Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Harley Race Wrestling Camp 2015

Harley Race and World League Wrestling
Announces Naomichi Marufuji for 2015 Harley Race Wrestling Camp
August 24 -28

Troy, MO - Harley Race and his professional wrestling academy based in Troy, MO are happy to announce its fifth and final guest trainer for this year's week-long training camp. He comes from Japan and is regarded as one of the best wrestlers by today's standard. He is a former GHC Heavyweight Champion, GHC Tag-Team Champion, GHC Jr. Heavyweight Champion, GHC Jr. Heavyweight Tag-Team Champion, NJPW Jr. Heavyweight Champion, and has held many other titles in his career. He is one of the top professional wrestlers not only in Pro-Wrestling NOAH, but the world today. Harley Race is proud to announce the attendance of Naomichi Marufuji to the 2015 Harley Race Wrestling Camp!

Mr. Marufuji debuted in professional wrestling in 1998 training under the All-Japan wrestling dojo as well as Mitsuharu Misawa. When Mr. Misawa left All-Japan Pro Wrestling to start Pro-Wrestling NOAH, Marufuji joined the young company and was given the chance to shine - and he did just that. Becoming one of the very few wrestlers in that company to hold all 5 championships belonging to Pro-Wrestling NOAH.

Now, Naomichi Marufuji is one of the top stars in Pro-Wrestling NOAH, shown by his second reign as the GHC Heavyweight Champion in 2014/2015.

With the relationship between Pro-Wrestling NOAH and Harley Race/World League Wrestling, top wrestlers like Naomichi Marufuji are able to come to teach and advise the young generation of professional wrestlers and he will be at the 2015 Harley Race Wrestling Camp!

This year's training camp is set for Monday August 24th through Friday August 28th. Mr. Marufuji joins the elite list of trainers attending this year's camp as New Japan Pro-Wrestling's Gedo, Dr. Tom Prichard, and Ric Flair will all be attending this year's training camp! The cost for the camp is $500.00. Limited spots are remaining in this year's training camp and they are expected to go fast. For all information, please visit or call 573-392-4100. Sign up online at the website listed previously.

Main Event Memory: Dusty's Big Championship Weekend (1976)

by Dick Bourne
Part of our ongoing tribute to the memory of the "American Dream" Dusty Rhodes
Features vintage audio and newspaper ads.

This episode of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway's "Main Event Memory" takes us back to September of 1976 when Dusty Rhodes made one of his brief visits to the Mid-Atlantic area. If you read David Chappell's recent article here about the first time he saw the "American Dream" Dusty Rhodes in Richmond, you'll recall he references a video promo Dusty sent in from Florida in advance of his Mid-Atlantic title match with Ric Flair in September of 1976.

Dusty had made sporadic guest appearances in the Mid-Atlantic area over 1975-1976. A quick check of his career results on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway archive reveals his visits were usually over weekends or in Charlotte on Monday night, going back to early 1975. Many of those early appearances were against a young Ric Flair who was just getting his feet under him as a star in the promotion.

But the September 4 card was Dusty's first appearance in Richmond, which was one of the three biggest cities in the territory. One of the reasons Dusty had never made Richmond was likely due to the fact that Richmond ran on Friday nights. Dusty's full-time territory was Florida, and during this time Friday's meant Miami in the Sunshine State, obviously an important city for the the Florida promotion. Additionally, Dusty was being booked regularly in Atlanta which also ran on Friday nights. This made scheduling Dusty for Richmond a near impossibility.

So we're not sure if Dusty was the sole reason for the Crockett scheduling change, but this particular Richmond card took place on rare Saturday night and that allowed the American Dream to make his debut at the Richmond Coliseum.

As David described in his earlier article, Dusty's promo was off-the-charts. He recorded it at the Sportatorium in Tampa Florida where the weekly "Championship Wrestling from Florida" television show was taped. This tape was mailed to Jim Crockett Promotions and inserted into the "halftime" interview slot of the Mid-Atlantic wrestling show that was sent to WTVR-6 in Richmond.

Dusty makes reference to his chase for the NWA world's heavyweight tile, and to get his shot he says he needs to win all the titles in area: the Mid-Atlantic title, the United States title, and even the world tag team titles.

Take a listen to Dusty as he talks about his first visit to Richmond and hints at the other big matches he has that weekend. Here is thee complete promo that aired in Richmond on the weekend of 8/28/76, one week before the clash between Rhodes and Flair:


And now for a closer look at all three shows where Dusty was booked on his championship chase:

Saturday Night, September 4 - Richmond VA
Dusty Rhodes vs. Ric Flair for the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship

Sunday Afternoon, September 5 - Asheville NC
Dusty Rhodes vs. Blackjack Mulligan for the United States Heavyweight Championship

Sunday Night, September 5 - Greensboro NC
Dusty Rhodes and Rufus R. Jones vs. Gene and Ole Anderson for the NWA World Tag Team Championships

Sadly for the Dream, when he left the Mid-Atlantic area to return to Florida on Monday, he was empty handed. The champions in the Mid-Atlantic area had successfully withstood the challenges of the "world's greatest sports attraction, the last surviving hero, 287 pounds of sweet soul, Jack!" If you we-ull.

Audio from the collection of David Chappell
Newspaper clippings from the collection of Mark Eastridge

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Jim Crockett Scholarship Fund (1973)

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Ticket stub from Thanksgiving Night in Greensboro 1973

The Territory's Biggest Night

When Jim Crockett passed away in 1973, the family decided to establish a scholarship in his name. According to a report in the Greensboro News & Record, the traditional Thanksgiving night event in the Greensboro Coliseum was the first in a series of scholarship events to be held in the coming weeks to honor the legacy and memory of James Allen Crockett, Sr. Proceeds from the event would go to that fund.

The Thanksgiving event in Greensboro, which was always a big affair and one of the biggest shows of the year in the entire territory, was particularly loaded that evening. The NWA world champion Jack Brisco was booked to defend the ten pounds of gold against former champion Dory Funk, Jr. in what was another in a series of classic battles between the two wrestlers who defined pro-wrestling in the 1970s. Jack had defeated Harley Race in July of that same year for the title, and the angle now was that Brisco had never defeated his arch-rival Funk, Jr. in a title match.  This was a huge deal at the time and billed as a special event selected for Greensboro. To add even more star power to that main event, former legendary champion Lou Thesz was brought in to act as special referee for the title contest.

A number of other big names were brought in from outside the area for the show, which wasn't that unusual for big shows in Greensboro. Terry Funk was in to challenge Eastern heavyweight champion Jerry Brisco in a battle of the younger brothers who were in the main event that night. Indeed, Thanksgiving night in Greensboro was a Funk vs. Brisco showcase.

Also in were the father and son combination of Eddie and Mike Graham. Eddie and Mike were top stars for Championship Wrestling from Florida, and Eddie was also the promoter of that territory. They squared off against one of the Mid-Atlantic territory's top legendary heel tag teams Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson. What a classic brawl that must have been.

Another top star in for the big card that didn't wrestle regularly in the territory was Cowboy Bill Watts. A regular in Georgia and Florida, Watts had made several special appearances in Greensboro that year, but was not a regular member of the Crockett roster.

The newspaper clippings are shown above and transcripts of the articles follow.

Studio Wrestling Updates

Mid-Atlantic TV Show Wins Awards (1976)
Jim Crockett's television crew takes home the lion share of the 1976 NWA awards.

Bill Connell with Steamboat and Youngblood (1981)
Bill Connell appears with Johnny Weaver and Jay Youngblood at an annual Christmas Parade.

Television Wrestling History: WRAL-5 Raleigh NC

Sound Bytes: Ring Introduction by Carl Murnick

The Wonderful Voice of Joe Murnick
Our favorite TV ring announcer makes one of his classic intros of Blackjack Mulligan and Big Bill Dromo at WRAL in Raleigh.

Plus these updates from earlier in the week:

Theme Music: Raleigh Intro to Mid-Atlantic Wrestling (1973)
A custom into for the Raleigh version of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" featuring an introduction for host Elliot Murnick

Ed Capral in Atlanta (1972)
Prior to his stint for Jim Crockett as host of "Wide World Wrestling," Ed Capral was the longtime voice of wrestling wrestling in Georgia.

The Local Promos on Briarbend Drive featuring Tony Schiavone

Man Behind the Mike: Scott Clark from Wrestling Revue 1970

George Scott & Andre the Giant at WRAL in 1976

The Jerry Lawler Post Card from 1985

The Studio Wrestling Scrapbook is part of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Tough Kid

Edited From the Mid-Atlantic Gateway Archives / Cokes & Popcorn

Roddy Piper once described what old-timers did to protect the business back in the day. In his day, they sometimes would go to extremes to make sure fans completely bought into an angle. it was all about "protecting the business."

Roddy is discussing the famous 1982 angle where he and Ric Flair engaged in an amateur wrestling contest. After Piper embarrassed Flair by pinning him both amateur and professional style, Flair and Greg Valentine attacked him and ground his face into the cement floor of the WPCQ TV studios in Charlotte.

In 2011, Piper discussed what we didn't see during the commercial break to make sure fans bought into the angle.

Roddy Piper 1982

This photo above (taken by magazine photographer Eddie Cheslock in Richmond, VA) was shot in 1982 following the angle between Ric Flair and Roddy Piper which led to the sandpaper treatment he describes receiving in the video from Gene Anderson.

Ricky Steamboat 1978

The 1982 Flair/Piper angle was basically a repeat of an angle four years earlier between Flair and Ricky Steamboat in 1978 (except the 1978 angle didn't involve an amateur wrestling contest.)

On a recent appearance on Ric Flair's podcast (WOOOOO! Nation), Steamboat recounted how Gene Anderson had done the same thing to him to help get the angle over.

- Dick Bourne
From the Mid-Atlantic Gateway Archives
Cokes & Popcorn

Want more watered-down Cokes and stale popcorn like we used to get at the wrestling shows? Visit the Cokes & Popcorn page on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway Archives. 
These are little stories of respect I want to hang onto.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Main Event Memory: The Anderson Family (1976)

by Dick Bourne
From the "Main Event Memory" Series

Tonight's "Main Event Memory" on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway is from the early fall of 1976 and reflects back on a trio of individuals running roughshod through the Mid-Atlantic area that entire year - The Anderson Brothers and their young cousin Ric Flair.

The Anderson family prepared to battle Wahoo McDaniel, Dino Bravo, and Rufus R. "Freight Train" Jones. The big six-man battle was the main event on a card at the Scope Coliseum in Norfolk, VA, and would be fought under "Lights Out" rules: the match was not sanctioned by the Mational Wrestling Alliance -- Anything goes!

One side of this main event was carrying all the championship gold. "The Minnesota Wrecking Crew" Gene and Ole Anderson were the reigning NWA world tag team champions. The Nature Boy" Ric Flair was in the middle of his year long feud with Chief Wahoo McDaniel over the Mid-Atlantic heavyweight championship. He had regained the title from Wahoo after hitting him in the head with the broken table-leg in the infamous match in Charlotte that resulted in Wahoo going to the hospital legit and getting 53 stitches over his eye. The Andersons and Flair had issues with Wahoo, Rufus, and Bravo individually and were hoping to settle all of the issues in this one night where there were no rules. Lights out!

As Ole says, how can these three hope to compete with the "Anderson family" under those circumstances?

Listen as Les Thatcher interviews the Andersons and Ric Flair about their big upcoming bout on September 9, 1976!

Classic Newspaper Ad from Florida

A great looking ad from "Championship Wrestling from Florida" featuring NWA Champion Jack Brisco and "the ten pounds of gold."

What a loaded 10-match card! Not only was Jack defending the title against Terry Funk, but two former world champs were also meeting in the semi-final as Terry's brother Dory Funk, Jr. met Harley Race. Plus Eddie Graham, Jim ("J.J.") Dillon, Johnny Weaver, and others.

The card was held at the beautiful Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg, Florida. For my money on of the most beautiful arenas in the most perfect setting of any venue in Florida.

We love the old newspaper ads and this one features all the components of a perfect promo ad: a cool looking marquee header, the old traditional NWA logo, old-school wrestler-artwork, great photo of the champ and his belt, all in a well designed package. Belltime 8:30!!

This ad was first featured on our sister-website, The Domed Globe