Where Wrestling's Regional History Lives!
- Jason Hess
a week and a half ago, a milestone went by in wrestling history that
actually has a tie in with our column this month.
Thursday, May 6th 2004 is the 20th
anniversary of the legendary Kerry Von Erich vs. Ric Flair NWA World Title
match and change at the first David Von Erich Memorial Parade of Champions
at Texas Stadium in Irving. While
the card itself is now overshadowed by most long time fans for the way in
which it was presented, as a 10 year old boy, that day was seemingly
destined to live forever in my mind as the zenith of World Class
Wrestling. Sadly, it was.
does this have anything to do with Mid-South Wrestling? Well, at the beginning of 1984, Mid-South and World Class
were trading talent to work their area house shows.
While “Hacksaw” Butch Reed would work some spot shows for WCCW
the whole year of 1984, including a Texas Stadium match against Chic
Donovan, Mid-South got the heavy end of the exchange, as we will soon see.
a Territorial Fire:
stated last article, Bill Watts used the red hot, on-fire World Class
territory in some of his major cities (mainly Oklahoma, but all over the
region) to spark interest and to raise crowds.
Watts used mainly the burgeoning feud between Chris Adams and
Sunshine against Jimmy Garvin and Precious to help spark interest and gate
receipts. With singles
matches, mixed tag matches, and other specialty matches with the four,
fans began to flock back to the arenas to see the evil Garvin and Precious
get their comeuppance.
Watts would use the Von Erich brothers in special appearances in cities
like Tulsa, New Orleans, and Houston to revive crowds in those key cities.
As we mentioned last article, Watts would use his guest talent very
wisely, booking the undercard with matches that would spark a return
interest, which they began to do. Combined with what was to come, Mid-South was about to go up
in a blaze of glory, as the territory was about to be set on fire.
“Superstar” books some Super angles
the “Memphis Invasion” of Mid-South now heading into full swing, area
fans became acclimated to numerous new stars.
Pairing Jim Cornette in his first “star” role as a manager with
Dennis Condrey and Bobby Eaton was a stroke of genius by Watts and new
Mid-South booker, “Superstar” Bill Dundee. Cornette wasted no time in
getting over to an insane level, provoking fans in a way not seen since
the heyday of the Freebirds in the early 80’s.
The perfect foils for Cornette and his men would be the Rock-n-Roll
Express, Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson.
noted last article, these men
were largely playing second fiddle to more established talent during their
stay in Memphis, with Cornette second to legendary Jimmy Hart, and
Morton-Gibson to the Fabulous Ones in particular.
Cornette and his men began to work up the ranks to a title shot
against reigning champions, Mr. Wrestling 2 and Magnum TA, while Morton
and Gibson took on the Russian duo of Nikolai Volkoff and sympathizer
to this mix was Terry Taylor, who was making a name for himself as an
All-American babyface, helping Morton and Gibson in their battles against
the Russians. The push given
to the smaller guys was made more helpful when considering that for a
little while, Hacksaw Duggan left the Mid-South area to work in the
Florida area, as a heel against Dusty Rhodes.
were set into motion for one of the largest angles in Mid-South history,
using the two Express’ feud to set up an alternate feud that would bring
Mid-South the largest drawing week in their history.
Midnight Express had captured the tag belts on March 13, 1984 from Magnum
TA and Mr. Wrestling 2, when the former champs lost a match in Lafayette
that did many things:
-It cemented Mr. Wrestling 2’s growing heel turn, as he abandoned TA to take 10 lashes all by himself. More...