Mid-South Wrestling: March 1980

Here's a look at Mid-South Wrestling in March 1980: Killer Khan debuts and is immediately thrust into a big angle with Ted DiBiase, oil tycoon Ken Mantell wants a lock of your hair, JYD "doesn't get paid by the hour" & more!

Here are the week-by-week SPOT Ratings charts for the month.






COMINGS AND GOINGS

Newcomers this month:

Babyfaces Terry Orndorff and Tommy Wright
Terry Orndorff, younger brother of Paul, made his pro debut in late 1979 and worked for Southeastern for a few months before coming here. This appears to be Tommy Wright's first stop as a pro wrestler. According to wrestlingdata.com he also used the ring names Mr Olympia in Florida and Richard Blood in East Texas.

Heels Bob Bouchard, Ken Mantell and Killer Khan
I believe Bouchard is the wrestler who primarily used the ring name Bob Boucher and wrestled in Canada for much of his career. He may also have used the ring names Fidel Cortez and Carlos Zapata. Former NWA World Junior Heavyweight champion Ken Mantell had left the wrestling business at some point a couple of years earlier and was a partner in a company called CLW Oil Co. that owned several truck stops and a dairy. He may have worked some for the Culkins in Mississippi in late 1978. Upon his return here, Mantell's character was based on the popular TV show Dallas; he portrayed a rich oil tycoon (perhaps a subtle nod to CLW Oil) and would cut off a lock of his opponents' hair after defeating them as a way of "branding" them. This aspect of his character would play a very important role in another feud (and one of the most well-known angles in Mid-South history) later in the year. Killer Khan, briefly managed by Masao Hattori, came here after a stint in Georgia.

Leaving the territory this month:

Babyfaces Gama Singh, Steve Hall and Ted DiBiase
Singh went to Puerto Rico. Hall (aka Tom "Rocky" Stone) was taken off the house shows and just worked TV tapings in an enhancement role until leaving in early May and going to Grand Prix in Canada. DiBiase left for a tour of All Japan. His absence was explained by a big injury angle on TV. The angle started when Killer Khan and Hattori interrupted the proceedings as DiBiase was about to wrestle Tully Blanchard (who was full time in Southwest but worked occasional TV tapings here). A brawl broke out and it ended with DiBiase putting the figure-four on Hattori. Then during a Mid-South Tag Team title bout with champs DiBiase & Paul Orndorff defending against Hayes & Gordy (this was either the same episode or the following week), DiBiase had one of the 'Birds in the figure-four. Khan then hit the ring and nailed him with a steel chair, giving him a concussion and also enabling the 'Birds to regain the tag belts.

Heels Bill Irwin, Ernie Ladd, Frenchy Martin and Mike Blood
Irwin went to Southeastern. Ladd dropped the Louisiana State title to Junkyard Dog (see the Title Changes section further below) and then left to work primarily in Georgia and Florida. Frenchy Martin went to Puerto Rico, where he wrestled as Pierre Martel. Mike Blood (aka Mike Hammer) may have wrestled a handful of matches in Florida later in the year, but his next regular stint doesn't seem to be until early 1981 in Central States.

Other wrestlers not listed in the SPOT Ratings:

Austin Idol, Dory Funk Jr, Dusty Rhodes, Executioner, Gino Hernandez, Gene Lewis, Gran Markus, Jesse Tanner, Terry Funk, Tommy Rich, Tony Atlas, Toru Tanaka and Wahoo McDaniel. As you can see, a lot of outside names (usually from Georgia or East Texas) were brought in for occasional appearances. These occurred most often on the weekends, when Watts was running multiple shows using split crews. The Funks were booked against Dusty and Wahoo in New Orleans on Monday March 17th. They were also booked two nights later in Jackson against JYD & Robley.

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Here are the week-by-week Rankings for the month.






WHO'S HOT AND WHO'S NOT

Hot: Babyface Paul Orndorff and heel Killer Khan. Orndorff moved up the cards during the month, with his SPOT Rating going from a .70 the week of March 9th to a .77 by the end of the month. He'll break the .80 mark the first week of April, placing him in the Main Eventer category. Killer Khan debuted in prelims and worked his way up the cards during the month.

Not: Heel Mike George. After dropping the North American title to Ted DiBiase at the beginning of February, Mike George continued to feud with DiBiase. But as that feud ran its' course, George moved down the cards in March, with his SPOT Rating falling from a .72 the week of March 2nd to a .61 by March 30th. It's also worth noting that Michael Hayes and Terry Gordy start having some singles matches in late March and early April. Gordy's bout was generally placed higher up on the card, leading to Hayes' SPOT Rating dipping significantly below that of Gordy. This is perhaps the first sign of Watts not being fully on board with Hayes as a top heel wrestler and putting the focus on the more physically imposing Gordy.

CH-CHANGES

Role Changes: Ricky Fields & Terry Lathan were put together as a tag team for a couple of weeks. As Junkyard Dog was getting pushed as the top star in the territory, he was booked in more singles bouts in March. So Fields & Lathan were teamed up to work (and put over) Hayes & Gordy on the house shows. Preliminary wrestler Ben Alexander seems to have switched from being a babyface to being a heel. It likely wasn't a "turn" per se, he just switches from wrestling against mostly heels to wrestling against mostly babyfaces.

Title Changes: As referenced above, Hayes & Gordy regained the Mid-South Tag Team titles from DiBiase & Paul Orndorff at a TV taping, which took place on March 22nd in Shreveport. DiBiase & Orndorff appear to have won the titles earlier that same week in New Orleans. On March 14th in Shreveport, JYD defeated Ernie Ladd in just 30 seconds (!) to win the Louisiana State title. As part of JYD's monster push, he was winning matches very quickly, with Watts explaining on TV that he "doesn't get paid by the hour." Title history sources list Bull Ramos as winning the Mississippi State title from Iron Mike Sharpe on March 26th in Jackson. It appears that DiBiase was allowed to keep the North American title during his 'injury'.

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Here are the week-by-week FEUD Scores for the month.






The biggest feuds over the course of the month were:
Bull Ramos vs Iron Mike Sharpe, with a peak FEUD Score of 53
Buck Robley & Junkyard Dog vs Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy (peak FEUD of 32)
Bob Sweetan vs Junkyard Dog (peak of 31)
Mike George vs Ted DiBiase (peak of 26)

JYD and Sweetan's feud saw them face off in what was fast becoming JYD's specialty bout, a Dog Collar match, in Baton Rouge on March 4th, in Jackson on March 12th, in Greenville on the 27th and in Monroe on the 30th. The feud between Ramos and Sharpe started to wind down, with big stipulation matches in several towns including lumberjack matches, Indian Strap matches and Brass Knucks bouts.

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HOUSE SHOW LINEUPS
(unless stated otherwise, these lineups are from my own personal research)

3/4/80 Baton Rouge, LA
-Dog Collar match: Bob Sweetan vs Junkyard Dog
-Lumberjack match: Bull Ramos vs Iron Mike Sharpe
-Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy vs Ricky Fields & Terry Lathan
-Tank Patton vs Ted DiBiase
-Frenchy Martin vs Paul Orndorff
-Bill Irwin vs Mike Blood

3/5/80 Jackson, MS
-Elimination match: Bob Sweetan & Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy vs Buck Robley & Junkyard Dog & Ted DiBiase
-Lumberjack match: Bull Ramos vs Iron Mike Sharpe
-Frenchy Martin vs Paul Orndorff
-Bill Irwin vs Mike George
-Ben Alexander vs Tank Patton

3/6/80 Greenville, MS
-Bull Ramos vs Iron Mike Sharpe
-King Cobra vs Tank Patton
-Bill Irwin & Gladiator vs Ricky Fields & Terry Lathan
-Gama Singh vs Igor Putski

3/7/80 Shreveport, LA
-Special challenge match: Ernie Ladd vs Junkyard Dog
-Indian Strap match: Bull Ramos vs Iron Mike Sharpe
-Non-title: Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy vs Paul Orndorff & Ted DiBiase
-King Cobra vs Mike George
-Bob Sweetan vs Ricky Fields
-Tank Patton vs Terry Lathan

3/8/80 Henderson, TX
-Mid-South Tag Team titles: Buck Robley & Paul Orndorff vs Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy
-Non-title: Mike George vs Ted DiBiase
-Frenchy Martin vs Ricky Fields
-Gladiator vs Igor Putski

3/9/80 Lake Charles, LA
-Texas Tornado, no disqualification match: Buck Robley & Junkyard Dog vs Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy
-Iron Mike Sharpe vs Toru Tanaka
-Grudge match: Gino Hernandez vs Gran Markus
-Ben Alexander vs Bull Ramos
-Gama Singh vs Tank Patton

3/9/80 Monroe, LA
-Lights out match: Mike George vs Ted DiBiase
-Special challenge match: Bob Sweetan vs Paul Orndorff
-Frenchy Martin vs King Cobra
-Bob Bouchard & Gladiator vs Ricky Fields & Terry Lathan
-Igor Putski vs Mike Blood

(several sources list results for shows in New Orleans on March 3rd and March 10th. However, the lineups and results are the exact same for both shows, so one of the dates is incorrect and I haven't been able to deduce which one)

3/11/80 Baton Rouge, LA
-Bob Sweetan vs Ted DiBiase
-Bull Ramos vs Iron Mike Sharpe
-Buck Robley & Junkyard Dog vs Mike George & Tank Patton
-Bob Bouchard vs Paul Orndorff
-Ben Alexander vs Mike Blood

3/12/80 Jackson, MS
-Dog Collar match: Bob Sweetan vs Junkyard Dog
-Mike George vs Paul Orndorff
-Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy vs Ricky Fields & Terry Lathan
-Ben Alexander vs Bull Ramos
-plus 1 other bout

3/13/80 Greenville, MS
-Bob Sweetan vs Junkyard Dog
-Bull Ramos vs Paul Orndorff
-Bob Bouchard & Tank Patton vs Ricky Fields & Terry Lathan
-Igor Putski vs Mike Blood

3/14/80 Greenwood, MS
-Bull Ramos vs Iron Mike Sharpe
-Ricky Fields vs Tank Patton
-King Cobra vs Mike Blood
-Bob Bouchard vs Terry Lathan

3/14/80 Shreveport, LA
-Louisiana State title: Ernie Ladd vs Junkyard Dog
-Mid-South Tag Team titles: Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy vs Paul Orndorff & Ted DiBiase
-Buck Robley vs Mike George
-Bob Sweetan vs Gama Singh
-Ben Alexander vs Igor Putski

3/15/80 Biloxi, MS
-North American title: Bob Sweetan vs Ted DiBiase
-Bull Ramos vs Wahoo McDaniel
-Ernie Ladd vs Paul Orndorff
-Tank Patton vs Tony Atlas
-Executioner & Killer Khan vs Ricky Fields & Terry Lathan
-Ben Alexander vs Mike Blood

3/16/80 Houma, LA
-Bull Ramos vs Iron Mike Sharpe
-Mike George vs Ricky Fields
-Executioner vs Terry Lathan
-Bob Bouchard vs Igor Putski

3/16/80 Monroe, LA
-Elimination match: Buck Robley & Junkyard Dog & Ted DiBiase vs Ernie Ladd & Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy
-Winner take all: Bob Sweetan vs Paul Orndorff
-King Cobra vs Tank Patton
-Ben Alexander vs Mike Blood
-Gama Singh vs Gladiator

3/17/80 New Orleans, LA (source: cagematch.net and Mark James' Mid-South/UWF results book)
-Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy vs Paul Orndorff & Ted DiBiase
-Ernie Ladd vs Junkyard Dog
-Dory Funk Jr & Terry Funk vs Dusty Rhodes & Wahoo McDaniel
-Iron Mike Sharpe vs Tank Patton
-Bull Ramos vs Terry Lathan
-Mike George vs Ricky Fields

3/18/80 Baton Rouge, LA
-Lights Out match: Bob Sweetan vs Ted DiBiase
-Brass Knucks rules: Bull Ramos vs Iron Mike Sharpe
-Junkyard Dog vs Tank Patton
-Mike George vs Paul Orndorff
-Bob Bouchard & Gene Lewis vs Ricky Fields & Terry Lathan
-Ben Alexander vs Igor Putski

3/19/80 Jackson, MS
-Buck Robley & Junkyard Dog vs Dory Funk Jr & Terry Funk
-North American title: Bob Sweetan vs Ted DiBiase
-Paul Orndorff vs Tank Patton
-King Cobra & Ricky Fields vs Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy
-Bob Bouchard vs Iron Mike Sharpe
-Bull Ramos vs Terry Lathan

3/21/80 Shreveport, LA
-North American title: Bob Sweetan vs Ted DiBiase
-Special challenge match: Iron Mike Sharpe vs Ken Mantell
-Buck Robley & Junkyard Dog vs Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy (if Robley & JYD win, Robley gets five minutes alone with Hayes)
-Gene Lewis vs Paul Orndorff
-Killer Khan vs King Cobra
-Bull Ramos vs Ricky Fields

3/22/80 Alexandria, LA
-Mid-South Tag Team titles, no disqualification: Buck Robley & Junkyard Dog vs Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy
-Special challenge match "from Atlanta, Georgia": Austin Idol vs Tommy Rich
-Bob Sweetan vs Ricky Fields
-Gladiator vs Paul Orndorff
-Ben Alexander vs Terry Orndorff
-Killer Khan vs "an unknown opponent" (presumably not anyone of note, as it was the opener)

3/22/80 Bastrop, LA
-Mike George vs Tony Atlas
-Bull Ramos vs Iron Mike Sharpe
-Tank Patton vs Terry Lathan
-Bob Bouchard & Mike Blood vs Igor Putski & King Cobra

3/23/80 Houma, LA
-No disqualification: Bull Ramos vs Iron Mike Sharpe
-Winner take all: Mike George vs Ricky Fields
-Ben Alexander vs King Cobra
-Jesse Tanner vs Terry Lathan

3/23/80 Lafayette, LA
-Texas Tornado match: Buck Robley & Junkyard Dog vs Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy
-Mike George vs Paul Orndorff
-Bob Sweetan vs Iron Mike Sharpe
-Bull Ramos vs Terry Lathan
-Ricky Fields vs Tank Patton

3/23/80 Lake Charles, LA
-Mid-South Tag Team titles: Buck Robley & Junkyard Dog vs Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy
-Winner take all: Gino Hernandez vs Gran Markus
-Bob Sweetan vs Paul Orndorff
-Gene Lewis vs Terry Orndorff
-Tank Patton vs Tommy Wright
-Bob Bouchard vs Igor Putski

3/24/80 New Orleans, LA (source: cagematch.net and Mark James' Mid-South/UWF results book)
-Buck Robley & Junkyard Dog vs Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy
-Iron Mike Sharpe vs Ken Mantell
-Bob Sweetan vs Paul Orndorff
-Killer Khan vs Tommy Wright
-Bull Ramos vs Terry Orndorff
-Bob Bouchard vs Terry Lathan

3/26/80 Jackson, MS
-Buck Robley & Junkyard Dog vs Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy
-Indian Strap match: Bull Ramos vs Iron Mike Sharpe
-Bob Sweetan vs Paul Orndorff
-Ken Mantell vs Terry Orndorff
-Killer Khan vs Tommy Wright
-Mike George vs Terry Lathan

3/27/80 Greenville, MS
-Dog Collar match: Bob Sweetan vs Junkyard Dog
-Brass Knucks rules: Bull Ramos vs Iron Mike Sharpe
-Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy vs Terry Orndorff & Tommy Wright
-Bob Bouchard vs Terry Lathan

3/28/80 Greenwood, MS
-Indian Strap match: Bull Ramos vs Iron Mike Sharpe
-Texas Death match: Ricky Fields vs Tank Patton
-Bob Bouchard vs King Cobra
-Ben Alexander vs Tommy Wright

3/28/80 Shreveport, LA
-Buck Robley vs Terry Gordy (regardless of the outcome, Robley gets five minutes with Michael Hayes after the match)
-Ken Mantell vs Wahoo McDaniel
-Mike George vs Paul Orndorff
-Bob Sweetan vs Junkyard Dog
-Killer Khan vs Terry Lathan
-Michael Hayes vs Terry Orndorff

3/29/80 Alexandria, LA
-Bob Sweetan & Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy vs Buck Robley & Junkyard Dog & Paul Orndorff
-Mike George vs Tony Atlas
-Ken Mantell vs Ricky Fields
-Killer Khan vs King Cobra
-Gladiator vs Terry Lathan

3/29/80 Loranger, LA (source: wrestlingdata.com)
-Bull Ramos vs Iron Mike Sharpe
-Tank Patton vs Terry Orndorff
-Ben Alexander vs Tommy Wright
-Bob Bouchard vs Igor Putski

3/30/80 Houma, LA
-Indian Strap match: Bull Ramos vs Iron Mike Sharpe
-Texas Death match: Mike George vs Ricky Fields
-Ben Alexander vs Terry Lathan
-Bob Bouchard vs Igor Putski

3/30/80 Monroe, LA
-Dog Collar match: Bob Sweetan vs Junkyard Dog
-Buck Robley & Paul Orndorff vs Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy (if Robley & Orndorff win, Robley gets five minutes alone with Hayes)
-Ken Mantell vs King Cobra
-Killer Khan vs Tommy Wright
-Tank Patton vs Terry Orndorff

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