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Mid-South Wrestling (10.29.1983) Review

August 9, 2020 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
Mid-South Wrestling 10-22-1983 Jim Neidhart Butch Reed
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Mid-South Wrestling (10.29.1983) Review  

-Originally aired October 29, 1983.

-Your hosts are Boyd Pierce, who was apparently asked “Would you like to wear a pink suit or an orange suit this week?” and responded with “Yes,” and Bill Watts. They have the North American Title belt sitting in front of them, and Boyd says that following a meeting of the Mid-South Board of Directors in Tampa, Florida, Bill has an announcement to make. Boyd talks about how there’s never been an announcement like this in his 30 years of broadcasting and it takes courage to make a decision like Mid-South has been forced to make, and he’s pumping this up so much that for the first time ever, you see Bill Watts break because it’s just such a melodramatic set-up.

-So here’s Bill to tell the story: champions cannot make their OWN matches. All matches have to be sanctioned by Mid-South Wrestling. Butch Reed explicitly said he would let the FANS pick the opponents, and Mid-South Wrestling president Charlie Lay signed off on that in advance–the winner of the fan vote would get the title shot, whoever it was. But then Reed did some clever manuevering to re-book the match to a title defense against Magnum TA, the underlying plot here being that he already had beaten Magnum TA, TA had a Tag Team Title match later in the hour, and Reed was planning on beating the “easiest” opponent to retain the title while also intentionally injuring him so that TA also couldn’t win the Tag Team Title match.

-And then Reed screwed it up by losing to Magnum TA in a match officiated by Junkyard Dog, so Magnum TA became the new North American Champion.

-So now Bill shows us a local house show promo that aired in the New Orleans market last week, in which Nikolai Volkoff issued a challenge to Magnum TA for a title match, and sweetens the deal by promising to leave the USA permanently if he loses. Reeser Bowden went to Magnum TA for an official response, and Magnum accepted.

-And then Nikolai Volkoff won. Bill Watts indicates that there was some chicanery involved and that he was called in to discuss how it should be handled, but in the meantime, we get words from Nikolai, wearing the North American Title belt, proclaiming that he’s going to change the plate on the belt to read “Russian Champion” instead of “North American Champion.”

-Here’s what happened next. Mid-South Wrestling never officially gave approval to the match. They didn’t approve a Magnum TA/Nikolai Volkoff match, they didn’t declare Nikolai #1 contender, and they didn’t approve the stipulations. Magnum and Nikolai pretty much went into business for themselves and had the match without Mid-South signing off on it. So Bill lays the problem here: if guys have the freedom to book their own matches, what’s stopping a champion from just lining up a whole bunch of jobbers for title matches?

-So the feeling among the Mid-South Board of Directors is that they’re setting a REALLY bad precedent if they let this stuff slide. Butch Reed had no right to book his own match after the fan vote, so Magnum TA never should have won the belt. Which means Magnum had no right to agree to a title match against Nikolai Volkoff. And Nikolai had no right to issue a challenge like that without getting something in writing from the Board of Directors.

-THEREFORE: Butch Reed is once again the North American Champion. He is now required to defend the title TONIGHT IN THIS VERY RING against Junkyard Dog, the winner of the fan vote. And Mid-South has appointed a special guest referee unknown to our commentators (although the WWE Network thumbnail gives it away).

-That was 12 minutes of the show. 12 minutes devoted to explaining this angle. And it was easy to follow and to recap because it makes sense.


-Dusty Rhodes strolls to ringside to serve as guest referee, wearing a Dusty Rhodes t-shirt because they apparently only had one spare referee shirt and Dusty pantomimes that it doesn’t fit.

-JYD gets Reed down on the mat in a chinlock, and the crowd workshops a “Give it up boy!” chant for a submission hold. Reed escapes but misses a clothesline, and JYD lays him out with a forearm and a headbutt. He hurts himself on the headbutt though, showing the stereotype conundrum that wrestling is susceptible to when a black guy headbutts another black guy. It’s like matter and anti-matter when that happens.

-Reed regains his bearings first and applies a chinlock. Interesting slip from Watts on commentary, saying that JYD is starting to “look like his old self again” and then fumfers for a way to explain what he just said. Reed keeps using the tights to keep the chinlock clamped on until JYD gets fed up and throws punches to break the hold. He hits the ropes and collides with Dusty, sending the guest referee out to the floor. Reed takes advantage by heading up to the top rope, but JYD slams him off before he can do anything. Jim Neidhart shows up, with Watts suddenly mispronouncing his name like he’s never heard of the guy before, but he gets in the ring right as Dusty revives. Dusty punches Neidhart out to the floor as JYD gives Reed the Thump and gets the three-count, winning the North American Title. Good match with fantastic Mid-South layers of booking.


-Nice exchange of counters, with Magnum not letting Max put on a wristlock, and then Max bouncing off the ropes and hitting the brakes every time Magnum goes for a monkey flip. Dropkick by Link gives him the first real advantage of the match. Series of diving headbutts by Link, but he climbs the turnbuckles to go in for the kill and Magnum surprises everyone with a belly-to-belly out of nowhere for three. Really good finish there, nobody saw it coming.


-Nikolai has a giant sack of “American wheat” in his corner, and since it’s 1983 and everybody watching this in 1983 knows why the hell he’d even be doing that, Bill doesn’t explain the context. So back in 1979, Jimmy Carter announced an embargo against Russia preventing them from buying U.S. wheat, which made sense because we were mad at Russia. But oops, the embargo hurt American farmers a lot worse than it hurt Russia, so Ronald Reagan made a campaign promise to end the embargo if elected, which was reason #1,374 that the 1980 US Presidential Election turned out the way that it did, and Reagan ended the embargo the following year, and so by 1983 it was this weird situation where the US and Russia still disliked each other but Russia was spending a fortune buying US wheat.

-Nikolai misses a corner charge and hurts his shoulder while Watts tries to explain the wheat and it gets REALLY convoluted, as he tries to tie together the Olympic boycott, wheat embargos, and Nikolai sees the wheat as a metaphor for losing the North American Title.

-Nikolai fights back with a chokeslam and a high knee. Press slam/backbreaker by Volkoff, slamming Oates “like a sack of wheat” and this really is not working the way Bill seems to think it is, but Volkoff gets the win.


-Parsons’ debut in the territory, and WWE Network has turned the stock music knob to “extra sexy” for his entrance. Of course his actual entrance theme was “We are Family,” which goes to show that “Born in the USA” isn’t the only song that wrestling promoters can be totally clueless about.

-Hiptoss and a dropkick from Parsons. Backdrop and a butt-butt get the easy win.


-Boyd obliviously calls attention to a problem right off the bat while telling first time viewers who’s in this match. “In one corner, we have Jim Neidhart and Bobby Duncum in matching black tights, their opponents are Marty Oates in the black tights and Mike Bond in the black tights.” Again, a note that everyone should be taking from Jim Ross: all wrestlers should have at least two colors of tights.

Bill Watts gives us a quick history lesson about West Texas State while Bond gets mauled. Samoan drop by Neidhart finishes with ease. Boyd throws it to commercial while Bill is obviously enjoying a big juicy apple with his microphone still turned on.


-Three minutes left in the show. Dropkicks by Cobra as he’s going for the win quickly. GREAT finisher, with Cobra doing a flying headscissors, but hooking Vines’ leg on the way down to make it a pinning combo. Bill clearly wasn’t expecting that and is legit delighted by the move as Cobra gets the three-count to wrap up the show.

The final score: review Good
The 411
All right, the sack of wheat stuff didn't QUITE land, but that was a damn good hour otherwise.

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Mid-South Wrestling, Adam Nedeff