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Mid-South Wrestling: May 1980

Here's a look at Mid-South Wrestling in May 1980: the Freebirds become the "three 'Birds", Ken Mantell and Paul Orndorff continue their "hair-raising" feud, Ted DiBiase returns & more!

Here are the SPOT Ratings for the month.


COMINGS AND GOINGS

Newcomers to the territory this month are babyfaces Jake Roberts, Mike Miller and Ted DiBiase and heels Hugo Savinovich, Mike Kelly and Pat Kelly.

DiBiase was returning from his "injury" at the hands of Killer Khan (in reality he was in All Japan). Roberts had been a part-timer here for much of the period after the split with McGuirk, though he did do a tour for IWE in Japan in March. This stint marks his first real "push" in the territory, as he is moved up from prelims to the mid-card by the end of May. Miller came in from Florida.

While Savinovich is best known for his career as a commentator and also as a manager, he did wrestle for a few years. Prior to coming here he had been wrestling in Amarillo. Mike & Pat Kelly, real names Victor & William Arko, were identical twins from Ontario and wrestled in numerous territories dating back to 1969. Victor lost his life in the same automobile accident that took the lives of Adrian Adonis and Dave McKigney in July 1988 in Newfoundland, Canada. It is believed that their van, which Victor was driving, swerved to avoid a moose and crashed into an embankment. William was also in the van and suffered a badly broken leg.

Leaving the territory during the month were babyface Igor Putski and heels Bob Owens, Bull Ramos and Mike Bowyer.

Putski next shows up in Mid-Atlantic in June wrestling as Rick Ferrara. Owens works some shows for Georgia over the summer. Ramos went to East Texas. I can't find any listings for Bowyer (Mike Boyette) until February 1981 when he works for IWE in Japan.

Looking at Bull Ramos' four-month long stint here, he started out in the prelims, moving up the cards gradually and hitting mid-card status in January. By late February, he's in the upper mid-cards feuding with Iron Mike Sharpe. That feud lasts several weeks through early April, and Ramos' SPOT Rating peaks at a .75 the week of April 13th.


Other wrestlers not listed in the SPOT Ratings: Austin Idol, Dusty Rhodes, Mike George, Noble Price, Steve Hall, Tommy Rich and Wahoo McDaniel and women wrestlers Ann Casey and Natasha.

Watts continues to load up some of the cards on weekends with names from outside the territory such as Idol, Dusty, Rich and Wahoo. Noble Price is believed to be the wrestler also known as Guillotine Gordon, Evil Eye Gordon and Enforcer Luciano; some sources mistakenly list him and Hugo Savinovich as the same person, but this appears to be incorrect.

CH-CH-CHANGES

Role Changes: A big change happens this month as veteran Buddy Roberts joins up with young, brash heels Michael Hayes and Terry Gordy to form the most successful and well-known incarnation of the Fabulous Freebirds. The newspaper in Shreveport mentions Hayes being "injured" at the May 16th house show when Robley dropped him on his head outside the ring. Hayes was unable to continue and the match was awarded to Robley & King Cobra (who was subbing for JYD). On May 19th in New Orleans, Frank Dusek replaced Hayes as Gordy's partner in a match against Jake Roberts & Terry Lathan. The ad for the May 22nd card in Greenwood lists "The Fabulous Freebirds" taking on JYD & Steven Little Bear with no mention of the individual team members. The earliest newspaper advertisement specifically listing Roberts as a 'Bird is for the May 23rd show in Shreveport, with Gordy & Roberts (with Hayes listed as their manager) advertised to face Buck Robley & Junkyard Dog.

Title Changes: As mentioned last month, Terry Gordy defeated Junkyard Dog to win the Mississippi state title, with the switch occurring either on April 22nd in Baton Rouge or May 2nd in Shreveport. Gordy holds on to the title throughout May, with JYD still holding the Louisiana title. JYD & Robley retain the Mid-South Tag Team titles all month while Ted DiBiase reigns supreme as North American champ.

Hot Tag (Teams): JYD & Robley make several appearances as a team this month, but they're also frequently booked in singles matches. The Freebirds are a regular team (with Roberts replacing Hayes towards the end of April) as mentioned above. Mike & Pat Kelly are also working regularly as a tag team, but it should be noted they were also booked in numerous singles bouts.

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Here are the FEUD Scores for the month.


ANATOMY OF A FEUD

This month we'll dissect the feud between Ken Mantell and Paul Orndorff, looking at all of the known matches between them with results and stipulations noted where available.

Keep in mind that some newspapers didn't list details, so just because a match isn't specified as a title match we don't necessarily know for a fact that it was non-title and the same can apply for stipulation bouts. Also, "Wrestler A defeated Wrestler B" doesn't necessarily mean it was by pinfall or submission.

April 30 Jackson MS: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff in a lumberjack match
May 1 Greenville MS: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff
May 2 Shreveport LA: Paul Orndorff defeated Ken Mantell in a Texas rules (aka Texas death) match
May 3 Baton Rouge LA: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff in a lumberjack match
May 4 Monroe LA: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff
May 9 Shreveport LA: Paul Orndorff defeated Ken Mantell in a "winner take all, lotion vs the hair" match
May 10 Alexandria LA: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff in a lumberjack match
May 11 Monroe LA: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff
May 12 New Orleans LA: Paul Orndorff defeated Ken Mantell
May 13 Baton Rouge LA: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff in a Texas death match
May 14 Jackson MS: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff in a Texas death match
May 15 Greenville MS: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff
May 16 Shreveport LA: Ken Mantell defeated Paul Orndorff in a steel cage, hair vs hair match
May 19 New Orleans LA: Ken Mantell defeated Paul Orndorff in a steel cage match
May 21 Jackson MS: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff in a steel cage, hair vs hair match
May 24 Biloxi MS: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff in a grudge match
May 25 Lake Charles LA: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff in a lumberjack match

The hair vs hair matches did not end with either man getting their head shaved. On May 9th in Shreveport, Mantell lost by countout; it appears he was "on the verge of losing" so just decided to run from the ring, thus avoiding losing his hair. The following week in Shreveport, after Mantell won the bout, the newspaper report states "the loser of the match was also supposed to have lost their hair but Paul's brother, Terry, didn't agree and he and Paul combined to beat up Mantell following the match".

The hair removal lotion that was a focal point of this feud would of course play a major part in another feud and one of the biggest angles in Mid-South Wrestling's history, which we will cover next month.

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Here is the calendar of known house shows:


HOUSE SHOW LINEUPS
(unless stated otherwise, these lineups are from my own personal research)
Stipulations listed when known; keep in mind that some matches not specified as title matches may have actually been title bouts and the same can apply for stipulation matches.

4/28/80 New Orleans LA (source: The Clawmaster's Archives message forum and Mark James' Wrestling Record Book: Mid-South/UWF 1979-1987)
-Lights out match: Junkyard Dog vs Michael Hayes
-Buck Robley & Paul Orndorff vs Ken Mantell & Killer Khan
-Stan Stasiak vs Steve Hall & Tommy Wright
-Buddy Roberts vs Steven Little Bear
-Frank Dusek vs Terry Orndorff
-Ben Alexander vs Bob Owens

4/30/80 Jackson MS
-Lumberjack match: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff
-Austin Idol vs Tommy Rich
-Junkyard Dog vs Killer Khan
-King Cobra & Terry Orndorff vs Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy
-Handicap match: Stan Stasiak vs Terry Lathan & Tommy Wright
-Buddy Roberts vs Steven Little Bear

5/1/80 Greenville MS
-Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff
-Killer Khan vs King Cobra
-Frank Dusek vs Terry Lathan
-Ben Alexander vs Tommy Wright

5/2/80 Shreveport LA
-Louisiana Heavyweight title: Junkyard Dog vs Terry Gordy
-Texas rules match: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff
-Buck Robley & Steven Little Bear vs Killer Khan & Stan Stasiak
-King Cobra vs Mike Miller
-Buddy Roberts vs Terry Lathan
-Ben Alexander vs Jake Roberts

5/3/80 Baton Rouge LA
-Southern Heavyweight title (Florida version): Dusty Rhodes vs Stan Stasiak
-Louisiana Heavyweight title: Junkyard Dog vs Terry Gordy
-Lumberjack match: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff
-Austin Idol vs Tommy Rich
-Killer Khan vs Steven Little Bear
-King Cobra vs Noble Price
-Buddy Roberts vs Terry Orndorff
-Mike Bowyer vs Terry Lathan
-Jake Roberts vs Mike Miller

5/4/80 Monroe LA
-Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff
-Killer Khan vs Wahoo McDaniel
-Ann Casey vs Natasha
-King Cobra vs Noble Price
-Frank Dusek vs Terry Orndorff
-Mike Miller vs Tommy Wright

5/4/80 Thibodaux LA
-Buck Robley & Junkyard Dog vs Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy (if Robley's team wins he gets five minutes alone with Hayes)
-Stan Stasiak vs Steven Little Bear
-Buddy Roberts vs Terry Lathan
-Jake Roberts vs Mike Bowyer
-Ben Alexander vs Igor Putski

5/7/80 Jackson MS
-Buck Robley & Junkyard Dog & Paul Orndorff vs Ken Mantell & Killer Khan & Stan Stasiak
-Buddy Roberts vs Steven Little Bear
-Terry Gordy vs Terry Orndorff
-Michael Hayes vs Terry Lathan
-Ben Alexander vs Jake Roberts

5/8/80 Greenwood MS
-King Cobra & Steven Little Bear vs Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy
-Buddy Roberts vs Terry Orndorff
-Ben Alexander vs Terry Lathan
-Mike Bowyer vs Tommy Wright

5/9/80 Shreveport LA
-Louisiana Heavyweight title: Junkyard Dog vs Terry Gordy
-Winner take all, "lotion against the hair": Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff
-King Cobra vs Stan Stasiak
-Buddy Roberts vs Steven Little Bear
-Frank Dusek vs Jake Roberts
-Mike Miller vs Terry Orndorff

5/10/80 Alexandria LA
-Lumberjack match: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff
-Buck Robley vs Killer Khan
-Buddy Roberts & Stan Stasiak vs Jake Roberts & Steven Little Bear
-Mike George vs Terry Lathan
-Hugo Savinovich vs Tommy Wright

5/11/80 Lake Charles LA
-Louisiana Heavyweight title: Junkyard Dog vs Terry Gordy
-Michael Hayes vs Steven Little Bear
-Stan Stasiak vs Wahoo McDaniel
-Buddy Roberts vs Jake Roberts
-Mike Bowyer vs Terry Orndorff
-Hugo Savinovich vs Tommy Wright

5/11/80 Monroe LA
-Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff
-Austin Idol vs Tommy Rich
-Buck Robley vs Killer Khan
-King Cobra vs Mike Miller
-Frank Dusek vs Terry Lathan
-Ben Alexander vs Igor Putski

5/12/80 New Orleans LA (source: The Clawmaster's Archives message forum and Mark James' Wrestling Record Book: Mid-South/UWF 1979-1987)
-Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff
-Buck Robley & Junkyard Dog vs Killer Khan & Stan Stasiak
-Buddy Roberts vs Steven Little Bear
-Jake Roberts & Terry Orndorff vs Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy
-Mike Bowyer vs Terry Lathan

5/13/80 Baton Rouge LA
-Texas death match: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff
-Junkyard Dog & Steven Little Bear vs Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy
-Mike Miller vs Stan Stasiak
-Hugo Savinovich vs Terry Orndorff
-Buddy Roberts vs Terry Lathan
-Frank Dusek vs Jake Roberts

5/14/80 Jackson MS
-Texas death match: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff
-Mid-South Tag Team titles: Buck Robley & Junkyard Dog vs Killer Khan & Stan Stasiak
-No countouts: Buddy Roberts vs Steven Little Bear
-Frank Dusek vs Jake Roberts
-Ben Alexander vs Terry Lathan
-Hugo Savinovich vs Mike Miller

5/15/80 Greenville MS
-Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff
-Junkyard Dog vs Killer Khan
-Frank Dusek & Hugo Savinovich vs Terry Orndorff & Tommy Wright
-Ben Alexander vs Mike Miller

5/16/80 Shreveport LA
-Steel cage hair vs hair match: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff
-Mid-South Tag Team titles: Buck Robley & Junkyard Dog vs Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy
-Killer Khan vs Ted DiBiase
-Stan Stasiak vs Steven Little Bear
-Jake Roberts vs Mike Kelly
-Pat Kelly vs Terry Orndorff

5/17/80 Loranger LA
-Stan Stasiak vs Steven Little Bear
-Jake Roberts & Terry Orndorff vs Mike Kelly & Pat Kelly
-Frank Dusek vs Terry Lathan
-plus one other bout, likely a singles match involving participants from the tag bout

5/18/80 Houma LA
-Junkyard Dog & Paul Orndorff vs Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy
-Stan Stasiak vs Steven Little Bear
-Killer Khan vs Terry Orndorff
-Frank Dusek vs Mike Miller
-Jake Roberts vs Pat Kelly
-Mike Kelly vs Terry Lathan

5/19/80 New Orleans LA (source: The Clawmaster's Archives message forum and Mark James' Wrestling Record Book: Mid-South/UWF 1979-1987)
-Steel cage match: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff
-Killer Khan vs Ted DiBiase
-Junkyard Dog vs Stan Stasiak
-Buddy Roberts vs Steven Little Bear
-Jake Roberts & Terry Lathan vs Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy
-Ben Alexander vs Tommy Wright
*while Gordy actually teamed with Frank Dusek on this card, I am making the assumption that Dusek was a replacement for Hayes

5/20/80 Baton Rouge LA
-Louisiana Heavyweight title, no disqualification: Junkyard Dog vs Terry Gordy
-Buck Robley & Paul Orndorff vs Ken Mantell & Killer Khan
-Pat Kelly vs Ted DiBiase
-Mike Kelly vs Steven Little Bear
-Jake Roberts vs Stan Stasiak
-Hugo Savinovich vs Mike Miller

5/21/80 Jackson MS
-Steel cage hair vs hair match: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff
-Junkyard Dog vs Stan Stasiak
-No disqualification, no countouts: Buddy Roberts vs Steven Little Bear
-Jake Roberts vs Killer Khan
-Frank Dusek vs Ted DiBiase
-Mike Kelly & Pat Kelly vs Terry Lathan & Terry Orndorff

5/22/80 Greenwood MS
-Buddy Roberts & Terry Gordy vs Junkyard Dog & Steven Little Bear
-Frank Dusek vs Jake Roberts
-Mike Kelly vs Terry Orndorff
-Pat Kelly vs Terry Lathan
*the heel team in the main event is listed in the ad as "The Fabulous Freebirds"; since we know Hayes was injured the previous week, I am crediting this match to Gordy & Roberts as a team despite the advertisement being unclear as to which two wrestlers comprised the team

5/23/80 Shreveport LA
-Lights out, no disqualification match: Killer Khan vs Ted DiBiase
-Buck Robley & Junkyard Dog vs Buddy Roberts & Terry Gordy
-Stan Stasiak vs Steven Little Bear
-Jake Roberts vs Ken Mantell
-Frank Dusek vs Paul Orndorff
-Ben Alexander vs Terry Lathan

5/24/80 Biloxi MS
-Grudge match: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff
-Mid-South Tag Team titles: Buck Robley & Junkyard Dog vs Buddy Roberts & Terry Gordy
-Frank Dusek vs Jake Roberts
-Ben Alexander vs Terry Orndorff
-Hugo Savinovich vs Terry Lathan
-Mike Miller vs Steve Hall

5/25/80 Houma LA
-Handicap match: Buddy Roberts & Michael Hayes & Terry Gordy vs Junkyard Dog & Steven Little Bear
-Jake Roberts vs Mike Kelly
-Pat Kelly vs Terry Orndorff
-Hugo Savinovich vs Tommy Wright
*the advertisement lists the main event as "Two Against Three" but lists the heels as "The Freebirds Hayes & Roberts"; I am making an assumption that the two vs three stipulation is correct and thus Gordy was also a member of the heel team

5/25/80 Lake Charles LA
-Lumberjack match: Ken Mantell vs Paul Orndorff
-Buck Robley & Ted DiBiase vs Killer Khan & Stan Stasiak
-Frank Dusek vs King Cobra
-Ben Alexander vs Terry Lathan
-Mike Miller vs Steve Hall

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