September 22, 1983
Your hosts are Boyd Pierce and Bill Watts
This week we will have the “Battle of the Hacksaws” between Jim Duggan and Butch Reed, Junkyard Dog vs. One Man Gang, Nikolai Volkoff, and Jim Neidhart
One Man Gang w/ Skandor Akbar vs. Junkyard Dog
Gang attacks JYD before the bell. He works a chinlock as Watts puts over Gang as being bigger and meaner than ever. JYD fights back and wins a slugfest then uses a chinlock of his own. Gang drives JYD into the corner and thrusts him a few times but JYD escapes and drops Gang with a headbutt. JYD then uses a leg sweep for a two count as Gang was able to grab the ropes. JYD gets a one count with a snapmare then goes back to the chinlock. We see Volkoff looking on from ringside as Gang is hammering away. Gang hits a leg drop then a slam but heads up top and misses a splash. Gang chokes out JYD with his foot then distracts the ref so Akbar can choke him out too. The ref kicks Akbar away then Akbar gets up on the apron as JYD knocks him off then hits Gang with a powerslam. Akbar runs in to break it up with an elbow drop but JYD rolled away as Gang is hit and the match ruled a DQ (5:27) *1/4. After the match, JYD beats on Aas Akbar waves someone into the ring and it turns out to be Barry Darsow as Volkoff still stands there with his arms folded. Darsow has JYD held up for him but Darsow instead attacks Gang as JYD beats on Zhukov. JYD and Darsow clear the ring then have a staredown before shaking hands.
Thoughts: Gang tried but JYD was useless here. His lack of conditioning was noticeable to anyone, including my wife who walked by as I was watching this and commented how he looked exhausted. And this was in a five minute long TV match. The angle after the end was interesting with Darsow unexpectedly going after Zhukov and Gang. They also played up on last week’s match where JYD defeated Darsow.
Boris Zhukov vs. George Weingeroff
Volkoff is still standing there with his arms folded. Weingeroff taunts Zhukov with his USA jacket then works the arm after using a fireman’s carry. Zhukov catches Weingeroff with a knee to the gut then roughs him up in the corner as Watts talks about the USA Olympic teams. Zhukov works a side headlock as Watts believes in a “strong” America and wants evil Soviet leaders shipped off to Siberian death camps then apologizes for getting political. Weingeroff runs wild until Zhukov hits a neckbreaker. Zhukov misses a knee drop from the middle rope then Weingeroff puts him away with an abdominal stretch into a cradle (2:27) 3/4*. After the match, Volkoff confronts Zhukov then beats the crap out of him as Watts loves this Russia on Russia violence.
Thoughts: Besides Watts using this as an anti-Russia platform on commentary, this beatdown on Zhukov was to establish Volkoff as the new lead Russian heel.
Jim Ross is now in the ring with Volkoff and asks him why he turned on a fellow countryman. Volkoff says that Zhukov was born in America and that is why he lost the match because real Russians never lose. Volkoff screams about fighting for Russia and those who do not listen will get what they deserve then rambles on some more before finally leaving. Not a good promo as Volkoff is now a raging lunatic Russian.
King Kong Bundy & Missing Link vs. Jerry Caldwell & Denny Alberts
Alberts hits three straight dropkicks and shows that he moves a lot faster than he looks. Link gets pissed but fights back and hits a slam. Caldwell tags in as Watts says we will hear from Darsow soon. Bundy is in now and beats down Caldwell. Link is back in as he destroys Caldwell before a flying headbutt to the kidneys gets the win (2:12).
Thoughts: Bundy is being downplayed and teaming with newer monster-heel type Link. Lots of big dudes in Mid-South now.
Watts tells us that Jim Neidhart is a world-class anvil thrower.
We see an interview that took place during the commercial break between Ross and Darsow. Ross asks Darsow, who lost to JYD last week, why he helped out JYD today after Akbar waved him out. Darsow said that Akbar offered him $500 then pulls it out. Darsow said he lost fair and squared and where he is from in Northern Minnesota they have pride. Darsow was sick of watching JYD get attacked by multiple men and wants Ross to give the money back to Akbar. Darsow did fine here and showed some personality. Plus, they had enough monster heels at the moment. Although, history shows us that everyone ends up turning on JYD down the line.
Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart vs. Ron Ellis
Ring announcer Reesor Bowden mistakenly refers to Neidhart as “The Hammer” as even Pierce had to correct him on commentary and he barely knows what’s going on anymore. Neidhart tosses Ellis into the corner then hits a slam. Watts puts over Neidhart’s athletic accomplishments as Neidhart stays in control until using a Samoan Drop for the win (1:33).
Thoughts: A showcase for Anvil for his push in Mid-South.
Battle of the Hacksaws: Butch Reed vs. Jim Duggan
The crowd is nuts for this match. Magnum TA and George Weingeroff are now at ringside as Duggan and Reed try to gain an advantage. Reed pulls up after an Irish whip sequence as Johnny Rich, Darsow, and JYD are out at ringside too. Reed is knocked outside but immediately thrown back inside as Watts says we know have a lumberjack match. Reed keeps getting knocked outside by Duggan then JYD drops Reed with an elbow smash. Duggan misses a knee drop as Reed lands several jabs. Reed hits a standing dropkick as the crowd is hot for Duggan. Reed avoids a charge in the corner then fires away. Duggan tries to pump himself up but whiffs on a kick then Reed hits a press slam that gets two. Reed is up on the middle rope but Duggan ducks the attack then hits the spear and gets the win (5:26) **1/4. The others all celebrate with Duggan after the match.
Thoughts: Huge win for Duggan as this presumably sets him up as the #1 contender to the North American Heavyweight Title. The angle of the faces coming on in unity to make this a fair fight was a nice touch since Akbar’s men always interfere. This ended up being a decent TV match.
Tom Stanton vs. Magnum TA
Magnum works over Stanton before grabbing an armbar. Watts says we will see a mixed tag match next as Magnum hits a slam before going back to the arm. Watts puts over Duggan’s win and how the fans ragged on Reed during the break. Magnum gets a nearfall with a crossbody but runs into a knee smash in the corner. Stanton misses an elbow drop from the middle rope then Magnum hits a crossbody for the win (2:42).
Thoughts: Magnum continues to excel in his role and has shown a lot of promise. The crowd is behind him too.
Donna Day & Art Crews vs. Debbie Combs & Johnny Rich
Combs gets some catcalls from the crowd then works over Day. The men are in now as Rich takes over Crews with a monkey flip after a fast-paced Irish whip sequence. Day cheap shots Rich from the apron the Crews attacks Rich from behind. Rich comes back with a crossbody that barely gets two as the women are back in the ring. Combs works the arm then puts on a full nelson. Rich teases slapping Day but instead gives her a kiss as Day throws a fit. Crews tries to elbow drop Combs and misses as the match breaks down again. Combs slingshots Day out from the corner as Watts says the Superdome show is November 19th instead of Thanksgiving due to Tulane playing a football game. Everyone is brawling in the ring now then Combs submits Day with a recliner-type move (4:01) **.
Thoughts: This ended up being a fun TV match. Crews played heel and this was all-action. We also got news of the SuperDome show being bumped up from Thanksgiving due to a football game.
We learn that Lanny Poffo will make his debut next week as Watts puts over his athleticism.
Final Thoughts: The big takeaways here were Darsow aligning with JYD and Duggan beating Reed. They also seem to be giving Volkoff and Neidhart big pushes, especially Volkoff. However, there are too many big guy heels in the promotion and most of them do not stick out or even impress. Anyway, expect more of the Russia vs. USA stuff with the way Watts was talking on commentary and expect Duggan to get a shot at the North American Title.