Friday, September 30, 2016

Make America WOOO Again! this is something we can all agree on, regardless of our own personal political leanings:

Flair '16: Make America WOOO again!

The Crockett Foundation has a brand new t-shirt in their online store.

From the Crockett Foundation website:

"Make America WOOOOO Again with this awesome 2016 Presidential Campaign T-shirt. 16 Time World Champ, 2016 Election Frontrunner…coincidence, we think NOT!"

"With each sale that we make, we donate a portion of the proceeds to our a veteran or veteran service animal in need. Some of the things that we purchase for these wounded heroes are post-traumatic stress disorder trained service animals which help veterans cope with trauma. We also purchase music instruments for veterans which has been proven to help veterans with PTSD to rehabilitate with music therapy. Another way we help is to buy yoga equipment and train them in yoga therapy which will help them tremendously as well.

"We set up our online shop and wrestling shirts store to also help wounded service animals by ways of paying for their veterinary care that is needed and also hope those canine hero’s find a loving home to be adopted into."

Check out all the cool items at the Crockett Foundation online store including their new book of wrestling photographs from the 1970s and 1980s "When Wrestling Was Wrestling", Four Horsemen shirts, Crockett Foundation logo gear and much more!

Support the Crockett Foundation by visiting their online store today!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Tommy Rich with the Ten Pounds of Gold

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

NWA World Champion Tommy Rich with Freddie Miller on
"Best of Championship Wrestling" 5/3/81
In April of 1981, Tommy Rich shocked the world when he upset Harley Race to win the NWA World Heavyweight Championship and the belt known as the "ten pounds of gold."

Most fans didn't learn about Rich's historic win until after he had already lost the title back to Race. He won the belt on a Monday night in Augusta, GA and lost it back to Race 5 days later on a Friday night in Gainsville, GA.

Back in those days, the main TV shows for the territorial wrestling promotions all aired on Saturdays, and so Rich didn't even have a chance to celebrate his win in proper fashion on television.

When "Georgia Championship Wrestling" aired the Saturday after Rich's loss back to Race, Tommy was noticeably melancholy even when being congratulated by host Gordon Solie and NWA President Jim Crockett, Jr. They showed film footage of Rich's win over Race at the Bell Auditorium in Augusta. Crockett talked about having just flown back to the U.S. from Japan where that nation was all abuzz over Rich's title win.

Since that time, now 35 years later, the only VCR footage that has widely circulated was that Saturday segment with Solie, Rich, Crockett, and the footage from Augusta. It has been on YouTube for years, as well.

But recently, additional footage has surfaced (posted on YouTube by user KrisZ891979) of Rich being interviewed while he was still NWA champion, footage I had heard might exist but had never seen before.

In this clip, Rich is being interviewed by Freddie Miller, who did promotional announcing and occasional ring announcing on Georgia Championship Wrestling on WTBS. Miller also served as the host of the "Best of Championship Wrestling" program that aired on Sunday evenings on WTBS, and it was on this Sunday show that this interview aired, two days after Rich lost the title back to Race.

Which then begs the question when was this interview with Rich actually taped? Since Rich still had the belt, it almost certainly had to have been taped during the week in which he held it. However, the interview took place on the actual Georgia set with the Georgia Championship Wrestling backdrop which normally wasn't set up until Saturday morning before the weekly Saturday TV taping to air later that evening on WTBS. "Best of" was a studio show (without a studio audience) usually taped late on Saturday mornings or early Saturday afternoon after the 2-hour taping of the main Georgia show with Solie.

Could it be that this interview was actually taped on Saturday 5/2 after Rich had lost the belt back to Race on Friday 5/1? I suppose that's possible. Race was still booked with the georgia office on that Saturday, and defended the title for them that Saturday night in Chattanooga, TN, a GCW town during those days. Point being, the belt would have still been available for this interview with Race still in the territory.

But I doubt that could have happened. It would have been way too big a breach of kayfabe with so many people at the WTBS TV studio seeing this (cameramen, studio crew, director, etc.) and in those days that would have been unheard of. I'm guessing either (1) the studio backdrop was set up early for this interview before Tommy lost the belt, or (2) the backdrop was left hanging in the studio during the week as a normal practice in those days. It's also worth pointing out that Rich is wearing different clothes in each of the segments, indicating as well that segments were taped on different days.

Regardless of when or how the interview was conducted, it is great to see that a formal interview with Rich and the NWA title belt took place and still exists. Rich's reign as NWA champion is not much more than a mere footnote to the title's grand history, but as even Harley Race has said himself, Rich won the title in the ring and deserves to be recognized as a world champion.

The footage on YouTube contains both the Saturday and Sunday segments. The link below will take you to YouTube and directly to the point in the footage (7:33) where the Sunday interview begins.

Freddie Miller Interviews NWA World Champion Tommy Rich 
"Best of Championship Wrestling" - WTBS Atlanta GA - Airdate Sunday 5/3/1981
Thanks to Scott Bowden for letting us know about this rare footage of Tommy Rich with the "Ten Pounds of Gold."

Tommy Rich's Week As NWA World Champion (1981)
Monday 4/27 - Augusta GA - Rich wins NWA world title from Harley Race
Tuesday 4/28 - Macon GA - Rich beats Race to retain the NWA world title
Wednesday 4/29 - Columbus GA - Rich beats Race to retain the NWA world title
Thursday 4/30 - Rome GA - Rich beats Race to retain the NWA world title
Friday 5/1 - Gainsville GA - Race defeats Rich to regain the NWA world title 
Saturday - 5/2 - Rich appears on "Georgia Championship Wrestling" with Gordon Solie and Jim Crockett, Jr.
Sunday - 5/3 - Taped interview airs on "Best Of" of Freddie Miller and Rich with the NWA title belt.

This article is also posted over at the Domed Globe website, part of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway family of websites.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Ricky Steamboat defends Crockett's U.S. Title in Florida

Flair and Steamboat Travel to Florida for an Extra Payday During Crockett's Christmas Break
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Special Thanks to Mark Eastridge

Mark Eastridge Collection
As I've written about before here on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway, I always loved when wrestlers with Crockett-area titles defended those belts in other territories. Specifically, the United States heavyweight championship and the NWA world tag team championships were occasionally defended outside the Mid-Atlantic territory in other areas such as Georgia, Florida, and Texas to name a few.

In December of 1977, just a few days before Christmas, Ricky Steamboat took the U.S. title to Championship Wrestling from Florida and successfully defended it in Miami Beach.

He didn't go alone. His top rival for the championship, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, was also booked for Eddie Graham's promotion the same night, but not as the challenger for Steamboat.

It was a bonus payday for both Flair and Steamboat, who were in the middle of what was Jim Crockett Promotions' annual Christmas break. Each year in those days, the Crockett promotion would shut down for two full weeks right before Christmas, returning to action for big shows on Christmas night.

Barry Rose Collection
In 1977, the last Crockett shows before the Christmas break were on Tuesday, December 13 at their regular Tuesday stops in Columbia, SC and Raleigh, NC. The next night, they taped multiple episodes of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" and "Wide World Wrestling" at WRAL in Raleigh, including the annual year-end highlights shows, to get them through the next several weeks of TV while the company was down.

During the Crockett break, Steamboat and Flair took the opportunity to get themselves booked in Florida exactly one week later, on 12/21/77 at the Miami Beach Convention Hall.

Steamboat was the reigning U.S. champion at this time, having defeated Flair for the prestigious belt  in Greensboro, NC in October. He defended the title that night in Miami against another Mid-Atlantic regular Bill White. It was an interesting match-up and was likely White's only shot ever at the U.S. championship. Steamboat was successful in that title defense.

Flair wrestled Rocky Johnson in the semi-main event of this card, which was headlined by a WWWF title match between reigning champion "Superstar" Billy Graham and "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes.

Also on the big card were Jack and Jerry Brisco, Bob Roop, Bob Orton, Jr., Buddy Roberts, Dutch Mantell and many others.

U.S. Champion Ricky Steamboat
in Miami Beach before his U.S. title defense
It was a homecoming of sorts for Steamboat. When he arrived in Florida in the spring of 1976 with only a few months experience under his belt, promoter Eddie Graham thought Richard Blood (his real name) looked so much like perennial Florida favorite Sam Steamboat, he gave him the name Ricky Steamboat. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Before returning to Miami as United States Champion, Steamboat's last match there had been a win over Jim Lancaster in the preliminaries on a card in July of 1976. 

With Superstar Graham on the card in Miami to defend the WWWF title against Rhodes, and two of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling's top stars supporting that card, it was one of the more unique cards to take place in Florida in those years.

Photographer and photo-collector Pete Lederberg owns the rights to photographs taken this very night in Miami Beach.  The photos were originally shot by area photographer Brian Berkowitz. The title defense and those photographs are a cool little bit of history for Jim Crockett Promotions' U.S. championship.

Berkowitz's photo above of Steamboat with the U.S. title belt was featured full page in color in the book "Jim Crockett Promotions' United States Championship", along with a few other photos licensed from Lederberg. See many other photos from this night (including match photos of Steamboat vs. White and Flair vs. Johnson) in Pete Lederberg's Facebook photo album: Miami 12/21/77.

Thanks to Mark Eastridge, Pete Lederberg, Carroll Hall, and Barry Rose for their contributions to this article.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Proud Sponsors of "This Week in History"

Ric Flair and David Chappell in Raleigh, NC.
The Ric Flair Show is part of the MLW Radio Network and presents a new show every Wednesday night. It's available on iTunes and all the other major podcast platforms, as well as at and

The Mid-Atlantic Gateway is proud to bring you "This Week in History" each week on The Ric Flair Show podcast. Co-host Conrad Thompson selects a terrific mix of great moments in Flair history as well as other memorable moments in which the Nature Boy was involved, including special audio clips and Ric's take on that point in time. It's one of our favorite parts of the Ric Flair Show!

Download it every Wednesday night! Wooooooo!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Flair & Steamboat in Raleigh and Spartanburg This Weekend

http://www.btwtickets.comA big weekend ahead with a little "Mid-Atlantic Wrestling" flavor to it as Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat, one of wrestling's greatest rivalries ever, will be reunited in Raleigh, NC and Spartanburg, SC this weekend. And this rivalry was born right here in the Carolinas.

Flair and Steamboat are part of two huge cards for Big Time Wrestling that are loaded with talent from several wrestling eras. They will be signing autographs and taking photos with fans on both nights. Visit their website for all the details, and try to make one of these shows this weekend of you are in the area. It's not very often that these two get together on the same night in the same city. And it may not happen again that often in the future.

Ricky Steamboat recently talked with the Mid-Atlantic Gateway about these shows and reminisced on his Mid-Atlantic career. Don't miss David Chappell's big interview with "The Hawaiian Punch" Ricky Steamboat!

Raleigh - Friday Night 9/23 - Dorton Arena!
Spartanburg - Saturday Night 9/24 - Memorial Auditorium!

For more details and ticket info visit the Big Time Wrestling website.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Results: Jan. - March 1975
Results, title histories, month-by-month storylines,
photos, programs, and so much more!
Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Results
from the Clawmaster's Archive


1/1/75 Greenville, SC @ Memorial Auditorium
Paul Jones, Sonny King & Wahoo McDaniel beat Ivan Koloff, Johnny Valentine & Ole Anderson(sub for Super Destroyer)
Gene Anderson & Ole Anderson beat Sandy Scott & Bob Bruggers
Charlie Cook beat George Harris
Frank Monte draw Mike Stallings

1/1/75 Raleigh, NC @ WRAL Studios(TV)

1/2/75 Norfolk, VA @ Scope
Paul Jones & Tiger Conway, Jr. beat Ivan Koloff & Ric Flair
Mr. Fuji beat Sandy Scott
Charlie Cook & Tommy Seigler beat Brute Bernard & Art Neilson
Abe Jacobs draw Cowboy Parker

1/3/75 Richmond, VA @ Coliseum
The Avenger beat Super Destroyer by DQ
Gene Anderson & Ole Anderson beat Paul Jones & Tiger Conway, Jr.
Ric Flair beat Tommy Seigler
Mr. Fuji beat Bob Bruggers
Sandy Scott beat Brute Bernard
Abe Jacobs draw Art Neilson
Charlie Cook beat Cowboy Parker

1/3/75 Charleston, SC @ County Hall
Wahoo McDaniel & Sonny King beat Johnny Valentine & Ivan Koloff
Swede Hanson beat Chuck O’Connor
Klondike Bill & Tio Tio beat Frank Morrell & George Harris
Joe Furr beat Ken Dillinger

1/4/75 Roanoke, VA @ Starland Arena
The Avenger beat Super Destroyer by reverse decision
Tiger Conway, Jr. beat George Harris
Abe Jacobs & Tommy Seigler beat Mr. Fuji & Art Neilson
Cowboy Parker beat Tio Tio
Joe Furr beat Pedro Godoy

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ric Flair Wins His First Mid-Atlantic Title - 41 years ago!

Main Event Memory
September 20, 1975 - Hampton, Virginia
41 Years Ago Today!

The year 1975 was a big year for "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, although he actually wasn't the "Nature Boy" yet.

The year started off well for Flair, winning his first singles championship ever, the Mid-Atlantic Television Championship, defeating Paul Jones for the honor. Flair continued to improve throughout the year.

During the summer of 1975, he began to feud with Wahoo McDaniel as he began his chase of the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship. The veteran McDaniel had maintained the upper hand on the young, cocky upstart Flair until Flair finally laid down the ultimate challenge: he would put his beautiful blond hair on the line against Wahoo's title.

Hair vs. Title.

Wrestling fans from all over the Tidewater area turned out to the Hampton Roads Coliseum hoping to see Ric Flair's head shaved in the middle of the ring.

Hear these rare recordings of the local promos for the two main events on this show featuring Ric Flair, Wahoo McDaniel, Tim Woods, and Johnny Valentine. Hosted by Les Thatcher.

Local Promos for Hampton 9/20/75 (Low Fidelity)

But the fear of losing his hair was enough motivation to put Flair over the top. He was finally able to defeat Wahoo and win the Mid-Atlantic title.

Wahoo was pounding Flair with his trademark tomahawk chops when Flair was against the ropes. As the referee backed Wahoo away, Flair went into his trunks and pulled out a pair of brass knuckles. When Wahoo came back around, Flair decked him with the knucks and then covered him for three-count. The referee never saw the foreign object, and Flair's hand was raised and he was presented with the title belt.

Flair's victory over Wahoo McDaniel established him as one of the top stars in the territory, and began to get him attention outside of the Mid-Atlantic area as well. His star was on the rise.

However, just two weeks on his way to an outdoor stadium show in Wilmington, NC, the airplane Flair was traveling in ran out of fuel and crashed short of the runway. The crash ended the career of the legendary Johnny Valentine as well as Bob Bruggers. David Crockett and Tim Woods were also injured in the crash.

Flair was told by doctors he would likely never be able to wrestle again. But defying the odds, he returned to action just under four months later. It was at that point that booker George Scott gave Ric the "Nature Boy" moniker, as Flair reminded him of the great "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers.

Upon his return, Flair resumed his feud with Wahoo McDaniel and the two battled the entire year of 1976 over the Mid-Atlantic Championship, exchanging the title several times through the course of the year.

But his big rise to main event stardom began fort-one years ago today, September 20, 1975.

Check out all of the Main Event Memories features on the Gateway!

And don't miss our recent interview with Ricky Steamboat!

No doubt 1975 was the breakout year for Ric Flair who would go on to become one of the greatest wrestlers in the history of the sport, and certainly its greatest champion.

Relive all the events of the landmark year of 1975 in the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling 1975 Yearbook.

The book includes reproductions of all four issues of "Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Magazine" that was sold as the arena program that year.

Plus a huge collection of newspaper clippings, posters, and complete results for the entire year. Plus our signature "Almanac" material featuring a complete roster of wrestlers for the year, and summaries of all major feuds and matches for the year.