PTBN’s Excellent WWE Network Adventure: Mid-South Wrestling 8/4/84

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 8/4/84
Run Time: 42:03

Card:
Terry Taylor vs. Krusher Khrushchev – TV Championship (In Progress)
Hercules Hernandez vs. Rocky Smith
The Fantastics vs. Bob Owens & Tim Horton
Dr. Death Steve Williams vs. Rick McCord
Junkyard Dog & Jim Duggan vs. Midnight Express – Tag Team Championship, No Disqualification
Buddy Landel & Krusher Krushchev vs. PYTs

Best Match

JT: I will go with the tag title match as it stands out among the parade of squashes. Jim Duggan and Junkyard Dog is a real dream team at this point in Mid South and seeing them go right at the Midnight Express for the straps was a big time deal for TV. The two teams really let the bombs flow and getting Cornette involved only helped build up some serious heat. I enjoyed everything breaking down late with Duggan having the match won before getting screwed by Hercules, who is already paying dividends in his new role.

Chad: The tag match pretty much has to win tonight. It was a good tv match with a ton of action packed into a relatively short segment. You can really see how Mid-South uses the tv as angle development and showcase matches so there isn’t much meat in the matches at all. Hercules is really put into the mix of things costing Duggan the match.

Jason: Once again we get squash match city on a Mid-South card, so the clear choice here is the tag title match. Tons of star power with JYD, Duggan and the Midnights. Dennis Condrey was a bumping machine and the Duggan/JYD combination worked very well. Some nice quick tags from the Midnights and a hot crowd added to the best that this episode had to offer. The powder spot from Cornette to JYD  and ref bump escalated a fun finish.

Dan: You have to say the tag match here don’t you? It certainly had the most star power with Duggan, Dog, Cornette and the Midnights. It was pretty much non-stop from the opening bell. I loved Condrey and Eaton’s quick tags and Corny busting out Mr. Fuji’s powder of doom to blind JYD. I’m curious as to why Hercules and Krushchev left the ring area when they knew they couldn’t get punished for interference in a No DQ match but that’s just a nitpick. Everything else was a squash or cut short due to TV time expiring, so the title bout takes it for me.

Scott: With a bunch of squashes, the tag team title match was indeed the best match, even if the booking was stupid. Why would a no disqualification match need a ref bump? To make sure the heels were extra dastardly? Mid-South was another one of those promotions where they tried to take a simple thing like No DQ and completely overthink it to where it makes absolutely no sense. The match was good though, and since the rest were squashes, this one wins the award.

Best Performance

JT: Jim Cornette was all over the place here and delivered each time. His promos were all gold and he was super active at ringside in the tag title match. Plus he got Hercules over as a high level bodyguard right out of the gate too.

Chad: Jim Cornette for me as well. He did commentary, promos, managing and may have been running the concession stand too. I loved the pot shot he got in on Boyd Pierce about his suit looking like a fireworks stand that exploded. He did a masterful job of making Hercules seem important which was something even the great Bobby Heenan couldn’t really do.

Jason: Jim Cornette all the way here. He was sharp as a needle on the mic. Here’s a guy who had the it factor the second he came in the business. His Mid-South stint is just a tip of the iceberg for what he brings to the table over the years. He can bring anyone into his stable and make them a star. I really dug Hercules as his bodyguard and him with the Midnights just feels right.

Dan: Jim Cornette in a landslide. Good for him for noticing the loophole that gloves weren’t ever addressed in the $10,000 fines segment. He also had the line of the night by saying that the ring announcer looked like “an explosion at a fireworks plant.” Dr. Death also looked like a badass leveling Taylor with that medal apologetically. I’m not even a Taylor hater and I thought that was pretty amazing!

Scott: Jim Cornette had multiple promos on this show and all of them were great. Hercules was a solid looking bodyguard as well. Jim Duggan’s MID-SOUTH persona is growing on me. He was just a bad ass babyface, and not the drooling doofus that WWF fans got to know. But I’ll give the nod to Cornette for his great promos.

Biggest Surprise

JT: I was surprised by what Dr. Death looked like here. I always assumed he looked old and grizzled but he is young, chunky and sporting some great facial hair at this time. Was a cool treat to see some of his early stuff.

Chad: I was surprised by the mixing of the stars throughout this show. With no Dibiase, we do have Duggan, JYD and the Midnight Express. Surrounding them was a new crop of guys though including Taylor, Buddy Landel, Hercules and Sonny King. This is pretty good forward looking by Watts as he is trying to present the up and comers as equals to the establishment.

Jason: A bloody Terry Taylor is something that I have rarely seen. It seemed a little out of place from the footage I’ve seen of Taylor. But then again this is Mid-South in the 80s, so anything is possible and it worked well with the angle that we had with Doc.

Dan: I’m surprised this is the first time I’ve ever seen footage of the PYT Express. Where have they been all my life? Why were you people holding this from me all this time? Two Michael Jackson enthusiasts wrestling and one of them is Koko Freaken Ware! This was nothing short of amazing!

Scott: I thought JYD and Duggan were going to win the titles, as it seems like Bill Watts liked happy endings on his shows so I was certain the titles were switching hands.

Biggest Disappointment

JT: I like Bill Watts. He was a great booker and talker and wrestler… but do we need to be reminded of his greatness every time we are establishing some sort of angle? I really was enjoying the start of his chat with Sonny King but then he has to talk about the time he did this or the notoriety he got then… every time we catch one of these episodes, we get something like that.

Chad: The Mid-South shows we have seen have been very lackluster on matches but excelled with a huge angle. We didn’t really get that blow away angle here to justify the parade of squashes that we saw. At 42 minutes, this is still a fairly enjoyable episode that speeds right along, but it is also something that wouldn’t have stayed with the viewer for a long amount of time.

Jason: Joel Watts is horrible. Just because he’s Bill’s kid doesn’t mean he should have a headset strapped to his head. He’s bad for the product and bad for the ears of everyone watching. Can Bill find him a job carrying luggage around the territory or something?

Dan: Mid South, I’m begging you. Stop it with all the rules talk! Nobody gives a rat’s patoot that you’re somehow above it all just because you have the biggest rule book in pro wrestling. Cornette telling us about the fines was enough. We didn’t need another whole segment about them with Watts and King. Foreign objects are part of the game there friend. Get used to it!

Scott: I’m disappointed that Bill Watts has not one but two awkward goofy kids. Erik Watts was enough of a loser but his other son Joel was the TV presence of a corpse. Poor JR had to carry the entire show with this bum.

Additional Observations

JT: Probably a reason Joel Watts is forgotten to history; The TV title medal stuff was a bit convoluted but they worked hard to make it all come together; Taylor’s blade job was pretty solid and I dug the end of his match with Krusher; Rocky Smith was pretty cut but his battle with Hercules should have been over who has the worse haircut; Jim Cornette did a great job establishing Hercules and his credentials in a brief promo, pure talent; I like the idea of levying fines for the use of foreign objects; I also enjoy Watts saying “twobuhfour”; Tim Horton is appropriately chubby; Dr. Death’s fu manchu is pretty sweet; Was interesting to hear Ross put over the upcoming NWA title match that wasn’t featuring any Mid South stars; Always enjoy seeing the PYTs and I wish we got to see them out there for a longer match or angle; Neat little team with Landell & Krusher too

Chad: Krusher is pretty awful, but Taylor really shows some good babyface fire here. The blade job added to that, but I think this is a good snippet in the potential Taylor did convey around this time if you are only accustomed to his career from the Red Rooster phase on. I am really happy Mid-South hasn’t dropped the synth theme like TNT did. That is a nice looking suit for Cornette. Randy Anderson had the pee wee nickname as way back as 1984. Hercules is announced as the bodyguard here. Herc made quick work of Rocky Smith. It does feel like the star power overall is done a bit in Mid-South with Sonny King, Hercules, Taylor and a really young Dr. Death getting the spotlight for most of this show. Watts loves leveling out rules clarifications and new fines. I do really love the presentation and the serious nature everything in Mid-South is conveyed with. I marked at Bob Owens being announced from Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The dubbed in music for the Fantastics was horrible. There was nothing to this match but it was a good squash showcase for the Fans. Williams looks really young and raw throughout this show. I can see someone like Watts looking at his athletic pedigree and potential and salivating. Joel Watts isn’t great in the tag match. Landel and Krusher is a bizarre pairing. The PYT’s were awesome in Memphis and look great here. This was another fun showcase to close out the show.

Jason: Joel Watts is a mumbling fool. Thank God JR was there to carry him along the way. Looking at modern day Terry Taylor, he’s aged very well. Steve Williams with short hair is a bit strange. Terry Taylor took a nice vicious gash. What a bloody mess. Rocky Smith looks like he has a side job managing some of Oklahoma’s finest hookers. Jim Cornette and Hercules is an interesting combination, but I dig it. I’ve always been a fan of Hercules’ ring style. Nice to see Randy Anderson pop up here. I enjoyed Bill Watts running down a variety of gimmick matches from over the years. A great job by Sonny King selling the 2X4 shots. The Fantastics are one of those teams from the 80s that are often forgotten about when it comes to greatness. Big fan of Rogers and Fulton over here. That Boyd Pierce suit though! That guy sure has an eye for fashion. Man, what a pop for JYD and Duggan. The dubbed in PYTs theme song was very mid-80s. We get our first look at Koko Ware. I know that made JT a happy camper.

Dan: Hey Joel Watts, that was some new, snazzy open you got there. Now get off my screen! Cornette dropped an “Oriental” reference thinking no one watching today would notice. Who does he think he is? Bill Mercer? Kerry Von Erich is still chasing Flair for the World Heavyweight Championship. I wish we could see those two fight again! Rich McCord bumped around like a true professional. Either that or Dr. Death was really trying to murder him in the ring. Definitely the Squash Match of the Night if that category wasn’t just made up by me. Man I’m going to hate watching JYD get fat and slow over the next six years.

Scott: So Bill Watts has another kid who can’t speak as his son Joel is commentating with JR; Bill Watts was another promoter who couldn’t get a sentence out, as that promo with Terry Taylor was convoluted; Why is a championship a GOLD MEDAL? Was Watts that cheap he couldn’t purchase a title belt?; If the Tag Title match was No Disqualification, why did we need a ref bump? These friggin territories could never get these stipulations straight; Mid-South had some of the most 80s looking jobbers of all time

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 Rashcke (Madison Square Garden, 6/27/77)

Final Grade

JT: This was a really fun and breezy watch and while it didn’t feature a major angle like the last one we watched it still had some heated stuff mixed in. The tag title match and establishment of Hercules were both really well done and crossed paths nicely at the finish. Jim Cornette was on fire too. Despite my earlier criticisms, the sit down with Bill Watts and Sonny King was well orchestrated and very clear as to what they were trying to get across. It also paid off well later when they didn’t reverse the decision of the tag title match despite the shenanigans. Another focused, well developed and executed hour of TV for Mid South. Sad we don’t get to see more of the episodic nature throughout this project. Final Grade: 6.5/10

Chad: A pretty so-so episode overall that may honestly looking better in my eyes as coming after the glut of TNT’s we have been watching. I did think this show helped establish some new stars and had Jim Cornette really emerging as the main foil in the promotion. His 1984 was a breakout year for the Express and that comes through here even though the show didn’t have many long-term ramifications. Final Grade: 5.5/10 

Jason: This was a nice break form the TNTs. Some new faces popping up was pretty cool. Koko Ware and Hercules in particular. Jim Cornette was a force of nature and fit in perfectly with this promotion. This was a typical mid 80s weekly TV show with a bunch of squashes and a fun tag title match. Another good example in why Mid-South was a ton of fun during this time. Final Grade: 6/10

Dan: Damn it felt good to watch an actual wrestling show with actual wrestling matches again. Plus at just 42 minutes, this felt like a blissful walk in the park compared to those endless MSG shows or those over fluffed TNT programs. I could do without all the rules talking and perhaps a couple more competitive matches wouldn’t hurt but this definitely is a far cry from building boats out of magazines or polka parties. It is too bad we only get small sips of this company because it seems they have some major stories to tell from week to week. In the end, the best I can say is, it was short and fun but it’s time to say Happy Trails again Cowboy! Final Grade: 5/10

Scott: This episode was much better than the last one we watched on this adventure from back in March. We had more matches, although again most of them were squashes. It always seems like they’re doing these shows from inside a circus tent. I know they traveled a lot but perhaps walls would be nice? The promotion is stable with its roster but can they purchase an actual TV Title belt instead of a dopey medal? The techno-open is still awesome and comes close to World Class’ iconic opening song. This was a pretty straightforward episode with no real frills. Final Grade: 6/10

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.