Mid-South #7 Page #2
And, with that, the war was on. The two teams engaged in several title matches, and several "country whipping" matches where the losers had to take ten lashes from a strap. But, while Magnum & II were warring with The Midnight Express, they had begun warring with each other as well. In a tremendous angle I'll detail in my next article, II had become insanely jealous of his protégé. Magnum had learned enough from II that he was named the number one contended for The Junkyard Dog's North American Title. II went nuts and eventually forced Magnum to give up his title shot. II then used a loaded kneepad to beat The Dog. Then, in the ultimate act of betrayal, in March of 1984 during a Tag-Team Title match with The Midnight Express, II walked out on T.A. which allowed The Midnight Express to not only win their first Tag-Titles but to give T.A. ten lashes with a strap. The stipulation was that each member of the losing team would take five lashes, but Magnum was on his own once II walked out. And although this has nothing to do with the title history, Mid-South used this as the perfect opportunity to put Terry Taylor over as he agreed to take five lashes for his friend Magnum.
The Midnight Express had immediate competition from another team that had arrived in the area shortly after them, Ricky Morton & Robert Gibson, better known as The Rock & Roll Express. Morton & Gibson matched up against Eaton & Condrey perfectly. And their matches were some of the finest tag-team encounters the area had ever seen. Of course, Jimmy Cornette did everything he could to avoid a meeting between the two teams. But, in May of 1984, at a TV taping, Cornette announced that The Midnight Express would defend the belts three times on one program. In the first two matches, they destroyed a couple of jobber teams. But, when the third team was announced, it was the considerably stiffer competition of Mr. Wrestling II and his new masked protégé, Mr. Wrestling III. However, when the two masked men made their way to the ring, Cornette went absolutely nuts, because it became apparent that it was none other than Morton & Gibson under the masks. With the element of surprise on their side, The Rock & Roll Express made quick work of their hated rivals and won their first Mid-South Tag-Team Titles. But, The Midnight Express rebounded later that month to take the titles back.
This time, Condrey & Eaton managed to hold the belts for considerably longer. They even forced Gibson & Morton to take a 90-day vacation from the Mid-South area. But, in October of 1984, the returning Rock & Roll Express took back the titles. The two teams had several rematches, but The Midnight Express finally pulled up stakes and headed to World Class Championship Wrestling where they renewed another feud they had started in the Mid-South area with The Fantastics. The Rock & Roll Express found themselves under assault from several different teams. After a series of tough matches with Hector & Chavo Guerrero, Morton & Gibson found themselves under attack by Skandor Akbar's Army. In early December of 1984, Akbar's combo of Ted DiBiase & Sheik Hercules Hernandez managed to take the belts away from Morton & Gibson. But on Christmas night, The Rock & Roll Express won the titles back. However, they had made a bad enemy in the form of Ted DiBiase. DiBiase stayed after The Express. And after Hercules left the area, DiBiase formed a team with a promising young star…Steve "Dr. Death" Williams. DiBiase & Doc were awesome together. On the one hand, you had the technical expertise of DiBiase, although Doc was actually the more decorated amateur, and on the other hand, the raw power of Dr. Death. They were a devastating combination. And, in May of 1985, Ted DiBiase & Steve "Dr. Death" Williams took the belts away from the departing Rock & Roll Express. Morton & Gibson moved on to the NWA and they thrived in the national spotlight on TBS. However, they did pop up in the Mid-South and early UWF areas from time to time.
DiBiase & Williams were a tough team, and it was going to take a lot to beat them. As it turned out, it took a substitute partner and a surprising young team to do it. In the summer of 1985, Ted DiBiase announced he had a tour of Japan booked that he couldn't get out of. And, since he was going to be gone for awhile, he had gotten Mid-South's permission to allow a substitute to take his place in tag title matches. This way he and Doc wouldn't have to relinquish the belts, and he could just step back in when he returned. It seemed like a good idea and DiBiase got a man who seemed to be perfect for the job in Brusier Bob Sweetan. Sweetan, as you may remember from a couple of columns ago, was one half of the first Mid-South Tag-Team Champions with Mike George. And he had a long history of being one of the toughest, nastiest wrestlers on the planet. DiBiase was extremely pleased with his stand-in. And, things went well for Sweetan & Williams for awhile. However, they ran into some unexpected competition from the unlikely combination of Wendell Cooley & Al Perez. Cooley & Perez had both entered the area with little fanfare. Both had small reps as pretty much up and coming jobbers or mid-card losers. But, both were pretty good in the ring, and more importantly, both were handsome young guys who were extremely popular with the ladies. Watts discussed this at length in his shoot interview, but he had learned the value of having some attractive young guys on his roster from Jerry Jarrett. It was Jarrett who called Watts' attention to the fact that if you have some good looking young studs working your shows, you'll draw the young girls. And, where the young girls go, the young boys follow. The Rock & Roll Express and Terry Taylor proved this. And when Watts saw the reaction Cooley & Perez got from the girls, he gave them a big-time push. So, in August of 1985, Wendell Cooley & Al Perez upset Bob Sweetan & Steve Williams for the belts. Needless to say, Ted DiBiase was less than pleased, but that's a story for another time.
Cooley & Perez held onto the belts until November of 1985 when they were defeated by Sir Oliver Humperdink's tandem of Eddie Gilbert & The Nightmare. Gilbert had actually feuded with Humperdink after Humperdink had pulled an underhanded deal to get The Nightmare's contract from Gilbert. But the two had put their differences aside and managed to get the Mid-South Tag-Team titles in the bargain. However, it turned out to be a ruse on Glibert's part as he turned on Humperdink to get revenge for Humperdink's earlier betrayal. It was shortly after this that Humperdink and The Nightmare both left the area and Ted DiBiase returned after Dick Murdoch had injured his neck as I covered in my second article. DiBiase was hot for revenge and Eddie Gilbert needed a partner. So, on December 26, 1985, Ted DiBiase & Steve "Dr. Death" Williams defeated "Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert and his substitute partner Dick Murdoch to become the last Mid-South Tag-Team Champions. DiBiase & Williams were still the champs in March of 1986 when The Mid-South Tag-Team Titles were renamed The UWF Tag-Team Titles. And that my friends, is the history of The Mid-South Tag-Team Titles.
I'll take an in depth look at the great Mr. Wrestling II - Magnum T.A. feud.
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