The SmarK DVD Rant for Mid-South Wrestling’s Greatest Matches
I didn’t even KNOW that Micah Watts sold DVDs of the UWF footage, but it’s right there at universalwrestling.com, and you knew I was gonna be all over that once I found it. It’s all divided into 2-episode discs for $20 a pop, but there’s also this sampler disc available for the same price, and I figured I’d give it a look. The disc presentation isn’t particularly impressive (the case lists such luminaries as “Rick Flair” and “Kerry Von Erik”) but I’ve seen worse, to be honest. Video quality is tremendous, pretty crisp and looking like it was recorded yesterday off 24/7.
Hacksaw Jim Duggan v. The Black Ninja (Kendo Nagasaki)
From May 1983. Duggan attacks right away, but Ted Dibiase immediately runs in and clobbers him with the LOADED GLOVE OF DEATH. OK then.
Afa, Sika & Ernie Ladd v. Junkyard Dog, Andre the Giant & Dusty Rhodes
From 1982. That’s some impressive star power in there. Dusty wallops on Sika and runs him into JYD’s head, and then Andre rams the Samoan heads together and he’s so powerful that even they have to sell it. Afa tries a headlock on Andre, but runs into his ass and bumps off it. Finally Big Cat comes in and Andre takes him down with a headlock before a double team from the Samoans turns the tide. They try to hold him in the corner, but Andre casually walks to his own corner with the heels dragging behind him in a funny spot, and it’s back to Dusty. He switches off with JYD as they double-team Ladd, and then Andre levels Afa with a big boot for two. The Samoans double-team Andre with a slam while Ladd distracts the ref, but that only gets two. It’s BREAKING LOOSE IN TULSA and Andre goes AIRBORNE with a flying splash on Ladd for the pin at 6:35. Yeah, if Andre the Giant is flying off the top at you, you’re jobbing, just accept it. **1/2
MIDGET MADNESS: Little Tokyo & Ivan the Terrible v. Lone Eagle & Cowboy Lang
It’s a midget match. You know my feelings already.
Ted Dibiase & Steve Williams v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan & Private Terry Daniels
January 1985 now. Daniels was one of Sgt. Slaughter’s cadets, and a pretty good worker I seem to recall. Don’t think he ever became anyone notable, as he just kind of disappeared after Slaughter dropped out of the limelight in the 80s. The babyfaces clean house after some cheating from Dibiase, and Duggan hits them both with clotheslines to send them scurrying again. Back in, Duggan pounds away on Dibiase in the corner, and Daniels comes in and then gets killed by Doc. Daniels gets the heat, but Duggan hits Dibiase with a shot from the apron because he just hates him so much. Doc keeps beating on Daniels and it’s BONZO GONZO, and Duggan running wild in a tag match is pretty awesome. Dibiase loads up the glove and knocks out the Private, however, giving Williams the win at 5:17. Fun match. **
One Man Gang v. Junkyard Dog
From September 82. Gang has long greasy hair and beard here, very early in his career. Dog quickly dominates and drops a fist for two. Clothesline and the powerslam look to finish, but Akbar runs in for the DQ at 1:00. That powerslam was pretty impressive.
Steve Williams & Rob Ricksteiner v. Hacksaw Jim Duggan & Butch Reed
From November 85. This is the only teaming of the two Hacksaws that I’ve ever seen. Rob Ricksteiner is of course the real name of the guy you’d expect it to be. He was just a puppy-faced gremlin at this point, almost literally just out of university. Reed overpowers him to start, and Duggan comes in with a clothesline before Doc tags in. They slug it out and a cheapshot from Ricksteiner puts the heat on Duggan, but Doc misses a splash and it’s hot tag Reed. A double shoulderblock finishes Ricksteiner at 2:50. *1/2
Buddy Landell v. Kerry Von Erich
From May 1985. Kerry’s name is actually spelled wrong on the original graphic here, so that’s probably where the error on the DVD case came from. Kerry chases Buddy out of the ring and hits him with a nice dropkick, then starts working on the arm. Buddy gets a cheapshot, but Kerry beats on him in the corner and hits the discus punch for two. Blind charge misses and Landell takes over with the corkscrew elbow for two, but Kerry dropkicks him again. Man, why did he stop doing that…oh yeah. The IRON CLAW finishes at 4:00. Fun little match! **
Mid South TV Title: Terry Taylor v. Jake Roberts
The title is represented by a gold medal in this case. They trade armdrags and Jake gets a cheap elbow in the corner, but makes the classic heel error of pointing to his head to indicate intelligence, and Taylor dumps him out of the ring. Back in, Taylor goes to work on the arm as this is already the most decompressed match on the entire DVD thus far. Jake tries to slam out of the armbar, but Taylor holds on by cranking on it to keep Jake from doing the move. Jake finally escapes with a jawbreaker, using Taylor’s own hammerlock for leverage against him. That’s pretty great. Jake with a gutbuster and knees to the ribs to take over. Taylor makes the comeback with a kneedrop for two, but he runs into the short clothesline. Taylor escapes the DDT and hits the flying forearm to retain at 6:47, and then Jake DESTROYS him with a DDT on a chair to get some revenge. Like he absolutely planted Taylor on that thing. ***
Mid South tag titles: The Midnight Express v. The Rock N Roll Express
Those are some busted tag belts. The length of Eaton’s mullet would place this around 1984, since there’s no date here. Eaton gets double-teamed in the corner, but beats on Robert to escape. The RNR go to work on Eaton’s leg, however, and Eaton reverses a toehold on Gibson into a small package for two. Over to Condrey, and he quickly gets trapped in the babyface corner as well. The Midnights regroup and Ricky grabs a headlock on Eaton and gets a powerslam off a long criss-cross, but Condrey gets a cheapshot to take over. And it’s time for the portion of the match we all know and love, as the Midnights double-team Morton until Gibson gets all pissed off and comes in for the brawl. Ricky rolls up Eaton in the chaos, but a conspicuously ugly woman runs in and breaks up the pin at 5:48, drawing a DQ before revealing herself to be Jim Cornette. Usual affair from them. **1/2
NWA World title: Ric Flair v. Ted Dibiase
Dick Murdoch is offended that Dibiase is getting an undeserved title shot, so he launches a sneak attack on him and just BLOODIES him after a shot to the post. Oh shit, is this THAT match? AWESOME. So if I’m remembering right, there’s some backstory to this match, because Butch Reed was supposed to be challenging and Dick Murdoch injured him to take him out of contention. So then Murdoch thought he’d get the shot, but top heel Ted Dibiase got it instead. It’s been 30 years since this went down so I’m probably off on the details there. Flair is more than happy to take the forfeit win, and we take a break. Back with Bill Watts in the dressing room, who reports that Dibiase is getting his gruesomely scarred face wrapped up in bandages, and he’s still gonna challenge for the belt. So if there’s children watching, parents might want to change the channel. So back to the ring we go, and Flair just kicks the shit out of Dibiase right away, throwing chops in the corner until Dibiase comes back with a backdrop. Fistdrop and Flair backs off, so Dibiase stomps a mudhole, but Flair clips him and goes to work. The bandage gets dislodged and Dibiase is a MESS. Backdrop suplex gets two and Jim Ross is having a heart attack. Now this is the match where you want to have JR on commentary. Flair pounds him in the corner and now Dr. Death comes out because even he is concerned for Dibiase’s well-being. Dibiase comes back and we get the Flair Flip, and a suplex back into the ring gets two. Dibiase wraps him up with an abdominal stretch into a rollup for two, but he’s so weak he can’t even hold the pinfall. Flair tries a piledriver and Dibiase backdrops out and throws down in the corner. Flair Flop, but the ref wants to check the cut. But Watts said they wouldn’t stop it for blood loss! Flair clotheslines him and goes up, but Dibiase slams him off. Powerslam gets two and again Dibiase can’t cover to completion. Dibiase tries a figure-four, but Flair is in the ropes, and he kicks Dibiase right over the top to break. And Dibiase is out due to blood loss, so he gets counted out at 7:20. And then Dick Murdoch returns and kicks Dibiase’s ass AGAIN, including a brainbuster on the concrete! This was quite the finish to the DVD. ***1/2
Kind of an oddly sequenced DVD, with a lot of Jim Duggan and tons of short TV matches, but I like how it built up to the three title matches to end it. This is definitely a fun, if brief, introduction to what Mid-South was about, and hopefully it’ll get more exposure on DVD releases now that WWE owns the library and can take full advantage of it. Check it out at www.universalwrestling.com while it’s still around.