Thursday, April 27, 2017

Richmond Countdown #14 - 5/21/82

Chap's Top 15 Wrestling Cards in Richmond (1973-1986)
#14 - Friday, May 21, 1982
by David Chappell, Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Newspaper Clippings from the collection of Mark Eastridge 

This feature includes CLASSIC AUDIO from May of 1982.

I'm proud to share my memories of my personal Top 15 cards ever in Richmond. Join me as I count down some of the most exciting thrill packed nights of wrestling action the Mid-Atlantic area ever saw!

* * * * **



The Richmond Coliseum saw its best card of the year 1982 when Jim Crockett Promotions rolled into town on the night of May 21, 1982. A major title changed hands, in addition to a number of other top-flight matches that made this card one to always remember.


THE MAIN EVENT
WAHOO McDANIEL vs. SGT. SLAUGHTER
The main event saw a brutal match where the great Chief Wahoo McDaniel defeated Sergeant Slaughter to win the prestigious United States Heavyweight Championship.



Slaughter had come into the Mid-Atlantic area during the late summer of 1981 after a tremendous run in the WWF. The Sergeant won the U.S. Title on October 4, 1981 and had held the belt in dominating fashion since that time. Just prior to their Richmond confrontation, Wahoo defeated Slaughter on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV in a non-title match to set the stage for the switch in Richmond. The TV match between Wahoo and Slaughter was one of the best matches that ever aired on television in the Mid-Atlantic years.

Sgt. Slaughter Promo:
"I knocked you down so many times, you had a cauliflowered back!"


The win in Richmond set up Wahoo for his second reign as U.S. Champion. The second reign was short however, as an injury put Wahoo on the shelf about a month later and Slaughter was given the belt back by the promotion as he was deemed the number one contender at that time.


JACK BRISCO vs. RODDY PIPER
 The semi-final bout saw Jack Brisco successfully defend his Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title with a hard fought victory over "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Brisco had won the belt less than two weeks before their confrontation in Richmond, and Piper was acting like a maniac in his attempt to get the title back. While Piper did not win the belt back this night in Richmond, the wild Scotsman would recapture the belt back from Brisco in a little over a month. These two had a short but heated feud in mid-1982, and there could not have been two more opposite personalities that ever squared off against each other in the Mid-Atlantic area.


Jack Brisco Promo: A Big Night for the Indians
"I took the title from you; I'll give you the first chance to get it back."


Roddy Piper Promo: You've Got to Pay the Piper
"Ask Wahoo, ask Flair, you want to go for the Mid-Atlantic Championship? Mr. Brisco you'll find out you've got to pay the piper."



OTHER BOUTS
An interesting and entertaining bout saw Angelo "King Kong" Mosca and Killer Kahn defeat the unusual combination of Don Muraco and Paul Jones. Mosca and Kahn had recently come to the area in pursuit of the World Tag Team Titles that had been held up and put up in a series of tournaments around the country. Mosca and Kahn performed well in a number of the regional tournaments that occurred in the spring of 1982. Muraco also came to the area as part of this ambitious tournament concept, teaming with Wahoo McDaniel to become one of the final two teams. However, Muraco eventually turned on Wahoo and denied the great Chief a potential World championship. During this match in Richmond, both Muraco and Paul Jones were "good guys." Jones would also turn in several months to have a heel run as the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion, before winding down his in-ring career and starting his stint as Jim Crockett Promotion’s lead manager.

Angelo Mosca & Killer Khan Promo: Total Coordination
"Muraco & Paul Jones called us Ugly 1 and 2. We don't mind the name calling; you've got to get in the ring with Mosca and Kahn."



Don Muraco & Paul Jones Promo: A Promise in Richmond
"We want to congratulate Mosca and Kahn, who claimed they can walk and talk. Great fellas."


A very young but raw Mike Rotundo looked good in defeating "Private" Don Kernodle. Kernodle’s career was coming on strong as he was at this point one of Sgt. Slaughter’s two Privates, Jim Nelson being the other. After almost a decade of jobbing for Jim Crockett Promotions, Kernodle would be one half of the World’s Tag Team Champions by the end of 1982. Rotundo would also continue to improve during 1982, and was one of Crockett’s real stars on the rise during the early 1980’s.

The opening bout saw Mike Davis defeat Greg Moore. While Davis did jobs during much of his time in Jim Crockett Promotions, he did make some noteworthy strides during the final years of the promotion.

May 21, 1982 was a card that had something for everyone. An historic title change, and three matches on the undercard that featured tremendous action and suspense. A top 15 card without a doubt!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Next on the Richmond Countdown:  #13 -  September 14, 1979
Previously on the Richmond Countdown: #15 - December 30, 1979


http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/p/us-title-book.html

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

FLASHBACK: Ric Flair tells George South: "Today You're Ricky Steamboat"

GATEWAY FLASHBACK
Today we revisit one of our favorite articles from the past, just in case you missed it, or perhaps might enjoy it again. (It's kind of like your favorite TV show is in re-runs!)



* * * * *

Ric Flair tells George South: "Today You're Ricky Steamboat"
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Originally published Dec. 18, 2015

I've written before about all the stories that George South has told me over the many years we've been good friends, and usually I find myself not believing half of them. I mean, come on - - wrestlers tend to tell tall tales, am I right? And George loves to tell a good story. But then someone comes along that was involved in one of those stories and says something that confirms his story and I wind up calling him and confessing  - - "You were right!"

Such was the case on a recent episode of the "WOOOO! Nation" podcast, when Ric Flair and co-host Conrad Thompson were taking questions sent in by fans. One question dealt with wrestler Mike Jackson and why he never quite got a break to move up the cards back in the day. Jackson was thought of at the time (and still to this day) as one of the best underneath workers in the business and all the main event guys liked working with him.

But Flair moved on quickly from Jackson and said this, which confirmed part of a story George had told me long ago:

"You know who was actually the best worker back then, was George South .... I got in the ring with him one time and I said, 'Buddy, today you're Ricky Steamboat'. And we tore it down."  - Ric Flair, WOOOO! Nation, December 9, 2015

About ten years ago, George told me the story about his November 12, 1988 match with Ric Flair on Superstation WTBS, a match that went nearly 15 minutes, much longer than the usual WTBS TV match at the time. We were making a 22-hour round trip in a rented truck to visit the great Blackjack Mulligan at his home in Florida. That's right, I had 22 hours of listening to George South tell stories with the same Journey CD playing in the background the whole time. (And that part about Journey is a shoot!)


World Championship Wrestling on Superstation WTBS, November 12, 1988


George told me on that trip that before they walked through the curtain that morning in the WTBS studio, Ric had uttered those same words to him: Today you're Ricky Steamboat. Now, I never knew if I really believed that or not. I mean, I knew George loved Ricky Steamboat, and at times thought he was Ricky Steamboat, so it seemed plausible that in the context of the story this was George's wishful thinking. That is until last week when I heard Ric Flair say those very same words.

So having once again called George to acknowledge he had indeed told me the truth, I asked him to tell me whole story again. He quickly reminded me that it was a match Ric didn't want to have to begin with.

"When you got to TV, you found out who would actually work," George told me. "Ric was scheduled to work for the first time in awhile, but he really didn't want to. He had just gotten in from Pittsburgh after being up all night and he had to catch an early plane to Ohio after the taping. That studio was so cold and he didn't want to work and then have to shower and have that wet hair and rush to the airport."

Indeed, a quick review of notes from those Saturday night shows in the fall of 1988 showed that Ric didn't wrestle on any WTBS studio taping that late summer or fall until that Nov. 12th show. He did lots of those classic interviews, but didn't work in the ring. 

"He and Dusty sort of got into it right there in front of everyone, and Dusty told him he was going to have to wrestle," George told me. "So Ric threw his bag on a chair and said, 'Well then I want South.'"

I asked George if he remembered who he was originally scheduled to work, or if he remembered who Flair was scheduled to work, but he could not recall. "All I know is Ric changed it and I was now working with him."

George had wrestled Flair on several occasions on different Crockett TV shows going back to 1985, but this time the circumstances were different. Flair was in a horrible mood and George figured he might be in for a tough, stiff, short match.

"Ric got dressed," George told me, "and as we were at the curtain about to go out, he looked at me and said, 'Buddy, today you're Ricky Steamboat."

George's heart skipped a beat. "I about peed in my pants!"

He entered the ring alone during the long break set aside for the "College Football Scoreboard" segment that aired on WTBS during fall Saturday afternoons in those years. Ric didn't follow right away and it seemed like an eternity waiting for him, even though it was only a few minutes. George had time to ponder what was to come.

When they came out of the break and back on air, Ric came through the curtain and entered the ring wearing one of his beautiful white robes. He removed the "Big Gold" NWA world heavyweight title belt and handed it to his manager James J. Dillon at ringside. George told me he thought to himself, "OK, buddy, here we go," and then they locked up.

But George wasn't prepared for what happened next.

"Ric started calling all these spots," George told me, "and I was going a hundred miles an hour. I was having the time of my life, but I was rushing."



Indeed, Ric was giving a great deal to George early on. George was reversing holds, working a lot of drop-downs, trading chops, and even throwing drop-kicks.

Suddenly, he was aware that he wasn't pacing himself. And there was no finish in sight.

"I got so blowed up in there," George said. "I was really hurting."

I asked George if he and Ric had discussed the match before hand. "No, not at all," he told me. "Back in those days, he called it in the ring. I didn't know anything. And I didn't know if we were going 2 minutes or 20 minutes. I was just going so fast. Ric did this every night, but I didn't!"

Given that Ric didn't want to work to begin with, it was surprising the match was going the way it was. "Honestly, I think he was doing it just to tick Dusty off," George told me. He laughed as he thought back on it. "He was so annoyed with Dusty, I think he would have let me win the NWA belt just to get back at him."

"Dusty was hollering at me 'What are you doing?' and I said, you know, I'm not gong to beat a guy like George South in one minute. Sorry." 
- Ric Flair, WOOOO! Nation, December 9, 2015

George thought he might have a chance to rest when they went to a commercial break during the match, but no such luck. "Ric just kept going," he said.

By the time they were back from commercial, they were over eight minutes into the match, with still no end in sight.

"If there ever was a clinic in pro-wrestling, we're watching it. The world champion Nature Boy Ric Flair against George South, showing us a variety of moves during the break."   - Tony Schiavone, World Championship Wrestling, November 12, 1988

Back in those days, unlike today, commercial breaks during matches were relatively rare except in longer main event matches. The fact Ric went two segments with George made the match seem all the more special. Ric was calling all the signature spots that he would normally do with main event guys like Harley Race, Sting, Lex Luger, and yes, certainly with Ricky Steamboat.

"He had me shoot him out of the corner and he did his flip into the turnbuckles," George said." I couldn't believe what was happening. Then he went to the top turnbuckle and told me to throw him off. Brother, I was about to die in there! I think he just flipped off the turnbuckle himself!"

When George finally threw Ric from the top, Ric's feet hit the lights, and debris fell into the ring. It was a surreal moment for George, and Ric kept giving him a comeback.

Finally, Ric called for the finish. He lifted George high in the air and held him for a few moments before delivering the vertical suplex.

"Now, we go to school!" Flair shouted, as he applied the figure four leglock. It didn't take long for George to submit.

George lay prone on the mat, exhausted. As TV aired the instant replay of the figure four, Ric hopped out of the ring to do a ringside post-match interview with David Crockett.

Referee Teddy Long knelt down on one knee beside George. They were right behind Flair, who would soon be joined in the interview segment by Barry Windham and J.J. Dillon.

"I thought Teddy was checking on me, making sure I was OK. So I whispered, 'I'm OK, Teddy.' He said right back to me, 'Brother, you've got to get out of this ring! I've got to get you out of the shot.' I could barely move, so he just rolled me like a big log out of the ring."

David Crockett prepares to interview Ric Flair after the match.
Teddy Long tries to usher George South out of the ring behind them.

If you carefully watch this back on tape, you can see this happening. "Oh, it's funny now," George said, "but it wasn't funny then. I had never been so blowed up in all my life."

To make matters worse, George observed that Ric was barely breathing hard. "He was just so in shape, it was amazing. You couldn't blow him up. He was what he said he was - - a 60-minute man."

Still exhausted, George made his way back to the dressing room and then collapsed on his hands and knees and crawled to his chair.

"Kevin Sullivan was sitting in a chair right inside the door watching the monitor," George said. "He just looked down at me crawling on the floor and laughed. Not so much laughing to be mean, just laughing as if to say 'brother, we have all been there.' I don't think there was a wrestler in that locker room who hadn't been blown up at one time or another by Ric Flair."

George looks back on that match with fondness. It is without a doubt the longest and most competitive match he ever had on TV, and it is a memory he will hang on to forever. Nice to know Ric remembers it, too, some 28 years later.




Listen as Ric Flair talks about George South on WOOOOO! Nation.
December 9, 2015





You can probably find the whole match if you do a little searching on YouTube. Otherwise, enjoy this one-minute music video of a few highlights from the match.




Visit George's website at www.GeorgeSouth.com.






Monday, April 24, 2017

Catch Up on Recent Updates

Coming soon! New interview with the Masked Superstar Bill Eadie!

Crockett Foundation Releases Second Book
Focus is on Ricky Steamboat, Magnum T.A., and the Rock & Roll Express

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Almanac for June 1980
featuring Matt Borne & Buzz Sawyer, Enforcer Luciano, Blackjack Mulligan, Ric Flair, Greg Valentine, and many others.

Chris Taylor's Mid-Atlantic Cup of Coffee
A look back at one of America's Olympics heroes in the pro wrestling ranks and his appearance in the Mid-Atlantic area.

United States Wrestling Club Newsletter for July/August of 1981
featuring car restoration buff #1 Paul Jones

Ric Flair's Silent Interview
That doesn't sound right, does it?

Blackjack Mulligan Returns
The big cowboy from Eagle Pass, Texas was back!

http://www.midatlanticwrestling.net/yearbooks.htm

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Wrestle Expo in Richmond Less Than a Month Away


The promoters of the first ever Wrestle Expo in Richmond, VA, are putting the finishing touches on their big event scheduled for May 19-20 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

For tickets, schedule, and all related information, visit www.wrestleexporva.com.

 Check out the radio ad for Wrestle Expo in the audio player below featuring the voice of World Wide Wrestling from 1978 - 1982, Richmond's own Rich Landrum.



Thursday, April 20, 2017

Crockett Foundation Releases Second Pro Wrestling Book

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

https://crockettfoundation.com/store/?model_number=3068022The Crockett Foundation has released its second pro wrestling book in their online store.

"Old School Rules Vol. 1" features photographs taken by veteran wrestling photographer Eddie Cheslock, supplemented by articles taken from Mid-Atlantic Wrestling magazine published by Jim Crockett Promotions from back in the day, as well as contributions from Mike Mooneyham, Bill Apter, and David Chappell.

Volume 1 of "Old School Rules" focuses on four of the biggest "babyface"stars of Jim Crockett Promotions in the 1980s: Ricky Steamboat, Ricky Morton, Robert Gibson, and Magnum T.A.

Eddie Cheslock provided photos from his archives of these great stars that also include cameo appearances by Terry Taylor, Don Kernodle, Manny Fernandez, Jimmy Valiant, and many others.

Cheslock photographed wrestling in the 1980s in the Richmond area. His photographs were featured in "The Wrestler", "Inside Wrestling", and "Pro Wrestling Illustrated."

The book also includes contributions from New York Times best selling author Mike Mooneyham, as well as from David Chappell of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. David's Gateway interview with Magnum T.A. from 2016 has been edited and republished in the new Crockett Foundation book.

Mooneyham's contributions include previously published works that appeared in his award winning column in the Charleston Post & Courier newspaper.

The book is on sale now exclusively from the Crockett Foundation. A portion from the sale of every book goes to support the charitable work of the Crockett Foundation. Learn more on their website at CrockettFoundation.com.

Almanac History - June 1980

David Chappell's
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History
June 1980    Roster   Directory

JUNE 1980
Much like the incoming summer heat, the month of June 1980 in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling got off to a blistering hot start as there was a super-spectacular one night tournament on 6/2 in the Greenville Memorial Auditorium in Greenville, South Carolina that crowned new Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champions. The tournament was necessitated by the dissolution of the team of the former champs, the Masked Superstars #1 and #2, when Superstar #2 was defeated by Blackjack Mulligan and exposed to be John Studd who subsequently left the territory.

Matt Borne and Buzz Sawyer
Mid-Atlantic Tag team Champions
The tournament finals produced the classic match-up of good versus evil, with the diabolical team of Jimmy Snuka and the Iron Sheik with their nefarious manager Gene Anderson taking on the young upstart fan favorite tandem of Matt Borne and Buzz Sawyer. In what had to be labeled a major upset, Borne and Sawyer’s youthful exuberance carried the day and they became the new Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champions before a joyous, but somewhat stunned, packed house in Greenville. Despite the victory, it remained to be seen whether this new dynamic duo would be able to use this upset victory to catapult themselves into a main event slot.

The first Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show of the month of June, which was taped on June 4, 1980 from the WRAL TV studios in Raleigh, North Carolina, saw the eccentric Enforcer Luciano come on the set carrying a bag containing what he called a “family tradition” and summoning Blackjack Mulligan to join him in front of the cameras. When Mulligan appeared with Cousin Luke, the Enforcer threw a hissy-fit and Blackjack was forced to escort Luke back to the dressing room. 

When Mulligan opened Luciano’s “gift,” it turned out to be of all things a fish! While everyone pondered the meaning of the fish, the Enforcer slapped Blackjack across the face enraging the big Texan. While nobody could figure out the significance of the fish, it was clear that if Luciano’s intent was to rile up Mulligan, he clearly succeeded.


Sunday June 8th at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina saw the much anticipated reunion of the dream team of Ric Flair and Greg Valentine, after Greg succeeded in convincing Ric that he had changed his ways and was ready to wear the “white hat” alongside the fan favorite “Nature Boy.” Flair and Valentine were pitted against Gene Anderson’s “Army” members Jimmy Snuka and the Iron Sheik. Soon after the bout started, it became crystal clear that Flair made an egregious mistake in taking Valentine back as his tag team partner.

Flair started the infamous tag match, but it was evident very early on that Valentine had no intentions of ever tagging Ric when he needed assistance. Instead, Valentine jumped off the ring apron and laughed as Snuka and the Sheik brutalized Flair. After Ric was pinned, Greg joyfully entered the ring and assisted in the post-match beat down. Eventually, Valentine grabbed the cane wielded by Gene Anderson and smashed it several times to the bridge of Flair’s nose. As a result, the Nature Boy’s nose was broken in gruesome fashion.

On the June 11th tapings of the Mid-Atlantic and World Wide Wrestling television shows, both Ric Flair and Valentine appeared on the set to discuss the incident in Greensboro and its repercussions. Greg was full of himself, saying that he planned to turn on Flair all along, and that his only goal going forward was to capture Ric’s United States Heavyweight Title. Valentine also told the fans that Ray Stevens was the greatest tag team partner he ever had, but that he was now with Stevens’ blessing leaving the tag team behind to go full tilt after Flair’s belt.




For his part, the Nature Boy told the fans on TV that he was going to make Valentine pay for his trickery and deceit. Unable to speak as usual because of the broken nose, Flair said he had a nose guard specially made for him and that he would wear the contraption while wrestling Valentine, as nothing was going to stop him from getting revenge on Greg.

(See also: One Night at the WRAL Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Tapings by Bruce Mitchell of the Pro Wrestling Torch. It was a Mid-Atlantic TV taping from this same time period.)

During the remainder of the month of June, Flair would wind down his U.S. Title program with Jimmy Snuka and segue to battling Greg “the Hammer” almost immediately. Ric defeated Snuka in a vicious Fence Match in Richmond on June 13th, and followed that up with a clean victory over the Fiji islander in Lynchburg, Virginia the following Friday night.

The Nature Boy started his U.S. Title program with Valentine at the Norfolk Scope on June 19th with a wild double disqualification melee. The craziness between these two continued at the Greensboro Coliseum on June 22nd with a rabid double disqualification finish, and at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium on June 30th to close out the month with an equally inconclusive double countout conclusion.

The June 11th Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV show may be best remembered for a segment involving Enforcer Luciano, who was playing up the Detroit Street Brawls that he and Blackjack Mulligan were about to engage in. The rules for the Detroit Street Brawls were very similar to the rules for a Texas Death Match, meaning that falls didn’t count and the last man standing would win. 

The Enforcer tried to show the TV audience his aura of invincibility by breaking a cement block with his bare fist, which Luciano said had steel pins surgically implanted. But what shook up the fans, and a visibly and audibly dumbfounded Bob Caudle, was the Enforcer breaking a light bulb on the cement block and then chewing up the glass and afterward spitting it out! After viewing this spectacle, there could be no doubt that Luciano was capable of anything.


Luciano got off to a surprisingly strong start in his battles with Mulligan in his specialty match, the Detroit Street Brawl. In June, the Enforcer defeated Blackjack in the Detroit Brawls in Raleigh’s Dorton Arena on June 17th, at the Norfolk Scope Coliseum on June 19th, in the Charlotte Coliseum on June 21st, at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium on June 23rd, in the Township Auditorium in Columbia, South Carolina on June 24th, and at the County Hall in Charleston, South Carolina on June 27th.

The Enforcer was thankful he did not have to contend with Cousin Luke Mulligan in the Detroit Street Brawls, as the first part of June saw the Enforcer and the Masked Superstar take their fair share of lumps against the Mulligan family! There were some 6 man tag matches involving the Mulligan’s and another partner and the Enforcer and the Superstar with another partner, but most were straight tag matches between the four and they were wild and crazy.

With “Crazy Luke” leading the way, the Mulligan’s dominated Luciano and the Superstar at the Norfolk Scope on June 5th, and followed that brew-ha-ha up with a count out win at County Hall in Charleston on June 6th. In Greensboro on June 8th, both teams were counted out as the combatants were traipsing through all parts of the cavernous Coliseum with all four being counted out of the ring. The following evening the Mulligan’s captured another win, but the bad guys were finally getting used to the novelty of Cousin Luke. The tide turned in favor of the guys in black during the next two tag team wars, in Madison, Virginia on June 12th and the next night in the Richmond Coliseum.

After his stint teaming with Enforcer Luciano for the first half of the month, the Superstar got busy defending his prestigious NWA Television Title later in June. Not surprisingly, the masked titleholder was drawn toward another masked man as his next major singles challenger. Sweet Ebony Diamond, who had dazzled the area’s fans with his athletic style, was ready to battle the Superstar in a mask versus mask TV Title program!

For the last two weeks of June, the two masked wrestlers put on a series of riveting TV Title bouts that saw Sweet Ebony Diamond winning all the matches by disqualification giving him the dukes in the record book, but not enabling him to wear out the championship gold. These fast paced title bouts began at the Dorton Arena in Raleigh on June 17th, and went straight through to the end of the month on June 30th in Greenville, South Carolina. In between, the masked men also battled in Norfolk, Lynchburg and Roanoke in the Commonwealth of Virginia and in Columbia and Charleston in the palmetto state of South Carolina.

During the month of June there were two impressive cards featuring Mid-Atlantic performers at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto Ontario, Canada. On June 15th, Ric Flair defeated Jimmy Snuka in one of their final bouts in their springtime United States Title series. Two weeks later in Toronto, Gene Anderson’s new dynamic team of Ray Stevens and Jimmy Snuka had a highly entertaining draw with Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood.  The Canadian Heavyweight Champion, the Iron Sheik, maintained a firm hold on that championship belt during the month of June. 

In addition to holding onto his Canadian championship belt, the Iron Sheik also maintained a stranglehold on his Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship during the month of June. The Sheik battled the former Mid-Atlantic Champion Jim Brunzell during June, and began to dominate the program after a slow start early in the month. After dropping decisions to Brunzell in the border town of Savannah, Georgia on June 1st and Columbia, South Carolina on June 3rd, the Sheik hit his stride with multiple successful title defenses against “Jumpin’ Jim” as the month of June progressed.

Roanoke, Virginia saw two classic Mid-Atlantic Title battles between the Sheik and Brunzell in the month of June. On June 8th, the Sheik dominated Brunzell at the Roanoke Civic Center, but needed to take advantage of the referee to do so. This led to a return bout two weeks later with an added stipulation of two referees. The June 22nd rematch in Roanoke was a bloody affair, which saw the Sheik again successfully emerge from the fracas with his Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title belt.

However, Brunzell used a bit of chicanery of his own against the Sheik to try and stem the tide later in the month. On the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV show that was taped on June 25th, the Sheik and Brunzell wrestled in a non-title bout, but Jumpin’ Jim was able to unlace and capture the boot of the Iron Sheik that Brunzell said was loaded. Jim vowed to wear the boot and use it against the Sheik, which he hoped would give him the edge against the fearsome Iranian in their future bouts.

At the end of the month, NWA World Tag Team Champions Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood relinquished their World belts after having finally gotten the upper hand in their epic feud with Greg Valentine and Ray “The Crippler” Stevens. During the earlier part of June, Steamboat and Youngblood took the measure of Stevens and Valentine in three climactic Fence Matches. In Raleigh at the Dorton Arena on June 3rd, in the Charlotte Coliseum on June 17th and finally at County Hall in Charleston, South Carolina on June 20th, Steamboat and Youngblood effectively ended the challenge of the Stevens/Valentine team with victories in the bruising battles inside a steel cage. But just as one bitter feud ended, another would begin.

After Greg Valentine double-crossed Ric Flair and essentially moved on from his team with Ray Stevens, Gene Anderson wasted no time in filling the vacuum. On the June 11th Mid-Atlantic Wrestling television show, Gene announced that he had brought in Ray Stevens to his “Army” to team with Snuka. And it didn’t take long for this new team to ace championship gold!

On June 22nd in the Greensboro Coliseum, the new tandem of Ray Stevens and Jimmy Snuka topped Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood to claim the NWA World Tag Team Championship belts. On the June 25th Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television program, Stevens claimed that during the bout Steamboat had tripped outside the ring, accidentally hit his head and his injury cost “the low class bums” the belts. But fortunately for the fans, Steamboat and Youngblood brought out a film clip from the title match in Greensboro. And in the clip it was clear to see that Stevens deliberately delivered a piledriver to Steamboat on the concrete floor, knocking Ricky out and allowing the bad guys to pin Youngblood for the championship gold.

After the title switch, the new champions Snuka and Stevens battled the former champs in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina the next night and kept the straps by getting purposely disqualified. Then on June 28th in the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium, Gene Anderson’s antics so enraged Steamboat and Youngblood that the fan favorites were disqualified, giving the “bad guys” a rare victory by disqualification.

As the month of June ended, there were major ongoing programs between Ric Flair and Greg Valentine, Enforcer Luciano and Blackjack Mulligan, the Masked Superstar and the masked Sweet Ebony Diamond, Jim Brunzell and the Iron Sheik, and Jimmy Snuka and Ray Stevens against Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood. July had all the ingredients in play for a combustible month to come in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling…let the fireworks begin!


JUNE 1980 TITLES
NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT---Harley Race
UNITED STATES---Ric Flair
WORLD TAG TEAM---Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood  Jimmy Snuka and Ray Stevens 
(June 22, 1980 at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina)
CANADIAN---Iron Sheik
MID-ATLANTIC---Iron Sheik
NWA TELEVISION---Masked Superstar
MID-ATLANTIC TAG TEAM---Matt Borne and Buzz Sawyer (June 2, 1980 at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium in Greenville South Carolina, defeating Jimmy Snuka and the Iron Sheik in the finals of a one night tournament)


http://midatlanticwrestling.net/nwabelt.htm

Almanac Roster - June 1980

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Roster - June 1980
Compiled by David Chappell for the Mid-Atlantic Gateway
(N) = newcomer to area  (D) = departure from area  (R) = returnee to area


MAIN EVENT
MAIN EVENT BABYFACES

MAIN EVENT HEELS

Jim Brunzell
Sweet Ebony Diamond
Ric Flair
Rufus R. Jones (D)
Blackjack Mulligan
Ricky Steamboat
Jay Youngblood


 
Enforcer Luciano
Iron Sheik
Jimmy Snuka
Ray Stevens
Superstar #1
Superstar #2 (D)
Greg Valentine


 
MID-CARD
MID-CARD BABYFACES

MID-CARD HEELS

Matt Borne
Tony Garea
S.D. Jones
Pedro Morales
Buzz Sawyer
Johnny Weaver

Ox Baker
Brute Bernard
Swede Hanson
Gene Lewis
Dewey Robertson
Tenyru (N)


 
LOWER CARD
LOWER CARD BABYFACES

LOWER CARD HEELS

Nick DeCarlo (R)
Joe Furr
Abe Jacobs
Don Kernodle
Coco Samoa
Ronnie Sexton
Ron Ritchie
Tony Tosi (N)
Brett Wayne (N)
Ben Alexander (N)
Len Denton
Ricky Ferarra (N)
David Patterson (R)
Tank Patton (D)
Tony Russo
Scorpion
Doug Somers
Billy Starr
 
GUEST SHOTS
MANAGERS
Cousin Luke Mulligan  
Gene Anderson
WOMEN
MIDGET WRESTLERS
Vivian St. John
Winona Littleheart
Judy Martin
Wendi Richter


None
 
REFEREES
TV ANNOUNCERS
Sonny Fargo
Stu Schwartz
Tommy Young

 
Bob Caudle
David Crockett
Rich Landrum

 
TV PROMO ANNOUNCERS
TV RING ANNOUNCERS*
David Crockett
Rich Landrum

 

*Starting in February of 1979, wrestler introductions were no longer made from the ring, but instead were made from the announcer’s desk by hosts Bob Caudle and Rich Landrum.

CUMULATIVE RATINGS
SINGLES
TAG TEAMS
1.    Ric Flair (1)
2.    Iron Sheik (2)
3.    Masked Superstar (4)
4.    Greg Valentine (6)
5.    Enforcer Luciano (7)
6.    Sweet Ebony Diamond (10)
7.    Jim Brunzell (NR)
8.    Jimmy Snuka (NR)
9.    Ricky Steamboat (NR)
10.    Ray Stevens (NR)



 
1.    Jimmy Snuka and Ray Stevens (NR)
2.    Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood (2)
3.    Matt Borne and Buzz Sawyer (5)
4.    Greg Valentine and Ray Stevens (1)
5.    Jimmy Snuka and the Iron Sheik (4)



Copyright © 2017 David Chappell • Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Chris Taylor's Mid-Atlantic Cup of Coffee

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Richmond, VA - March 14, 1975
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling fans were teased in both 1975 and 1976 with the prospect of an Olympic medal winning wrestler coming onto the Jim Crockett Promotions roster. Chris Taylor, who was a bronze medal winner in the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Germany, was purportedly heading to the Mid-Atlantic area to see action. Taylor, a 450 plus pound behemoth, also won the 1972 NCAA wrestling championship while at Iowa State University.

Chris Taylor (Pinerest)
Taylor’s foray into Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling in 1975 was a true cameo appearance. On March 14, 1975 Taylor flew into Richmond, Virginia and participated in a 12 man Russian Roulette Battle Royal with a $5,400.00 purse going to the winner. Chris didn’t win the top prize, but did capture a pinfall win over Klondike Bill in one of the preliminary matches. Taylor’s appearance in Richmond drew the attention of Virginia’s statewide newspaper, the Richmond Times-Dispatch, which ran a piece on Taylor’s unlikely journey to Richmond and the professional wrestling ranks. The article stated that after Taylor finished his ‘one-night stand’ in Richmond, he immediately flew back to Chicago the next morning.

In the summer of 1976, Taylor got a bit more buildup and exposure to the Mid-Atlantic faithful, and even appeared on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show taped on July 7, 1976. Announcer Bob Caudle introduced Chris saying, “Chris Taylor, Olympic medal winner in the 1972 Olympics, and Chris let me welcome you to the Mid-Atlantic Championship area.” Taylor, the gentle giant, standing on the set with Mid-Atlantic Television Champion Paul Jones replied, “Well, I’d like to thank you very much for having me here, and I’ve been watching these matches here tonight, and I’ve watched them before. And this big [Jerry] Blackwell, and Flair, and all these guys…”

Click image to enlarge.
Caudle then interjected, “Blackjack Mulligan and Angelo Mosca, you’ve got to put them all in there!” The soft-spoken Taylor replied, “Yeah, these fellows, I’m here for a reason. I’m sure Mr. Jones can probably handle it; he probably will. I want these boys to come on down and give me a whirl sometime, and I just want to see what they got!”

Following up, Caudle commented, “I think you can take them on. And I know all the fans want to know now Chris, since you were a medal winner in 1972 in Munich ,what do you think about the U.S. wrestling in this year’s Olympics?  Chris opined, “Well, I feel that this year will be a fine year for the United States in wrestling. You’ve got some of the finest athletes, I feel, ever to come out of the United States and are on a wrestling team. And of course it’s gonna be hard to copy, or to even do better than ’72, but I really hope for the best and I hope they do well, and I have confidence in the boys and I’m sure they will.”

As he then segued to Paul Jones, Caudle stated, “Well, it’s great to have you here and again let me welcome you to the area and I know, like you say the competition is tough here but I think you’re ready for it.” Taylor concluded, “Well, this is the toughest I’ve seen all over the United States and this is why I am here.”

Engaging Jones now, Caudle then announced, “All right and Paul, now of course the TV champion here and I know you’re delighted to have a fellow like this now come to the area.” Jones answered, “Well I tell you I want to be one of the first to congratulate, you know, welcome you to this area… because he’s a great athlete and I have a lot of respect for anybody that represented the United States at the Olympics and did as well as Chris did. He’s also a credit to the profession, and I tell you, I welcome him to this area. Just like I said before, all the top wrestlers come to this area, and that’s why Chris is here…I’m sure he wants top competition.”

Taylor wasn’t exactly paired with top completion during his 10 day stint in the territory in July of 1976, but the Olympic medal winner did have several entertaining bouts against fellow super-heavyweight competitor Jerry “Crusher” Blackwell. Chris scored a trio of wins against Blackwell, defeating Jerry in the Richmond Coliseum on July 9th, repeating the feat in Roanoke, Virginia at Victory Stadium the next night and then wearing out “Crusher” in Greenville, South Carolina on July 12th.

After teaming with the veteran Danny Miller to defeat Boris Malenko and Hans Schroeder in Spartanburg, South Carolina on July 17th, Chris Taylor exited the Mid-Atlantic area for the last time. True, if you would have blinked your eye you would have missed Taylor’s cameos, but it’s not every day that a legitimate Olympic wrestling medal winner graces your presence. So it’s at least a Mid-Atlantic cup of coffee worth remembering.

http://midatlanticwrestling.net/yearbooks.htm