Thursday, May 26, 2022

Showdown at the Township: Valentine and Flair vs. Wahoo and Jones

The marquee at the Columbia Township Auditorium, January 24, 1978

NWA World Tag Team Champions
Ric Flair and Greg Valentine

A NWA World Tag Team Title match headlined a four-match card at the historic Township. 
'Gregg' Valentine?
I guess someone at the newspaper said, 
"Why not? Let's throw another "G" on his name!

Originally published June of 2016 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.
Marquee photo from Japanese magazine sent to us by Greg Price. Newspaper clipping from the collection of Mark Eastridge.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Poster: Greensboro Just One Part of Big Night in the Territory

by Brack Beasley
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

February 20th, 1975 was a special night in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling history for a number of reasons. Not only did the Crocketts run this loaded card at the War Memorial Coliseum in Greensboro, they also ran a card in Charlotte in order to go head to head with the IWA. Many of the stars wrestled on both shows the same night. 

In Greensboro, Jack Brisco successfully defended his NWA World Heavyweight Championship against Wahoo McDaniel in a no disqualification match. The NWA World Tag Team champs Gene and Ole Anderson collided with Mid-Atlantic Tag Team champs Paul Jones and Tiger Conway Jr. in a title vs. title match. The Andersons beat Jones and Conway and as a result, the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team titles were retired and not to be seen until they were brought back well over a year later. 

If I'm not mistaken, I believe this is the first ever match between Dusty Rhodes and Ric Flair. It ended up with a double count-out and would be the first of many bouts between Rhodes and Flair in Greensboro as well as other venues. 

The rest of the card included Jerry Brisco, Ken Patera, Art Nelson, Sandy Scott, and Kevin Sullivan. The poster itself has a horizontal layout with black print (other than the high impact red "Wrestling" oval, city, and main event names) over a two tone yellow and pink background and great images of Wahoo, Brisco, Jones, and Conway Jr. The Wahoo autograph adds a nice touch as well. 

I'm just trying to figure out how all those main eventers (Andersons, Wahoo, Jones, and Dusty) managed the amazing feat of making both shots on the same night.

* * * * *

Mid-Atlantic Gateway Notes
by Dick Bourne, Mid-Atlantic Gateway

As Brack points out, Jim Crockett Promotions ran two big cards in North Carolina that night, one in Greensboro and one in Charlotte in opposition to the insurgent IWA. Even more remarkable, they also ran their other normal Thursday night town, Norfolk, VA, 

The Charlotte Card included:

  • The Anderson Brothers defending their new NWA World Tag Team titles against the team that would give them fits for most of 1975, Wahoo McDaniel and Paul Jones. All four men also appeared on the Greensboro show that same night, indicating that they appeared very early in the card on one of the two shows. 
  • Former NWA World Champion Harley Race made a rare appearance in the area against the special-attraction Haystacks Calhoun.
  • Dusty Rhodes, also on that Greensboro card against Ric Flair, met El Gaucho. It's interesting that Ric Flair only wrestled in Greensboro and not in Charlotte since his Greensboro opponent (Rhodes) made both shows. Flair may have been involved in the Greensboro card later in some sort of outside interference role.

The Norfolk Card included:

  • Johnny Valentine and the Super Destroyer vs. Bearcat Wright and Sonny King
  • The Avenger and recently-turned babyface Swede Hanson vs. Mr. Fuji and Brute Bernard
  • Others, including Klondike Bill, Blue Scorpion, Abe Jacobs, Two Ton Harris, Charlie Cook and more. 


Saturday, May 21, 2022

Wahoo McDaniel Apologizes to Mid-Atlantic Fans - - while in Florida (1985)

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

I just came across an interesting interview with Chief Wahoo McDaniel on an episode of "Championship Wrestling '85", formerly known as Championship Wrestling from Florida. The episode has two interesting connections to Jim Crockett Promotions and Mid-Atlantic Wrestling as it relates to Wahoo McDaniel. 

The episode originally aired Saturday, 3/16/85 in Florida. It was taped the prior Wednesday morning 3/13/85 at the famous Sportatorium in located at 106 North Albany Avenue in Tampa.


The first Mid-Atlantic connection was that Wahoo McDaniel was the reigning United States Heavyweight Champion for Jim Crockett Promotions at the time of this appearance in Florida. He was just over a week away from losing the title to Magnum T.A. in their famous cage match back in Charlotte on 3/23/85. So when Wahoo appeared on Florida TV, he was wearing the Crockett U.S. title. he was not acknowledged by the ring announcer or announcer Gordon Solie as champion, but was wearing the belt in the ring. Wahoo teamed with Jay and Mark Youngblood who were former Mid-Atlantic stars and the reigning United States Tag Team champions, a Florida-based title at the time. (Wahoo and Mark Youngblood had held the NWA World Tag Team titles a year earlier in the Mid-Atlantic area.)

The second Mid-Atlantic connection was the interview Wahoo did with host Gordon Solie at the desk.  Wahoo had been one of the most popular wrestlers in the history of Jim Crockett Promotions throughout the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. But in 1984 he had "turned heel" over his frustration with being stripped of the United States title after defeating Ricky Steamboat for the belt in Greensboro. Wahoo became bitter and found an unlikely ally in Tully Blanchard, the two dubbing their tag team combination as the "Awesome Twosome." Suddenly, Wahoo had become one of the most hated wrestlers in the territory. 

So when he appeared in Florida, still with the U.S. title, it was perhaps surprising for him to team with the babyface tag team of the Youngblood brothers. 

After the match was over, Wahoo sat down with Solie and the two discussed Wahoo's return to Florida and his ongoing chase of Ric Flair and the NWA World Heavyweight title, a chase that had been going strong back in the Mid-Atlantic area, but now would continue in Florida. It was here that Wahoo actually apologized to the fans.

"You know, I've done a lot of things in the last couple of months," Wahoo told Solie. "My style of wrestling has changed some. I'd like to apologize to a lot of people, because in some places I've done some things I wouldn't ordinarily do."

Wahoo's use of the phrase "in some places" may have been a little cryptic for most Florida fans who would have been largely unaware of Wahoo's heel run in the Mid-Atlantic unless they had read about it the wrestling magazines or perhaps seen some of his occasional appearances in Georgia on WTBS. But that was directly aimed at Mid-Atlantic fans, some of whom could see the weekly Florida TV show on their cable systems.

Wahoo would apologize a second time, this time directly to Mid-Atlantic fans a few months later in a video tape sent in from Florida. It was in advance of a special return appearance for Jim Crockett Promotions to aid Dusty Rhodes against Tully Blanchard and Abdullah the Butcher in Greensboro. 

A week after this Florida episode aired, Wahoo lost the U.S. title to Magnum T.A. in Charlotte, and immediately left the territory to take the booking job in Florida.

The entire episode is embedded below, although you can go directly to Wahoo's match and interview using the links embedded in the paragraphs above. 


 (The complete episode is on the "106NAlbany" YouTube channel.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Wrestling Art: Greg Valentine and that Famous T-Shirt

Digital artist Robby Bannister is back with another great art-cover paying tribute to the old Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Magazines of the 1970s and 1980s.

This time, the cover features one of the most iconic moments in Mid-Atlantic Wrestling history - - Greg Valentine celebrating his 1977 Mid-Atlantic championship title win over Wahoo McDaniel, wearing the Mid-Atlantic title belt and his infamous "I Broke Wahoo's Leg" t-shirt. 

Art by Robby Bannister

Greg had an original cover of his own that year, one of our favorite covers of that era, featuring an artistic rendition of "the Hammer" standing alongside the mythical Valentine Trophy Case that sported the Mid-Atlantic title belt and other trophies. The only thing missing was the fish bowl filled with a thousand silver dollars. Or in the case of that famous match between Greg and Wahoo, TWO thousand silver dollars. The photo that inspired Robby's cover was in that very issue.

Robby's other couvertures d'hommage have featured Blackjack Mulligan, Arn Anderson, Jimmy Snuka and Paul Orndorf, and the idea that began the series Don Kernodle.

Monday, May 16, 2022

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Tour on a Bo' Town Roasters Cup!

This Bo'Town Roasters coffee cup from Bojangle's looks like a tour itinerary for 1970s Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling.

Greenville, Asheville, Raliegh, Charlotte, Richmond, Rick Hill, Florence, and everywhere in between. Jim Crockett Promotions on the road. All aboard! 

Originally published May 2018 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Friday, May 13, 2022

Tough Kid: Roddy Piper and the Sandpaper

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

Roddy Piper once told a story which illustrated 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."

In the audio clip below, 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 his cohort Greg Valentine attacked him and ground his face into the cement floor of the WPCQ TV studios in Charlotte.

In a radio interview in 2011 promoting an upcoming NWA Wrestling Legends Fanfest, Piper discussed what we didn't see during the commercial break to make sure fans bought into the angle:

Roddy Piper discusses Gene Anderson
Rock 100.5 Atlanta's Rock Station 

Piper mentions he was taken to the back after the angle during the commercial break, and Gene Anderson rubbed sandpaper on his face to create the abrasion you see in the photo below and to help sell the angle to fans. After the facial "alterations", Anderson looked at him and said, "Tough kid." Piper said it was one of the greatest compliments he had ever received.

Roddy Piper 1982
Photograph by Eddie Cheslock

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 Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat, except the 1978 angle didn't involve an amateur wrestling contest.

On a 2015 appearance on Ric Flair's old podcast WOOOOO! Nation, Steamboat recounted how the same thing has been done to him to help get the angle over.

From the Mid-Atlantic Gateway Archives / Cokes & Popcorn
Also republished in June of 2015 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Texas Sized Memories of the NWA Tilte

Memories of Texas Stadium 1984:
Ring jacket, replica belt, Texas flag, and yellow roses.

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

The month of May in 2022 marks the 38th anniversary of the brief NWA World title exchange between Kerry Von Erich and Ric Flair. Kerry won the title on May 6, 1984 at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas. He dropped the title back to Flair in Yokosuka, Japan on May 24, 1984.

Kerry's victory was at the "Parade of Champions" show that honored Kerry's brother David, who had passed away earlier that same year.

The photograph above contains several iconic elements, not the least of which is the original ring jacket Kerry wore in the ring the day he won the title. The belt is a Dave Millican replica of the National Wrestling Alliance world championship belt, affectionately known as the "domed globe" or "the ten pounds of gold." The belt and jacket are adorned with the Texas flag and yellow roses, all of which call back to that memorable and emotional day in Texas Stadium.

The book "Ten Pounds of Gold" features dozens of photos of the original NWA belt shot especially for the book, one with the original Kerry Von Erich ring jacket paying tribute to his late brother David, the belt and the jacket reunited at the time of the photo in 2008 for the first time in 24 years. I've always loved this photo above, though, taken the following year that featured the flag and the yellow roses with Dave's replica. I've always regretted not thinking to do that when I shot the original belt and robe together for the book.

Republished in edited form in May 2022 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.