Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Gene Anderson Gets One Last NWA Title Shot

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway 

Edited Wednesday afternoon 7/19 with additional information,
plus newspaper clippings.

The great Gene Anderson, original founding member of the famous Anderson family in wrestling, was never known for his singles competition. He was primarily known for being part of a famous tag team known as the Minnesota Wrecking Crew with two different worked-brothers: Lars Anderson in the 1960s and Ole Anderson in the late 1960s through the early 1980s.

Photo courtesy of WrestlerWeekly.com
@wrestlerweekly on Twitter
Gene was the silent killer of the team, letting his braggadocious, loudmouth, younger brothers do all the talking. Les Thatcher once noted while calling an Anderson Brothers match on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling in 1975:

"As Teddy Roosevelt said, 'Talk softly and carry a big stick.' You'll hear very little out of Gene Anderson," Thatcher quipped. Gene Anderson carried a very big stick in the Minnesota Wrecking Crew.

The Andersons were no strangers to tag team championships. They held multiple regional and world championships over several decades. But it was somewhat of a rare occurrence when Gene Anderson received a shot at the NWA World heavyweight singles title.

He received a few in the early 1970s against champion Dory Funk, Jr., in towns like Norfolk, Richmond, and Raleigh for promoter Joe Murnick, who more than others apparently saw value in putting Gene in the ring on top with Funk.

But after those shots in 1970 and 1971, Gene Anderson's days as a contender for the World heavyweight singles title ended. To my knowledge, he never got a shot at Harley Race, Jack Brisco, or Terry Funk throughout the remainder of the 1970s. (Please correct me if I am wrong about that.)

And then suddenly, almost exactly 10 years after his last NWA title shot on July 7, 1971, Gene gets one last shot at the title again, this time against new champion (and long time rival in the tag team wars) Dusty Rhodes on July 11, 1981 in Spartanburg, SC.


http://midatlanticwrestling.net/andersons.htm

Admittedly, on the surface the booking of this match doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Throughout his career, Gene was predominantly a tag team wrestler and never was in the mix for singles titles. Ole as an opponent made more sense, and indeed Ole was getting several shots at Rhodes during this time. Ole had the long running singles feud with Dusty, particularly in the Georgia Championship Wrestling area. He could also deliver a better promo to promote the match.

Gene Anderson, Bob Caudle, and Ole Anderson
This Spartanburg card was a matinee show at 3:00 PM. Ole is not listed on it, so it's likely he was booked on another spot show town on a matinee card. I've not been able to find a record of any such show at this point. Both Ole and Gene reunited later that same evening in Charlotte for a defense of their NWA World tag team championship against Ricky Steamboat and Bad Bad Leroy Brown. Rhodes and the NWA title weren't on that Charlotte show, so it's safe to assume Rhodes defended the title in some other Crockett town that Saturday night,  but I've not come across any record of a title defense for Rhodes that night.

The Spartanburg newspaper reported the following day that Rhodes had defeated Anderson in the main event. In other action on that 7/11 Spartanburg card, Bad Bad Leroy Brown defeated the Iron Sheik. No other results were listed.


This would be Gene's last shot at the NWA championship. He never got another shot after that, at least none that we have ever come across. (As always, we welcome additional information.) He and Ole were also in their final run as NWA World tag team champions. I kind of like knowing this one last, odd singles title shot was against Dusty Rhodes, who had a long and storied rivalry and feud with the Andersons.

If you've hung around the Mid-Atlantic Gateway for very long, you know we are big fans of the Anderson Brothers. This is a nice little rare piece of Anderson lore to hang on to.


* * * * * *
Thanks as always to Mark Easteridge for the newspaper clippings. Thanks to Scottie Richardson at WrestlerWeekly.com for the poster image.


http://horsemen.midatlanticgateway.com

Monday, July 17, 2017

A Chilling Message from Japan

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

The early spring of 1978 was one of the most volatile and exciting times in the history of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. Major titles were changing at breakneck speed, big names were entering and exiting the area at a rapid pace and mega stars Blackjack Mulligan and Ken Patera would shockingly change their wrestling personas at this juncture.

Prof. Boris Malenko
and the Masked Superstar
The first sign that big changes were on the territory’s horizon occurred on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show that was taped on March 22, 1978. In a short video insert that followed a local in your area promo, the Masked Superstar and his manager Boris Malenko appeared before a backdrop that featured a number of international flags. Malenko, who had been recently suspended by Jim Crockett Promotions, was strangely silent while the Superstar was clearly agitated as he began speaking.

“Boris and I are over here in Japan,” the Superstar started. “A lot of people said 'where’d the Superstar go, where’s he gone? Has he run away from the United States?' Well, the purpose of this video tape…this is a message to you people particularly in the Mid-Atlantic area. I’m talking about Wahoo McDaniel, Paul Jones, the Mighty Igor and a host of the others. I haven’t run away. I’ve come to Japan because there’s a World tour here, and they recognize my ability, they recognize my wrestling prowess. Now, I don’t have to prove anything to you and I don’t have to prove anything to anyone in the United States,” the masked man emphasized.

Superstar continued, “The reason I came to Japan and entered this World tournament is that I have to prove to myself that I’m the best wrestler around. You know, they have individuals here from Russia, China, Japan, Africa, England, Canada…all across the World and I’m representing the United States and I’ve got the $5,000.00 stipulation up and I’ve got the mask at stake. And when I return to the United States and when I return to the Mid-Atlantic area I’m going to bring back the World tournament championship, be assured of that.”

Then a subject was broached that had everybody in the Mid-Atlantic area talking. “You know, I had to travel 12,000 miles with Boris Malenko to find out that one of my close friends, one of the individuals that I confided in periodically and that I talked to, one of my close friends, is responsible for your suspension Boris,” the Superstar boldly announced.  “I’m not going to mention any names because I don’t want the people to get too excited but I want to promise you one thing friend, ex-friend of mine. When I get back to the Mid-Atlantic area you’re gonna pay for the suspension. I’ve had a long, long time to think about you. You know, they say that a fool is gonna be betrayed by his friends and that’s what you did. But when I get back to the Mid-Atlantic area, I’m gonna pay you back friend, so you think about the Superstar because I’ll be back,” Superstar pronounced to a shocked fan base.

This short segment would be the last time the Mid-Atlantic faithful would ever see Boris Malenko on a Jim Crockett Promotions TV show. And as things evolved over the next few weeks, it became clear that Blackjack Mulligan was the friend that Superstar believed had betrayed him. Mulligan and Superstar would then engage in an epic six month program against each other over a $10,000.00 bounty put on Mulligan’s head by former friend Ric Flair that would eventually cost Superstar his prized mask.

When I think back on all the monumental changes that occurred in the Mid-Atlantic area during the spring of 1978 from the Hat and Robe angle to Ric Flair and Greg Valentine being stripped of their NWA World Tag Team Titles to Wahoo McDaniel leaving and Tony Atlas and Dick Murdock arriving and so much more, to me, all these profound changes were foreshadowed and began in earnest with a chilling message from Japan.

http://horsemen.midatlanticgateway.com

Great Review of "Four Horsemen" by Mike Rickard

Author, journalist, and blogger Mike Rickard recently wrote a great review of our book "Four Horsemen" which appears on the wrestling website "Canadian Bulldog's World." We very much appreciate his very kind and thoughtful review. His review is also posted at Amazon on the Four Horsemen book's page.

Mike is the author of "Wrestling's Greatest Moments" (ECW Press), published in 2008, which chronicles some of the greatest moments and matches in wrestling history.

Please check out Mike's review through the link below.

Our book "Four Horsemen -A Timeline History" is available for sale on Amazon.com and in our site's Book Store.


Wrestling Historian Reviews: Four Horsemen - A Timeline History
by Mike Rickard II
http://www.canadianbulldogsworld.com/rickard-reviews-four-horsemen---a-timel

http://horsemen.midatlanticgateway.com

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Tommy Young appears on the Two Man Power Trip

Legendary referee from Jim Crockett Promotions Tommy Young made a recent appearance on the Two Man Power trip of Wrestling (@TwoManPowerTrip) with Chad and John. Tommy doesn't do many of these things, so it was cool to see this happen. Some very funny stuff here, too!

The full TMPT episode with Tommy can be found by clicking here.

Here are some highlights, the transcription of which is provided by the Two Man Power trip of Wrestling


Tommy Young, circa 1977
(Peggy Lathan Photo)
Refereeing the classic series between Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat:

"It was such an honor and it was really great that we all came along at the same time. Flair broke in about the same time I did in '73 and he was here in the Mid Atlantic and virtually all of my career was here for the Crockett Family in the Mid Atlantic area. I saw Steamboat years earlier and I told George (Scott) that you may want to take a look at this kid because the audience loved him but it was Flair ultimately that went to George and said to give him Steamboat. They just complimented each other so well and drew nothing but money and by the grace of God I came along at the same time and we all got together and they knew that they could do anything and I'd be there for them because they loved to do the false finishes and I could do that 1,2 and come out of it the last second and sometimes I'd show with my hands how close it was and I never saw anybody do that up to that point and it was just something that happened. Sometimes I would fly and slide across the ring and even take a bump to the floor and bang myself up to just show the hustle of it. It was such an honor to be in there with those two guys and I have nothing but respect for them and they are my heroes. They made me a good living and "we" drew so much money in every town. The better the house, the better the payoff."


Recalling a match where Ric Flair had an accident in his tights:



"If you watched a Flair/Steamboat match, they rarely went home before the 40 minute time mark. These guys always wrestled for a good while and sometimes they'd go 45-50 minuets. There was a situation one time where Flair had an accident and he ate too close to the matches and I don't want to get too graphic because I have talked about this before but I think we've all had a situation in our life where we couldn't hold our load so to speak (laughing) and had an accident in our britches, it has happened to me and on this particular night it happened to Ric and we were in a SOLD OUT Charlotte Coliseum and about 12,000 people in there and it wasn't like: "OH! Gotta go, gotta go." They went another 7-8 minuets and needless to say things didn't smell too good but it was a bad situation and the only time that it ever happened."


On his career ending injury caused by Tommy Rich:

"You can see the injury anytime you want, just pull up Tommy Young on YouTube and it shows what happened to me and how I broke my neck and where you don't see me get hurt, you see me disappear from the picture and I'm laying there. That ended my career. A guy gets careless with me and I get my neck broke. Goodbye career. I am not bitter about it anymore and I don't know that I ever really was bitter because it was an accident but it was also careless and it probably cost me a million dollars in lost wages."


Mentoring the great Earl Hebner early in his career:

"Earl is still doing it and he isn't doing it that much but he is still doing it and I find that amazing that Earl can still do it. I have so much respect for him and I'll tell you something else too, I did not train Earl. He tells most people that I trained him but he is just saying that to put me over because I didn't train Earl, Earl learned on his own just like I did."


Being brought in for the WWF's NWA Invasion angle in 1998:

The very first night that I was introduced and was "invading" the WWE, Corny put me over like crazy and Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler were doing the commentary at the time and I did a match with The Rock N' Roll Express and The Headbangers. Later I did a match for Barry Windham teaming with Bradshaw (John Layfield) and they were The New Blackjacks and Barry turned on him and Layfield came back and we all had to bail out of the ring and that was on a Monday. On Tuesday I was coming down the ramp to do a return match between the Headbangers and The Rock N' Roll and Sgt. Slaughter came down with Earl and pulled me since I was not a WWF official and since I was with the NWA had to leave. I went to the ring and did not ref, I simply walked back up the ramp and that was the end of it. I got good money for the two shows. I was originally going to be given some house shows here in North Carolina before somebody woke up and said wait a minute, Tommy Young sued Turner so we can't use him. Corny called me up and said they were going to have to back out of those bookings and I said that now you guys finally have come to your senses and I can't believe you ever let me in the ring in the first place."


Getting kicked out of WWE's backstage area a few years ago:

"I stopped by while they were setting up and "Robby" my old buddy Charles Robinson who is working for them right now got me in. It is different now, when they set up a show they've got like 20 trucks out there and the equipment they use now is unbelievable. When they used to come to Charlotte I could walk in and out of there and even had walked into an interview and they didn't get upset with me but this particular time he had to get me in and he had to get me a pass. I just wanted to say hello to some of the agents and they were really the only guys that I still knew."

"This big bald guy comes up in a suit and we didn't pay any attention to it and he asked to speak to me and the next thing I know he is walking me out and taking my backstage pass and when I asked what he was doing, he said he wanted me out and this guy just wanted me out. I thought he was one of the guys at first and he walked me out and I had no idea what the hell was going on. That hurt my feelings and that is something I will never forget."




For this and every other episode of The Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling please subscribe to them on iTunes, Podomatic, Player FM, Tune In Radio and The IRW Network, The EXCLUSIVE home of The Triple Threat Podcast featuring Shane Douglas and TMPToW. As well as follow them on Twitter @TwoManPowerTrip.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

James J. Dillon on his way to the Tragos/Thesz Hall of Fame Weekend in Waterloo

http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/p/james-j-dillon.html

"The Leader of the Four Horsemen" James J. Dillon will be appearing once again at the Trago/Thesz Wrestling Hall of Fame Weekend at the Dan Gable Wrestling Museum in Waterloo, Iowa, July 20-23.

The weekend is a great gathering of pro-wrestling legends, modern day superstars, fans, journalists, and everyone in between as wrestling is celebrated there with great tradition.

"Anybody who is a wrestling fan, this has to be on your bucket list," J.J. told WrestlingINC.com in a video-podcast interview this week.  

Last year, J.J. was recognized with the Lou Thesz Award, presented to him by Charlie Thesz, the widow of the great heavyweight champion Lou Thesz, for whom the award is named.

Paul Orndorff and Dusty Rhodes will be inducted into the Hall of Fame along with Magnum T.A. (Lou Thesz World Heavyweight Championship Award), Stan Hansen (Frank Gotch Award), Mike Van Arsdale (George Tragos Award), and Scott Williams (Jim Melby Award).

Other distinguished guests confirmed to appear along with J.J. Dillon include Jim Ross, Gerry Brisco, Wes Brisco, Sabu, Chad Gable, Jason Jordan, Dan Gable, Shelton Benjamin, Brian Blair, Jim Brunzell, Baron Von Raschke, Larry Hennig, Penta el 0M, Magnum T.A., Paul Orndorff, Stan Hansen, Shane Strickland, Myron Reed, Curt Stallion, ACH, Chuck Taylor, AJ Smooth, Wade Keller, Bruce Hart, Jason Sanderson, Mike Van Arsdale, Bill Murdock and Charlie Thesz.

Honorees and distinguished guests at last year's Trago/Thesz Wrestling Hall of Fame Weekend in Waterloo

All-Access Passes (available from dgmstaff@nwhof.org or (319) 233-0745) provide an opportunity to attend all weekend events, including a ticket to the Hall of Fame Banquet, a ringside seat to the Impact Pro Wrestling show (while available), and preferred access at the autograph signing. There are also events that are limited to All-Access Pass Holders and distinguished guests.

J.J. will have with him copies of his highly respected autobiography "Wrestlers Are Like Seagulls" (co-written with Scott Teal) as well as the new book from the Mid-Atlantic Gateway "Four Horsemen." He recently said of the book on his podcast, "It's a great historical book and I look at it as kind of a diary, a journal of the peak of my career."

For more information on the big weekend in Waterloo, including a complete schedule of events over the weekend, visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/791276277677764/ or visit NWHOF.org.

And don't miss J.J.'s excellent new podcast, The JJ Dillon Show, with co-host Rich Bocchini. A new episode primers every Thursday on the MLW Radio Network.

* * * * * * *

Check Out this recent video podcast interview with J.J. Dillon by the good folks at WrestleINC.com.



http://horsemen.midatlanticgateway.com

Friday, July 14, 2017

Figures Friday: Anderson Brothers vs. Paul Jones and Wahoo McDaniel

We kick off our new series on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway this week with the first of a large series of photographs of action figures taken by collector Mike Simmerman.

Mike has created a replica of the old Mid-Atlantic Wrestling TV studios similar to that we saw from WRAL in Raleigh or WPCQ studio in Charlotte. He has then taken modern day action figures and put a little old-school spin on them, using custom clothing and custom belts to better represent that era.

The result are some very unique photographs that we look forward to sharing each week.

To kick things off, we feature a photograph conjuring up great memories of what most folks would consider the top tag team feud of 1975, and many would say it was one of the best feuds of the 1970s and maybe the greatest feud ever in Mid-Atlantic Wrestling. That last statement is highly debatable of course. The photo depicts Wahoo McDaniel and Paul Jones preparing to battle Gene and Ole Anderson, the Minnesota Wrecking Crew.



Notice the great detail of the TV studio, along with small details like a custom made ring jacket for Paul (his famous jacket from that era), the NWA world tag team belts the Andersons are wearing, and even the signature maroon and gold stripes on the Anderson's boots.

Their match on June 11, 1975, taped in the studios of WRAL-TV in Raleigh NC and broadcast throughout the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling area, is considered on of the greatest tag team matches held on TV at that time and ended with one of the most remembered angles of the era, the "supreme sacrifice" where Ole Anderson rammed Wahoo McDaniel's head into the head of his brother Gene, injuring both, but resulting in the Anderson Brothers reclaiming their tag team championships.

This photo, however, is more representative of their brief reunion in 1981. The give-away is the style of the NWA world tag team title belts, which were the belts used in the late 1970s through mid-1980s. Ole and Gene won the world tag titles for a final time in 1981 and had a few nostalgic matches with a reuniting Paul Jones and Wahoo McDaniel in the arenas.

Check back next Friday when we will have another great shot from Mike Simmerman that will bring back some great memories from Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling!


http://midatlanticwrestling.net/yearbooks.htm
Wahoo McDaniel and Paul Jones began their feud with the Anderson Brothers in 1975.
Read about every detail of that famous feud in the 1975 Yearbook available from
the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. Includes reproductions of programs and lots of newspaper ads,
photos, and more!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Crockett Foundation Cup Tag Tournament This Weekend

It's just days away.

The inaugural Crockett Foundation Cup Tag Team Tournament will be taking place this Saturday, July 15, at the New Kent High School in New Kent, Virginia. The event is being presented by Classic Pro Wrestling with the sanction of the Crockett Foundation.

Wrestling legends making appearances include WWE Hall fo Famers the Rock and Roll Express, former NWA World champion Ronnie Garvin, Jimmy "The Boogie Man" Valiant, the "Powers of Pain" Warlord and Barbarian, the "New Fantastics" with Bobby Fulton, noted ring announcer Garry Michael Cappetta, and legendary referees Tommy Young and Dave and Earl, the Hebner brothers.

In addition, the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling will be presenting a Q&A Meet and Greet with former NWA World Champion "Hands of Stone" Ronnie Garvin. That event will take place earlier in the afternoon. For complete details, visit https://www.facebook.com/Tmptofwrestling/.

Don't miss all the excitement of Classic Pro Wrestling and the Crockett Foundation Cup this Saturday night!

(For directions, including an interactive map, see this post.)

http://horsemen.midatlanticgateway.com

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

James J. Dillon video-podcast interview with WrestlingINC.com

J.J. Dillon appeared today in a video-podcast interview with the good folks at WrestlingINC.com, talking about his history in the business as well as his upcoming appearance at the Trago/Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame Weekend in Waterloo, Iowa (July 20-22).




http://JJDillon.midatlanticgateway.com

Old School Mid-Atlantic Action Figures Coming This Friday

A new feature begins this Friday (7/14) on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway spotlighting old school action figures from the collection of Mike Simmerman.

Or perhaps it is more accurate to say these are modern day action figures re-imagined and presented in an old school way set in a replica of the old TV studio of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling.

We'll see many of the great stars from the 1970s and 1980s, all decked out with ring attire designed from that era and championship belts that came from that era as well. Some were quick and easy for Mike to fix up, some took a lot of work and some creativity. All are very cool.

Look for a new photo each week that will trigger some great memories from the old WRAL and WPCQ studio days of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling. The photos are compliments of collector Mike Simmerman and presented here on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. A new photo each week!


http://bookstore.midatlanticgateway.com