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   Fri, February 15, 2008



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Mid-South DVD has great matches, but no extras
By CHRIS SCHRAMM - SLAM! Wrestling
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The national expansion of the WWE in the mid-1980s killed off the territorial system. Mid-South Wrestling (later Universal Wrestling Federation) was a territory seeming to have the ability to breakthrough but with stars leaving by the busload, they ultimately were sold to the Jim Crockett's Mid-Atlantic territory in 1987. It has the star power and angles that were considered revolutionary at the time, a lot of which can be seen in Giants Midgets Heroes and Villains, a DVD featuring some of the best matches and angles from Mid-South Wrestling.

Mid-South was on fire in the early 1980s, run by promoter and former wrestler Bill Watts. He was a genius in booking but his temper and old-school ways would eventually catch up with him. In the short time that the WWE ran on national cable's WTBS on Saturday evening in 1984, Mid-South ran mornings on the station. It became the highest rated show on cable at the time.

This DVD is a great chronicle of what made Mid-South so special. It mixed established names (Ric Flair, Andre the Giant) with emerging stars (Ted Dibiase, Junkyard Dog). Mix the names with exciting angles and you got Mid-South Wrestling.

The DVD is two and a half hours of matches and angles that really display a great sample of what made Mid-South stand out. The DVD wastes no time, as the first match has Ted Dibiase taking on Ric Flair for the NWA World title. Dick Murdoch decides to come to the ring before the match to talk to Dibiase. Without giving too much away, Dibiase is left a bloody mess.

Do not expect a history of Mid-South in this DVD. It features no documentary part and just cuts from match to match. It is not in chronological order either. So the wrestlers go from heel to face from match to match. It is for an old-time wrestling fan who just wants the angles and matches. There aren't any extras on this DVD.

A surprise is when a young Rick Steiner (announced as Rob Ricksteiner) appears to team with Steve Williams against Butch Reed and Jim Duggan. Steiner was just weeks into his career but already had the power and look that made his career.

Also, you see the early years of announcer Jim Ross, who showed he was going to be one of the greatest from his first years in the business.

The title of the DVD includes "Giants and Midgets" and this DVD delivers with King Kong Bundy and Andre the Giant filling the giant spot while Cowboy Lang and Little Tokyo filling the midget role.

Some disappoints of the DVD might be that they do not follow-up on some of the matches and angles shown. I would have hoped for a Murdoch vs. Dibiase grudge match as well as the Mr. Wrestling II turn on Magnum TA (they show the two tagging). But I guess those can be left for future releases.

Fans need to catch these DVDs quickly as Mid-South is last of the bigger American promotions that have not sold their footage to the WWE. Micah Watts is in charge of the footage and helps edit and prepare this and future releases. Bill Watts lost the rights to the footage in the 1990s following a divorce from his wife, Ene Sooro.

Full rundown of the DVD:

  1. Ric Flair vs. Ted DiBiase for the NWA World title
  2. Nikolia Volkoff vs. Terry Taylor
  3. Hacksaw Jim Duggan interview
  4. King Kong Bundy vs. Junkyard Dog
  5. Mid-South music video
  6. Skandar Akbar and Kamala interview
  7. Kamala vs. Masked Marvel
  8. Paul Orndorff vs. Ted DiBiase
  9. Andre the Giant and Tony Atlas vs. Ted DiBiase and Matt Borne
  10. Interview with a bloody Andre the Giant
  11. Hacksaw Butch Reed vs, Rick Rood
  12. Little Tokyo and Ivan the Terrible vs. Lone Eagle and Cowboy Lang
  13. One Man Gang and Kareem Mohammed vs. Al Perez and Wendell Cooley
  14. King Kong Bundy vs. Art Crews
  15. Ted DiBiase and Matt Borne vs. Iron Mike Sharp and Mr. Olympia
  16. Junkyard Dog vs. One Man Gang
  17. Tully Blanchard vs. Paul Orndorff
  18. Ted DiBiase and Steve Williams vs. Brad Armstrong and Brickhouse Brown
  19. Hacksaw Butch Reed and Jim Neidhart vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Dusty Rhodes
  20. Hacksaw Butch Reed and Jim Neidhart vs. Mr. Wrestling II and Magnum TA (Cage Match)
  21. Interview with Mr. Wrestling II and Magnum TA
  22. Interview with Hacksaw Butch Reed and Jim Neidhart (post cage match breakup)
  23. Iceman King Parsons, Little Coco and Cowboy Lang vs. Jack Victory, Little Tokyo and Lord Littlebrook
  24. King Kong Bundy and Boris Zukhov vs. Tim Horner and Bill Rathke
  25. Buzz Sawyer attacks Hacksaw Jim Duggan (backstage brawl)
  26. Steve Williams and Rob Ricksteiner vs. Hacksaw Butch Reed and Hacksaw Jim Duggan
  27. King Kong Bundy and Ted DiBiase vs. Steve Williams and Johnny Rich
  28. Bob Orton Jr. and Ed Wiskowski vs. Ted DiBiase and Mr. Olympia
  29. Andre The Giant, Junkyard Dog and Dusty Rhodes vs. Ernie Ladd and The Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika)


A trailer for Mid-South: Giants, Midgets, Heroes & Villains Volume 1 DVD

EDITOR'S NOTE: SLAM! Wrestling will review Giants Midgets Heroes and Villains Volume 2 in the coming weeks.

RELATED LINKS

  • Promoter Bill Watts Interview
  • Bill Watts Book Review
    Visit the SLAM! Wrestling store!

  • Mid-South: Giants, Midgets, Heroes & Villains Volume 1 DVD
  • Mid-South: Giants, Midgets, Heroes & Villains Volume 2 DVD
  • The Cowboy and the Cross Book by Bill Watts
  • Bill Watts Shoot Interview DVD

    Chris Schramm has written for SLAM! Wrestlimg since 1997. He has a degree from the School of Journalism from the University of Kansas. He loves old school wrestling and recommends the five disc Wrestling Gold DVD set as another of his favorites.