestling 3/22/85
Run Time: 42:04

Card:
The Barbarian vs. Josh Stroud
Ted DiBiase & Steve Williams vs. Shawn Michaels & Private Terry Daniels
Kamala vs. Terry Taylor
Rock ‘N’ Roll Express vs. Brad Armstrong & Tom Pritchard vs. Jake Roberts & Jack Victory vs. Dirty White Boys – Four Team Elimination Match

Best Match

JT: Kamala vs. Terry Taylor felt like a really big time match between two top stars. Jim Ross was great in his call here and I thought General Akbar and Friday did a solid job of running interference without being overbearing as well. Taylor kept sticking and moving when he could but Kamala leaned heavily on him when in control. Then right when Kamala seemed to have him beat, everything unraveled, including a great spot where Akbar ripped Taylor open by slinging him into the post. Akbar unloading his chamber with Jake Roberts coming out as well added to the chaos, but Taylor outwits them all and hangs on to a big pop, which Ross sells wonderfully. We also get Kamala smacking Roberts around after too. This was a marquee TV match that truly delivered.

Brian: The four-team elimination had good action but I liked Terry Taylor vs. Kamala the best. It told a good story and made the newly crowned North American Heavyweight Champion (Taylor) look strong as he overcame the odds. I thought the finishing sequence was creative as well. Even the action was solid and Kamala moved around well. I also liked Kamala going nuts at the end after Roberts cost him in the match, even attacking his own handler.

Dan: Kamala/Terry Taylor is the choice and I never would have guessed that when we started this journey. Taylor was physically dominated for most of the match and was resembling the jobber he would soon become up in New York. He even had a nasty blade job after eating the steel post courtesy of Akbar. But our plucky underdog, who just happens to be the new North American Heavyweight Champion, found a way to overcome the obstacles set before him. He did catch just a little bit of luck when Kamala tripped over Roberts, but a win’s a win baby and the bloody Taylor survived his first test as champ. Who knew such a gem existed? Thank you Network!

Scott: Believe it our not I’m going with the Kamala/Terry Taylor match. I was completely engaged and thought that perhaps Kamala would win the match and get a title shot. However the way Watts was booking Taylor that wasn’t going to happen. Still, it was a really good match.

Best Performance

JT: Ted DiBiase’s opening promo was fantastic. From his antsy pacing while Jim Ross opened to the show to his impassioned bitch session about being screwed out of his title, he hooked viewers in immediately. He was clear, coherent and also very pissed off and delivered the message with ease. Him insulting Butch Reed to his face and storming off ended the segment on a strong note.

Brian: They really put over Butch Reed in his return tonight but DiBiase was great on this show. He was awesome in the opening promo and came off like the biggest star of the show.

Dan: I’ll say Dibiase based on sheer volume. His promo at the beginning citing why he wants to protest his previous loss to Taylor was wonderful. He didn’t sign a contract yet Ross points out it was a “verbal agreement.” Then he rips on Butch Reed which featured a funny line about Reed’s inability to “walk and chew bubblegum at the same time.” He also carried that anger into his tag match with Steve Williams and really cinched in that figure-four in order to get a quick submission on Michaels. He’s always so good on these shows. It’s a shame they don’t have more footage of his pre-WWF days.

Scott: I will go with Kamala for the above reasons. His match with Terry Taylor was much better than it should have been.

Biggest Surprise

JT: I was surprised when Butch Reed showed up to attack Barbarian as it led to a quick, red hot brawl between the two that Barbarian actually dominated. Really good post match segment that makes Barbarian look like a beast.

Brian: I was surprised to see they started a feud between Butch Reed and the Barbarian (John Nord) as the latter was really new to the business. Anyway, the Barbarian came out of it looking like a monster.

Dan: I’m still always startled to see Shawn Michaels lose matches so easily. I guess it’s true that everyone starts somewhere. It’s just funny to me that he basically went from fresh to powerslammed to submitting in record time when months earlier he was in a spirited bout with Dibiase in singles action. It can only go up from here Mr. Hickenbottom.

Scott: I was very surprised to see Kerry Von Erich at the end of the episode. I never knew he worked Mid-South. I know they went to Japan but not other US territories.

Biggest Disappointment

JT: What the fuck was Boyd Pierce wearing? Also, it was sad to see Butch Reed’s threads get torn apart. I guess the tag match was a bit of a disappointment. It was perfectly fine and well executed but I expected more a wild, hot brawl. And we don’t even get to see the finish! Make things seem more realistic? Sure. But…

Brian: Nothing was really disappointing here and the show breezed right by.

Dan: Oh this is easy. How do you end the main event early? Why were those other bums in the match to begin with when all we really wanted to see was the Rock ‘N’ Rolls vs. the White Boys? Was it just to put over a now overused four-way gimmick? Watts should have some spare money kicking around. Buy a few more minutes of television time and give us a proper ending to the match you cheap bastard!

Scott: I enjoyed the past opening music to the show, but now they went all generic with this crappy synthesized music and choppy opening package. Watts had great workers and feuds, but their production was pretty piss poor.

Additional Observations

JT: The opening video package is an improvement since our last visit, but the theme song is a downgrade; I liked Ted DiBiase pacing anxiously as Jim Ross officially opened the show, like he couldn’t wait another second to let loose and he made the wait worth it; It was a busy first few minutes with Butch Reed officially entering the TV Title tournament; I really dug the highlights of the big brawl from a previous episode; I thought General Akbar did a solid job putting over Kamala and Barbarian as top threats in his brief interview; Pretty funny how “The Barbarian” was in quotes on the graphic; Josh Stroud had a pretty good look; “The Amarillo Cobra Corps”; “Ghetto Street Fight”; Steve Williams in 1986 now looks exactly like how Steve Williams will look for the next decade; I always enjoy Kamala’s theme music here, it is a catchy little beat; Jake Roberts’ karate pants always catch me off guard; I like how they put over the uniqueness of the big four team tag bout; They were so good at explaining the details here, with Ross calling out the pre match drawing to determine who starts things off; Seeing such a young Tom Prichard was a bit jarring; The tag match was pretty well worked and a nice showcase to close the show out on, but nothing really stood out work wise and we don’t even see the end; Cool Kerry Von Erich vignette to close the show

Brian: Boyd Pierce’s jacket was something else. The pattern resembled something you’d expect from a retiree in Boca Raton to wear. The show started off with DiBiase coming out to air his grievances over losing the North American Heavyweight Title as Butch Reed came out to declare that he was back. Reed also asked Taylor for a shot at the title while declaring himself as part of the TV Title Tournament. We also got a clip of after the show last week where the Dirty White Boys and Rock & Roll Express had a wild brawl at ringside. The Barbarian defeated Josh Stroud, who had a good look and did some TV enhancement work for the WWF in the late 80s too. Butch Reed came out to save Stroud and ended up getting his suit torn off, which led to Reed challenging him to a street fight when we came back from commercial. DiBiase teamed up with Dr. Death as they quickly disposed of Terry Daniels & Shawn Michaels. After that we had the solid bout between Terry Taylor and Kamala. The show closed with an elimination tag match between the Rock & Roll Express, Brad Armstrong & Tom Prichard, Jake Roberts & Jack Victory, and the Dirty White Boys. Armstrong held things together at the beginning but his team was eliminated first and the match dropped in quality after that. The Rock & Roll Express and the Dirty White Boys were the last two teams remaining. They also ended with a video package on Kerry Von Erich, who was coming in along with Chris Adams to wrestle at the Superdome the following week. They did a great job hyping Von Erich up with the video. And Jim Ross was superb here in the way he called the action and told the story in the ring. Just great stuff.

Dan: Yay New Champion! Terry Taylor? What happened to Butch Reed’s mega push? The “other” Hacksaw wants back into contention so he challenges Taylor but then also wants a chance to win the TV Title. I loved the brawl between the Dirty White Boys and the R&R Express. The lack of commentary just adds to the mayhem. You can literally hear the young ladies screaming for help as their boy toys were getting manhandled. Is Akbar always scouring? Someone get that man a kitten or a baby pig or something. I challenge you to not melt while looking at baby pig pictures online! Holy Smokes that ring announcer’s suit. Did he rip that fabric off of one of his wife’s sundresses? Hey Adrian Adonis called, he wants his flower shop back! Josh Stroud is pretty ripped for a jobber. I’ve never seen a man lose a fight because he got caught in his own suit jacket. The Barbarian does not suffer fools lightly, even if they are sharply dressed. Oh Lord, Kerry Von Erich. He looked like a very homely cover boy for one of those sleazy highlander romance novels in that video.

ScottThey changed the opening theme of the show, and it’s atrocious. Sounds like some generic riff off a Casio keyboard; Butch Reed looks like a guy that doesn’t wear a suit very often; Bill Watts needs to fix that flim-flam audio system, as Ross’ mike keeps cutting out; Who the hell is this “Barbarian”? Where’s the REAL Barbarian?;This Barbarian has no business being in the ring, he is a clumsy oaf; Even today, seeing Shawn Michaels in plain boots & tights is a weird sight to see; I want that Dr. Death satin jacket; I’m very surprised Shawn Michaels tapped out here and not that other loser; Bill Watts was definitely a Terry Taylor fan, as he was booked to the moon in this promotion, being both North American and TV Champion; That Terry Taylor/Kamala match was much better than I expected. Kamala was moving all over the ring, maybe the most nimble I’ve seen him; Mid-South’s roster was pretty loaded during this time, and this episode shows that. All the big players on camera again; I’m not sure if the fact that the last fall of the elimination match not on the show was planned or not. They could have scrapped that awful Barbarian match to fit it in; I guess Bill Watts and Fritz Von Erich had an agreement and let Kerry come to Mid-South; I love how Grizzly Smith’s title is “matchmaker” in the credits;

Consensus Best WWE Network Match to Date: Roddy Piper vs. Greg Valentine (NWA Starrcade 11/24/83)

Consensus Worst WWE Network Match to Date: Ivan Putski vs. Baron Von Raschke (Madison Square Garden, 6/27/77)

Final Grade

JT: We are really cooking here on the Adventure as of late. This was a high quality episode of Mid South Wrestling, with big time matches and storyline progression anchored by rock solid commentary by Jim Ross. The show started really hot with a great Ted DiBiase promo and rolled from there. I dug the Reed/Barbarian brawl and really enjoyed Taylor vs. Kamala. The tag match was a slight disappointment but nothing that would drag a grade down. Overall, a very tight episode of wrestling TV from one of the best promotions in history at delivering such programs. Final Grade: 7/10

Brian: This was a damn good show. They continued feuds and even started new ones as there was never a dull moment. Also, watch this to see DiBiase, who was one of the best heels of the 80’s. Final Grade: 7/10

Dan: I enjoyed this show greatly and was pleasantly surprised by the Taylor/Kamala match. My complaint, as always, is that our viewing of this company is so fragmented that we never really can fully consume all the storylines going on, but at least they put on an entertaining hour when they show up on our list. I’m also a little more miffed than I should be about the end of the show, but at least they put over a new gimmick tag match and that two was a fun little battle of four hungry teams. I also dug the off-the-air brawl. So all-in-all, not a bad night of wrestling. So long Mid-South! See you next year! Final Grade: 6.5/10

Scott: This was a solid episode of the show with less but longer matches that told more in depth stories. Terry Taylor was a huge star and Watts portrayed him as such. DiBiase was still an awesome heel as was Steve Williams and his swank satin jacket. The production values are pretty poor but the announcing and the match quality are better than usual with only one real squash and one mid-level squash. The four way tag is fine as Watts really flashed all the promotion’s main players to the forefront. One of the more enjoyable territory episodes in the catalog. Final Grade: 7/10

You can find every grade and category winner from the entire Excellent WWE Network Adventure by clicking this link!

Author: Place to Be Nation Staff

Place to Be Nation Staff pieces feature any number of our contributors who are multifaceted when it comes to Pop Culture expertise.