SECW #6 Page #2
The second tag team that had success against the Midnights was the pairing of Jimmy Golden & Tom Jones. These teams did battle for several weeks throughout the area. As I mentioned before though, three men seemed to be the main targets for the Express. The first to come to mind actually began his feud in late 1982. Strange as it may seem, Mongolian Stomper (Archie Gouldie) was being cheered by the fans of Southeastern for the first time in his career. Stomper's early partner was his "son", Stomper Jr... Jr. would become familiar to Texas and Tennessee fans as RPM Tommy Lane. It was during this feud that the normally non-speaking Stomper gave what may be his only promo when the Express triple teamed Jr. on Southeastern TV one Saturday. A very heated Stomper yelled and screamed into the mic just what the Express had to look forward to. A surprise to say the least! After Stomper Jr. left the area, a returning Austin Idol would join Stomper in his tag team battles against the Express. Ha, but what a tangled web would be woven later on between Idol & Stomper. It was also during this time that the Midnight Express became Midnight Express, Inc. bringing more members into the team. One of the first was the Masked Executioner (Frank Savage), billed as the World Brass Knuckles Champion. Executioner's first task and main feud would be with the man from Outer Mongolia. The second man to feel the hatred of the Express was Mr. Olympia. Now this was a feud that actually carried over from Southeastern 1981. As a heel in '81, Stubbs feuded with a face Norvell Austin, and as Mr. Olympia, Stubbs fought all over the Southeast against Condrey & Rose. Although Olympia began the early part of 1983 as Alabama Champion most of his battles were in tag action against the Express with partners Ken Lucas, Tony Charles, Robert Fuller and longtime ally Austin Idol. During a brief hiatus from Southeastern, during which Stubbs was working for Bill Watts’ Mid-South promotion, it was announced on Southeastern TV by hosts Charlie Platt and Ric Stuart that the new North American Heavyweight Champion had sent a challenge to Express member Dennis Condrey. Condrey, wanting to add more titles to the Express' collection, immediately accepted without knowing who his opponent would be. That person turned out to be none other than Mr. Olympia! And yes, in a one shot deal, Mr. Olympia, with Watts' North American title belt in hand, did defend the Championship in Dothan's Houston Co. Farm Center. I know what you guys are thinking right about now, but what can I say, kayfabe is kayfabe! It did happen. Mr. Olympia would return to the area full time in August of '83 and on his first night in, he would win the Alabama title from new Express, Inc. member Man Mountain Harris (Black Bart), and resume his wars with the Express. The third man that the Midnights caused havoc for was Col. William Phillip Christopher Buck "Don't Call Me Yellow" Robley. The "Sick and Devious One" was brought into the area by the triumvirate of Austin Idol, Jimmy Golden, and Mr. Olympia to help even the odds in the battles against the Express Inc. consisting of Condrey, Rose, Austin, Harris, Norman Fredrick Charles III, and a now heel Mongolian Stomper. Robley's stay in the area was short, but sweet as he did gain the Alabama title once and swapped the Brass Knuckles trophy with Stomper several times. Although never appearing in Dothan as a team, Robley and longtime friend and partner Bruiser Brody saw action against the Midnight Express in Birmingham on a couple of occasions. Robley and Olympia formed an ill-fated team to go against the Express as well, but when the 2 men were forced to wrestle each other to determine a #1 contender for the NWA title the team was no more. Their first match may go down as the WILDEST ever in the Farm Center. Both men entered as fan favorites so you would expect a good clean scientific match, WRONG! These guys ended up fighting from the ring to the floor, to the 20 x 20 garage door on the south side of the building, even all the way up to the top rows of the Farm Center exchanging suplexes, body slams, and fists up and down the concrete bleachers that make up the building. You could really tell it was out of hand as they neared the film equipment that Southeastern and WTVY used to film the house matches and Roy Welch was pushing, shoving, and kicking the 2 men away from the cameras. The next week, a cage match was held between the two and Robley then disappeared from the area. As late 1983 approached Scott Armstrong made his debut teaming with brother Brad to gain the Southeastern Tag Titles from the Express. Condrey would leave the area and his spot on the team was taken by veteran Ron Starr. The final version of the Express in Alabama would see Norvell Austin, after a shoulder injury, being replaced in the team by Honky Tonk Wayne Ferris. By November of '83 Randy Rose left as well ending the Midnight Express’ 1 1/2 year run in the area. The team of Ron Starr & Wayne Ferris finished up 1983 as the tag team holders feuding with Brad & Scott Armstrong.
In the battles over the #2 title in the area, already mentioned as holding the Alabama Heavyweight Championship were Mr. Olympia, Buck Robley, and Ric Harris. Other men to hold the belt include Norman Charles III, Tom Jones, and area favorite Ricky Gibson. The most heated battles over the Alabama Title though were between Jimmy Golden and The Flame (Assassin Jody Hamilton). Flame made his debut in the area during a Texas Death Match in Dothan between reigning Southeastern Champ Golden and Bob Armstrong. Flame helped Armstrong win the title by burning Jimmy Golden, although both Armstrong and Flame blamed the flying projectile on a fan at ringside. After Golden returned the rotund Masked Man and Jimmy Wayne battled for several weeks over the Alabama title. Once on TV Golden was threatening to expose who Flame really was with pictures, of course Flame came to the desk claiming court injunctions against both the promotion & Golden, only to have Golden pull Flame over the desk and unmask him before Flame's running buddy Armstrong come to the rescue. Flame would eventually drop the title to Ricky Gibson. Mr. Olympia, as mentioned earlier upon his first night in from Mid South, defeated Ric Harris in August and would hold the title the remaining part of '83.
The major trophy in the area, the Southeastern Heavyweight Championship, was dominated by one man in 1983. As the year began, Armstrong was involved in a feud with Dr. D David Shultz over the belt. Bullet Bob also defended the title against various members of the Midnight Express as well as 2 championship bouts against "Big Cat" Ernie Ladd in Dothan. Oh, but things were a brewing. Date: March 1983. Place: Mobile Expo Hall. Event: Ron Fuller vs. Ric Flair for the NWA World Title with special referee Bob Armstrong. At the end of another very good match between Fuller & Flair, the unthinkable happens and suddenly Armstrong is dropping elbows on Fuller, causing a no contest and with the help of Flair injuring the Tennessee Stud. Fuller would give a retirement speech interview from an empty Houston Co. Farm Center, turning over his boots, trunks, and robe to Charlie Platt. With his brother injured, Robert Fuller began a short series of matches with Bullet Bob. Another early opponent was Austin Idol. Idol and Armstrong exchanged the Southeastern Title once. Idol was having problems of his own though. While gunning for the NWA Championship, Idol had taken the services of Mongolian Stomper as his coach. A couple of weeks before Flair was to appear, during a interview segment with Platt and Stuart, Flair had sent a statement that he had a cure for Idolmania. Of course this threw Idol off, not knowing what to make of it, until from behind Stomper jumped Idol "breaking" his nose and cheek bones in the process. Stomper and Idol would feud thru the summer of '83. The next challenger for Bullet Bob would be in the form of Jimmy Golden. Golden and Armstrong swapped the title several times, one of the more memorable matches involving Wendy Richter. During a match between the 2 men, Richter was at ringside cheering on Golden, when during the match Armstrong applies the piledriver on Wendy. With Golden going on to battle with Flame, former partner of Armstrong and area legend Ken Lucas returned to defeat Bullet Bob for the title. Bullet would then again battle Jimmy Golden over the area's top title. Bullet Bob would also have two other tension filled relationships that never entered the square circle. One was with son Brad Armstrong, whom had returned to the promotion. During a televised match between Brad and Robert Gibson, Gibson "suffered" a sprained knee after leap frogging Brad. Much to the dismay of Father Bob, the younger Armstrong attempted to help Gibson from the ring. After a sign of defiance from Brad, Bullet slapped his son on national TV. After a quick stare down, and a long hush from the studio crowd, Brad left the ring. The other friendship going sour was with announcer Charlie Platt. The 2 men became involved in a battle of sarcastic remarks with each other over the weeks, to the point of Platt doing an interview saying he could not in good conscience call any match involving Bob Armstrong. Of course, this angered Bullet Bob, and eventually the relationship became a physical one as Armstrong pushed Platt to the ground on TV. The next week Charlie Platt had a surprise package for Armstrong, and when he opened the box were the boots, trunks, and robe of the returning Tennessee Stud!! Armstrong would return to the side of the fan favorites in an angle where Condrey, Rose, and Austin continually tripled teamed sons Brad & Scott Armstrong and Daddy couldn't stand it anymore. A returning Jos Leduc would capture the Southeastern Title from Armstrong and began a feud with former tag title partner Robert Fuller. Leduc would leave shortly thereafter, and once again Bob Armstrong would reign as champ, losing to Alabama champ Jerry Stubbs in a title vs. title match to round out 1983.
Of course, there were other feuds in the area that didn't have belts or titles hanging in the balance. Shortly after his series of matches with Buck Robley, Mr. Olympia would become a full-fledged heel in a feud with Robert Fuller. While doing a "blind " angle, Fuller hired a man named El Diablo to battle Olympia. Problem was, during a match between the two men Olympia paid off the hired henchman and began beating up the blind Robert Fuller. To exact revenge on Olympia, Jacques Rougeau returned to the area and help his friend Fuller. During this period another man entered the area that was getting a lot of attention from Mr. Olympia ... a masked man calling himself Super Olympia. The two O's began immediately feuding with Mr. Olympia eventually losing a mask vs. mask match between the two. Super O would form a team with Rougeau until egos got in the way and Super O turned on the popular French Canadian. Super O began teaming with former rival Jerry Stubbs and Rougeau would pair up with Robert Fuller during this four-man battle. The identity of Super O was finally revealed on TVv during the buildup of a hair vs. mask between Super O and Rougeau. During a segment Jacques challenged the team of Stubbs & Olympia to a handicap match, if he couldn't pin both men in 5 minutes he would pay both $5,000. During the melee, Super O and Rougeau ended up in the ring by themselves with Jacques ripping the mask off to reveal Arn Anderson.
As you can tell, 1983 was another action packed year for International Sports and Southeastern Wrestling. A good blend of experienced mat veterans, young soon to be nationally known upstarts, surprising heel - face turns, and good heated TV angles made Saturday Nights a must in the Farm Center.
We look at 1984 and the introduction of the Continental Heavyweight Championship to the area, the up and down relationship between Jerry Stubbs and Arn Anderson, the R.A.T. Patrol, and the formation of the Stud Stable.
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