Where Wrestling's Regional History Lives!
- 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 look back at one of the most legendary feuds to ever hit the city
of Houston (boy, that covers a ton of ground doesn’t it?).
While the “uniqueness” of having a Houston-only feud in 1984
was largely out of the picture, the situations and stipulations make the
blow off match to one of the greatest tag team feuds ever one that just
has to be remembered.
has been brought up more than once in our journey together, both the
Mid-South territory, and Houston in general were going through something
of a slump near the end of 1983. Crowds
in Houston had dipped to just over 3,000 fans in a 10,000+ seat Sam
Houston Coliseum. The
Houston crowds mirrored what was happening across the Mid-South
territory, as most of the big drawing cities like Tulsa, New Orleans,
Oklahoma City, and others were suffering at the gate as well.
Bill Watts and Jerry Jarrett, after a talent
evaluation, decided to swap some talent.
Suffice to say, it was the rare occasion that Jerry Jarrett got
the worse end of the deal. Watts
received several pieces of talent that would be instrumental in turning
his territory on fire in 1984. Five
such men were Jim Cornette, Dennis Condrey, Bobby Eaton, Ricky Morton,
and Robert Gibson.
By the end of 1984, these five men blazed a trail
in tag team wrestling/angle thrills that still stands “up” to close
scrutiny nearly 20 years later. The
angles, the action, the feud; all of it top notch.
Action packed and highly dramatic, the Midnight
Express/Rock-n-Roll Express feud scorched the Bayou City during
1984…complete with an ending that was “death-defying.”
Reaction From Frustration: Jim
Cornette and the Midnight Express had a great run in Mid-South
wrestling. From winning
their first tag titles in March from Mr. Wrestling 2 and Magnum T.A., to
the memorable “Last Stampede” series with Bill Watts (see next
month’s article), the team and their manager had a break out 1984.
But their closest ties with Mid-South will always be against the
Rock-n-Roll Express. The
Rock-n-Rolls captured their first of 3 Mid-South tag titles from Condrey
and Eaton in May 1984 (just days before Magnum T.A.’s first North
American Title victory over Mr. Wrestling 2).
However, Condrey and Eaton would even the score by beating Gibson
and Morton just three weeks later.
Both times the titles changed hands in front of the
Irish McNeil Boys Club faithful in Shreveport, Louisiana. The two teams were “married” together on the road for
most of their shared time in Mid-South, wrestling in all sorts of
matches (six man tags with the Midnights teaming up with Ernie Ladd and
Hacksaw Jim Duggan joining Morton and Gibson…right here in Houston!!
4 man matches with Midnights-Guerreros vs. Rock-n-Rolls-Fantastics)
with wild stipulations.
Nearly five months after losing the belts, Morton
and Gibson finally regained the titles in New Orleans on October 1,
1984. By this time, the
Midnight Express were making plans to move on to World Class
Championship Wrestling. The
final showdown was going to take place….but how?
Ricky Morton appeared on Mid-South television frustrated by Jim Cornette and Cornette’s attempts at ruining the lives of Morton and Gibson. Morton and Gibson were demonstrating how in upcoming matches, Jim Cornette would be straitjacketed to prevent his interference in matches. Morton tied up Gibson in the straitjacket…and well….we all can see where this is going can’t we?? (On tapes of this angle, one can hear people screaming at Morton and Gibson both “Don’t do it Ricky, Let him go Ricky, Robert, get out of that thing!!) Initially, Morton was able to fight them off, but eventually, the Rock-n-Rolls succumbed to the attack pulled off by Cornette and his henchmen. Gibson took the brunt of the attack. More...