A few years ago the Death Valley Driver Message Board compiled a “best of Mid-South wrestling” set, and I recently got my hands on a copy. We’ll see what made the cut and if it deserved a spot.
Bob Roop vs. Mike George (12/16/81)
George starts the match by actually out wrestling the NCAA and Olympic amateur wrestling great Roop. They fight in and out of full nelsons, before turning up the heat with an exchange of fists. Roop starts to fight dirty, using the ropes to try and blind George by dragging his eyes across them.
George fires up with a series of fists from his knees, followed by raking Roop’s eyes on the ropes for good measure. George busts out a pair of dropkicks. The men end up tangling on the edge of the mat, where George accidentally charges into the ring post, injuring his shoulder. George tries to keep fighting, but ends up flying bad shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Roop follows up by connecting with a flying knee for the pin at 6 minutes or so. Solid enough effort but I’m not sure how this made a “best of” list.
Mr. Olympia vs. Paul Orndorff (2/3/82)
Things open up fast as both men try to gain an advantage, while simultaneously reversing their opponent’s efforts. Orndorff recklessly charges towards Olympia and eats the turnbuckle face first instead. He catches Olympia with a hard clothesline to quickly reverse the momentum of the match. “Strong people do what they can, weak people do what they must” – Quoth the prophet Bill Watts.
Orndorff delivers some hard hitting blows such as a diving elbow, and a powerslam to try and set up his infamous piledriver. Olympia flips Orndorff off head over heels and traps him in a sleeper instead. This puts Orndorff out at the 7-minute mark. They kept a good pace and hit some crisp moves. It was nice to see a finisher protected at the end by having it finish a star without needless teases or cheating.
Bob Roop vs. Ted Dibiase (4/2/82)
Dibiase takes Roop down fast with a judo throw, followed by grasping his wrist and maintaining control. Dibiase uses a hammerlock to keep the grappler down. Roop tries to toss Dibiase across the ring, but Ted keeps a hold of his opponent’s wrist and downs him instead. Watts brings up that NCAA rules do not allow for the hammerlock to be cranked at the same severity as pro wrestling does. That is a nice little touch to add realism to the brutality.
Roop starts to work over Dibiase’s knee and leg. Dibiase mounts a comeback, and secures the victory with a powerslam at just past the 7-minute mark. Roop tries to attack after the match, which Dibiase intercepts, then dumps him with a shoulder breaker, and covers him for another pin for extra emphasis. A good little match, with Watts adding a lot to the moves with his call of the action.
JYD vs. Nick Bockwinkel (6/11/82)
Bruce Pritchard is the ring announcer. Bobby Heenan is joining Bockwinkel. Bockwinkel feels JYD’s power in their initial lock up and that drives him to seek counsel with Heenan. JYD rocks Bockwinkel with some big fists, sending Bockwinkel reeling. Bockwinkel drives five or 6 knees into the JYD’s stomach. JYD goes down for a millisecond , then springs to his feet. This sends Bockwinkel to the floor in fear.
Bockwinkel tries some more shots to JYD’s belly, but the Dog slams a headbutt into Bockwinkel’s middle to send him once again into retreat. Bockwinkel switches to a facelock to try and sap some strength out of the JYD, but Dog tosses him off.
Things spill to the floor, and JYD is rammed into the post. Heenan adds a cheap shot for good measure. JYD is driven head first into the post again, and this time does not go down, merely wobbling. Bockwinkel brings the action back in the ring, but he can’t put the Dog away. Bockwinkel attempts a slam, but is small packaged for the pin at just past the 10-minute mark.
This leads right into a JYD vs. Heenan bout, as per the match stipulations. JYD takes a series of kicks as he’s still woozy from the ring post blows. JYD starts to no sell, and chucks Heenan with a big slam – this prompts Bockwinkel to charge the ring. As JYD is tangling with Bockwinkel, Heenan cracks him with a foreign object. Both heels then lay the boots to JYD before Bruiser Brody rushes the ring to make the save! Great fun, even if it was all just stalling and smoke and mirrors to hide JYD’s limitations.
Mr. Olympia vs. Bob Roop (7/15/82)
Roop and Olympia go through some quick wrestling and counter wrestling as both men briefly enjoy control. The fight goes to the floor, where Roop tries to run away, but Olympia slips into the ring and leaps out of the adjoining side onto Roop. DIVE!
Roop is able to take control back in the ring with some quality cheating, using the ropes for leverage while trapping Olympia in a headlock, then choking him when the ref is distracted by the ropes shaking. Olympia fights back, and locks on the sleeper. Roop is able to escape it by getting an angle on Olympia’s side and delivering a backbreaker. Roop then locks on a sleeper of his own. After a struggle Olympia breaks out of that and ensnares Roop in a sleeper once again. Roop attempts the same escape tactic as earlier, but Olympia avoids giving up his body. This leads to Roop going to sleep at the 8-minute mark. This had a lot of good sequences in it, and I especially enjoyed the finish.
JYD and Mr. Olympia vs. Ted Dibiase and “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan (8/18/82)
Duggan gets a feel of the JYD, then decides he’d rather take a piece of Mr. Olympia, this backfires quickly as Olympia sends Duggan flying with a head scissors. JYD tags in, but he’s too distracted by Dibiase to focus and Duggan gets the advantage. JYD makes his own comeback and quickly gives Olympia the chance to get the shine on both heels.
JYD makes his way back in, but a cheapshot from Dibiase gives the heels the advantage. After taking abuse for a minute or so, things breakdown into a 4-way brawl . The melee ends with JYD standing tall alone.
Olympia and Duggan continue the match in a formal fashion, with Olympia ending up the worse for wear. Olympia is knocked into the JYD, which counts as a tag – but the heels do not notice. JYD falls to the floor from the blow, meanwhile Dibiase and Duggan continue their beating on Olympia. JYD recovers and sneaks back in to powerslam Dibiase for the win at the 7-minute mark. There was not a whole lot of selling here as everyone was tagging fast in between healthy doses of brawling. Fun stuff nonetheless.
Buck Robley vs. One Man Gang (9/15/82)
This is under lumberjack rules. Robley gets a grasp on Gang’s wrist and eats a ton of forearms as he refuses to let it go. The dazed Robley is twice tossed to the floor to put over the stipulations of the match. Robley brawls his way into control of the bout, driving a dazed Gang to attempt to take a break on the floor. The lumberjacks see to it that he is sent back in.
Robley manages to knock the Gang to the floor again, then attempts a sleeper back in the ring. That ends with Robley being thrown off and to the concrete. Once Robley is tossed back in, Gang misses a flying elbow attempt, and is cracked with Robley’s arm brace for the pin at 6:30 or so. I didn’t find anything special in this bout.
Many more matches to come in future editions…