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 12/1/84
Run Time: 41:31
Dale Veasey & Buddy Landel vs. Brad Armstrong & Terry Taylor
Mike Starbuck vs. Kimala
Bob Owens & Mike Hill vs. Rock N Roll Express
Ted DiBiase vs. Sean Michaels
Tim Horner & Tony Faulk vs. Hector & Chavo Guerrero
Sheik Hercules Hernandez vs. Mike Jackson
Butch Reed vs. Jack Victory
JT: Not much to choose from with this card, but the opener had some spirit to it and the crowd was into Taylor & Armstrong. I like the format of having two top singles guys team up for a squash win too. Fun opener. Ted DiBiase vs. Shawn Michaels was pretty fun too. I would say those two stood out the most amongst the picks here.
Brian: This show did not feature much in terms of competitive matches but I’d go with the opening tag match as that was all-action and Armstrong & Taylor looked great. Ted DiBiase, as usual, looked great and was unselfish in his squash match against a teenage Shawn Michaels.
Dan: I liked our “main event” with Butch Reed and the ageless Jack Victory. It was good to see the newly minted babyface Reed looking dominant. I thought it was a nifty move turning the test of strength into a monkey flip by Hacksaw. Reed delivered a series of power moves from press slams to shoulder tackles to earn the easy win. He definitely came across like a big star and new foundation piece for this company.
Scott: Another menu of squashes, so I’ll take the opening tag simply because Brad Armstrong & Terry Taylor were two of the top guys in the company and Buddy Landel is a solid worker. The match was quick but the crowd was hot for it. A second place for DiBiase against that jobber…although he looks familiar…
JT: I will go with the video packages that littered the episode. They did a great job of establishing the roster of athletes and showing off their personalities to the fans. I could have gone without the effects they mixed in, but they were probably excited to have and use them in 1984. Every package was well done and had a point. Nice job Joel Watts!
Brian: I will also go with the Mid-South production team. The video packages on Taylor, Jim Duggan, and Butch Reed made them all come across as major stars and people fans could relate to or even inspire to be.
Dan: I liked Jim Ross’ enthusiasm in putting over all the talent on this show. He really perked up particularly when some of the underdogs (Michaels in particular) gained any form of momentum. The video production crew also did tremendous work showcasing the young babyfaces looking to make an impact on Mid-South.
Scott: I will give it to the Mid-South production team, who put together not one, not two, but three vignettes with Taylor, Duggan and then fresh babyface Butch Reed. Again, Mid-South eschewed the match quality for character enhancement with these vignettes.
JT: I am always surprised just how many matches they are able to squeeze into an hour of televised wrestling. Even with most being swift, it never really feels rushed but they always get them all in. Also, I am surprised ring announcer Jack Curtis was permitted to wear that hat on TV.
Brian: Nothing was truly surprising here but they did a great job at filing up an hour of television. It was mildly surprising they let Boyd Pierce on the air dressed in that suit and allowed the ring announcer to wear that hat.
Dan: I was surprised by the number of matches squished into 41 minutes with virtually no storyline angles being shot in between. Other Mid-South shows are littered with Watts blabbering away about why this guy wants a piece of that guy and how rules were broken in a previous match leading to the signing of a new match and yada, yada yada. Not today folks. Today you get squash matches and like it and who cares about stories because here is another match.
Scott: I was surprised we didn’t see Bill Watts on the show. Perhaps he was somewhere else in the promotion. Jim Ross does a great job of trafficking the show of vignettes and the myriad of jobber squashes.
JT: I really don’t have much here this week. I guess it would have been cool to have some sort of angle development, but I get they didn’t deliver that every week at that point.
Brian: It’s always disappointing when you do not get to see any real angle advancement on a show. In that aspect, it felt like watching an episode of “WWF Wrestling Challenge” from 1987 where nothing really happened outside of squash matches and the occasional insert promo/video package.
Dan: No angles and squashes galore. Yeah, I dig some character development and seeing future Hall of Famers during their impressionable years. But for heaven’s sake give me a reason to want to watch your product next week. Bob Owens and Mark Hill getting the crap kicked out of them doesn’t light my fire if you catch my drift.
Scott: I understand the philosophy back then of teasing the TV audience with crap matches to get you out to the live events, but I mean geez you can at least put one showcase match on the show to entice the viewers. After a while the same guys killing the same jobbers starts to lose its luster. I understand all the vignettes precipitates quick matches, but this isn’t the first time we’ve had a glut of throwaway matches.
JT: Great to have Jim Ross calling this episode; Boyd Pierce pronouncing “Ugandan” was a train wreck; ” The Mexican Brothers”; The music for the Terry Taylor video was tremendous and it was pretty well put together overall, funk effects aside; I always enjoy TV tag matches where random affiliated wrestlers team up for nice solid win, it shows alliances and unity within parts of the roster; Jim Duggan marching in and out of the frame with the 2×4 while glaring over at the camera like Big Foot was great; Ice Man Parsons cut a solid promo; Kimala’s theme music was great, had be bobbing my head to his entrance; Kimala really beat the piss out of Mike Starbuck; The fans fucking love the R&Rs; And we officially have our earliest Shawn Michaels appearance here on the Adventure; Mike Jackson looks like Joe Lo Truglio, I wonder if he is a foodie too; Hercules as a sheik is pretty funny casting, but it made sense since he is aligned with Akbar; Herc really cranked on that cobra clu…er, shininomaki, pretty impressive finish there; Jack Victory!; Nice bit at the end with Ross touting their ratings and calling for continued viewership and written correspondence; Good video package on Butch Reed to wrap things up
Brian: A lot of talent on the card, even those who lost or were strictly enhancement talent. A young Shawn Michaels and even Veasey (who would later go on to become Sgt. James Earl Wright in WCW as part of the State Patrol team). And Bob Owens & Mike Hill were here too. The delayed bump Owens took after getting punched was embarrassing. The Taylor video package to start the show was great and he even got that girl he met in what appeared to be an IHOP to leave with him in a cab. Good for him. Jim Duggan came off as a big star tonight too. He called out the evil foreigner Skandor Akbar and the music video package on him was well done, although a bit hokey. Duggan marching around with his 2×4 and at one point going to one knee and putting what appeared to be a Skoal Bandit in his mouth was something you’d never see today but in this time and era, Duggan’s character here appealed to a lot of fans. Iceman King Parsons cut a decent enough promo and had energy but I noticed that he seemed to close his eyes a lot while speaking. He too was also against Akbar, who was managing Sheik Hercules Hernandez. Hercules looked more goofy than intimidating in this gimmick. The Guerreros both looked good here, especially when Horner was in the ring.
Dan: Is there anything more 1980s than Terry Taylor? He’s driving fancy cars, making women swoon, posing in awkward pictures, hitting on chicks in the middle of the day in an empty restaurant, wearing satin jackets, beating up Russians, silly camera tricks, kissing anything with two legs. Ahhh… those were the days! Brad Armstrong looked jacked in this opener. Did Bill Watts have a Wellness Policy? Of course Hacksaw Jim Duggan would be driving a Ford pickup truck. Nothing says ‘merica like pickup trucks and 2x4s! Mike Starbuck must really needed the money to sign on to face Kimala. Holy Moly that was a huge pop for the Rock n’ Rolls. Nice touch by Ross to say that Ricky and Robert are using tactics similar to some of their tag team rivals. It illustrates the measures teams have to take in order to be champions and no one delivered double team moves like the R&R Express. What was a weirder look on this night: Ted Dibiase with no facial hair or the ring announcer wearing a hat? I might be wrong but I have my doubts this Shawn Michaels kid will ever amount to anything. The Guerreros looked really good tonight though they have to drop that “Alamo Busters” moniker.
Scott: This Terry Taylor vignette is totally 1984, complete with restaurant booths and Taylor’s shirt with the arms cut out; I have to say I love this Duggan vignette, admittedly because of the Police Academy music at the beginning; The Iceman promo reminds me why I love doing this project. He refers to his battles with Akbar “In Dallas”. That refers to his run in World Class, which he have documented here in this project; Yes, it’s THAT Sean Michaels, in one of his earliest matches. I wonder when he decided SEAN wasn’t as good as SHAWN?; Modern day wrestling fans are used to Eddie Guerrero as a heel, but it’s rare to see his uncles as heels, as Hector & Chavo are here; Hercules looks like a complete dope with that Arab headgear on. Like he walked by a table and decided to put it on; It’s funny that it didn’t even faze the promotion that there were two guys with the nickname “Hacksaw”, nor did they try to make a tag team out of them; I say that and during the ending Butch Reed vignette there’s a clip of Reed and Duggan hi-fiving
Consensus Best WWE Network Match to Date: Roddy Piper vs. Greg Valentine (Starrcade, 11/24/83)
Consensus Worst WWE Network Match to Date: Ivan Putski vs. Baron Von Rashcke (Madison Square Garden, 6/27/77)
JT: I really enjoyed this installment of Mid-South Wrestling. There were no major storylines, but the show just hums along and squeezes a ton of character development in to a short window. Sure it was all squash matches, but they didn’t meander on and it made these stars look great as they get showcased one after another. Add in the well produced video packages and sharp commentary by Jim Ross and this was exactly what a televised wrestling show in 1984 should have been. Here are our stars… now pay to come see them wrestle each other! Smart booking. I can’t say it was perfect because maybe at least one competitive match or big angle would be needed to get there, but it was really fun to watch. Final Grade: 7/10
Brian: This is a tough show on grade. On one hand, if I was a weekly viewer of Mid-South at this point, this show would have felt boring. There was no angle advancement outside of a few babyfaces calling out Skandor Akbar. If you missed this show, you would not have missed out on anything big. However, if I was going through the channels and came across this show, it would have intrigued me a lot. I would have made sure to tune in the following They presented their wrestlers as stars and showcased an athletic and believable product in the ring. Selling your product should be the main goal when putting out a wrestling product on TV. Final Grade: 6/10
Dan: Well this was a show I easily could have done without. On the one hand I was happy not to be lectured by Watts for an hour about how noble his company is because they honor the rules and cheaters won’t be tolerated. On the other, there really wasn’t much to sink your teeth into on this show. Yes, it’s great to see them showcasing the talent and having them win convincingly in order to sell the house shows. But that doesn’t mean it makes for great television. I’m sure those live events in Arkansas were fantastic, but this show that we viewed had a big deal of nothing. I do enjoy seeing recognizable guys in their younger years still refining their craft and it was a treat to see a green as grass Shawn Michaels duke it out with one of my all-time favorites. So it wasn’t a complete stinker but not something you really need to see either. Final Grade 4/10
Scott: You can look at this show from two schools of thought. Either it was a great way to use the production team to put over the talent with in depth pieces for the three top babyfaces (Taylor, Duggan, Reed), or it was a hacked together show with crap squashes and wasted TV time on pre-taped pieces. Putting over the talent was the point, and Bill Watts wanted people to come out and spend money at the live events. Turning Reed babyface was key because Watts lost the Junkyard Dog to the WWF, so to appease the African-American audience in the south, they turned Hacksaw babyface. We will see if it works. I will wimp out and grade this down the middle for the great vignettes, but the boring list of jobber squashes. Final Grade: 5/10
You can find every grade and category winner from the entire Excellent WWE Network Adventure by clicking this link!