The SmarK Rant for Mid-South Wrestling – 04.17.82
Last week: Ernie Ladd revealed that his mystery partner against the Samoans will be The Assassin!
Taped from Shreveport, LA
Your hosts are Boyd Pierce & the returning Jim Ross, the voice of ESPN Rodeo!
Meanwhile, Cowboy Bill Watts joins us to bitch about the AUDACITY of Andy Kaufman to get involved in the wrestling business without paying his dues and being an athlete first. So Bill takes us to tape from ABC Sports, covering the famous Lawler-Kaufman match from Memphis, where Andy did a stretcher job from Lawler’s piledriver and the news outlet treats it like he actually suffered a broken neck and is now retiring from wrestling. And Bill’s opinion is that Andy deserved what he got for making a mockery of wrestling. I wonder what Bill thought of the eventual payoff on Letterman? I mean, we KNOW what he thought of Vince McMahon making an actual circus out of wrestling, because he bitched about it on a weekly basis once we get to 1984.
The One Man Gang v. Tony Torres & Terry Gibbs
Gang beats on Torres with the clubbing forearms, which is doubly funny considering Watts just going on this big rant about “top athletes” and how you can’t just “wave a magic wand” and make a new star. And meanwhile here’s this green doofus out there flailing around and getting a huge push because he’s big. Gang tries a double bearhug and falls over in the process, so he finishes Torres with a big splash at 3:15 instead. Anything more than a minute for Gang at this point is ill-advised. 0 for 1.
North American champion Bob Roop v. Dick Murdoch
Um, so Dick comes out in his marine garb and pulls his trunks out of a bag and puts them on under his jacket. What the hell was he wearing BEFORE that? They slug it out and Roop elbows him out to the floor, where Akbar puts Murdoch back in again. Roop goes up and misses a pump splash in the corner, and Murdoch comes back with an elbowdrop before slugging Roop out to the floor. So this time he grabs his helmet and shovel from the bag and knocks Akbar out with it, and Roop wisely runs away from this maniac and gets counted out at 2:30. Well there’s your next challenger made. This was so wacky I have to give it a point. 1 for 2.
Paul Orndorff v. Tully Blanchard
This seems like it would be an interesting combination but I don’t think they ever really had any interaction after this. Orndorff hiptosses Tully out of the corner and works on a headlock while throwing cheapshots, but he’s a babyface now so it’s OK I guess. Tully takes him down with a single leg and goes for the leg, but Orndorff fights him off and goes to work on the arm with a wristlock and hammerlock. Tully makes the ropes and gets his own cheapshot out of the corner, then follows with a middle rope elbow. Paul reverses a suplex and follows with a back elbow, then awkwardly puts Tully in a Boston crab, which Tully easily escapes. JR calls it “one of the first submission holds used in wrestling”, which I’m dubious about. Tully goes to the figure-four, but Paul reverses it, and that prompts Bob Roop to run in for the DQ at 4:32. So now Tully is moving up in the world a bit more, allied with top heel Roop. They were having a really good match before the abrupt finish. 2 for 3.
Iron Mike Sharpe v. Larry Higgens
Iron Mike as a soft spoken babyface remains a strange sight to me. So Higgens is actually someone who went on to a decent push in Japan and some territories years later as Hacksaw Higgins. Higgens beats on Sharpe in the corner for a bit, but walks into a bearhug and gives up at 2:28. 2 for 4.
The Wild Samoans v. Ernie Ladd & the Assassin
Assassin clarifies that he’s a professional, so Ernie Ladd paid him extremely well last week to help take care of business. But this morning he got a phone call from Akbar, and Akbar paid him EVEN MORE to walk out of the match. Ernie: “Why didn’t you tell me about this before now?” Assassin: “To make you look like the big stupid fool you are.” Fair enough! But Ladd wants a chance to go find another partner, and he leaves to go find one.
The Wild Samoans v. Ernie Ladd & Iron Mike Sharpe
Iron Mike is game and beats on Afa in the corner right away, but the Assassin pulls him out the ring and hits him with the loaded mask, putting him out of the match. And then Paul Orndorff hits the ring and cleans house to save Ladd and chase off the heels, which I’m assuming sets up a six-man match now. Nothing to the match, but really Ladd had it coming if he was dumb enough to trust someone that he was paying to be his partner!
Harley Race v. Terry Taylor
This would be from Florida sometime in 1980, with Race as NWA World champion at this point and Taylor early in his career. I don’t know exactly why we’re featuring a two year old match here. Taylor gets a brief comeback and Race puts him away with a suplex. Terry was a featured star in Mid-Atlantic at the point when this episode was airing in 1982 so I’m not sure what the point of this was supposed to be.
Jesse Barr v. Buddy Landel
They were just teaming up a couple of weeks ago, so this would be a “scientific” match to end the show. They exchange headlocks on the mat while Akbar joins us on commentary to promise consequences to Dick Murdoch. They trade suplex attempts and Barr works the headlock on the mat, and we’re DESPERATELY OUT OF TIME so it’s a draw at 3:00.
Not much going on in the ring for this episode, but the Assassin angle was a really clever payoff that made sense and they set some good stuff up for the future.