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Not sure if this has ever been posted or shared here but ... 13 years ago today, Jon Moxley and Bryan Danielson fought in their first singles match against each other for HWA in front of about 200 people in a rec center in Norwood, OH.


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Terry Funk matches that are all from the Pro on the weekend of big shows

Terry Funk vs Lee Scott from the Pro on the weekend of Havoc 89: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5H3L861dKXg

Terry Funk vs Brian Pillman from the Pro on the weekend of Bash 94: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTHJS6eY3So

Terry Funk vs Dustin Rhodes from the Pro on the weekend of Fall Brawl 94: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A04iArlKoZE

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This is a thing that happened: Raven/Super Leather/Tracy Smothers vs Kintaro Kanemura/Masato Tanaka/Tetsuhiro Kuroda having a hardcore 6-man match in 2008 for Kanemura's extremely short lived XWF.

Even weirder is that both Smothers and Raven appear to have gone to Japan just for this match and didn't wrestle any other matches while they were there.

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Well, I guess it was a thing on Saturday nights in Louisiana back in the '70s to go to the wrestling and start a fight with the cops? That was one hot crowd, in more ways than one. 

Also that reminded me of Jim Ross' story about Leroy McGuirk, Louisiana promoter and blind man, getting drunk and planning on shooting a young Teddy DiBiase to death with his .45 because he was fucking his daughter. (Coincidentally, pretty progressive of him to name his daughter Mike back then)

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Roderick Strong & Bryan Danielson vs The Young Bucks. Every Matt & Nick hater's favourite Young Bucks match. They wrote about it in their book. The PWG fans had begun turning against their local babyface heroes, and the Hybrid Dolphins were convinced that if they just stiffed them and beat them down enough, it would engender audience sympathy for them. But it wasn't working to begin with, so they decided to try harder and harder. For ages.

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I have completed my Mid-South Wrestling watch project on Peacock through available 1985 episodes, but thanks to The Wrestling Memory Grenade I am able to continue my journey into 1986 on Youtube, with some Power Pro episodes integrated to boot. Playlist link below:


I am now through the last episode of weekly TV officially titled "Mid-South Wrestling" the week of March 15th, 1986 with this period covering their initial forays into moving the weekly television to arenas:

Things I'm Loving:

The feud between Jake Roberts and Dick Slater - it's a shame that the Peacock run ends before this feud kicks in, because the six weeks that this is a program is a damn fun piece of professional wrestling that more people deserve to see, with momentum swings back-and-forth almost every week, both competitiors having fantastic in-ring chemistry with each other and a really wild development with Dark Journey punctuated by fantastic Jake promos where he reveals that yeah, he may be a fan favorite but he is still as sinister as ever. 

The feud begins in earnest with this episode featuring the TV Title Tournament Finals (yes, that championship is vacant AGAIN).


Ted Dibiase and Steve Williams, white meat babyface Tag Team Champions - Dibiase is super-over as a fan favorite in the wake of his return from the Dick Murdoch attack, and Dr. Death joins him by proxy (though the latter is also propelled by the real-life heroics of him and Rick Steiner saving the victims of a fiery auto accident from dying). Both come off much more confident in the way they carry themselves as faces, both on promos and in the "we're good guys, but also ass-kickers" vibe that is so important for staying mega-over in Mid-South.

Koko B Ware - Koko is in as a hot new undercard babyface and getting over both with his pre-match dance routine to Morris Day & The Time's "The Bird", a charismatic plucky underdog spark, and THE MOST DEVASTATING TOP ROPE DROPKICK IN WRESTLING HISTORY - yes, this time period features the infamous finish to his squash against Gustavo Mendoza, and to their credit, this specific dropkick gets referenced on commentary for weeks afterward whenever Koko wrestles. It's very easy to see why in spite of his smaller size, Vince still saw him as someone worth poaching for the WWF later that year.


The Sheepherders (and the booking of so far) - Butch Miller and Luke Williams have arrived into the area, and the booking of them as a very dangerous force has been masterful, with all of their matches so far being 2-3 minute squashes, including an absolute destruction of the Bruise Brothers (Porkchop Cash and Mad Dog Boyd) sending them packing from the promotion. And their promos really put over how unhinged they are, though you can see small bits of what would ultimately be twisted into the Bushwhacker face persona in a development that NO ONE could have possibly predicted at this time.

Buzz Sawyer - Buzz Sawyer is 5-foot-10 but easily comes off as the most dangerous and wreckless person in professional wrestling at this time despite his stature, and every time he is on TV there is an aura that some major shit is going down, and the booking lives up to that with him almost every time.

The arena TV production - I love and miss the Irish McNeil Boys Club, but if they were going to make this move, so far so good on most points when it comes to their new TV production (save for one thing I'll note a little further down). I would say that as of the beginning of 1986 it is comparable with JCP's syndicated production, and they have just enough chaos and fast-moving show formatting to keep the arena crowds hot nearly every week. 

There is a fun "dueling promos" gimmick they try a few times where two rivals will be giving promos at the same time - with one wrestler in the ring with Jim Ross and the other wrestler on a side stage with Joel Watts, which comes off really well during the Roberts/Slater feud. A fun idea to let the wrestlers snipe at each other while giving off the pretense of keeping the wrestlers separated from each other and getting physical until the actual match. There is an odd entrance gimmick where they will cut to an entering wrestler as they walk into the ringside area and start their entrance music only then, though I assume that is to shave a couple of minutes of TV time that would be eaten up by showing a full entrance from the corner/side of the arena. I still miss the atmosphere of the Boys Club, but digging the few bits of experimentation they are doing to still make their show "not just another arena wrestling show"


Things I'm...NOT Loving:

Departures - admittedly, something out of their control, and while Dibiase/Williams are stepping up as top babyfaces, Butch Reed leaves the picture very early in 1986 after losing the North American Championship to Dick Slater, and feels very missed when it's apparent that he is not coming back for rematches.

And boy, does Jake Roberts departing for the WWF at the end of this TV run feel like a MASSIVE exodus. His last six months as a face has been an incredible run, walking the tightrope in a balancing act where he is a fan favorite but he still does just enough both in-ring and on the mic to show that he still Jake "THE SNAKE" Roberts. There really is no one like him in Mid-South during this time, I already anticipate that he will be very missed too. But to Mid-South's credit (and Jake's), on the final episode of TV that he appears on, they have footage of him losing the TV title in Houston to Dick Slater, AND then he loses a "No. 1 Contender" face vs. face match to Terry Taylor on the way out the door.

Part-timer Hacksaw Duggan - a common criticism of 1986 Mid-South/UWF is an increasing allowance by Watts to let his talent take Japan tours, which is good for the wrestlers, but maybe not the best development for maintaining a coherent main event scene. This is most evident by Hacksaw Duggan's absence early in the year for a Japan tour, as combined with the departure of Butch Reed, causes the face side of Mid-South to feel slightly off. Duggan spent all of 1985 evolving into THE top roughneck brawling face of the company and the most over person in the company, and as 1985 was closing, had a very heated angle with Buzz Sawyer that just kind of stalls out while Duggan disappears, though he does return to pick back up the Buzz Sawyer feud at the end of this TV run.

Joel Watts on commentary - for how valuable he apparently was in the TV production behind-the-scenes, producing music videos and well-done recap packages, the move into the arena setting just enhances his deficiencies as a commentator tenfold. For a company making headway into becoming a nationally-televised company, he still continues to come off as too rough around the edges for such a spot. I saw someone on here recently refer to him as constantly feeling like he has to "think" about what he is going to say next, and those pauses are more awkward with a slicker arena-based television show. And there's a very cringe-y episode opening where the commentary team is Joel and Bill Watts, and Joel earnestly introduces Bill as "someone that I think knows more about wrestling than anyone else, MY DAD, Bill Watts" in a way that I could see turning off non-Southern audiences. 

A major step-down in foreign menace wrestlers - the foreign-menace has been a staple of Mid-South during the previous few years, but boy oh boy, Taras Bulba and Kortsia Korchenko are some of the stinkiest wrestlers to ever grace these rings. Bulba comes off as someone transported 10 years from the mid-70's kick-punch-choke scene of the WWWF, and Korchenko is somehow even worse than that. Maybe Watts felt that he HAD to have foreign menace spots filled (and they start leaning into that aspect heavily with the Sheepherders fairly quickly as well), but if this was the best available talent he could get for those roles, maybe he should have taken a break. And maybe he actually did see the writing on the wall with Korchenko eventually, since he brought in Ivan and Nikita Koloff specifically for the MEGA-heat Russian angle that would occur a few months down the road.

Not learning lessons from Al Perez and Wendell Cooley with new babyface presentations - one of the worst booking decisions of the final part of 1985 was constantly referencing the now-departed Rock n Roll Express when newly-minted hot-shotted Tag Team Champions Al Perez and Wendell Cooley are on TV, and apparently no one learned their lesson when that reign fizzled out, as the mullet-and-mousatched Dave Peterson has now debuted as an undercard face and already comparisons on commentary are being made to Magnum TA, who is currently hot on JCP TV and not ostensbly coming back to Mid-South anytime soon.

The Fabulous Ones - whoops, I mean, "The Fabs" - Steve Keirn and Stan Lane are brought in as heels, and for some reason, just seem out of place in Mid-South. That out of place feeling seems amplified by them working very methodically as heels, almost more as if they were on the 1986 WWF house show circuit instead of one of the hottest in-ring promotions in the country. There's a very "going through the motions" vibe to their work here. Even a "dream match" against a special-appearance making Rock n Roll Express comes off as a letdown, though admittedly the promotion adopting JCP's "Tony, we're out of time" gimmick for that match didn't help either, even if the match got a fair amount of TV time prior to that.

And no, I don't know why they are only referred to as "The Fabs" here either, both on commentary and on TV graphics.

Things I Am Neutral On:

Terry Taylor - Terry is back after his aborted JCP run, and picks right back up where he left off as the "good-looking heartthrob" of the main event scene, with the push meter jacked up to 11. I still think he more than holds his own bell-to-bell, but because these are Youtube postings sourced from VHS TV recordings, we also now have localized house show promos, which are a fun addition for the most part...EXCEPT for Terry Taylor. I feel like I am turning on him every time he gets mic time during these localized promos, as he comes off as 70s Bob Backlund but with a tan, nice hair, and a suit, delivering "I really hope I win and appreciate clean competition" but with someone less earnestness and less intensity than even Bob at his most milquetoast, with no fire or urgency at all. I'm kind of mad that we're still a full year away from him turning heel. Thank God he still delivers for me once the bell rings at least.

Eddie Gilbert - Gilbert definitely hones the "Hot Stuff" gimmick even more, being moved back into a wrestler-manager role but at one point he becomes the ONLY heel manager, which means there's a few episodes that border on the verge of becoming "The Eddie Gilbert Show", and a little bit of "Hot Stuff" goes a long way, a lot of "Hot Stuff" walks precipitously on the edge of burn out, the nadir of that so far being an episode where Eddie has a proper match against Koko B Ware, THEN  manages Kortsia Korchenko in a match, and THEN manages...

The debut of the Blade Runners - the one episode of 1986 Mid-South on Peacock spotlights this, the historic debuts of Sting and The Ultimate Warrior as yet another Road Warrior knockoff tag team. Commentary does a good job of putting over how massive The Blade Runners are (I think Sting might be one of the few people in history to get less jacked AFTER he entered the wrestling business), though again undercuts by blatantly referencing The Road Warriors on commentary. And boy are boy, both men are rough around the edges. The Ultimate Warrior lives up to his later reputation by coming off as dangerously unsafe, just dumping guys from slams with no regard for protection, and honestly, at this time, Sting isn't THAT much better. Warrior fucking off to World Class and Sting getting placed in a tag team with Eddie Gilbert may have honestly been the best thing that could have happened for his development as a performer.

The Masked Superstar - The Masked Superstar is a welcome addition both in-ring and on the mic as an ally with Dick Murdoch to fight Dibiase and Williams for the Mid-South Tag Team Championship, but again, Mid-South being a part-time gig between Japan tours for him rears its ugly head, but this time Mid-South has a solution - just put someone else under the bodysuit and mask and call that person "The Masked Superstar", keep him off the mic, and then reveal that there are TWO "Masked Superstars" upon Bill Eadie's return from Japan, with the idea that when the match is Dibiase/Williams vs Murdoch/"Masked Superstar", you won't know which Superstar it is. A sound idea in theory, but unfortunately, the person they would select is Kelly Kiniski, who is competent but very visibily does not have the presence of Bill Eadie and feels off even if you don't explicitly know about the switch. This would incidentally, be Kiniski's final run as a wrestler, as he initially planned to take a break from wrestling, but has gone on record in recent years as saying that the first time he had a weekend at home with his family after beginning a Monday-Friday regular job, he knew he was never going back.


And the last couple weeks of this run of Mid-South Wrestling, we have had very hard sells for the upcoming Crockett Cup tournament at the Superdome to the point where it really does feel like a Crockett/Watts joint promotion, and Bill on commentary alluding to a "name change" to reflect our growing stature as a "national" company as opposed to a "regional" company. That will come with the next week's of TV that I watch, and I think I'll check back in here in a few months with how that rebrand is going so far. 


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