Sunday, June 24, 2018

Jim Crockett marries Elizabeth Eversole (1935)

Carroll Hall recently published several newspaper clippings from the 1930s on his wrestling website regarding the marriage of Jim and Elizabeth Crockett, and we found Mrs. Crockett's story fascinating!

You can view and read the original clipping on the "All Star Championship Wrestling" website, as well as seeing other period photos of Mr. and Mrs. Crockett.

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Lucky Jim! This Time It Is Dan Cupid  
Bristol, Tennessee -  December 21, 1935

The Rev. Mr. and. Mrs. Findley M. Eversole of Bristol announce the marriage of their daughter, Elizabeth Jackson Eversole to James Allen (Jim) Crockett on Friday, December 20. The ceremony was performed by Dr. Robert Yost in the presence of close relatives of the couple.

Mr. and Mrs. Crockett left this morning on a honeymoon trip to Atlanta, Jacksonville, Miami, and Havana Cuba. On their return they will reside at the Hotel Charlotte, Charlotte, N. C.

The bride is the second daughter of the Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Eversole, who spent many years as missionaries in Korea. Born in North Carolina, she lived with her parents for 14 years in Korea. She was educated at Pyeng-Yang foreign school, Pyeng-Yang, Korea, and at Stonewall Jackson College.

Mr. Crockett is a son of Capt. C. S. Crockett of Bristol. He was educated at Norman Park Institute and King College and is vice president of the Southeastern Company, which conducts professional sports in 20 cities in the South Atlantic states.

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Thanks to Carroll Hall at "All Star Championship Wrestling." Carroll collects and posts some amazing artifacts on his great website.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Classic Poster Friday: Flair vs. Wahoo in 1975

Brack Beasley Collection
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

This beautifully designed classic poster is from 1975 and features one of the definitive main events of the era - - Wahoo McDaniel vs. Ric Flair for the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight championship.

At first glance, you might think this was a poster form 1976 when the Flair/Wahoo feud was one of the main feuds of that year, and lasted nearly the entire year. But it is actually from the summer of 1975, less than three months before the Wilmington, NC, plane crash that threatened to prematurely end Flair's career.

Wahoo was the reigning Mid-Atlantic champion here, having defeated Johnny Valentine for the title three weeks earlier in Asheville, NC. With Valentine having subsequently defeated Harley Race for the U.S. title and no longer a threat to Wahoo, the Chief had moved on to the challenge presented by Valentine's protege, Ric Flair. The feud with Flair was in its very early stages, but it was already clear to anyone paying attention that this was a money program.

Flair would win the Mid-Atlantic championship from Wahoo in Hampton, VA, almost exactly two months after this Roanoke stadium show. Two weeks later, the private charter plane Flair was on went down short of the Wilmington runway and put Flair out of action for nearly four months. The 30-day rule was apparently waived through special dispensation and he was allowed to keep the Mid-Atlantic title until he returned to action in early 1976 and immediately began the long program with Wahoo. The two traded the Mid-Atlantic title back and forth for all of 1976, and they remained rivals for most of the rest of Wahoo's career, as Wahoo would become a top challenger for Flair's NWA world title at various times in the 1980s.

  • Roanoke posters always had the cool designation at the top: "Roanoke Sports Club Presents." The Roanoke Sports Club was the name of the promotional company run by local Roanoke promoter Pete Apostolou. 
  • This is my favorite of all the typical designs for wrestling posters in that era: portrait (vertical) orientation with the main event in big block letters so that it jumps off the poster. Notice also in this case that Flair's name stacked on Wahoo's made the perfect pyramid. Just a great looking poster.
  • Advance tickets for wrestling in Roanoke were always on sale at The Sportsman, a bowling and entertainment facility owned by Pete Apostolou in downtown Roanoke.
  • Interesting to see Jerry Blackwell early in his career billed here as "Man Mountain Blackwell."
  • Victory Stadium was one of three regular venues for wrestling in Roanoke, the other two being Starland Arena and the Roanoke Civic Center.

Originally published on the Gateway April 8, 2018.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Ric Flair: The All Around Cowboy

During Georgia's "World Championship Wrestling" on WTBS on 6/2/84, Ric Flair stood with Gordon Solie at the podium, holding his coveted NWA World Championship belt, doing color commentary for an ongoing match.

Just nine days earlier, Flair had regained the NWA title from Kerry Von Erich in Japan. He took the opportunity to talk about having the title belt back, which included this quip about his relationship with the women of Texas - - - one of my favorite Ric Flair lines of all time:

"Gordon, I've said this before, you know, now Kerry Von Erich and all those people in Texas are going to have to live with this thought one more time:
I've never worn a cowboy hat, I've never had on a pair of jeans in my life, never even seen a pair of cowboy boots. But every woman in Texas calls Ric Flair the all-around cowboy.
And now they are going to have to call him the World Champion once again."
- Ric Flair 6/2/84

Sunday, June 17, 2018

The Sad Final Chapter in the 1982 World Tag Team Tournament

The 1982 NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament
PART TWELVE - The Final Chapter
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

If you missed earlier posts in this series, check them out in the links below, especially the INTRODUCTION, which puts the whole tournament in a perspective and serves as a launching point for the discussions that follow. 

PART ONE: Introduction
PART TWO: Greensboro
PART THREE: Charlotte
PART FOUR: Richmond
PART FIVE: Atlanta
PART SIX: Fayetteville 
PART SEVEN: St. Petersburg
PART EIGHT: The Lost Tournaments
PART NINE: Wahoo & Muraco Win the West 
PART TEN: Anderson & Hansen Win the East
PART ELEVEN: Wahoo & Muraco Split as a Team


Wahoo & Muraco Dissolve Their Partnership
Two things happened in May of 1982 that sent the NWA World Tag Team Tournament flying off the rails. One was the story taking place on camera for the fans to see. The other was a story taking place behind the scenes that fans never knew about.

In front of the camera, Wahoo McDaniel regained the United States Championship. It was a title which had been taken from him by the NWA in the summer of 1981 due to some shenanigans pulled by Roddy Piper and Abdullah the Butcher. When Wahoo returned to the Mid-Atlantic area in April of 1982 fresh off the Western Division tournament victory with partner Don Muraco (a fictitious part of the tournament), he received a non-title shot at U.S. champ Sgt. Slaughter on TV, which he won. This ignited a feud between Slaughter and Wahoo over the belt, and Wahoo had come out on top. Now with title defense obligations that the championship required, Wahoo's focus turned to the U.S. title and this proved to be very disappointing to his partner Don Muraco.

Muraco, by his own admission a little bit crazy, lost his composure about the whole matter in a quick fashion, walking off on Wahoo in the same interview where he intended to congratulate him. Only five days after Wahoo had won the title, Muraco turned turned his back on the Chief after a misunderstanding in a standard TV match. Muraco thought Wahoo had turned his back on him first in the ring, being solely focused on his feud with Slaughter. (You can read all about that here.)

Muraco's paranoia ran wild and he went a bit off the deep end, telling a crazy story about Wahoo coming to Hawaii to borrow money from King Curtis before seeking Muraco out to be his partner. He said he was furious that he had moved his family across the continent so that he and Wahoo could chase the World tag team titles in this multi-month tournament. Now, Muraco felt, Wahoo had abandoned that goal to focus on his newly won U.S. title.

In a way, you can see his point. (And I love booking where the heel actually has a point, but just goes about resolving it in the wrong way.)

Behind the scenes, as we've discussed in previous parts of this series, booker Ole Anderson and Jim Crockett Promotions were about to head their separate ways. I talked with Ole Anderson twice about these tournaments, once in 2008 (with mutual friend Peggy Lathan visiting Ole and Paul Jones outside Atlanta) and again in 2011 (at the NWA Wrestling Legends Fanfest in Atlanta.) I asked Ole for details about that falling out, but he basically explained (in the colorful language he is known for) that everyone else was an idiot that didn't see things his way. (Ole is nothing if not consistent.)

Just as Crockett Promotions announced the Best-of-Seven series between Eastern and Western winners for the championship, Ole basically left JCP and based himself in Georgia full time, where he continued as booker there.

The Belts and the Championship Go to Georgia
What also happened when Ole left JCP was that he took the NWA World Tag Team title belts with him. When Stan Hansen returned from Japan commitments, Ole and Stan were named NWA World Tag Team champions in Georgia on the nationally broadcast "Georgia Championship Wrestling" show on WTBS. This took place on Saturday, June 26, 1982.

Gordon Solie offered a reasonable explanation for that title development, basically explaining that since the Western Division winners had broken up as a team, Ole and Stan, the Eastern Division winners, were awarded the tittles basically by default.

Here is a brief video of that explanation:

As Gordon Solie pointed out, "by default" was really not an apt way to look at it. In fairness to Anderson and Hansen, they were the only team to enter all six regional/city tournaments, and the only team to win more than one. They had certainly earned their way to the Eastern Division Championship.

Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen
NWA World Tag Team Champions in 1982

The Belts Go Back to Crockett Promotions
Eventually, Jim Crockett Promotions wanted their belts back, and a deal was struck for Ole to bring them back to Charlotte. He even arranged a booking out of it for the trip, working a Charlotte house show on 8/22/82 in a six-man team event.

The belts were clearly returned on that trip, as Anderson and Hansen had them on Georgia TV the day before Ole's trip to Charlotte, Saturday, 8/21/82, but no longer had them the following Saturday 8/28/82.

The titles were not mentioned again on Georgia TV.

New Champions Named in Jim Crockett Promotions 
For their part, Jim Crockett Promotions waited until a month later to resolve the situation and name new tag team champions. A story was concocted in the interim that Sgt. Slaughter had headed to Japan and had summoned Pvt. Don Kernodle to join him there, and Kernodle immediately hopped on a plane. A few weeks later, on the Mid-Atlantic TV shows that aired 9/29/82, Slaughter and Kernodle showed up with the NWA World Tag Team title belts and were announced as new champions. The story was told that they had won a tournament for the vacant titles in Japan, defeating Antonio Inoki and Giant  Baba in the finals. This, it goes without saying, was a fictitious tournament.

A Theory as to What Was Supposed to Have Happened
I've had a theory (that is as good as any theory out there otherwise, I suppose) that the original booking plan all along was for Muraco to turn on Wahoo, but that it would have happened during the Best-of-Seven finals series for the championship. A Muraco turn was foreshadowed from first day he arrived in the territory, as Muraco told fans he would "never turn his back on a friend."

Regardless, Ole and Stan would have still wound up winning the titles in the end.

I've even fantasy-booked in my head that Wahoo might have been forced by Slaughter to defend the U.S. title on the same night as match #7 in the Best-of-Seven series, forcing Wahoo to wrestle twice in that night and causing Muraco and himself to lose to Ole and Stan.

But when Ole and the Crocketts had their falling out and Ole left before the finals could take place, JCP went forward with the Muraco turn early, thereby creating a plausible explanation why the tournament wouldn't continue to its conclusion.

Title History Clarified
For the record, since most title histories have this wrong, here are the dates related to the status of the NWA World Tag Team titles, as documented in this 12-part series:
  • 01/23/82 - Gene and Ole Anderson stripped of the NWA World Tag Team titles for failure to defend. Tournament announced.
  • 06/26/82 - Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen awarded championships after Wahoo McDaniel and Don Muraco default for the final series in the tournament for the vacant championship. (Anderson and Hansen were Eastern Division winners.)
  • 08/22/82 - Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen vacate the championship.
  • 09/29/82 - Sgt. Slaughter and Don Kernodle announced as champions having won a tournament for the vacant titles in Japan.

The elaborately conceived tournament that had been announced back in January and had gotten underway in Greensboro in February, had come to an unceremonious end in June. Anderson and Hansen defended the titles regularly for Georgia Championship Wrestling, not only in Georgia, but in their tours of Ohio, Michigan, and West Virginia. Eventually JCP got their title belts back and new champions Sgt. Slaughter and Don Kernodle went on to have a classic, industry-changing feud with Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood. And the rest, as they say, is history.

For his part, Ole Anderson's run as NWA World Tag Team champions with Stan Hansen was Ole's last. He and brother Gene Anderson, making a brief run out of retirement, took one last stab at getting the titles in March of 1985 when they unsuccessfully challenged Ivan and Nikita Koloff for the titles in the Omni in Atlanta.

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Special thanks to Mark Eastridge and Brian Rogers.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Classic Poster Friday: All Three Anderson Brothers - 50 Years Ago Today

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Lexington NC  June 15, 1968
This week's Classic Poster goes all the way back to June 15, 1968 in Lexington, NC - - fifty years ago today! It's an especially rare poster because it features all three Anderson brothers in a six man contest.

That Saturday night at the Lexington YMCA, home of so many exciting weekly cards in that town over many years, Gene and Lars Anderson were joined by their little brother Ole to battle Paul Jones, Nelson Royal and Chief Little Eagle.

Alan "Rock" Rogowski had arrived in Charlotte just five days earlier and made his debut as the third brother in the Minnesota Wrecking Crew. Yes, Ole Anderson had arrived. It began a 4-month period where all three Anderson brothers were in the Crockett territory at the same time, wrestling in several six-man features over that time period.

Although special for its rarity, a small disappointment was a photo placed in error of the Torres brothers (looks like them, anyway) instead of the Anderson Brothers.  

Lars, Gene, and Ole Anderson
It was a small window of time to see all three of these brothers together. Lars left Jim Crockett Promotions to return to the AWA in October of 1968, just four months after Ole first arrived. From that point forward, the main Anderson team would be Gene and Ole Anderson, and that team would dominate the tag team scene in the area for the next 14 years.

As far as this big night in Lexington, here's the back story leading up to the this six-man tag team main event:

Over previous weeks, Gene and Lars Anderson had fought to several disputed tag-team decisions with Texas heroes Paul Jones and Nelson Royal. In hopes of providing a clear winner in the series of skirmishes, special stipulations were added to the final bout scheduled between the two teams on Saturday, June 8, 1968.  One stipulation was that the match be fought under no-disqualification rules. The second stipulation provided that Chief Little Eagle, who had his own history with the Anderson Brothers in Lexington, be assigned by the NWA as a special referee. Jones and Royal won the match, but the Andersons charged that it had been with the help of the special referee, and the brothers challenged Jones and Royal to take Eagle as their partner the following week and they would bring in a special partner of their own - - their brother Ole Anderson who had just entered the territory.

"With all the argument, a six-man has been arranged this week. Little Eagle will join Royal and Jones while another Anderson - brother to Gene and Lars - will complete the other team. Ole is moving into the territory and has a reputation as being just as rough as his brothers." - Lexington Dispatch Newspaper

The results of the wild six-man action can be read in the Lexington Dispatch article below.

Also of note is the preview of the following week's card which saw Mr. Wrestling (Tim Woods) make his debut in Lexington.

Special thanks to Mark Eastridge for the newspaper clipping and Brad Anderson for the photo of the Anderson Brothers, from his father's personal collection. The poster is from the Mid-Atlantic Gateway collection.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Telling it Like It Is (Baltimore 1984)

 "World Championship Wrestling is the best. The best! To me, and I'm double sure by saying...World Championship Wrestling is far better than Hulk Hogan, the World Wrestling Federation champion. I come to see Ric Flair and the guy know, here's two guys that are twice World champions, they come down here, and you let Baltimore have it. This is Georgia Championship Wrestling come to Baltimore, and it's far better than Madison Square Garden."
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Preach! This was one of the great TV moments in the final months of Georgia Championship Wrestling on WTBS in 1984.

Ole Anderson talks to an obviously knowledgeable fan at ringside in Baltimore before Georgia Championship Wrestling's big show at the Baltimore Civic Center on April 7, 1984. This was during the time Georgia Wrestling was attempting to expand into the traditional WWF territory after Vince McMahon's WWF was aggressively making inroads into every territory in the country.

The main event that night in Baltimore was Ric Flair defending the NWA World Heavyweight championship against former champion Jack Brisco in what would be one of Brisco's last shots at the NWA title.

The WWE Network recently added the Flair/Brisco match to its "Hidden Gems" section of the the Vault. The video began with some of the footage shown on WTBS of Ole Anderson talking to several fans that was shown on WTBS. But they understandably omitted the footage above. That gentleman passionately spoke for a lot of true wrestling fans at the time, and represented the genuine excitement fans felt about Georgia wrestling and the NWA champion coming to Baltimore.

Sadly, three months later, the WWF would take over the TV time of Georgia's "World Championship Wrestling" on WTBS. Black Saturday.

The video is from the show that aired on Saturday, April 14, 1984.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Wahoo McDaniel Talks Wrestling, Football, and Scary Airplane Flights

Note: This article and interview with Wahoo McDaniel was published in Wahoo's hometown newspaper in 1962 during his first year in pro-wrestling. Wahoo, at the time in the off-season from playing football for the AFL's Denver Broncos, was making a return to West Texas, wrestling for Dory Funk's Amarillo territory.

by Spec Gammon, Sports Editor
The Odessa American 
March 27, 1962

Rough and tough pro wrestlers and pro footballers he can take in stride, but he's more than just a little gun shy of riding airplanes that bounce around in high winds.

Pro Football Journal
"It was the first time in my life that I was really and truly scared," Edwin (Wahoo) McDaniel related as he thought back on last Saturday's airplane flight from Denver to Lubbock. "I was supposed to be in Amarillo for a wrestling date Saturday night. All was fine until our plane was within 10 minutes of Amarillo and we ran into this storm. Man, was it ever rough. I'll swear that at times that plane was sitting sideways, one wing straight up. Food and coffee was spilled all over the place, women and girls were screaming and crying. I was really scared."

The pilot didn't attempt to land at Amarillo but pushed on to Lubbock. "It wasn't calm there, either, by any means," Wahoo said. "They were afraid the wind was going to blow the plane over on the ground so they unloaded two passengers at a time, out the back end, too, and took on two new passengers."

Wahoo parted company with the plane in Lubbock. He rented a car and drove on to his home in Midland. He'll be in Odessa tonight, headlining promoter Pat O'Dowdy's star-studded professional wrestling card in the Ector County Coliseum.

How did the former Midland High football standout get interested in pro wrestling? "Well, Jim Barnett, who books wrestlers out of Indianapolis, called me and said he wanted an Indian wrestler. So, I met with him, liked the deal and now I'm a pro wrestler."

Actually, the 23-year-old Choctaw-Chickasaw Indian is a combination pro wrestler-pro footballer. "I'm going hack to the Denver Broncos (in AFL) when practice starts in July," Wahoo explained. "I'll continue wrestling in the off season."

Wahoo's first wrestling match came last December 27, against Dan O'Shocker, in Terre Haute, Indiana. He won and now after some 60 matches he still is undefeated.

Which is the rougher sport, football or wrestling? "I don't know for certain. I've gotten a few stitches from wrestling already, and a few broken bones from football. They're big and rough in both sports."

This is a busy week for him in Texas wrestling rings. He was in Abilene Monday night, here tonight, in Lubbock Wednesday and Amarillo Thursday. "Then I fly (he shuddered) to Detroit where I wrestle Saturday night."

What kind of money does this football and wrestling bring in? Wahoo hesitated on that one for a moment, grinned and replied, "Just say that my pro football salary is in excess of $10,000 and that I'll surpass that figure for wrestling from December through June."

What about the future of the American Football League? "It's good and will get better every year. Two teams, Houston and San Diego, made money last year. The play was twice as good last year as it was the first year. Houston could have played a lot of the NFL teams to a standstill last year."

Wahoo is a defensive specialist for Denver, playing middle linebacker. "It's not so tough because I have Bud McFadin in front of me. He's about the finest man I've ever met. He has more friends than anyone I've ever met."

At 6-5 and 285 pounds, McFadin isn't apt to have many enemies—at least not any who'd admit it, anyway.

Looking back on his football careers at Midland High and the University of Oklahoma, Wahoo says his greatest high school football thrill was "beating Odessa my senior year. It was the first time Midland had won in I don't know how many years. It was the best game I ever played."

How about the year before? "Man, the Broncs nearly killed me. Don Phillips was all over me all afternoon but it was Don Hitt who really racked me up!"

At OU, he had two big moments. "Against Oregon my junior year I had a real good day and was runner-up as the nation's lineman of the week (he played end at OU). Then, against Iowa State that year I got off a 91-yard quick kick which was the longest punt in the nation."

A season later, when OU met Kansas, the Jayhawks' quarterback, John Hadl, erased Wahoo's record with a 96-yard punt. "I was sick," Wahoo said. "The ball would have rolled into the endzone, but one of our halfbacks picked it up and was tackled immediately."

Wahoo, now is a 240 pounder. He weighed about 195 when playing fullback at Midland. At OU his playing weight for three seasons was 183, 193 and 203. "At OU they assign you a playing weight and you'd better report to practice within two pounds of that figure, too."

Who is the best back he's faced in the AFL? "Well, Abner Haynes of Dallas is real elusive but Billy Cannon of Houston is a better all-around back. He's just as fast and a lot bigger and more powerful."

Right now he has other things on his mind—like facing The Viking here tonight . . . and boarding that airplane in Amarillo later in the week.

Originally published in the Odessa American newspaper, March 27, 1962

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Friday, June 08, 2018

Classic Poster Friday: Ric Flair Will Be In The Building

(Brack Beasley Collection)

This week's classic poster is from the spring of 1981. The main event was an odd one as Dusty Rhodes was not a regular in the area. Koloff had just recently won the Mid-Atlantic title and although it's not listed as such on this poster, we're guessing that this was a shot for Dusty at the Mid-Atlantic Championship.

Dusty was still mainly booked in the Mid-Atlantic area as a special attraction, although he had appeared on Greensboro cards in the last six years far more often than any other town in the territory.

This main event was simply a vehicle to continue the wild feud that had started between Ric Flair with his cousins the Andersons and their ally Ivan Koloff. Back in April, Roddy Piper told Flair he would give him a shot at the U.S. belt on TV, but when Flair entered the ring he was momentarily distracted by the Andersons and then attacked from behind by Ivan Koloff with his Russian chain. This led to Flair bringing his own 'equalizer' in the form of a baseball bat to counter Koloff's chain. He would chase Koloff with it, both at live events and on television.

As a result, Flair was suspended and barred from several buildings in an official capacity. But he told fans that the Crocketts couldn't keep him out of every building because he would buy a ticket just like anyone else. Once he had his ticket, he would hit the ring and attack again. The poster even clearly states here that Ric Flair would be in the building, but as you see, not listed for a match.

Yes, the draw for this main event was to see Ric Flair go after Ivan Koloff with a baseball bat.

This was a short little program was a throwback to one of the most famous tag team feuds ever in Mid-Atlantic Wrestling history.

On 5/1/81 in Richmond, VA, Gene and Ole Anderson won the NWA World Tag Team titles from The Masked Superstar and Paul Jones. Here is Greensboro, the Anderson Brothers would be tested by a team that were their arch rivals back in 1975, Paul Jones and Wahoo McDaniel. The teams had traded the titles back and forth on a couple of occasions, and had drawn huge houses with hour-long broadways that led to special one-and-a-half and even two-hour time limit stipulations.

So it was a nostalgic thing for many fans to see these two teams go at it again in 1981.

Austin Idol was a newcomer in the territory at this point, working both the Mid-Atlantic and Georgia territories as Ole Anderson was starting to book both areas.

Idol got a pinfall victory over Steamboat here as Steamboat was going to be gone for about a month on a tour of Japan.

Mr. Wrestling II was on this card, working several Mid-Atlantic dates under the developing talent exchange between Georgia and the Mid-Atlantic area.
Jimmy Valiant was also relatively new in the area, wrestling as a heel. It would be roughly a year before he would become "The Boogie Man" Jimmy Valiant in our area and become one of the most popular babyface characters.

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See also last week's "Classic Poster Friday" featuring the rare teaming up Ole Anderson and Wahoo McDaniel - - "The Swede and the Indian." with classic vintage audio as well! 

Special thanks to Brack Beasley.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Tournament in Shambles: Wahoo and Muraco Split as a Team

The 1982 NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

If you missed earlier posts in this series, check them out in the links below, especially the INTRODUCTION, which puts the whole tournament in a perspective and serves as a launching point for the following discussions. 

PART ONE: Introduction
PART TWO: Greensboro
PART THREE: Charlotte
PART FOUR: Richmond
PART FIVE: Atlanta
PART SIX: Fayetteville 
PART SEVEN: St. Petersburg
PART EIGHT: The Lost Tournaments
PART NINE: Wahoo & Muraco Win the West 
PART TEN: Anderson & Hansen Win the East


Tournament in Shambles
As we discussed in previous posts, the NWA World Tag Team Tournament that started back in early February of 1982 began to fall apart as booker Ole Anderson and Jim Crockett Promotions had a falling out that eventually led to a parting of the ways. It's never been clear what the genesis of the problems were between the two parties, but it was likely to have centered around the dual-booking arrangement by which Ole Anderson was booking both the Mid-Atlantic and Georgia territories at the same time.

Just as it was announced that the final round of the four-month tournament would take place in the form of a best-of-seven series between the Eastern and Western winners, Ole Anderson left Jim Crockett Promotions.

Here is a timeline of how things played out:

Best of Seven Series Announced
On the Saturday 5/15 episode of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling", David Crockett announces that the Western winners Wahoo McDaniel and Don Muraco will meet the Eastern Division winners Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen in a best-of-seven series to take place in various cities to be announced soon.

New U.S. Champion Wahoo McDaniel talks with Bob Caudle
as Don Muraco stands by looking somewhat annoyed.

Wahoo McDaniel Wins the U.S. Title
On Friday 5/21, Wahoo McDaniel defeats Sgt. Slaughter for the United States Championship in Richmond, VA. On Saturday TV 5/22 (which was taped on Wednesday 5/19), Bob Caudle announces that Sandy Scott will be back the following week 5/29 to announce the seven cities that will host the best-of-seven series. Wahoo's first TV appearance as new U.S. champion would not be until that show that airs on 5/29.

Muraco Turns on Wahoo
By the time TV is taped again the next week on Wednesday 5/26 (to air 5/29), Ole Anderson is basically no longer working with JCP and disappears from Mid-Atlantic TV without comment. Wahoo McDaniel is introduced as the new U.S. champion and they announce that due to his scheduled title defenses conflicting with dates of the finals of the tag team tournament, the tournament best-of-7 will have to be pushed back.

Don Muraco is noticeably frustrated with this development. As Wahoo talks with Bob Caudle, Muraco interrupts. He's not being aggressive, but he is clearly upset:
"You come to me in Hawaii, and I spend close to $15,000 to move my family to the East coast, we win the [West] coast regional and, well congratulations on winning the U.S. title, I know you deserve it, beating Slaughter. But originally, I thought I was coming here for the World Tag Team championships, not to fool around with a bunch of other belts. You got your belt, that's fine." - Don Muraco
Muraco walks off in frustration, almost to avoid getting more upset. Wahoo, for his part, admits that he never thought he'd win the U.S. title when he and Muraco came in as Western Division winners. But now, as awkward as things are, he has the U.S. belt and he plans to defend it. 

"It's embarrassing to me because we have been friends for a long time, we're a good team together, and I'd hate to see anything come between us.." - Wahoo McDaniel

Wahoo and Muraco are the first match on the 5/29 show with a tag team match against Juan Renosa and Bill White. The two are working well together as a team until Sgt. Slaughter, angry over having lost the U.S. title to Wahoo, starts interfering in the match. Wahoo chases Slaughter out of the studio, briefly leaving Muraco alone to be double teamed by Renosa and White. Muraco is able to escape the double-team, but when he goes over to make the tag to Wahoo, he finds that Wahoo isn't there. Wahoo returns as Muraco continues to fight both opponents. This time Muraco angrily makes the tag to McDaniel and then walks out of the ring, leaving Wahoo now to fend for himself.

Wahoo is able to win the match, and is noticeably surprised that Muraco would leave him in the ring, but tells Bob Caudle that he believes he and Muraco will work things out in the end. 

World Tag Team Titles Forgotten in Mid-Atlantic Area
After four months of building toward new world tag team champions with this elaborate tournament, Jim Crockett Promotions simply ceases to mention the tag team titles further. Behind the scenes, the booker who put it all together, Ole Anderson, has left the territory - - - and taken the NWA World Tag Team title belts with him.

On the Saturday 6/5 Mid-Atlantic TV show, Don Muraco tells a crazy story about Wahoo showing up broke in Hawaii earlier that year looking to borrow money from King Curtis, and then begging Muraco to be his partner in the tag team tournament. Wahoo responds by telling Muraco he sees him all the time on cable TV making money there (a reference to Muraco's weekly appearances on "Georgia Championship Wrestling" on WTBS) and that he feels he should be able to defend his U.S. title and make some money of his own. Muraco completely disavows McDaniel, and their time as a team is now completely finished.

Even though we're told the finals of the tournament are simply delayed, this is the last time the NWA World Tag Team titles are mentioned again in the Mid-Atlantic area until September of that year when Sgt. Slaughter and Don Kernodle are introduced as new champions having won a fictitious tournament in Japan.

But in the meantime, new NWA World Tag Team Champions would indeed be announced - but only in Georgia Championship Wrestling, as it turned out.

The NWA Tag team Champions are announced, but not in the Mid-Atlantic area. We'll take a look at how Gordon Solie explained it on WTBS (including video) and we'll also propose a theory as to what the original plans for the conclusion of the tournament were to be. Stay tuned!