Davis actually stuck around as an undercard wrestler for about 2 to 2-and-a-half years. He was pretty over as a heel to start with but clearly had nothing to do after the feud with the Bulldogs ended. He had a feud with George Steele and then he was working openers against Sam Houston.I might be woing, but I seem to remember there was some foreshadowing, regarding the Long heel turn. I just cannot point to any specifics. Perhaps someone else can.
Long had the more successful post-turn stint but the Davis-as-heel-ref angle itself was worked so, so much better. I don't even recall any build-up to Long's heel turn, he just fast-counted the Roadies out of the blue and that was that. Davis was creating headaches for months on end and getting tangentially involved in all the major angles: Piper, Hogan, and Steamboat all got screwed over by him at some point. Depending on if you believe it was intentional or not, the Davis build-up went back as far as a year when he was the ref for the Tito/Savage title change.