This week Throwback Thursday heads back to Bill Watts’ beloved Mid-South territory for another classic edition of Mid-South Wrestling, as seen on the WWE Network and Peacock, that aired 40 years ago this month! It was business as usual for Bill Watt’s booming Mid-South Wrestling. By this point in September 1983 the territory was still high after the July 16, 1983, Superdome Extravaganza.
The event, drawing nearly 19,000 fans, and helped ignite a summer to remember in the Mid-South territory as a number of long-standing attendance and gate records were eclipsed. As this edition of Mid-South Wrestling hit airwaves the slow push towards the next Superdome Extravaganza, on November 19, 1983, was on.
New talent like Barry Darsow, Rick Rood (the future “Ravishing” one), and “Mad Dog” Buzz Sawyer were coming into the territory to join an already star-studded roster that included Jim Duggan, Ted DiBiase, Mr. Wrestling II, Butch Reed, and the iconic Junkyard Dog. Behind the stacked roster and innovative booking Bill Watts was looking to strengthen ties with key promoters in Houston and Dallas while trying to modernize and, to a degree, nationalize the look and feel of the popular territory. The top story in Mid-South Wrestling the week this edition of Mid-South aired continued to be the war between Ted DiBiase and Jim Duggan.
Buzz Sawyer’s issues with JYD was another top story, as was Butch Reed’s failure to defend the North American Heavyweight title on TV, citing a lack of competition. Outside the ring the top song in the country the week this edition of Mid-South Wrestling was Michael Sembello’s iconic “Maniac” while Michael Jackson’s Thriller was the top-selling album. ABC’s Monday Night Football, where the Dallas Cowboys bested the Washington Redskins by a score of 31 – 30, was the top-rated program on television heading into this edition of Mid-South while Mr.
Mom, starring Michael Keaton, Teri Gar, Martin Mull, Ann Jillian, and Christopher Lloyd, was the top film in theaters. Now let’s fire up the WWE Network on Peacock, hit ‘play’, and find out 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 and Peacock.
Context is solid, with the bulk of Mid-South shows, dating back to December 1981, available for you to enjoy on the WWE Network and Peacock right now! Mid-South Wrestling #209 (WATCH) Date: September 10, 1983 (TAPED: Sept. 8, 1983) – Location: Irish McNeil Boys Club, Shreveport, Louisiana Attendance: N/A – TV Ratings: N/A Commentators: Boyd Pierce & Bill Watts – Interviews: N/A CHAMPIONS AT THE TIME : NWA World Heavyweight Champion: “Handsome” Harley Race (June 10, 1983, St.
Louis, Missouri, from “Nature Boy” Ric Flair) Mid-South North American Heavyweight Champion: “Hacksaw” Butch Reed (July 16, 1983, New Orleans, Louisiana, from Junkyard Dog) Mid-South Tag Team Champions: Magnum T.A. & “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan (July 24, 1983, Tulsa, Oklahoma, from Ted DiBiase & Mr.
Olympia) Following the typical Mid-South open of the era we head inside the Irish McNeil Boys Club where Boyd Pierce, with “Cowboy” Bill Watts, welcomes us to the show. After giving us a rundown of the of this week’s card Boyd tosses to Bill Watts. Watts talks about North American Heavyweight Champion “Hacksaw” Butch Reed’s continuing “contract dispute” with matchmaker Grizzly Smith over wrestling on television, with Reed complaining that he isn’t being given enough “competition” to face. Watts also wonders where Skandor Akbar and Kimala are, noting that DiBiase would never have challenged to face Duggan this week if DiBiase didn’t have a “joker” or “ace up his sleeve”.
We’ll have to have to wait to find out, Watts says, as he tosses to the ring for our opening “main event”. —Singles Match (1:50) “King Kong” Bundy vs. Junkyard Dog This is a classic “big man” match. Neither man can get much going to start as each man’s power nullifies the other’s.
Soon enough Bundy manages to grab a hammerlock and wrenches away before JYD, after a failed hope spot, reverses the hammerlock, grounding Bundy. JYD is in control until Dog runs into a Bundy shoulder block in the corner. In a flash Bundy hits the Avalanche slam on Dog and goes for the five-count pin. JYD powers out at four, however, sending Bundy backwards atop the referee, wiping the referee out.
With the referee out the fight goes on before JYD clips Bundy with a stiff lariat. JYD covers Bundy but it takes a beat or two for the new referee to make it the ring. Then, at the two-count, “Mad Dog” Buzz Sawyer hits the ring and attacks JYD to give JYD the DQ win at 5:56. WINNER is Junkyard Dog (Disqualification, 5:56) As the bell rings JYD counters Sawyer and begins to beat on “Mad Dog”.
Bundy comes from behind, though, and waylays Dog. Sawyer then holds JYD for a Bundy lariat but Dog moves and Bundy knocks Sawyer out of the ring instead. As Bundy turns around JYD lifts Bundy for the Thump slam and makes the cover, that a referee counts for some reason, before Missing Link dives off the top rope onto Dog.
The heels beat on JYD until George Weingroff, “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan, and Magnum T.A. rush the ring to drive away the heels. The trio tend to the battered JYD as we head to our first Peacock ad-break with a slow-motion replay of Missing Link diving on to JYD. —Tag Team Match (10:32) NWA National Tag Team Champions The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk & Road Warrior Animal) vs.
Rick Rood & Art Crews The Road Warriors are announced as the “International Tag Team Champions” when in reality they were the reigning National Tag Team Champions in Ole Anderson’s Georgia Championship Wrestling (GCW), though they do not have the belts with them. Even before ring announcer Jim Ross can get out of the ring the Road Warriors rush across the ring to go after Crews and Rood (the future Rick Rude). Animal sends Crews to the floor as Hawk whips Rood into the Road Warriors corner.
Rood slips loose, though, and begins to go after Hawk, focusing solely on Hawk’s left arm. Crews tags in and continues to work on the arm until Animal tags in. Crews & Rood work over both Hawk and Animal’s arm until Hawk rams Crews hard into the top turnbuckle. Hawk & Animal batter both Crews and Rood until the illegal Rood is sent to the floor and Animal hits a beautiful rotating powerslam for the 1-2-3 at 2:57. WINNER is NWA National Tag Team Champions The Road Warriors (Road Warrior Hawk & Road Warrior Animal) (Pin, 2:57) After the match we head to the next Peacock ad-break with a slow-motion replay of Animal’s powerslam. —Singles Match (14:41) The Missing Link vs.
Rip Rogers Not much of a contest here. Bill Watts, on commentary, is still pushing the idea that Link, or “Max” as Akbar calls Link, is a “hauntingly familiar” individual from Watts’ past. Link dominates a game Rogers but refuses to pin Rogers, drawing the ire of the referee. Soon enough Link delivers a stiff backbreaker before landing a diving knee drop from the second rope on Rogers, nearly three quarters of the way across the ring, before cinching in a modified camel clutch for the submission win at 2:00. WINNER is The Missing Link (Submission, 2:00) Following the match we head to the next Peacock ad-break with a slow-motion replay of Link’s diving knee drop on Rogers. —Singles Match (17:28) “Mad Dog” Buzz Sawyer vs.
Tim Horner “Mad Dog” is looking for a fight and Tim Horner is more than willing to give him one! Horner, with his speed and athleticism, controls the early portion, working rear chinlocks and side headlocks. Horner has Sawyer frustrated and out of sorts until running headlong into a “Mad Dog” dropkick.
Sawyer closes the distance, using a number of dirty tricks as he takes the fight to Horner. Horner manages to fire up late and looks to have Sawyer reeling when Horner attempts a reverse crossbody off the second rope. As Horner comes off, however, Sawyer turns the crossbody attempt into a devastating powerslam for the flash three-count at 4:06. WINNER is “Mad Dog” Buzz Sawyer (Pin, 4:06) After the match we head to the next Peacock ad-break with a slow-motion replay of the powerslam finish. —“Non-Title No Disqualification Loser Leaves Town Grudge Match” (22:35) Ted DiBiase vs.
Mid-South Tag Team Champion “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan This is an incredible television match for the era and a fantastic illustration of what set Mid-South apart from every other televised territory in the sport. DiBiase jumpstarts this one before Jim Ross can even begin to introduce the wrestlers, viciously attacking Duggan.
Soon enough, however, Duggan comes storming back, landing a flurry of punches that sends DiBiase to the floor to regroup. The fans chant for blood as Duggan pours on the offense. DiBiase tries to regroup on the floor a second time when Duggan hits the floor to give chase, catching Duggan with his famous fist drop as Duggan reenters the ring.
Duggan is at DiBiase’s mercy as DiBiase continues his vicious attack. In a flash, however, Duggan reverses and Irish whip and attempts to land a running knee to DiBiase in the corner when DiBiase moves, sending Duggan, knee first, into the top turnbuckle. DiBiase seizes on the opening and cinches in the figure-four leglock.
Duggan struggles in the figure-four before finally reversing the hold. Suddenly the Road Warriors hit the ring and go right to work on Duggan. Animal & Hawk hold Duggan on his knees as DiBiase paintbrushes the Tag Team Champion. Rick Rood and Duggan’s Tag Team Championship partner Magnum T.A. rush to the ring to make the save but the Road Warriors cut them off at the pass.
Amid the chaos DiBiase takes the time to load up his black glove. But, as DiBiase gets set to crack Duggan with the loaded glove the Junkyard Dog appears, two-by-four in hand, glomming DiBiase with the board before going after Hawk & Animal. In moments, though, the Road Warriors overpower JYD, holding Dog for the groggy DiBiase to clobber with the two-by-four.
Just then, however, Duggan springs from the mat, wiping DiBiase out with his running spear. Dog runs the Road Warriors together before Duggan goes to town with the two-by-four, cracking any heel that dare make a move! With JYD’s help Duggan clears the ring of the Road Warriors before focusing on DiBiase.
JYD sends DiBiase into the ropes for Duggan to hit with the two-by-for. With DiBiase bent over Duggan cracks DiBiase across the back with the two-by-four to score the 1-2-3 at 8:35. WINNER is Mid-South Tag Team Champion “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan (Pin, 8:35) Following the match the babyfaces regroup on one side of the ring as the heels regroup on the near side.
Since there’s time left, Boyd tells us, we’ll be getting our first “standby match” after the break. We then head to the next Peacock ad-break with a replay of the Duggan’s finishing whacks on DiBiase. —Singles Match (32:04) “Krusher” Darsow vs. Johnny Rich As Darsow goes to work on Rich, Bill Watts recaps the previous bout, telling us he’s lost his voice as he gushes about the bond between JYD and Jim Duggan.
Rich is game here, trying again and again to get anything going but it’s not enough. Darsow uses his strength and power to punish Johnny Rich. In the end, after battering Rich from pillar to post, Darsow lifts Rich into the Canadian backbreaker for the submission victory at 2:48. WINNER is “Krusher” Darsow (Submission, 2:48) After the match Darsow holds the backbreaker until the referee all but forces a break.
We then head to our final Peacock ad-break of the hour with a slow-motion replay of Darsow’s Canadian backbreaker. —Tag Team Match (35:49) Boris Zurkhov & Doug Vines vs. George Weingroff & Mid-South Tag Team Champion Magnum T.A. As this one gets going, with Weingroff out-wrestling Vines, we hear that Bill Watts is no longer on commentary.
Magnum & Weingroff control the action until Zurkhov backs Weingroff into the heel corner and tags in Vines. The two go to work on Weingroff until the referee gets Zurkhov out of the ring. The heels, using quick tags and double-team attacks, easily control the action, scoring a number of near-falls, before Weingroff catches Vines bending early for a back bodydrop. Weingroff makes the hot tag to Magnum, popping the dwindling live audience, and begins to clean house.
The match break down then, with all four in the ring at the same time. Magnum & Weingroff run the heels together and deliver a double back bodydrop before the illegal Weingroff dropkicks the illegal Zurkhov to the floor. In the ring, with the final minute ticking away, the babyfaces land a double slam and back bodydrop before Magnum hits the belly-to-belly on Vines for the three-count at 5:33. WINNERS are George Weingroff & Mid-South Tag Team Champion Magnum T.A.
(Pin, 5:33) Following the match, as the babyfaces celebrate, we head back to the announce position where Boyd Pierce hypes next week’s card, including an appearance from “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, wraps this week’s show, and sends us the closing credits to bring this week’s edition of Mid-South Wrestling to a close! Final Thoughts This is an all-time classic hour of Mid-South Wrestling! The main event “no DQ” Duggan/DiBiase match is a masterclass in pacing, psychology, and storytelling.
Everything that made Mid-South special is on full display in this one match! It is a must-see for those wondering why Mid-South retains such a rabid following. The other bouts, including JYD/Bundy and Sawyer/Horner, are all great bouts in their own right, exemplifying the kind of action fans came to expect from Mid-South TV.
If you’re looking for old-school professional wrestling that’s light on talk and heavy on romp ’em, stomp ’em action, this hour of Mid-South Wrestling is for you! So what are you waiting for? 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 this all-time 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! For pre-WNN editions of Throwback Thursday, click here! Thanks for reading – until next week, see ya at ringside!