This week Throwback Thursday returns to Bill Watts’ beloved Mid-South territory in the archives of the WWE Network and Peacock to reexamine a classic edition of Mid-South Wrestling that aired 41 years ago this month!
In the early spring of 1982 Bill Watt’s Mid-South Wrestling remained one of the most-watched, most widely respected territories in the industry. Former partner Leroy McGuirk, who continued to run Oklahoma after Watts purchased the bulk of the Tri-State Wrestling territory in 1979, was finally ready to retire and sell to Watts. During this time Bill Watts had been shoring up his own territory, moving TV tapings to the Irish McNeil Boys Club on the Louisiana State Fairgrounds, bringing in a young Jim Ross on commentary, and contemplating the end of the popular Louisiana and Mississippi state titles.
Each step played a key role in Watts’ plans to get ahead of the expansion of cable television by giving the territory a more “national” look and feel. Watts watched, with a front row seat, as cable television began to destroy the territory system the industry had gone to such pains to maintain.
The demise of the territory system left the door open for ambitious promoters to take over great swaths of territory far beyond their own backyards. In New York, for instance, Vincent K. McMahon was dreaming up his own vision of pro wrestling on a national scale and was putting the early pieces in place to acquire the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) from his father, Vincent J. McMahon. McMahon’s vision for the WWF would, eventually, succeed beyond his wildest dreams, reshaping professional wrestling forever.
As for Watts, who was a non-member in good standing with the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), building relationships with key promoters like the Von Erichs (Dallas), Paul Boesch (Houston), the McMahons (New York), and Verne Gagne (Minneapolis), was central to his vision of what Mid-South Wrestling could be.
Some three weeks before this edition of Mid-South Wrestling aired more than 18,000 fans filled the Superdome in New Orleans for an historic Mid-South card, bolstering Bill Watts belief that his episodic, dramatic, and personal style of booking was superior to any other and far most popular.
The top story in Mid-South Wrestling at the time this edition of Mid-South aired was Bob Roop winning the North American title from Ted DiBiase and, in the process, turning on friend Paul Orndorff. Another top story was the complete dominance of the Wild Samoans and the emergence of the One Man Gang as one of Skandor Akbar’s heavies.
Away from the ring the top song in the nation the week this edition of Mid-South Wrestling aired was Joan Jett & The Blackhearts’ “I Love Rock ‘N Roll” while the Go-Go’s Beauty and the Beast was the top album. On television CBS’ Dallas was the ratings winner for the week as Porky’s, starring Kim Catrall, Kaki Hunter, Nancy Parsons, Scott Colomby, Alex Karras, & Susan Clark, was the top film in cinemas.
Now let’s fire up the ol’ WWE Network on Peacock, hit ‘play’, and see how well this edition of Mid-South Wrestling holds up in 2023!
Edits are not an issue with this edition of Mid-South Wrestling on the WWE Network on Peacock. Context is solid, with the bulk of past editions of Mid-South Wrestling, dating back to December 12, 1981, available for you to enjoy right now!
Mid-South Wrestling #133 (WATCH)
Date: March 27, 1982 (TAPED: March 24, 1982) – Location: Irish McNeil Boys Club, Shreveport, Louisiana
Attendance: N/A – TV Ratings: N/A
Commentators: Boyd Pierce & Jim Ross – Interviews: N/A
CHAMPIONS AT THE TIME:
NWA World Heavyweight Champion: “Nature Boy” Ric Flair (September 17, 1981, Kansas City, Kansas, from “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes; Lou Thesz was guest referee for this match)
Mid-South North American Heavyweight Champion: Bob Roop (March 20, 1982, Mid-South Wrestling, taped March 17, 1982, from Ted DiBiase; Roop wrestled in place of Paul Orndorff, whose car Roop sabotaged)
Mid-South Tag Team Champions: The Samoans (Afa & Sika) (March 6, 1982, Mid-South Wrestling, taped March 6, 1982, from Junkyard Dog & Mike George)
Mid-South Mississippi Heavyweight Champion: Mr. Olympia (January 23, 1982, Mid-South Wrestling, taped January 20, 1982, from Bob Orton, Jr.)
Mid-South Louisiana Heavyweight Champion: Junkyard Dog (December 7, 1981, New Orleans, Louisiana, from The Great Kabuki)
This week’s edition of Mid-South Wrestling begins with a cold open of commentator Boyd Pierce, at ringside, giving us a rundown of the card to come before we get the standard Mid-South Wrestling open of the era.
Coming out of the opening we head to the announce position where Boyd Pierce welcomes us to the show. Boyd gives us a rundown of the action we can expect to see before introducing Jim Ross. Boyd talks about last week’s main event, in which Bob Roop defeated Ted DiBiase to become the new North American Heavyweight Champion, and how it was a battle of “mental minds” as much as it was a physical battle.
Boyd talks about the plan Paul Orndorff, Bob Roop, One Man Gang, and Skandor Akbar had to get the strap off of DiBiase before Roop swerved Orndorff, calling it a “double double-cross”. Ross calls the plan “foolproof”, despite it ending via referee stoppage, but the wrong man won the title. Originally, Ross says, the plan was created for Orndorff, not Roop, to win the strap from DiBiase before tossing to footage from the closing moments of the Roop/DiBiase title match from last week.
We join the footage as DiBiase blocks Bob Roop’s shoulder breaker before landing a powerslam and cinching in the figure-four leglock. Roop turns the figure-four over, though, and DiBiase struggles to turn it back before both men end up in the ropes, breaking the hold. DiBiase goes right back to the hold but Roop kicks DiBiase off and into the referee, who falls to the floor.
With both men down, and the referee on the floor, One Man Gang arrives, smashing DiBiase’s knee against the ringpost. As the referee stumbles back into the ring Roop cinches in his own, sloppy, figure-four. DiBiase eventually blacks out and the referee stops the match, awarding the North American title Roop, who celebrates to the dismay of the fans.
Back at the announce position Boyd sets up and tosses to a pre-taped interview from the “hot, hot, hot” Paul Orndorff. We then cut to the ring where Reesor Bowden stands with Orndorff. Everybody knows what happened last week, Orndorff says, that he had a title match with DiBiase set when Bob Roop, whom Orndorff calls a “coward” and a “backstabber”, deliberately tampered with his car to prevent Orndorff from making it the arena for the match. Orndorff mentions the plan he and the other three men had that should have resulted in Orndorff, not Roop, walking out with the North American Heavyweight Championship.
Roop has messed with the wrong man, Orndorff says, and that when Orndorff is upset “things happen”. Roop has something that belongs to Orndorff, he says, and that the only reason Orndorff stayed in the area was to win the North American title. Roop used Orndorff’s muscles and Roop’s brains to benefit only Bob Roop. Orndorff knows the kind of man Roop is, he says, and promises that Roop will wish the day never came that he steps in the ring with Orndorff.
Orndorff promises to kick Roop’s “booty” from one end of the ring to the other and become the next North American Heavyweight Champion. Back at the announce position Jim Ross says we haven’t the last of this situation. Boyd tells us to “mark it down”, that Orndorff is after Roop as we head to the ring for the opening bout.
—Singles Match (9:28)
Paul Orndorff vs. Coco Samoa
After a short feeling-out process Coco Samoa uses his speed and agility to fluster Orndorff early. stifling Orndorff’s offense. Even when Orndorff manages to wrestle Coco to the mat with a side headlock Coco finds a way out. Coco has the upper hand until Orndorff drops Coco, Stun Gun style, across the top rope. Orndorff goes on the attack, cinching in a rear chinlock. Before long, though, Coco is free, landing a flurry of shots that stagger Orndorff. Coco Samoa whips Orndorff into the corner before charging into a stiff Orndorff lariat. In a flash Orndorff sends Coco into the ropes and lands his big powerslam for the 1-2-3 at 3:36.
WINNER is Paul Orndorff (Pin, 3:36)
After the match we head to our first Peacock ad-break with a slow-motion replay of Orndorff’s powerslam.
Coming out of the break we go to the ring where Reesor Bowden attempts to introduce the non-title match between new North American Heavyweight Champion Bob Roop and Buddy Landell. Out of nowhere, though, Paul Orndorff crashes the scene, all but pushing Landell out of the ring and demanding Roop face Orndorff instead. Moments later Orndorff pushes the referee from the ring as well and dares Roop to fight him. Roop tries to flee the ring but Orndorff meets Roop on the floor and begins to pound the snort out of Roop.
As the whipping heads into the ring we can hear the referee on commentary demanding that matchmaker Grizzly Smith be brought out and that order be restored. Orndorff destroys Roop in the ring before a slew of wrestlers, including a young Tully Blanchard, try to break it up. As Orndorff fights off the incoming wrestlers Bob Roop slips out of the ring to safety. Orndorff, standing alone in the ring, dares Roop to fight him in the ring as Roop slinks away.
Boyd Pierce puts a cap on the fight and tosses to the next Peacock ad-break with a slow-motion replay of Orndorff dropping Roop with a lariat.
—Singles Match (16:14)
Mike Boyer vs. “Iron” Mike Sharpe
Mike Boyer looks physically ridiculous, what with his hair, shabby gear, and knee pads resting at his ankles. This pales in comparison, though, to how Boyer’s work looks. With his ridiculous, goofy facials and campy selling, Boyer is a sight to behold. Sharpe controls the action from the opening bell, zeroing in on Boyer’s arm. Boyer has his moments, like when he tries to turn a Sharpe armbar into a pinning position with the help of the ropes, but the match belongs to Sharpe.
Late in the bout Boyer tries to get something going with strikes before attempting to cinch in a rear chinlock. Sharpe fires up, though, and goes on the attack, tossing Boyer around the ring before cinching in the Canadian backbreaker for the submission win at 3:50.
WINNER is “Iron” Mike Sharpe (Submission, 3:50)
Following the match we head to the next Peacock ad-break with a slow-motion replay of Sharpe cinching up the Canadian backbreaker.
—“Non Title Tag Team Match” (20:58)
Mid-South Tag Team Champions The Samoans (Afa & Sica) w/Skandor Akbar vs. Junkyard Dog & “Killer” Karl Kox
Sica, as it was spelled in the territory, starts with Kox, getting the better of Kox before JYD tags in and turns the tide. Using quick tags JYD & Kox keep Sica grounded, scoring a number of near-falls before Sica backs Kox in the Samoans’ corner. The Samoans try to use to double-team maneuvers to cut Kox down but Kox fights through it to make it back to JYD, who goes after Afa with Kox. JYD lands a big running right hand for a near-fall as Akbar reaches in grab JYD’s foot.
Dog turns to confront Akbar but is attacked by Afa, turning the match in the Samoans’ favor. The Samoans use quick tags, high impact maneuvers, and good ol’ fashioned stomps to ground JYD before Kox rushes in to try and make the save. Kox knocks Afa and Sica’s heads together and goes on the attack as the match breaks down. As the referee tries to get Kox out of the ring the Samoans double-team JYD. A double headbutt from behind sends Kox to the floor, enabling more double-teaming on the Dog. The Samoans set JYD up for a double clothesline but JYD ducks under and lands a double lariat of his own before going after Akbar.
JYD brings Akbar over the top with a bodyslam before tossing the referee to the floor. The fight goes one, though, with JYD trying to fight off the Samoans. Afa trips Dog and the Champions swarm as Kox reenters the ring with his small, collapsible shovel. Kox levels both Afa and Sica with the shovel and, in a flash, JYD covers Sica for the pinfall win at 4:54.
WINNERS are Junkyard Dog & “Killer” Karl Kox (Pin, 4:54)
After the match Akbar rages as the referee signals a win for the babyfaces. We then head to the next Peacock ad-break with a full speed replay of JYD dropping the Samoans with his double lariat.
—Singles Match (28:15)
One Man Gang w/Skandor Akbar vs. Terry Gibbs
Gibbs tries to use his speed and athleticism to get some kind of advantage over Gang as this one gets going, but it’s all for naught. Gibbs tries to land a running crossbody on Gang but Gang catches Gibbs out of the air to deliver a backbreaker. Gang tortures Gibbs throughout before finishing Gibbs off with the body slam and running splash for the pinfall at :22-seconds.
WINNER is One an Gang w/Skandor Akbar (Pin, 0:22)
Following the match we head to the next Peacock ad-break with a slow-motion replay of Gang splashing Gibbs.
—“Non-Title Singles Match” (30:35)
Tully Blanchard vs. Mid-South Mississippi Heavyweight Champion Mr. Olympia
This one is nip-and-tuck to start, with both Blanchard and Olympia getting the better of the other before the match slows down. After a brief lull in the action Mr. Olympia cinches in a side headlock. Olympia fights off Blanchard’s attempts to escape before sending Blanchard over the top to the floor with a hip toss. Back in the ring Mr. Olympia grabs a standing armbar that Blanchard tries to slam his way out of to no avail. Olympia continues to stifle Blanchard’s offense until Olympia attempts a running monkey flip in the corner that Blanchard blocks, sending Olympia flying hard in the back of his head.
Blanchard keeps Olympia grounded, scoring a near-fall before cinching in a rear chinlock. Blanchard is in full control here, stifling Olympia’s many attempts to break free and, when Olympia does get free, fighting off a frenzied hope spot. The tenacity and fire that would come to mark Blanchard’s future career is on full display here as Blanchard tries everything in his power to secure a pinfall win over Mr. Olympia. Blanchard tries to steal a pin with his feet on the ropes but the referee catches Blanchard in the act. An irate Blanchard confronts the referee before walking right into a Mr. Olympia inside cradle for the flash pinfall at 6:03.
WINNER is Mid-South Mississippi Heavyweight Champion Mr. Olympia (Pin, 6:03)
After the match we head to the final Peacock ad-break with a slow-motion replay of Olympia securing the match-ending inside cradle.
—Singles Match (37:33)
Rick Ferrera vs. Jesse Barr
Jesse Barr is, as most will know, the future Jimmy Jack Funk. This match is the kind of show-closing bout that Mid-South was famous for, with two relatively young, unknown wrestlers getting a chance to show their stuff with little to no time to work with. Barr starts by trying to use his athleticism to frustrate Ferrera’s offense. Barr grounds Ferrera with a side headlock. Ferrera transitions to a key lock before Barr gets to his feet. Barr tries for an O’Connor Roll but Ferrera holds on to the ropes to block the attempt, sending Barr backwards on the back of his head.
Ferrera stays close to Barr but can’t keep Barr down. Barr manages to find his way back into the match, scoring a near-fall with an inside cradle. As time ticks away Boyd begins to hype next week’s card. As the final minute ticks away Ferrera goes after Barr’s knee, trying for a leg lock. Barr kicks Ferrera into the ropes and lands a modified monkey flip for a near-fall. A shaken Ferrera tags Barr in the gut just as the bell rings to bring this match, and this week’s show, to a close.
NO WINNER declared (Time limit draw, 3:39)
Following the bell Barr grabs an inside cradle that the referee breaks up as Boyd signs off and we head to the credits to bring this week’s edition of Mid-South Wrestling to an end!
This is yet another fast-paced, action-packed edition of Mid-South Wrestling! The highlights of the show are the Samoans’ clash with JYD & Karl Kox and the Blanchard/Mr. Olympia clash but the show opening story involving Orndorff and Bob Roop is a lot of fun, too, giving the eagle-eyed fan a chance to see how clever the Mid-South booking was and just how effectively Watts used his TV. If you haven’t seen this edition of Mid-South Wrestling, or if it’s been a while, this show is well worth your time. Who knows, you may end up liking 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!
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Thanks for reading – until next week, see ya at ringside!