It became very clear after World Wrestling Entertainment purchased the video libraries or Extreme Championship Wrestling, World Championship Wrestling, Jim Crockett Promotions, Smokey Mountain Wrestling, World Class Championship Wrestling, and others that this trend would continue. Well, after years of negotiations, Ene Watts and the Watts family agreed on a deal to sell about 1,200 hours of video from Mid-South Wrestling ‘s 1970s to 1980s TV programming and shows to the WWE for a undisclosed amount of cash. Ene Watts, the ex-wife of WWE Hall of Famer “Cowboy” Bill Watts, had owned the footage as part of a divorce settlement.
Quick history lesson: Mid-South Wrestling was a promotion that covered Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Oklahoma that became one of the hottest territories in pro wrestling in the late 1970s and during the 1980s under the direction of “Cowboy” Bill Watts. Legendary wrestlers Ted DiBiase, Junkyard Dog, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Ernie Ladd, Magnum T.A. and announcer “Good Ol’ JR” Jim Ross are some of the prominent names who made a mark during Mid-South’s prominent years.
At 6′-3″ and 280 pounds, Watts was a tough-as-nails wrestler during his in-ring days and an even tougher booker/owner. Watts had learned about the business from the legendary Eddie Graham, who himself was a tough-guy wrestler who successfully ran Championship Wrestling from Florida (CWF). Similar to Graham’s strategy, Watts developed solid storyline angles and talent by focusing on hard-nosed physical match-ups and meaningful energetic matches in an episodic form. WWE can use the footage in DVD packages about the promotion or certain wrestlers and of the talent who were involved with Mid-South, and with the WWE Network in the company’s future plans, there lies another possibility.
Former lead announcer for Mid-South, Jim Ross, discusses the possibilities of how the fans can consume the content after this recent purchase of the territory’s library library:
“If fans are able to somewhere down the road buy volumes where they can see X number of weeks of television or by the year where there’s X number of episodes on a multi-disc set, they’re going to see how it was like reading an action adventure book. One chapter led to the next chapter led to the next with a crescendo and then a payoff, and then the book continues.”
“I think the episodic nature of it will be very entertaining, and then the other thing is there are a lot of guys who really established their body of work in that company that went on to do some really great things later in their careers on a higher level [nationally and internationally]. Seeing a young Ted DiBiase [in Mid-South], Ric Flair as the traveling NWA champion, guys like the Junkyard Dog and Butch Reed who was a great antagonist and a great protagonist — probably under-rated, by and large — and there were so many guys who came through there like the Steiner brothers and Magnum T.A. Guys like that, people will get to see their formative years, and to me it’s always fun as a fan because you can see glimpses of greatness, but you can also see a little bit of green, varying levels. So there’s inexperience, too, and it’s unique to see how they evolved.”