Friday, August 23, 2019

Action Figures Friday: Harley Race and Ric Flair from 1983

Photographs by Mike Simmerman

We haven't done "Action Figures Friday" in awhile, and I thought I'd bring it back this week after receiving an email from collector/custom creator Mike Simmerman:

"In light of Harley’s recent passing, I wanted to pass [these] along. I tried to recreate how I always remember Harley posing during his introductions: robe untied, hands raised, proudly displaying the ten pounds of gold."  - Mike Simmerman

I can visualize exactly what Mike is talking about. I asked Mike if he had a photo of him with Harley he'd like to share, and he sent me this:

Harley Race and Ric Flair at Starrcade '83

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Mid-Atlantic TV: January 30, 1982
Mid-Atlantic Wrestling
on the WWE Network
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
TV Summaries & Reviews
by David Taub
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

This is a review of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling as it appeared on the WWE Network. Results are included for the week (Monday-Sunday of the given week) as available. Please email with any corrections, typos, results, other details at

For links to all available summaries, visit our TV Summary Index.

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
Original broadcast: 1/30/82
(taped 1/27/82 at WPCQ-TV studios in Charlotte)
WWE Network feed.  [How to watch this show on the WWE Network.]

Bob Caudle & David Crockett are joined by Sandy Scott, with the World tag team title belts on the desk. The title started in 1975 with the Andersons winning in San Francisco. We go to a clip of the Andersons back in the Raleigh studio days taking on Gary Young & Hubert Gallant.
Caudle & Crockett preview the hour. Lots of tag teams.
Caudle introduces the next match via blue screen.


Match 1
Blackjack Mulligan, Sr. & Blackjack Mulligan, Jr. d. Mike Miller & Jeff Sword
A maroon-clad Sonny Fargo is the referee for the hour. Piper joins Caudle on commentary. He talks about the Armstrongs, as the strength of father-son teams. Piper refers to Junior as Barry and wants to interview him. An impressive flying head scissors from Senior. Piper still won’t reveal his tag team partner. Junior pins Sword after a flying forearm.

—Int. w/Caudle: Sandy Scott
They go to a clip from Florida of Eddie Graham, the chairman of the tournament, chatting with Gordon Solie. Graham puts over the tournament, and its worldwide scope. Graham says Ole took a new partner to defend the title, but was a day late. Huh? Graham says he is excited. Solie brings up the finals could take place anywhere.
Back to Caudle and Scott who wrap up the segment.


—Int. w/Caudle: Ray Stevens
We now go back to Florida and Gordon Solie, for comments from the Brisco Brothers. Jerry talks about the worldwide scope. Lots of mention about the tournament will be east and west. Jerry namedrops wrestlers who may be in the tournament. Jack talks about going after the title with is brother.
Stevens puts over the Briscos, full-blooded Indians from Oklahoma. We go back to Championship Wrestling from Florida, for a full match.

Match 2:
Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco d. John Davidson & Rick Davidson
Buddy Colt is the referee, Bruce Tharpe is the ring announcer, and of course Gordon Solie is behind the mic. Tharpe joins Solie at the desk and notes this is two brother tag teams against each other. They mention a Feb. 24 charity card in Key West. While Jack has the figure-four on one Davidson, the other tries to come in. Jack hooks on the inside cradle on him and gets the pin.
A final comment from Stevens on the Briscos.

—Int. w/Caudle: Doug Vines & Jeff Sword
This is probably the generic interview in place of local promos. Sword say they are entering the tournament. They’ve shared apartments, and nearly says they’ve shared women. A very understated interview.


Match 3:
Ivan Koloff & Austin Idol d. Don Gilbert & Keith Larson
Who needs Ric Flair when you have Austin Idol? Caudle ask if the Briscos shake up Piper? Piper ignores the question. Crockett is still on headset. He congratulates Piper for getting the votes in who contributed the most in 1981. But, Steamboat is in the lead. Don’t worry, you can still send your cards and letters. Koloff pins Gilbert after driving his knee into the back of his head into the mat.

[Break] (no dub on the music, old-school style!)

—Int. w/Caudle: Blackjack Mulligan, Sr. & Blackjack Mulligan, Jr.; Jay Youngblood & Ricky Steamboat
The Mulligans talk about the tag team tournament. Steamboat & Youngblood are out next. Steamboat, clean shaven (he had been sporting a mustache as of late), says he has a World title shot against Ric Flair coming up, thanks to being voted #1 by the fans. Youngblood looks forward to future tournaments.
Caudle with the magic blue screen intro.


Match 4:
Johnny Weaver & Don Kernodle d. Steve Sybert & Jim Nelson
Interesting that Nelson isn’t introduced as “Pvt. Nelson.” Ray Stevens is the commentator for this one. No Piper. Caudle announces Ric Flair will be in studio next week. Slaughter comes to ringside mid-match. Kernodle gets the pin with a power slam on Sybert.
Caudle throws to a clip from AWA TV, of Adrian Adonis & Jesse Ventura. Rodger Kent is on the mic. Caudle promises we’ll see this entire match next week.

—Int. w/Caudle: Don Gilbert & Keith Larson
This is in lieu of the local promos. Larson then Gilbert talk about the tag team tournament.


Match 5:
Jay Youngblood & Ricky Steamboat d. Doug Vines & Bill White
Stevens remains on the mic. Caudle reminds us Youngblood & Steamboat are former champs. Flair will be here next week. Steamboat bodypresses Youngblood onto Vines for the pin.

—Int. w/Caudle: Sgt. Slaughter & Jim Nelson; Roddy Piper; Ivan Koloff; Austin Idol
Slaughter, with Nelson in the background holding the U.S. title belt, complains about Weaver. He says he will enter the tag team tournament. Piper says he will reveal his tag team partner when he wants to. He will make Abdullah the Butcher look like Shirley Temple. He is 6’ 7”. Ivan Koloff jumps in, saying “who are you calling stupid?” Piper says not him. Koloff says he will put his TV title aside, as he looks for a partner. Idol closes the show with his rapport, saying he won’t reveal his partner either.

“So long for now!”

Results for the week after the jump......

Monday, August 19, 2019

Dino Bravo's Mid-Atlantic Debut Was Memorable

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Dino Bravo made his debut on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show that was taped on April 28, 1976. While there wasn't much advance billing of Dino's entry into Jim Crockett Promotions, there really didn't have to be. Bravo had been wrestling in the IWA for the previous year, where much of the focus of that promotion had been in the Carolinas.

Announcer Bob Caudle told the viewing audience that Dino would be wrestling Steve Strong, to which color commentator David Crockett replied, "Now that's going to be a very interesting match. Dino Bravo...young, upcoming fantastic wrestler, and I'm anxious to see this boy because he's got a body that the girls will love! Then you've got big Steve Strong; that's gonna be a real big test, Dino's first time on TV."

Dino spoke to the area's Mid-Atlantic fans for the first time, prior to stepping into the squared circle with Steve Strong. Bravo's initial interview followed one of the rarest events on TV wrestling that had just occurred in studio...Wahoo McDaniel defeating the NWA World's Heavyweight Champion Terry Funk by pinfall! But Dino didn't seem to be flustered by the World's Champion being upset just before he was handed the mic.

Caudle began, "What a night it's been on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, and right now we want to bring in and introduce to all the Mid-Atlantic fans a new youngster to the Mid-Atlantic area and we understand that some great things are expected of Dino Bravo...and welcome."

Bravo responded, "Thank you very much, and that's something we just saw with Wahoo McDaniel pinning the World Champion. If he ever has a championship match, I know the people will be behind him and he'll win it."

Bob continued, "Dino, we've heard some great, great things about you and as we said, we want to welcome you to the area where we've got what we think are the greatest wrestlers in the world right here and you're moving into what they say is high cotton." Bravo reflected, "I've waited a long time to come here, I think I'm ready to face all the competition here, and the reason I came here was to become a winner and this is the place to be in professional wrestling now. All the best wrestlers in the country are here, and accordingly all the money is here and that's why we're in professional wrestling."

Caudle then said, "I know that you know that guys are here like Blackjack Mulligan, the Anderson Brothers are here." Dino answered, "The whole card there are super wrestlers, the best wrestlers in the country are here, and I sure hope that I do well here." Bob followed up, "Does it sort of make you think, well I don't know, here I am coming into the area and I'm gonna be new and look what I gotta face. But I'm sure you gotta have a lot of confidence in your ability Dino, that you can move right in." Bravo replied, "There's no such thing as an easy match, from the bottom to the top I'm ready for any competition here."

Bob then broached a new topic with Dino and inquired, "What about tag teams, do you like tag team wrestling, or would you rather just wrestle by yourself?" Dino explained, "Well, all the time I've been wrestling it's mostly been tag teams so I enjoy it very much and I think that if I get myself a good partner we can go all the way up and get championships." Caudle agreed and noted, " I think that would be great, and by the way for the benefit of all the fans we understand that you have a great amateur wrestling background, and we hope to see some of that type wrestling from you too Dino."

Bravo then summed up his wrestling philosophy explaining, "Well, you'll see anything you want. If they want to wrestle I'll wrestle, if they want to fist-fight I'll fist-fight. Like I said, I waited to come here and I'm ready." Caudle added, "So it's going to be fire with fire, and whatever happens you're here, this is the opportunity, and you're going to make the best of it." Dino concurred, "I'm not gonna blow it, believe me." Bob finished saying, "Good luck to you." Bravo replied, "Thank you very much." Caudle concluded, "We look forward to seeing you in action in the ring, he's gonna go up against a real tough competitor Steve Strong."

Dino prevailed in his debut against the bruising Steve Strong, and that alone would have made Bravo's television debut in Jim Crockett Promotions memorable. But Dino made his presence felt in an even bigger way later in the show, confronting the World Tag Team Champions...and the fireworks were about to begin!

Dino Bravo boldly challenges Gene and Ole Anderson during his inaugural Mid-Atlantic TV be continued in Part 2!

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Mike Mooneyham Reviews "The Mid-Atlantic Championship"

Mike Mooneyham has written a nice review of our new book on the history of the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship, posted at on the Charleston Post & Courier website. Mike and I recently had a chance to talk about the book, too, part of that interview included in Mike's article.

We appreciate Mike's many years of support for the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

New Mid-Atlantic wrestling book good as gold
By Mike Mooneyham, Special to The Post and Courier

Dick Bourne has come up with another winner with his latest book, “The Mid-Atlantic Championship,” an offering that chronicles the history of one of pro wrestling’s most revered regional titles.

Originally introduced in 1970 by Jim Crockett Sr. and called the Eastern heavyweight title, the name was changed to the Mid-Atlantic heavyweight title in late 1973.
The new name reflected a transition from a territory that had been dominated by tag teams for more than a decade to one that put the emphasis on a singles championship. It would become a prestigious belt that would be worn by some of the top wrestlers in the business.

That illustrious list of titleholders would include the likes of Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Johnny Valentine, Wahoo McDaniel, Roddy Piper, Ole Anderson, Dory Funk Jr., Jack Brisco, Jerry Brisco, Greg Valentine, Ivan Koloff, Paul Jones, Rip Hawk, Ray Stevens, Ronnie Garvin, and others.
Bourne chronicles the history of the title through its eventual retirement in 1986. He details more than 60 title changes across a 16-year period and includes photographs along with posters and newspaper clippings.
Naturally Bourne holds the Mid-Atlantic title in high regard......

Read the complete review and interview here:
New Mid-Atlantic wrestling book good as gold

By Mike Mooneyham Special to The Post and Courier

It's Luger vs. Slater as "The Greatest U.S. Champion of All Time Tournament " Continues 

Mike Rickard's latest entry in his "Greatest U.S. Champion of All Time" tournament features "The Total Package" Lex Luger vs. "Mr. Unpredictable" Dick Slater as the first round of the tournament continues. 

Who you got? Find out the way Mike Rickard sees things going here:

* * * * * *

Go back and review how this all got started here: Introduction and List of Competitors


Friday, August 16, 2019

40 Years Ago This Month: Mulligan and Flair win the NWA World Tag Team Titles

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Forty years ago this month, on August 12, 1979, Blackjack Mulligan and Ric Flair won the NWA World Tag Team Championships from Paul Jones and Baron Von Raschke.

It was a big deal at the time. Although currently the U.S. champion, this was Ric's first championship win since first turning babyface earlier that summer after an angle with Paul Jones (as well as a separate angle with Buddy Rogers.) Flair had enlisted the aid of several wrestlers as his tag team partners (including Ricky Steamboat) in his quest to topple Jones and Von Raschke for the straps, but it was Mulligan who proved to be the right choice.

The match is remembered as much for the celebration afterward as for the match itself. A very bloody Ric Flair actually leapt into the arms of Mulligan as they held their titles over their heads in victory. It was an emotional scene in the Greensboro Coliseum seeing Flair and Mulligan with such camaraderie, especially given their long, violent, bloody feud just a year earlier.

Who would have thought at the time of the famous "Hat & Robe" angle that these two would hold the world tag team titles just over one year later.

40 years ago this month! Good memories!

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

NWA Title Art: The Final Version of a Classic (Part 5)

The fourth and final version of the original 1973-1986 NWA World Championship belt, the "Ten Pounds of Gold."
The final version featured new leather with a slightly different cut around the center plate
and a fourth and final different flag configuration.

by Dick Bourne, Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Art by David Williams

We pick up where we left off in Part 4:

Not long after Harley Race defeated Terry Funk for the title in Toronto in February of 1977, the refurbished and repainted plates were attached to a brand new cut of leather. This new leather strap had a different style of lacing and was cut slightly different, the main change being that the cut of the leather did not follow the shape of the main plate as closely as the old leather did, which tightly hugged the upper edge of the main plate (as seen in the image at the top of Part 3.)

Pretty soon, however, the plates began to show the same wear and tear as the earlier version of the belt did. The globe was badly dented again, and paint began flaking off the plates in different areas. Most noticeably, some of the segments of ornamental "beads" around the edge of the main plate began to break off as well.

The look of the belt in its last years: dented globe (again), missing beads, missing paint, missing eyelets.

Let's face it, after several years of observation, it was clear that this type of construction for a ring used title belt just didn't make much sense. Those bead-sections were each attached individually with 4-6 beads to a section. And many of them were getting broken off the belt.

In addition, some of the faux eyelets and snaps broke away from the belt, too. By the time Jim Crockett had the new "Big Gold" belt made in 1986, the old Ten Pounds of Gold was in pretty rough shape.

An illustration of the shape the belt was in at the end, with the busted lacing and missing paint.

Artist David Williams has done an incredible job of recreating every version of the belt, with sub-versions illustrating the damage to the belt in later years.

The following chart shows the progression of the belt from its original configuration in 1973 to it's final look in 1986.

The final progression chart.

The book "Ten Pounds of Gold" that I authored with Dave Millican lays out in great detail all four versions of the NWA "domed-globe" belt. (There is a detailed flow chart summarizing those versions in pp. 70-71 of the book.)

My thanks to computer artist extraordinaire David Williams for the amazing work he did on all the different versions of the famous domed-globe belt.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Masked Superstar Sends a Message from the Land of the Rising Sun

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway 

The early spring of 1978 was one of the most volatile and exciting times in the history of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. Major titles were changing at breakneck speed, big names were entering and exiting the area at a rapid pace and mega stars Blackjack Mulligan and Ken Patera would shockingly change their wrestling personas at this juncture.

Prof. Boris Malenko
and the Masked Superstar
The first sign that big changes were on the territory’s horizon occurred on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show that was taped on March 22, 1978. In a short video insert that followed a local in your area promo, the Masked Superstar and his manager Boris Malenko appeared before a backdrop that featured a number of international flags. Malenko, who had been recently suspended by Jim Crockett Promotions, was strangely silent while the Superstar was clearly agitated as he began speaking.

“Boris and I are over here in Japan,” the Superstar started. “A lot of people said 'where’d the Superstar go, where’s he gone? Has he run away from the United States?' Well, the purpose of this video tape…this is a message to you people particularly in the Mid-Atlantic area. I’m talking about Wahoo McDaniel, Paul Jones, the Mighty Igor and a host of the others. I haven’t run away. I’ve come to Japan because there’s a World tour here, and they recognize my ability, they recognize my wrestling prowess. Now, I don’t have to prove anything to you and I don’t have to prove anything to anyone in the United States,” the masked man emphasized.

Superstar continued, “The reason I came to Japan and entered this World tournament is that I have to prove to myself that I’m the best wrestler around. You know, they have individuals here from Russia, China, Japan, Africa, England, Canada…all across the World and I’m representing the United States and I’ve got the $5,000.00 stipulation up and I’ve got the mask at stake. And when I return to the United States and when I return to the Mid-Atlantic area I’m going to bring back the World tournament championship, be assured of that.”

Then a subject was broached that had everybody in the Mid-Atlantic area talking. “You know, I had to travel 12,000 miles with Boris Malenko to find out that one of my close friends, one of the individuals that I confided in periodically and that I talked to, one of my close friends, is responsible for your suspension Boris,” the Superstar boldly announced.  “I’m not going to mention any names because I don’t want the people to get too excited but I want to promise you one thing friend, ex-friend of mine. When I get back to the Mid-Atlantic area you’re gonna pay for the suspension. I’ve had a long, long time to think about you. You know, they say that a fool is gonna be betrayed by his friends and that’s what you did. But when I get back to the Mid-Atlantic area, I’m gonna pay you back friend, so you think about the Superstar because I’ll be back,” Superstar pronounced to a shocked fan base.

This short segment would be the last time the Mid-Atlantic faithful would ever see Boris Malenko on a Jim Crockett Promotions TV show. And as things evolved over the next few weeks, it became clear that Blackjack Mulligan was the friend that Superstar believed had betrayed him. Mulligan and Superstar would then engage in an epic six month program against each other over a $10,000.00 bounty put on Mulligan’s head by former friend Ric Flair that would eventually cost Superstar his prized mask.

When I think back on all the monumental changes that occurred in the Mid-Atlantic area during the spring of 1978 from the Hat and Robe angle to Ric Flair and Greg Valentine being stripped of their NWA World Tag Team Titles to Wahoo McDaniel leaving and Tony Atlas and Dick Murdock arriving and so much more, to me, all these profound changes were foreshadowed and began in earnest with a chilling message from Japan.

 Originally published in July of 2017 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Mid-Atlantic TV: January 23, 1982
Mid-Atlantic Wrestling
on the WWE Network
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
TV Summaries & Reviews
by David Taub
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

This is a review of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling as it appeared on the WWE Network. Results are included for the week (Monday-Sunday of the given week) as available. Please email with any corrections, typos, results, other details at

For links to all available summaries, visit our TV Summary Index.

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
Original broadcast: 1/23/82
(taped 1/20/82 at WPCQ-TV studios in Charlotte)
WWE Network feed.  [How to watch this show on the WWE Network.]

Bob Caudle and David Crockett open the show. Immediately, Sandy Scott joins them as both World tag team championship belts are on the desk. Scott announces the NWA executive committee stripped the Andersons of the title. The reason: because Ole has been causing a lot of problems and not living up to commitments. So much for the 30 days they head to defend that Scott announced last week. Logic gap #1. A worldwide tournament would be held, with local and regional winners.

Match 1
Austin Idol d. Vinnie Valentino
Tommy Young is your referee for the hour. Scott stays at the announcers' desk. Anyone can enter a tournament, as many tournaments as they want. Entry fee $1,000. Each tournament winner earns $25,000. Logic gap #2 of this tournament. Even if that it is $1,000 per man, at least 13 teams would have to enter for the tournament host to break even. I doubt any such tournament is that large. Crockett says we’ll have an announcement later from the president of the Unit….err NWA, Jim Crockett. Caudle and Crockett speculate who would Idol choose as his partner in the tournament. Idol is your winner with the Las Vegas Leglock. He still has a very pained look on his face.

Back to Caudle, Crockett and Sandy Scott who throw to a taped interview from the World Wide Wrestling set

—Int. w/Ken Conrad: Jim Crockett, Jr.
A young-looking Jim Crockett rehashes what Scott said. Ole & Gene are stripped, and a complicated (his words, not mine) tournament will take place. A lot of big names, like Stevens & Patterson, Stan Hansen will be a part.

Back to the announce desk. More names to enter — The Funk Brothers, the Brisco Brothers, WWF tag champs Adrian Adonis & Jesse Ventura. Yes, they did say WWF. They probably should have said AWA to be accurate.


Match 2
Jay Youngblood & Jake Roberts d. Chris Markoff & Ben Alexander
Piper joins Caudle on commentary. Youngblood & Roberts will be entrants in the World tag team tournament. Youngblood finishes off Alexander with a double sledge off the top rope.
David Crockett reads the Top 10 tag team list from Inside Wrestling magazine. Fuji & Saito, Gagne & Brunzell, Briscos, the Armstrongs, Duncum & Patera, JYD & Mike Graham (probably meant Mike George), and Gino Hernandez & Tully Branchard will be entering the tournament. (Yes, he flubbed Blanchard’s name). Piper grabs the magazine with a disgusted look on his face.


Match 3
Porkchop Cash d. Tony Russo
Cash will team with Leroy Brown in the tournament. Piper claims title to 1981 Wrestler of the Year. Caudle corrects him that it’s the most impactful wrestler of 1981, and Piper hasn’t been named the winner. Terry Taylor has gotten votes too. Cash wins with the flying headbutt.

—local promos w/ Big Bill Ward
Ward lets us know that wrestling will be returning to Ann Arbor in the future. Return? When were they there in the first place? Austin Idol comes in namedropping all the Mid-Atlantic stars. Idol says he’s the highest paid wrestler, more than Andre and others. Big John Studd is next, saying he hates rednecks.


—Int. w/Caudle: Ray Stevens & Johnny Weaver
Caudle gives Stevens credit for causing the World tag team title tournament. Stevens, then Weaver talk about the importance of the tournament. Both men are wearing suit and tie. We now go to a clip of Killer Khan (w/Freddie Blassie) beating on Victor Mercado from 8/22/81 WWF All-Star Wrestling. Brief reaction from Weaver and Stevens, and now to a clip of Stan Hansen defeating Luke Williams (not the same as the Bushwhacker) from the November Charlotte Parc Center taping.


—Int. w/Caudle: Ivan Koloff; Sgt. Slaughter & Pvt. Nelson; Ole Anderson & Gene Anderson
Rapid fire interview time. Ivan says it’s all about the American dollar. He has a black cowboy hat. Slaughter and Nelson and next. He would like to add the tag title. Ole & Gene are out. Ole is bitter, but vows to regain the title. He argues with Caudle, before Piper sort-of intervenes.
Magic blue intro for the next match


Match 4
Terry Taylor d. Steve Sybert
Ray Stevens commentates with Caudle for this match. Stevens putting over the tag tournament. Says he and Pat Patterson will enter the Greensboro tournament. Caudle still encourages fans to send in their nominee for 1981’s most impactful wrestler and provides the Charlotte address. Taylor gets the win with the abdominal stretch into a pin combination.


Match 5
Sgt. Slaughter & Pvt. Jim Nelson d. Mike Davis & Don Gilbert
Stevens remains on commentary, and more talk about the tournament. Nelson finishes off Gilbert with the Cobra Clutch. After the match, Slaughter applies the Cobra Clutch to Gilbert. Mulligan, Jr. stares them down and Slaughter & Nelson leave.

—Int. w/Caudle: Blackjack Mulligan & Blackjack Mulligan, Jr. & Ricky Steamboat
Steamboat talks about the tournament. The elder Mulligan says the prize money could buy plenty of cattle. Mulligan, Jr. looks forward to teaming with his dad.

“So long for now!”

House show results for the week after the jump...