"To better appreciate what you now have, it is necessary to know what has been."
Buddy Huggins started his guest June 1, 1998. This is the day that Buddy found out that the "Junkyard Dog" Sylvester Ritter died in a car crash in Forest, MS. The Dog had been to his daughter's graduation in South Carolina. He was on his way back to Yazoo City, MS, when he fell asleep at the wheel. Huggins made calls to people that knew the Dog for his last four years on this Earth. What he found was not pretty but the truth, about the state of wrestling in the fine state of Mississippi. It was being run by outlaws and marks. These people even dared to mark Buddy Huggins. This pissed him off, so he started Extreme Midsouth Wrestling!
With the help of some wrestling insiders which shall rename nameless, Huggins set out to bring wrestling back to its glory days in Greenville and Greenwood.
"With the help of all the fans I can do it!" Huggins said.
Huggins was found to have dyslexia at the age of 19. He has worked very hard to overcome this handicap and feels that he will soon be at a place in his life to help kids that may have this and other problems in their own lives. There is much more to this story so check back often for updates.
Mid-South Wrestling was a small promotion started by Julius Sigel in Louisiana around 1929. Run by "Cowboy" Bill Watts from 1979 until its demise, Mid-South blossomed for a short time under the glare of sudden national television exposure in 1986 to become the upstart Universal Wrestling Federation. About a year and a half later, after running joint cards with the Crockett family's NWA promotion, the UWF was absorbed by the larger organization.
MWA - Mid-South/Tri-State
Wrestling Association (NWA)
February 21, 1975--1979
From Wrestling Title Histories by Royal Duncan & Gary Will
A former territory wrestler who was blinded in a 1950 auto accident, Leroy McGuirk eventually took over promoting a wrestling circuit that covered Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Up until 1973, Watts had even been a fan favorite for Tri-State Wrestling. After a short break in Eddie Graham's Championship Wrestling Florida, he would return to Tri-state in 1975.
In 1979, Bill Watts bought out the Tri-State Wrestling circuit from McGuirk, and renamed the circuit Mid-South Wrestling (known officially as the Mid-South Wrestling Association). One of his first acts as owner was to withdraw from the NWA, though MSW would still remain loosely aligned with the organization and continue to have the NWA World Champion defend his title on MSW shows. MSW began adding shows in Arkansas to its circuit. In 1982, the promotion grew to include Oklahoma when Leroy McGuirk shut down his Oklahoma-based promotion. He also formed an alliance with Houston promoter Paul Boesch to feature Mid-South talent on the cards at the Sam Houston Coliseum, in one of the largest cities in America and one of the most fabled arenas in professional wrestling, as well as other parts of southeastern Texas.
Bill Watts was seen at the time as one of the best promoters in America, and his show was garnering high ratings. Instead of focusing on cartoonish characters and cheesy interviews, Mid South Wrestling focused on energetic matches, and characters whose personas blurred the lines between good and evil.
The promotion ran shows in a mix of small venues and gigantic arenas. Its finest hours came during the shows at the Louisiana Superdome. A 1980 card pitting a "blinded" Junkyard Dog against Freebird Michael Hayes in the main event drew nearly 30,000 fans for a show presented by a promotion less than one year old. In 1984, Watts came out of retirement to team with a masked JYD (under the name Stagger Lee) to face The Midnight Express to cap an angle in which the Express and manager Jim Cornette beat Watts to a bloody pulp on TV. The latter card also featured a showdown between Magnum T.A. and Mr. Wrestling II in one of the hottest feuds of the early 1980s. The 1984 show drew 22,000 fans.
Rumors began circulating that MSW was going national. In 1985, those rumors were proven true when Ted Turner invited Watts to air his Mid-South Wrestling program on SuperStation TBS as an alternative to the World Wrestling Federation programming that ran on Saturday nights. Turner was angered with Vincent K. McMahon and the WWF because McMahon reportedly promised Turner a studio-produced program and instead presented a two hours of highlights from other WWF programming. MSW quickly became the highest-rated program on TBS, and Watts positioned himself to take over the two-hour Saturday block occupied by the WWF. His luck ran out when former Georgia promoter Jim Barnett helped broker a deal that allowed NWA promoter Jim Crockett, Jr. to buy the slot from McMahon and become the exclusive wrestling promotion for TBS. The deal, however, forced the elimination of the Mid-South Wrestling program from the TBS schedule. Watts made one more attempt at going national the following year under the auspices of the Universal Wrestling Federation.
Universal Wrestling Federation
In March 1986, MSW went national and was relaunched as the UWF. From that point, many newcomers (mostly from World Class Championship Wrestling) joined the federation, as did former WCCW co-promoter Ken Mantell. However, despite the federation's success, it could not compete against Jim Crockett Promotions and the WWF. Watts was also harmed when the oil-based Oklahoma economy went into a severe recession in the fall of 1987, affecting all businesses and cutting down on fans able to pay to see the shows. Watts would end up selling the UWF to Crockett on April 9, 1987, and many of the federation's top names went on either to the NWA, WWF or World Class. Unlike the other NWA promotions JCP purchased, the UWF didn't immediately end, and was kept alive until December of 1987 as well. Despite promises at the time, Crockett basically buried the UWF, letting its various title die out and, with the prime exceptions of Sting, the Fabulous Freebirds, Shane Douglas, Rick Steiner, and for a while Steve Williams, none of its various stars made headway into Crockett's promotion.
Crockett's circuit would be sold to Ted Turner and eventually become WCW. In the early '90s, Watts would find himself with a run as WCW President.
Famous UWF angles
One of the most famous of all UWF angles was the so-called Battle of New Orleans, a long-playing brawl between Eddie Gilbert, Terry Taylor, Chris Adams and Sting which began in the ring and spilled out into the concession area. Beer kegs, chairs, tables, popcorn machine and anything the four wrestlers could get their hands on were used in this wild brawl which lasted nearly 15 minutes. Sting and Gilbert were fighting outside the ring, when Rick Steiner came in and pile-drived Douglas. With Taylor on top, referee Randy Anderson made the pinfall. Later, Adams came out and told Anderson what had happened, which prompted Gilbert and Taylor to gang-up on Adams. Sting came in to even the sides, and that resulted in an all-out brawl outside the ring. Gilbert was the mastermind of this famous angle, and received huge praise from fellow promoters and wrestlers alike.
Adams, who was the world's fifth most popular wrestler in 1987, was engaged in a storyline involving Iceman King Parsons and Taylor; which evolved out of the UWF tag team title tournament in February 1987. Originally, Adams and Iceman were one of the eight teams participating, and Taylor was teamed with Sam Houston. In a semi-finals match, Adams and Iceman were wrestling against "Dr Death" Steve Williams and Ted DiBiase in what was a very clean and exciting match until Skandor Akbar's Devastation Inc. charged the ring to attack Williams and DiBiase. The match ended when Williams and DiBiase were counted out, and Adams and Parsons won the match. Adams, who was helping Williams and DiBiase fight off Akbar and his army, wanted the match to continue, but Parsons wanted the win. After a lengthy argument, Adams and Parsons split, thus Chris chose Savannah Jack as his new tag team partner. Iceman sucker-punched Savannah during a match and injured him, thus Adams had to chose another tag partner. He chose Terry Taylor, whose team lost a semi-final match to Rick Steiner and Sting. Taylor and Adams eventually won the UWF tag team titles, and held the belts for two months.
Meanwhile, Adams and Parsons engaged in a lengthy feud with, which lasted for more than a decade (the two had feuded earlier in World Class when Adams was the heel and Parsons was the babyface) with Parsons frequently referring to Adams as "Jailbird", a reference to Adams serving jail time in 1986 on an assault conviction. Taylor and Adams, who dominated the UWF tag team scene, lost a controversial match to Steiner and Sting when Taylor kicked Adams foot off the rope as he was being pinned by Sting. A face-vs-face bout between Adams and Taylor marked Taylor's heel turn as he pile-drived Adams on the floor. The Taylor-Adams war proved to be one of the most violent feuds in the UWF, with as equal intensity as the feud Adams had with the Von Erichs in World Class.
The feud did have a short interruption when Taylor was injured in an automobile accident, but picked up again by the summer, and carried over to World Class by 1988. Taylor and Adams promoted a famous angle in August which involved a press conference, where Taylor spoke about his situation with Adams, then left. Chris later took questions, and that prompted Taylor to attack Adams with a chair. The following week, Adams conducted an all-star interview vowing revenge against Taylor and against Eddie Gilbert.
Other famous UWF angles included promoter Bill Watts being attacked and having a USSR flag draped on him by Eddie Gilbert, Missy Hyatt cold-cocking John Tatum after joining forces with Gilbert, Skandor Akbar throwing a fireball at Hacksaw Jim Duggan (blinding him temporarily), and the Freebirds breaking Steve Williams' arm.
Williams recruited Oklahoma Sooners (and future Dallas Cowboys head coach) Barry Switzer into training and getting back into the ring. It paid off. On July 11, 1987, Dr. Death defeated Big Bubba Rogers (Ray Traylor) to win the UWF heavyweight championship.
The Freebirds became faces around that time, as they began feuding with Skandor Akbar's army as well as The Angel of Death.
A prelim wrestler, Mike Boyette, wrestled in the UWF, and is believed to be one of the very few wrestlers to never win a match. Gorgeous Gary Young also competed in the UWF, claiming that he was a rookie, when he in fact had a good five years experience under his belt.
As the UWF's merge with the NWA was taking place, Terry Taylor, who held the UWF TV championship, began an angle with the NWA TV champ, Nikita Koloff. Taylor stole the NWA TV title belt during an NWA show, but Koloff (with help from Dusty Rhodes) reclaimed it prior to their official in-ring encounter. They met in 1987 and Nikita unified the two titles as the final leg of the NWA-UWF merger was finished. Williams would successfully defend the UWF Heavyweight Title on the same show versus Barry Windham and then left on a tour of Japan, only to have the title retired while he was still overseas.
Sting, Rick Steiner, Eddie Gilbert, Missy Hyatt, announcer Jim Ross and the aforementioned Taylor became permanent NWA members, among others. The Freebirds, Savannah Jack, Iceman King Parsons, matchmaker Frank Dusek and promoter Ken Mantell joined the new Wild West Wrestling promotion, which later merged into World Class. Chris Adams, who stayed with the NWA after the merger with the UWF, left due to a money dispute, and returned to World Class in November 1987. Dibiase, Big Bubba Rogers, One Man Gang and Sam Houston joined the WWF after the fall of the UWF, joining fellow UWF alumnus Hacksaw Jim Duggan, who had been signed by the WWF in February of 1987.
Boyd Pierce and Jim Ross are the most famous announcers identified with the Mid-South/UWF. By the time the UWF began, Ross was the main announcer, with Bill Watts and later Michael Hayes assisting him. Ross was known for getting over-excited during the match, and in 1986 Ross received the unofficial I can scream the loudest during a match award from Pro Wrestling Illustrated (he shared the honor with the NWA's David Crockett).
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