Where Wrestling's Regional History Lives!
- Max Levy
of the most beloved and successful men in the history of Mid-South
Wrestling was the Junkyard Dog. JYD combined tough wrestling style and
attitude with an undeniable charisma. JYD had that intangible factor
that drove fans wild. When ďAnother One Bites The DustĒ by Queen
came over the sound system the fansí cheers quickly drowned out the
music. JYD had wrestled under his given name Sylvester Ritter and also
as Leroy Rochester. He had a good deal of success in Tennessee and
Calgary, but his run in Mid-South Wrestling was off the charts in
comparison. Mid-South promoter Bill Watts has taken criticism in many
circles over his views on race, but regardless of his motives or
attitudes no one can deny the fact that Junkyard Dog was pushed to a
level comparable only to Bobo Brazil. Even then few if any Black
wrestlers had ever been pushed as hard and as long as JYD was in a
Southern based promotion. Junkyard Dog truly cut across demographic
lines with his fan base and in many ways was a pioneer. Fans ultimately
loved JYD because he faced down and defeated any heel that tried to run
roughshod over Mid-South Wrestling. JYD teamed with many stars during
his career such as Andre The Giant, Dusty Rhodes, and Mil Mascaras. JYD
always stood at the same level of stardom as his famous partner and was
always treated as a major superstar when he ventured to World Class,
Georgia, Memphis, and other promotions. Junkyard Dog truly stood as one
of the major stars of professional wrestling in the early to mid 1980s.
His record in Mid-South is unparalleled. He held the North American
Heavyweight Title 4 times, the Mid-South Tag Team Title 8 times with
various times with several partners, the Louisiana Heavyweight Title 3
times, and the Mississippi Heavyweight Title 1 time. Thatís one hell
of a record. Needless to say JYD faced to many opponents and many
intense feuds. Really there are too many cover them all, but here are
some of the most memorable.
If one feud made Junkyard Dog it was his legendary war with the Fabulous Freebirds in 1980. The Freebirds were young, arrogant, and at the top of their game. Originally just Michael Hayes and Terry Gordy, Buddy Roberts soon joined to complete the familiar Freebird trio. When the Birds wrestled Buck Robley and JYD, Michael Hayes committed an unthinkable act. He threw hair removal cream into the eyes of Junkyard Dog. JYD went down in excruciating pain and had to be helped out of the arena. The news soon came forth that Junkyard Dog was blind due to the incident. His wrestling career appeared finished.More...