Saturday, December 03, 2022

Harley Race vs. Paul Jones: Reflections on the Norfolk Scope

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

The Scope arena in Norfolk, Virginia got its distinctive moniker shortened from the word “kaleidoscope,” because the builders saw so many varied usages for the edifice that was constructed from 1968 to its opening in 1971. And to be sure, I have seen quite a number of different events at the Scope over the years. But none held a candle to the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling events that graced its presence.



Attending a recent WWE Monday Night RAW show at the fabled Norfolk Scope, as usual, brought back to me floods of memories of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. Getting a souvenir cup at that RAW show that commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Scope, replete with 70’s looking photos on it, just intensified those fond recollections.

Thursday night events at the Norfolk Scope housed a multitude of noteworthy battles in the grand history of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. When I am at current shows at the now 51-year-old Scope, I often find myself looking up at the rafters and the uniquely designed roof of that historic arena, and then with a rich imagination try to beam two Mid-Atlantic legends down to the Scope’s squared circle for them to repeat their magic of yesteryear one more time.

During the most recent RAW show I attended in Norfolk, I had a flashback to a Norfolk Scope card on November 2, 1978, featuring an NWA World Title bout between Champion Harley Race and top challenger Paul Jones. 

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling announcer Rich Landrum did a special interview with Race that aired on WAVY TV Channel 10 in Norfolk to promote the bout. Landrum led off, “Norfolk Scope Coliseum, a World’s Heavyweight Championship match with the challenger Paul Jones [going] up against this man, the World’s Heavyweight Champion Harley Race.”

Race began, “Let me say this Jones, you’ve done a lot of campaigning; you must have done it quite well to come up with a Title shot at the Scope. Well let me tell you something Jones, when you come for this [belt], you come for all the marbles, you come for everything in wrestling.”

Harley continued, “You got [Ric] Flair out here bragging and going on about what he owns and controls, but this is the honcho in wrestling. And you are coming for the absolute honcho in wrestling, Harley Race. I am the cock of the walk; I am the man of the hour. I’m the man that’s got a quarter of a million-dollar bounty on him. You come for me Jones, and you come to take one awful beating and a beating is exactly what I’m going to give you son.”

The World Title match between Race and Jones was a classic one hour draw in one of Paul’s last splendid babyface efforts before he would turn into a “bad guy” in about a month when he attacked Ricky Steamboat as part of a two-ring battle royal in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

The bout at the Scope on November 2, 1978, saw Paul Jones at the zenith of his prowess as a “battle to the end babyface,” much like he was two years earlier in his classic program with the ruthless Blackjack Mulligan. The Scope saw many of those titanic struggles as well. In fact, it saw titanic struggles every Thursday night during the Mid-Atlantic years. 

The Scope. What a building. When I peer into that kaleidoscope, to this day, no matter what event I may go there to see, I still see Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling memories burning brighter than ever.

Thursday, December 01, 2022

Ricky Steamboat Returns to Dorton Arena

Shared by Chuck Coates
 

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Sunday, November 24, 2022. Three days after Thanksgiving. Ricky Steamboat prepares to step inside the squared circle one more time at the age of 69. 

That night he'd team with FTR (Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler) to battle "Black Machismo" Jay Lethal,  former NWA champion of the modern era Nick Aldis, and Brock Anderson, son of the legendary Arn Anderson. Arn Anderson was a rival of Steamboat's during the Dangerous Alliance era of the early 1990s. 

The match takes place at one of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling's most fabled and historic venues, Dorton Arena. The building has hosted wrestling since it was built in the early 1950s on the site of the annual North Carolina State Fair.  It is famous for its distinctive design, in the shape of a big saddle, with huge windows wrapping the entire circumference of the venue. 

But hours before stepping back between the ropes, Steamboat spent time in the upper deck that afternoon, soaking in the memories of his many battles at the old building. He fought all the major stars of the era there including Harley Race, Roddy Piper, Ernie Ladd, Greg Valentine, Sgt. Slaughter and Don Kernodle, Ivan Koloff, Jimmy Snuka and of course his greatest rival Ric Flair. 

What a wonderful photo of the legendary Steamboat, shared unattributed by Chuck Coates on Facebook. Of all the photos from that night, this was our favorite. 

The "Big Time Wrestling" promotion billed it as Night of the Dragon. Steamboat was indeed dressed in his WWF/WCW dragon ring attire. But we prefer to remember Ricky as the Hawaiian Punch, the nickname he had here in the 1970s and early 1980s.  At 69, he appeared to be as smooth as ever, even deliverying his trademark floating arm-drag, defying gravity all these years later. 


The Hawaiian Punch woke up the echoes again at Dorton Arena.


Monday, November 28, 2022

The Infernos and The Loaded Boot (1967)

JULY 1, 1967 - "THE LOADED BOOT"
By Carroll Hall, All-Star Championship Wrestling

My two brothers and I were really wanting to go to the wrestling matches on that Saturday night in Winston-Salem. It didn't look too promising early in the week leading up to the card because Dad wouldn't be getting off work until 10:00 p.m. that night and I was not
quite old enough to drive yet.

By mid week we got lucky and worked out a deal with Jimmy, a close friend of the family. My brothers and I would help Jimmy chop the weeds out of his tobacco field in exchange for him driving us down to the Coliseum. He loved wrestling too.

My mom had never learned to drive at this point but she had made up her mind to do so. She had just bought a 1957 Dodge with the big fins on the back for $200. She let Jimmy drive that old Dodge to wrestling because the only thing that would run on his farm that day was his tractor. Well, Jimmy must never have driven anything so powerful as that old Dodge. He flew past every vehicle we came upon that night between Mt. Airy and Winston-Salem. Just imagine if you will three kids and one nut(just kidding Jimmy) flying down U.S. 52 in a "Batmobile" going to wrestling!

The old Coliseum was hot that night as it was nearly a full house and I don't believe that grand old building ever had air conditioning.

George Becker had made a promise on "Championship Wrestling" the previous week.....

Read the entire story on the All-Star Championship Wrestling website. >>

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Timeline History of the Four Horsemen

 

Four Horsemen in HARDCOVER now available at
Amazon.com

Every member! Every version! Every associate! The women! The managers!
It's all laid out month by month, year by year, with photos and charts included.



Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Thanksgiving Memories

Happy Thanksgiving! 

We are particularly thankful for all of you who have supported the Mid-Atlantic Gateway these past twenty-two years. Join us as we reflect back on some of the Thanksgiving wrestling and Starrcade related posts from years gone by here on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Thanksgiving Wrestling Through The Years for Jim Crockett Promotions
Links to pages featuring info on annual Thanksgiving cards for Jim Crockett Promotions from 1966-1987.

The Forgotten Prelude to Starrcade '85 (Posted Nov. 23, 2018)
Thanksgiving: 1966 in Greensboro, Norfolk, and Charleston
A Thanksgiving Surprise: Starrcade Magic Returns to Greensboro
Thanksgiving Retro: Greensboro & Norfolk 1975
Dr. Joseph Estwanik: A Doctor Remembers
Remembering the Jim Crockett Sr. Scholarship Fund (1973)

Anniversary Flashbacks we posted in 2018:
Thanksgiving Flashback: Starrcade '83 (Posted Nov. 24, 2018)
Thanksgiving Flashback: Starrcade '84 (Posted Nov. 22, 2018)
Thanksgiving Flashback: Starrcade '85 (Posted Nov. 28, 2018)
Thanksgiving Flashback: Starrcade '86 (Posted Nov. 27, 2018)
Thanksgiving Flashback: Starrcade '87 (Posted Nov. 26, 2018)

 

Crown Jewel  |  The Mid-Atlantic Gateway Book Store

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Dream Team: Flair and Steamboat Go For the Gold

July 21, 1979,Charlotte Coliseum
Charlotte, North Carolina




Mid-Atlantic Wrestling's dream team of Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat battled reigning NWA world tag team champs Paul Jones and Baron Von Raschke in a Lumberjack match at the Coliseum in Charlotte, NC.

Flair had just tuned "good guy" for the first time ever a few months earlier and was mounting a full court press to defeat Paul Jones (his current arch enemy) and the Baron for the world tag team belts. He enlisted the aid of both Ricky Steamboat and Blackjack Mulligan in that quest.

An interesting tag team combination was featured in the semi-main. The legendary "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers took one half of the Minnesota Wrecking Crew Gene Anderson as his partner to battle the team of Jim Brunzell and Rufus R. "Freight Train" Jones. Rogers would become the manager of both Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka and John Studd, and following an injury to his ear in late 1979, sold the contracts of his charges to Gene Anderson who became the manager of Snuka and several others to form "Anderson's Army."


 
Originally published July 2015 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Poster: Flair and Valentine Battle the Andersons in Greensboro

by Brack Beasley
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

This poster promotes another fantastic night of professional wrestling at the historic Greensboro Coliseum on Sunday, October 30th, 1977 with a loaded card top to bottom. 

 
The main event was a "Hair vs. Belts" match as Ric Flair and Greg Valentine put up their long blond manes against Gene and Ole Anderson's NWA World Tag Team belts. Fortunately for Flair and Valentine they left Greensboro with both the belts and their hair to begin their second and last reign as world tag champs. They would hold onto the belts until being stripped by Jim Crockett Jr. and the NWA in April of 1978. 

In the semi, Paul Jones was seeking revenge against the Masked Superstar  who had knocked him silly and cut his hair only three weeks earlier in Greensboro. On this night Jones would leave the ring victorious via disqualification. 

To the fans' delight, the popular duo of Mr. Wrestling Tim Woods and Ricky Steamboat topped Blackjack Mulligan and Baron Von Raschke in the upper mid card tag match, while three more exciting matches got the crowd warmed up. 

Six great wrestler images on the sides, the familiar "Wrestling" splash in the upper left corner, and black and red print over a two tone yellow and pink background make for a very eye- catching poster. I seem to recall Flair putting his hair on the line in several important matches throughout his career and I can assume it's safe to say he never lost one, at least not in that era.

NO 42 IN THE BEASLEY POSTER SERIES

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Don't Miss Wrestling at 5 PM on Channel 3!

 

Summer of 1976. There wasn't much better ever than that hot summer. 
Thanks to Wendi Weaver for this clipping.
Originally published on our Johnny Weaver Blog.