The SmarK Rant for Mid-South Wrestling – 08.31.85
Taped from Shreveport, LA
Your hosts are Boyd Pierce & Bill Watts. Wait, wasn’t he supposed to be out of the territory for 90 days and replaced by the mysterious Midnight Rider? Is coming back as color commentator some kind of weird loophole for this situation? And why the sudden switch from JR & Joel after like four months straight of them?
Anyway, Bill basically handwaves his return here and moves on to talking about how proud he is that the Rock N Roll Express have won the World tag team titles over in Mid-Atlantic after he broke them into the sport. Bill Watts: Humbleness personified.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the forest, the mysterious MIDNIGHT RIDER is coming to help put an end to Skandor Akbar. Also, some other masked guy on a motorcycle, who is equally mysterious but doesn’t wear a helmet because of FREEDOM. I’m kind of confused because this was clearly a different guy than the other Rider, so maybe Watts was already backpedalling on the storyline.
The Fantastics v. Jerry Grey & Pat Rose
I love how Watts makes sure to make a big show out of congratulating Morton & Gibson on making it big without him, and then the first thing he puts on his show is the Fantastics. You cannot say this man doesn’t have giant brass balls on him. They double-team Grey, but Rose comes in and suplexes Rogers to take over. Grey drops a knee for two and Rose gets a back elbow for two. Elbowdrop gets two and Grey comes off the middle rope with an elbow and a nice dropkick for two. Rogers fights back with a dropkick and makes the tag to Fulton, who quickly runs wild and sets up Rogers for a flying splash to finish at 3:17. Good little squash. 1 for 1.
Bounty Match: Hacksaw Jim Duggan v. One Man Gang
When did Gang return to Mid-South? Ah, Watts actually explains that Akbar paid Gary Hart to bring the Gang over from World Class for this. Thanks, Bill! Gang beats on Duggan and tosses him, but Duggan fights back in the ring until walking into a bearhug. Watts notes that Duggan has a heart as big as all outdoors. Yeah, the drugs will do that to you. Meanwhile, Bill goes on a rant about how much he hates Puerto Rico and how the US should pull out their foreign aid and let their economy collapse. Can you imagine if Twitter was around in 1985 and Bill Watts had an account? Gang pounds on Duggan in the corner, but Jim fights back and hits a shoulderblock for two. Akbar interferes and Duggan goes after him, so Gang grabs the chain and chokes out Duggan for the DQ at 4:12. The result doesn’t matter, however, because it’s a Bounty Match and so the point is for Gang to injure Duggan and collect money. Duggan actually fights off Gang and gets the chain, making his own comeback and chasing off the heels. Wait, I thought the point of wrestling was HEAT, where you leave the babyfaces laying every week and make the fans all mad? 2 for 2.
Mid-South tag team title: Dr. Death Steve Williams & Bob Sweetan v. Al Perez & Wendell Cooley
But first, Jake Roberts and Barbarian are in the ring making their pitch for a tag team title shot again after getting cheated at the Superdome. Doc tells them to get to the back of the line, but Jake again asks for a shot on TV, one time only. So finally Sweetan relents in order to shut them up, and next week they meet for the titles. Perez gets a takedown on Doc and rides him on the mat, but Williams FLATTENS him with a backdrop suplex and drops a fist on him for two. Cooley sneaks in and gets a double dropkick to chase the heels out of the ring, and we take a break. Back with Sweetan putting Cooley down with a shoulder, but Cooley gets an abdominal stretch and Sweetan hiptosses out of that. Over to Perez, who dodges a blind charge from Sweetan, and the babyfaces go to work on the arm. Back to Doc, and the babyfaces go after his arm as well. Doc breaks free, but he misses a blind charge and jams his shoulder in the corner, and Cooley comes in and stays on the armbar. Sunset flip gets two. Back to Sweetan, but we have to take another break. Back with Sweetan dropping an elbow on Cooley for two and Williams goes to a facelock and holds him on the mat. Cooley fights back with a bodypress for two, but Doc beats him down again and rolls him into another facelock on the mat. Today’s thing I have learned recently that I can’t unsee now: The secret signal from the babyface on the apron in a tag match is the position of his hand. If he’s reaching out his hand for the tag with the palm down, it’s not time for the tag yet. When he turns the hand over and puts the palm up, that’s the signal for the hot tag. Doc drags Cooley back to the heel corner and slams him repeatedly, but he misses an elbow and it’s HOT TAG Al Perez. Perez is running wild and it’s a DONNYBROOK, and Perez gets a german suplex but the ref is busy with Sweetan. So Bob breaks up the pin and Doc goes for the Stampede, but Perez fights back with a flying forearm. So Doc gets all flummoxed and tries it on Cooley instead, but he’s not the legal man, and Perez comes from behind with ANOTHER german suplex, and this one gets the pin and the Mid-South tag team titles at 17:43! I don’t imagine that reign lasted very long but that was a pretty shocking title switch for the time. 3 for 3 and the match was flirting with ***1/2 – **** most of the way. And they’re definitely taking a swing at making new stars with this one. Of course it didn’t work because it’s just Al Perez and Wendell Cooley, but sometimes you gotta take that shot.
Mid-South TV title: Butch Reed v. The Nightmare
Damn, this card is STACKED. Watts notes that they’re trying a new experiment where they don’t do ring introductions, in order to provide more time for action in the ring. Interesting. Reed misses a splash and Nightmare drops a knee on him and then necks him on the top rope. Nightmare pounds away in the corner and drops a knee for two. Meanwhile, Bill Watts points out that the Snowman has disappeared and we don’t know where he is, but some guys just can’t handle the pressure and need to get out. That was a random burial considering he’s been gone for months at this point. Nightmare loads up his mask and gets the headbutt, but Reed powers out of the piledriver and slugs away, then hits a shoulderblock to finish at 4:12 and retain the title. Nightmare tries to run away, so Reed tries for the mask and nearly loses it. I sense we’re nearing the end for the Nightmare. 3 for 4.
Jake Roberts & Barbarian v. Larry Clark & Wayne Lavinski
Jake is PISSED OFF at losing his tag team title shot next week, and finishes the geek with a DDT at 0:30 and WE’RE ALL OUT OF TIME.
Well except we have to watch the Midnight Rider video again, because that kind of thing you MAKE time for. While I’m thinking of it, for a guy named The Midnight Rider he’s sure riding around in broad daylight a lot.
This felt like a booker change reset show, which would make sense with Dundee leaving around this time. Sadly there’s only a couple of months left of this show on the Network because I’m pretty sure we’re about to get to the REALLY good stuff.