Throwback Thursday: Mid-South Wrestling (Nov. 12, 1983), As Seen on WWE Network and Peacock

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This week Throwback Thursday heads back to Bill Watts’ popular Mid-South territory on the WWE Network and Peacock to revisit a classic edition of Mid-South Wrestling that aired 39 years ago this month!

As Thanksgiving 1983 approached, Bill Watt’s Mid-South Wrestling was easily one of the most popular and most respected territories in the industry. Having finally solidified the entirety of the Mid-South territory Bill Watts set about creating a network of relationships between the various promoters in the area, including Paul Boesch (Houston) and the Von Erichs (Dallas), as well as famed promoter and booker Eddie Graham in Tampa, Florida and Ole Anderson in Atlanta, in an effort to expand the footprint and reach of the territory.

As this edition of Mid-South Wrestling hit airwaves the promotion was nearly a week away from their Thanksgiving Night Superdome Extravaganza event in New Orleans. With stars like Dusty Rhodes, Junkyard Dog, Mr. Wrestling II, and Kerry & David Von Erich on the card Bill Watts was hoping for a record-setting night in the Big Easy while going head-to-head with Jim Crockett Promotions’ inaugural Starrcade ’83 event.

Unfortunately for Watts the event would draw the lowest attendance (8,000) in the history of Mid-South Superdome cards. Though Mid-South would rebound in April ’84, drawing over 25,000 fans (the most for a Superdome event since August 1980) for a gate in excess of $176,000, the Thanksgiving 1983 event was a sour way to end what was otherwise another banner year for the Mid-South territory.

 

 

The big story in Mid-South at the time this edition of Mid-South Wrestling aired continued to be the Junkyard Dog/Butch Reed war for the JYD’s newly regained North American Heavyweight title. Other big stories involved Dusty Rhodes bitter feud with Nikolai Volkoff and Mr. Wrestling II’s recruitment of Magnum T.A. as his new protege.

Away from the ring the top song in the nation the week this edition of Mid-South Wrestling aired was Lionel Richie’s “All Night Long (All Night)” while The Police’s Synchronicity was the top album in the nation. CBS’s Dallas was the top rated program on television as The Big Chill, starring Tom Berenger, Glenn Close, Jeff Goldblum, William Hurt, and Kevin Kline, was the top film in theaters.

Now let’s fire up the WWE Network on Peacock, hit ‘play’, and find out how this edition of Mid-South Wrestling holds up 39 years later!

Edits are not an issue with this edition of Mid-South Wrestling on the WWE Network and Peacock. Context, meanwhile, is excellent. Nearly every edition of Mid-South Wrestling, dating back to December 12, 1981, are available for you to enjoy right now on the WWE Network on Peacock.

 

Mid-South Wrestling #218 (WATCH)
Date: November 12, 1983 (TAPED: Nov. 9, 1983) – Location: Irish McNeil Boys Club, Shreveport, Louisiana
Attendance: N/A – TV Ratings: N/A
Commentators: Boyd Pierce & Bill Watts – Interviews: Jim Ross & Reisor Bowden

CHAMPIONS AT THE TIME:
NWA World Heavyweight Champion: “Handsome” Harley Race (June 10, 1983, St. Louis, Missouri, from “Nature Boy” Ric Flair)
Mid-South North American Heavyweight Champion: Junkyard Dog (October 29, 1983, Mid-South Wrestling #216, taped October 20, 1983, from “Hacksaw” Butch Reed; Dusty Rhodes was guest referee for this match)
Mid-South Tag Team Champions: “Hacksaw” Butch Reed & Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart (October 15, 1983, Mid South Wrestling #214, taped October 12, 1983, from Magnum T.A. & “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan)

 

 

This week’s edition of Mid-South Wrestling begins with a cold open, atop the usual Mid-South music, featuring the closing moments of the North American Heavyweight title match from the October 29, 1983 edition of Mid-South Wrestling that saw Junkyard Dog win the title from “Hacksaw” Butch Reed in a match in which “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes was special guest referee.

 

We then head to the announce position inside the Irish McNeil Boys club where Boyd Pierce welcomes us to the show. Boyd confirms JYD’s title win and gives us a rundown of the card we can expect this week before introducing co-host “Cowboy” Bill Watts. Watts starts by talking about JYD regaining the North American Heavyweight before detailing how JYD previously lost the title in the Superdome on July 16, 1983, to Butch Reed (with the help of King Kong Bundy & “Mad Dog” Buzz Sawyer) in a no DQ two-out-of-three falls match.

 

Watts then turns to Reed’s unprovoked attack on an already injured King Cobra during last week’s edition of Mid-South Wrestling before tossing to the footage. The footage, recorded during a commercial break, picks up as Reed, with a bucket of bucket of paint and paint brush, enters the ring as referee Randy Anderson checks on an injured King Cobra, who had just had the bejabbers whipped from him by an irate Nikolai Volkoff.

Reed sets the bucket and brush down before smacking Cobra, tossing the referee from the ring, and going to work on Cobra. Reed hits the press slam, dumps a second referee to the floor, and hits the shoulder tackle before draping Cobra over the second rope on the far side of the ring. Reed dumps a third referee from the ring as he retrieves the paint bucket and brush.

With Cobra still draped across the second rope Reed paints a yellow stripe down the middle of Cobra’s back, a sign Watts seems confident is a message to JYD. Reed laughs about the stripe as he puts the lid on the paint and continues to crow about the stunt as JYD hits the ring to run Reed off.

 

Back at the announce position Bill Watts tells us that Mid-South fined Reed $500 for the paint stunt, but says the fine doesn’t help to relieve the “degradation” that King Cobra experienced. Reed may have made his point, Watts says, but Mid-South wants Reed to take a good look at the new North American Heavyweight Champion. Watts then tosses to a long music video for Junkyard Dog.

The original music, George Clinton’s “Atomic Dog” and Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust ” are, for obvious reasons, overdubbed on the Network & Peacock. As the video ends we cut back to the announce position, where any reference to the music in the prior video has been snipped, where Boyd tosses to our first Peacock ad-break of the hour.

 

Coming out of the break Bill Watts, at the announce position, talks about Butch Reed being upset about the $500 fine and tosses to a pre-recorded interview that Reed had with Jim Ross prior to the taping. In the ring Reed is joined by his Mid-South Tag Team Championship partner Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, who is carrying a small stereo box in his arms. Ross begins by talking about Reed’s attack on King Cobra and the $500 fine but Reed isn’t out here to talk about the fine or the JYD “stooge” King Cobra.

What Reed says he wants to talk about is the “slander” being spoken about him when he’s accused of walking a dog on a chain with a yellow stripe “up and down” the back of the dog. But, Reed says, he wants everybody to know that he’s not “cruel” to animals and that doesn’t go around “abusing dumb animals”. The only dog Reed wants to “paint” or “lead around on a chain” is the “greasy” Junkyard Dog. At Ross’s insistence Neidhart pulls a small black dog out of the stereo box. Reed says the dog isn’t abused, though it’s scared now like JYD is, before Jim Ross bends down and pets the dog, remarking that the dog “feels wet”.

Reed says the dog is just like JYD, that Reed is the dog’s “master” just like he’s going to be JYD’s. Then JYD will be licking Reed’s hands and feet and Reed can lead JYD around town on a chain with a yellow stripe painted down JYD’s spine. Back at the announce position Watts talks about Ross’ comments regarding the dog being wet and wonders if Reed & Neidhart hadn’t scrubbed the dog clean just before they arrived at the taping to hide any evidence. Watts then tosses to the ring for our opening bout.

 

—“Non-Title Tag Team Match” (8:04)
Mid-South Tag Team Champions “Hacksaw” Butch Reed & Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart vs. George Weingroff & Randy Barber

George Weingroff out-wrestles “Anvil” until Neidhart lands a backbreaker. Reed comes in and controls despite Weingroff’s hope spots. Before long Weingroff tags in Randy Barber, who gets easily worked over by Neidhart & Reed. Reed refuses to pin Barber, though, lifting Barber’s shoulders off the mat before the three-count. Soon enough Reed lands a big press slam before “Anvil” hits a power Samoan drop for the pinfall at 3:31.

WINNERS are Mid-South Tag Team Champions “Hacksaw” Butch Reed & Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart (Pin, 3:31)

 

Following the match we head to a Peacock ad-break with a slow-motion replay of the finish.

 

Coming out of the break we head back to the announce position where Bill Watts talks skeptically about the “powerful” Nikolai Volkoff sending half his money back home to buy “war bonds” to strengthen Russia and “keep the peace” before talking about Volkoff attacking Dusty Rhodes last week and tossing to the footage.

The footage starts in the closing moments of the tag team match pitting Rhodes & “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan against Reed & Neidhart. We see Rhodes send Reed to the floor before landing a running crossbody on Neidhart. Reed breaks up the pin attempt by pulling Rhodes to the floor by his hair. As Duggan goes after Neidhart in the ring, Reed and Rhodes brawl on the floor. Then, out of nowhere, Nikolai Volkoff arrives with what we’re told is a hundred-pound bag of wheat, smashing Rhodes in the head with the bag of wheat and emptying the wheat sack all over the floor as the referee calls for the bell.

As Reed reenters the ring to go after Duggan, Volkoff rams Rhodes hard into the ring post, knocking Rhodes out cold. In the ring Reed cinches in a Boston crab on Duggan as Neidhart puts the boots to Duggan. Despite the bell ringing, and Reisor Bowden bringing the Tag Team titles to the ring, the heels will not relent. Suddenly Magnum T.A. hits the ring and makes the save, taking the fight to both Reed & Neidhart before JYD joins the fight. In an instant all three babyfaces, Magnum, JYD, and Duggan, wipe out the heels as Rhodes lies motionless on the floor. Back at the announce position Watts wraps segment and tosses to the ring for the next bout, reminding us that “Krusher” Darsow has only been defeated one time on Mid-South Wrestling and that was at the hands of JYD.

 

In the ring Reisor Bowden performs the ring introductions before Nikolai Volkoff steps in. Volkoff says that he brought the Russian national anthem to be played in salute of Volkoff and that he was told “they” couldn’t find the tape. Volkoff says “they” were lying and the he found the tape and now demands the anthem be played. Bowden then announces the anthem and gives the signal for the music to be played. The anthem plays, or most of it, before the music fades. Volkoff turns to continue his griping, which is when Darsow moves in for the attack.

 

Singles Match (15:08)
Nikolai Volkoff vs. “Krusher” Darsow

Darsow jumpstarts this one and has the better of Volkoff until running into a big boot from Volkoff. Volkoff opens up on Darsow before Darsow traps Volkoff in a bear hug as Volkoff comes off the ropes. All the while we get some good ol’ fashioned right wing ranting from Watts about Russia, communism, and the greatness of the U.S. Darsow nearly puts Volkoff away with the bear hug before Volkoff slips his hands inside Darsow’s arms, breaks the hold, and applies his own bear hug. Volkoff rams a game Darsow into the corner and pounds on Darsow.

Soon enough Darsow lands a running shoulder tackle that floors Volkoff. Darsow backs up and attempts a second running shoulder block when Volkoff dodges Darsow, sending Darsow throat-first into the top rope. Volkoff stomps on and taunts Darsow before landing another big boot. After stomping on Darsow, Volkoff lifts Darsow for a stalling press backbreaker for the pinfall at 4:39.

WINNER is Nikolai Volkoff (Pin, 4:39)

 

After the match we head to the next Peacock ad-break with a slow-motion replay of the finish.

 

—“Non-Title Tag Team Match” (23:52)
NWA National Tag Team Champions The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk & Road Warrior Animal) vs. Mike Bond & Art Crews

The Road Warriors, as a tag team, made their debut on the June 11, 1983 edition of Georgia Championship Wrestling (GCW) as the new National Tag Team Champions, winning the then-vacant titles in a phantom tournament. The National Tag Team titles had been vacant since the January 1, 1983 edition of GCW when then-Champions the Wild Samoans (Afa & Sika) were stripped of the titles after they left GCW for the World Wrestling Federation. This match, as one would expect, is a squash.

Road Warrior Animal knocks Mike Bond to the floor as Road Warrior Hawk goes to work on Art Crews. The Road Warriors use quick tags to take the fight to Crews before Bond tags in and is immediately smothered by Road Warrior Hawk. We see a number of quick tags as the Road Warriors beat the bejabbers out of Bond. In the end Road Warrior Hawk press slams Bond before Road Warrior Animal lands a stiff lariat to a terrified Bond for the 1-2-3 at 2:10.

WINNERS are The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk & Road Warrior Animal) (Pin, 2:10)

 

Following the match Road Warrior Hawk attacks Art Crews and tosses Crews hard to the floor as we head tot he next Peacock ad-break with a slow-motion replay of the match ending lariat.

 

Coming out of the break “Cowboy” Bill Watts talks about the concept of “specialization” in professional wrestling and tosses to an interview segment with Reisor Bowden. Bowden begins by talking about living in a “world of specialization” and how this has helped in the field of medicine as well as sports, pointing out that every athlete needs some form of coaching because “no man ever knows all there is to know”. But until now, Bowden says, the innovation has not been “conceived” in the world of pro wrestling.

Now it has, Bowden says, as Mr. Wrestling II has, “for some time”, had his “eye” on Magnum T.A. Bowden reminds us that Wrestling II has “a great deal” of experience in wrestling and that Wrestling II has decided that it may be a good idea to serve not as a manger for Magnum T.A. but a “coach”.

Wrestling II tells Bowden that he’s spent nearly his entire life in athletics and that he’s been watching Magnum T.A., checked on his amateur background, and says that to do all the things Magnum has done and gone through takes a lot of “heart, determination”, and “drive” to push himself to “those outer limits”. So Wrestling II says he’s taken it upon himself, after coming to an undisclosed financial agreement with Magnum, to “pass on” Wrestling II’s knowledge to a young man that Wrestling II feels will “reach the height” of pro wrestling.

This doesn’t mean Wrestling II will hang up his boots or interfere in any way with Wrestling II’s career, it just means that Wrestling II plans on making Magnum T.A., perhaps, the greatest wrestler anyone has ever seen. Bowden calls it a “great idea” and says that Magnum T.A. has “the stuff to do it with”. Magnum T.A. tells Bowden that after some thought Magnum realized that he had made his best athletic progress at “the hands of some of greatest coaches in the country” and as he’s made the transition to the pro game he’s left the coaches behind, having no one to get advice from.

Now, Magnum says, he has a man with twenty-five years experience, whom Magnum respects greatly, to help Magnum reach the heights Magnum wishes to attain. Bowden then asks Wrestling II if he plans on teaching his famous running knee lift to Magnum but Wrestling II says Magnum needs to “learn how to walk before you can jump”. Back at the announce position Bill Watts touts the concept Wrestling II & Magnum T.A. plan to employ and how eager he is to see how it develops before tossing it to the ring for the next match.

 

Singles Match (27:18)
Paul Garner vs. Mr. Wrestling II

A game Garner is no match for Wrestling II. Wrestling II grounds Garner and works a side headlock before working Garner’s arm and cinching in a head scissors. Garner manages to get to the ropes and tries to fight back only to miss a dropkick. Wrestling II lands a few shots and slams Garner before hitting the running knee lift for the 1-2-3 at 2:35

WINNER is Mr. Wrestling II (Pin, 2:35)

 

After the match we head to a Peacock ad-break with a slow-motion replay of Wrestling II’s running knee lift.

 

Singles Match (34:27)
Jeff Sword vs. Mike Jackson

This match is nip-and-tuck to start before Sword catches a rear chinlock. Jackson escapes the chinlock and drops Sword with a drop toe hold before riding Sword and cinching in a side headlock. Sword cradles Jackson for a near-fall before landing a low knee that stops Jackson cold. Sword batters Jackson until missing a standing elbow drop, giving Jackson the opening to fire up. Jackson lands a back brain kick and a dropkick before Sword backs into the corner, catching Jackson on the way in. Sword reverses an Irish whip to the corner and lands a flying lariat before hitting a swinging neckbreaker for the pinfall at 3:01.

WINNER is Jeff Sword (Pin, 3:01)

 

Following the match we head to the next Peacock ad-break with a slow-motion replay of the swinging neckbreaker.

 

Singles Match (38:21)
John King vs. Tony Torres

Torres starts fast, taking the fight to King before King starts to fight back himself. Torres back bodydrops King out of the corner and backs off. Torres catches a low knee from King as King goes to work on Torres, though he’s unable to put Torres away. As the last minute of TV time begins to tick away Torres catches King in an arm drag and arm bar. Torres catches King in a small package for a near-fall before trying an O’Connor Roll as Boyd Pierce signs off and the final seconds tick away. Torres tries one more flurry of offense but the final seconds tick off and the match ends as a time limit draw to bring this week’s show to a close.

NO WINNER declared (TV time limit draw, 2:46)

 

After the match, with the show already wrapped up, we get a quick sign-off from Pierce as we head straight to the credits!

 

Final Thoughts

This yet another excellent, action-packed, story-driven edition of Mid-South Wrestling! From the Road Warriors squash to the show-closing draw, there’s not a bad match on the show. The interviews, vignettes, and background are all top notch, as one would come to expect from Mid-South Wrestling. If you have the time, try and watch the entire show, it’s a perfect illustration of Watts’ ability to jam two hours of story into a 60-minute sack.

If you only have a bit of time then you should check out the Road Warriors squash, the opening tag team match, and the Mr. Wrestling II/Magnum T.A. sit down with Reisor Bowden. If you haven’t seen this edition of Mid-South Wrestling, or it’s been a while, you should take the time to check this show out. Who knows, you may actually like it, and that’s never a bad thing!

Already subscribed to the WWE Network on Peacock? Then you can relive the classic edition of Mid-South Wrestling right now or experience it for the very first time! As always, let us know what you think in the comments section below!

For pre-WNN editions of Throwback Thursday, click here!

Thanks for reading – until next week, see ya at ringside!

 

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