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 - Sean Rowland

When last we saw the North American Title, it was in the possession of one Ted DiBiase, who had just completed a totally unexpected heel turn against The Junkyard Dog. DiBiase had taken the title away from the Dog in June of 1982. This was the start of a very intense feud between the two former friends. DiBiase had his "Rat Pack" cronies, Matt Borne and Hacksaw Duggan on his side and JYD had Mr. Olympia, Tony Atlas, and Mr. Wrestling II helping him. At one point, DiBiase and company actually caused the Dog to be pinned in a tag-team match because of Duggan's outside interference. As a result of this, JYD and Mr. Olympia lost the Mid-South Tag-Team Titles, and JYD had to leave the Mid-South area for 90 days. No one could believe it. The Dog was the biggest attraction in the area. There was no way the Mid-South area could go 90 days without him. Of course, it wouldn't have to. Shortly after the Dog left town, a new masked man named Stagger Lee appeared on the scene. Strange thing about Stagger Lee was that without his red and green mask and bodysuit, he would have looked an awful lot like The Junkyard Dog. You don't think that it might have actually been JYD under a mask, do you? Well, if you did, you should probably be booking for WCW right now. Of course it was The Junkyard Dog. And, I was actually fortunate enough to be on hand in the Superdome on Thanksgiving night, 1982 when Stagger Lee pinned Ted DiBiase to walk out the new North American Heavyweight Champion. Actually, DiBiase did pull The Dog'serI mean Stagger's mask off, but the footage mysteriously vanished before it could be run on Mid-South TV the next week. Damn, I miss this hokey old stuff.

Anyway, since JYD and Stagger Lee couldn't be in the same place at the same time (Well I guess technically, since Einstein proved that time isn't linear, they could have been, but it would have given even Einstein a headache trying to book that one!) the Title was declared vacant when the Dog returned from his suspension in February of 1983. A tournament was held shortly thereafter, and a newly turned heel, Mr. Olympia pinned the Dog. This was a controversial finish, since Olympia used a loaded boot, and the referee, who had been knocked loopy, actually counted JYD down while he was lying on his stomach! A rematch between the Dog and Olympia was held in April of 1983, and this time, The Junkyard Dog walked away the undisputed Champion.

Things went pretty well for the Dog until another friend of his got jealous. This time it was Butch Reed who turned on the Dog. Reed was bitter over the fact that JYD chose the newly turned face, Hacksaw Duggan as his partner against Ted DiBiase and Skandor Akbar's Army.  More...

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