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 - Jason Hess

Hello and welcome to the latest installment of Houston Wrestling here at Kayfabe Memories. 

In this edition of Houston Wrestling memories, we will once again take a look at how Houston Wrestling was perhaps the most unique “territory” in the United States.  Ever the one for continuity, Paul Boesch was able to take an existing storyline from one company…..and switch it to another one.


A Face Turn Like No Other:  One of the greatest face turns of all time is the late 1985 turn of Ted DiBiase (chronicled greatly in the Mid-South section of KM!!).  At the time, DiBiase was one of the leading heels in wrestling, but through the master story-telling of Bill Watts, DiBiase went from heel to face within the span of one 60 minute Mid-South television program.  Basically, Ric Flair and Dick Murdoch were the catalysts for DiBiase’s face turn, and from that moment on, fans across Mid-South fell in love with “Teddy.”  His turn was so powerful that almost by default, his tag team partner Steve Williams turned babyface as well!!! 

Play x 2: 

A Sticky Situation:  From late 1985-May 1987, Ted DiBiase was one of the lead babyfaces in the UWF.  During that time, he had extended feuds with Dick Murdoch, the Sheepherders (with  Steve Williams), the Freebirds, and One Man Gang.  Although DiBiase was not the lead babyface during his time (due to Hacksaw Duggan and later Dr. Death himself), he was always in the thick of the action. 

However, winds of change began to blow into the UWF in early 1987.  By then, the UWF was beginning to lose money due to a weakened economy in most of its touring and television region.  Top babyface Hacksaw Duggan had already left to join the WWF, debuting right before WrestleMania 3.  DiBiase and Doc were still going fairly strong, with Dibiase moving into a consistent challenger role for then UWF champion One Man Gang.  That role changed also, as Gang abruptly left the UWF shortly after dropping the UWF title to Big Bubba Rogers. (which happened shortly after the sale of the UWF to Jim Crockett Promotions)  DiBiase was left without a true angle for himself.  For a while, his character had no direction.   

Things were looking up however.  When he met with Jim Crockett to discuss his role in the company, DiBiase was reportedly offered a huge contract, and was allowed to keep up his Japan tours, which brought him additional income.  In fact, DiBiase was seemingly headed for a heel turn, as he was supposed to wrestle long time partner Williams in a “number one contender’s match” in mid-May 1987.  There was just one problem:  DiBiase never made the match. 

Before the scheduled match with Doc on May 17, 1987 at the UWF television tapings in Tulsa, Oklahoma, DiBiase shocked industry insiders by signing to wrestle with the WWF.  His signing was quite unexpected, considering that he was considered by many to be one of the best workers in the world.  Being a great worker was not the key to success in Titan Sports during that period of time.  However, once the Million Dollar Man gimmick was established, Dibiase became a main event level heel for most of 1988 with the WWF. 

DiBiase wasn’t the only Mid-South mainstay to switch his allegiance to the WWF.  As already mentioned, Hacksaw Duggan had made his way “up north.”  So had Paul Boesch.  The longtime Houston promoter had switched to WWF programming and cards in April 1987.  And here is where the story really gets good.   

The debut card at the Sam Houston Coliseum for the WWF was held on May 15, 1987.  The show was a moderate success, drawing nearly $60,000 with the two main attractions being the Houston return of Hacksaw Duggan against Nikolai Volkoff (the two had a huge rivalry in Mid-South in 1983-84), and an Intercontinental title match between Rick Steamboat and Randy Savage.  More...

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