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NWA Championship Wrestling Review (8.12.1978)

June 6, 2019 | Posted by Adam Nedeff
Ernie Ladd Bill Irwin NWA
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NWA Championship Wrestling Review (8.12.1978)  

-Neat surprise in WWE Network’s latest Hidden Gems upload. This is, to be specific, NWA Tri-State, Leroy McGuirk’s territory that promoted in Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. About a year after this episode, Leroy and his business partner would have a huge falling-out and Bill Watts would announce he was gonna go start his own wrestling territory with blackjack and hookers. Watts’ new company would of course become Mid-South Wrestling, and with an impressive number of NWA promoters taking Watts’ side in the dispute, Leroy was out of business a few years later. And then of course, a few years after that, so was everybody else, but you know…

-Originally aired August 12, 1978.

-WWE Network is actually using the same stock music for this show that they use for dubbing the opening of Mid-South Wrestling, for a nice sense of continuity.

-Your hosts are Boyd Pierce and Leroy McGuirk. It’s going to be interesting to hear Leroy having to do the heavy lifting on commentary after watching Mid-South, where he pretty much naps during the matches.

-Reeser Bowden is the ring announcer. Damn, Watts really did snap up everybody.


-Orndorff offers a friendly handshake before taking Irwin to the mat with a waistlock. Cowboy Bill takes over on commentary for Leroy McGuirk, saying that McGuirk is too emotional to call the action after some bullsh went down in a title match between Orndorff and Ernie Ladd. The gist is Paul Orndorff won the title and held it for a long time, about two months including several successful defenses, before the NWA suddenly reversed the decision and gave it back to Ladd.

-Orndorff dropkicks Irwin and locks on the full nelson to get the win by submission. He made Irwin look like a total goon in there.


-From Georgia. Imagine the chaos that would have ensued if the jobber ever won a title belt. And that is pretty much the one tasteful joke you can make about a guy calling himself “The Challenger.”

-Candy takes him down with a waistlock and applies a side headlock. Candy is built more like jobber Tony Suber at this career instead of the nearly perfect circle he was by the time he was one of the Commandos. Challenger goes to the eyes and hammers him, but Candy fights back and gets the win with a headbutt.

-Reeser Bowden talks to Cowboy Bob Ellis. Cowboy hat? Check. Plain black tights? Check. Looks at least 50 years old? Check. Yep. He’s a southern wrestler in the ’70s. His current issue is with Ron Bass, who shaved his head bald in a sneak attack recently. He promises that Ron Bass will be bald by the end of their feud, so apparently the Brutus Beefcake feud ten years later was a matter of typecasting for Bass.

-Turkelton holds Ellis in a wristlock while punching his ribs. Ellis comes back swinging with punches and forearms. Ellis ties him up on the mat. Turk makes the ropes and then chokes Ellis. They apply toeholds on each other in a pretty uncommon spot, but Turk breaks it. Boyd Pierce explains that Turk isn’t actually fat, his tights just make him look that way. “Yep,” replies Bill Watts, like he’s being patient with Boyd. Bulldog by Ellis gets the win.


-Back to Georgia. Let’s see if Irwin has better luck in a different territory. Ladd rams Irwin into the corner and wraps his arms around the ropes to apply a full nelson that Irwin truly can’t get out of. Ref forces the break, so Ladd goes after Irwin’s eyes. Legdrop can finish, but Ladd changes his mind and decides to chop him down. Crowd is getting pretty riled up at this point. Taped thumb by Ladd, and another legdrop ends it. He made Irwin look like a total goon in there. Right?! Am I right?! Eh?

-Reeser Bowden welcomes manager Rock Hunter and his new charge, Zegfried Stocky. Or maybe “Stanky” because that’s how Hunter pronounces it. He’s a generic bald Russian gimmick, except that he’s German. Anyway, Hunter is debuting in the territory and he’s purchased the contracts of Stinky and his partner, Hess. Stimpy does calisthenics through Hunter’s whole promo. Hunter promises that Sticky and Hess will do anything to win. Hunter would find himself totally drummed out of the business by the mid-80s and exact his revenge by going to the press and revealing that wrestling was make-believe.


-Chop and a headbutt by Holt, whose entire look makes me wish that teenage Jim Cornette was in the business by this point. Clothesline gets the win quick and easy. Mongol went onto become Hillbilly Jim’s cousin Luke in the WWF, and if I stared at this tape for an entire day I couldn’t have figured that out on my own. He was unrecognizable.

-Bass has a perm, which elevates this show to “must-watch.” Brewer armbars him and follows with a shoulderblock. Armdrag into an armbar as Brewer is shining here. Hiptoss and a slam by Brewer. He armdrags Bass again and locks on the armbar once more, and Watts is talking him up quite a bit, saying the time is coming where we’re going to look at Brewer someday and he’ll suddenly have more matches in the win column than the loss column. According to Cagematch, he was never really more than a jobber and was out of the business completely by 1981. Wonder who he pissed off.

-Brewer reverses an Irish whip and lights into Bass with forearms, but Bass raises the boot to stop a corner charge. Powerslam by Bass, although the way he does it, it’s more of a powercollapse, and that gets three. Ellis shows up after the bell and Bass takes off. Ellis declares “If you got a gut in your body, you’ll get in this ring!” Bass doesn’t want any part of him.


-The Brute is actually Bugsy McGraw, pre-ridiculousness. Lothario takes The Brute to the mat and works the arm. I’m loving the names on this show, we’ve been treated so far this week to The Brute, The Turk, The Challenger, and then Zegfried Shitty. I want more of this territory unearthed now.

-Forearms by the Brute. Jose comes back with uppercuts. Brute takes him down with a side headlock. Brute fights back, but Brute lifts him in a bearhug. Brute heads upstairs. Ref gets bumped and the Assassin shows up immediately to get a piece of Jose. Jose fights him off and goes to finish the Brute, but Assassin comes off the top with an axehandle for the DQ. The fun of doing wrestling in a mid-market TV studio: There is obviously a talk show set in the area where the referees are breaking up the post-match fight.


-Pretty standard midget match and I suddenly find myself having to explain what I’m seeing to my roommate, who has never seen a midget match until this moment and judging from his reaction, didn’t even know that was a thing. Tokyo suplexes Cassidy and tries to finish, but Lang just flips his entire body off. The Little Foundation works over Cassidy in the corner before Cassidy escapes and makes the hot tag. Little Tokyo takes the single greatest bump I have ever seen off an atomic drop and he gets out of there. Littlebrook chops down Lang and backdrops him. Weird moment on commentary as Watts basically apologizes for calling them midgets when “dwarves” is the more proper term. I’m kind of amazed to learn that was a thing in the ’70s and that Watts is pointing it out.

-Suplex by Tokyo (called a suplay, as Bill Watts speaks fluent Solese), but the bell suddenly sounds for TV time, and we’re done here!

The final score: review Good
The 411
What was neat was how you can just draw a completely straight line between this show and Mid-South Wrestling. Every element was there, with very little difference in style and presentation. Please unearth more! This was great!