Wednesday, January 29, 2020

The Women of the Four Horsemen

http://horsemen.midatlanticgateway.comAt different points in time throughout the years, various women played important roles in support of the Four Horsemen. Most commonly referred to as valets, they were much more than that defined role. There are countless key moments throughout the in-ring history of the Four Horsemen where their actions had a decisive impact on match  finishes and title changes. Baby Doll turning on Dusty Rhodes in 1986 to allow Ric Flair to retain his World championship is one example. Miss Elizabeth turning on Randy Savage is another, where she loaned Flair one of her high- heeled shoes as a foreign object to aid him in regaining the World title.

And make no mistake, all five of the women officially associated with the Horsemen were gorgeous and proved to be distractions to the Horsemen’s opponents. Sadly, some were also proven to be distractions within the Horsemen themselves. Benoit’s romantic relationship with Woman proved to exacerbate the Horsemen’s adversarial relationship with Kevin Sullivan. And there was always drama surrounding the actions of Debra McMichael, who encouraged bringing trouble-maker Jeff  Jarrett into the Horsemen. She eventually left her husband for Jarrett in what was one of the worst periods of dissension within the ranks of the group.

But regardless of how it played out, the women of the Four Horsemen were always an intriguing part of the story.

"... a nice slice of the apple pie that was Jim Crockett Promotions in the 1980s."
- Mike Johnson,

" authoritative volume on the history of The Four Horsemen."
- Mike Mooneyham, Charleston Post & Courier

"The book serves as a journal of my years with the Four Horsemen."
- James J. Dillon

 "Four fingers up!"
- Bruce Mitchell,

The article above is a brief excerpt from chapter seven, "Reflections" in the book "Four Horsemen: A Timeline History" (KDP Publishing). Further information on the book can be found in the Mid-Atlantic Gateway Book Store and the book can be purchased on

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Rich Landrum Remembers Rocky Johnson

Rocky Johnson as Sweet Ebony Diamond
(Photo from Maple Leaf Wrestling)
Rich Landrum shared a nice memory with us about working with Rocky Johnson in the Mid-Atlantic area, back when Rich hosted "World Wide Wrestling" and Rocky was working under a mask here as Sweet Ebony Diamond.

I thought I would share Rich's tribute.
I was really saddened by the death of Rocky Johnson. He was a terrific wrestler in the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling area and a good friend.

He was truly one of the "nice guys". He had some great matches. One in particular, with the Masked Superstar, Bill Eadie. Two masked men going after each other was a sight to behold. Especially with those two. I believe that was the first time that had ever happened. Especially on TV.

After the TV taping moved from Raleigh to Charlotte, I would fly in and out to Charlotte every Wednesday. Rocky would pick me up at the airport early Wednesday mornings and take me the studio's of WPCQ. He continued to do this right up until the time he moved from Charlotte.

It was during this time that I had the opportunity to meet his young son Dwayne. He was a cute kid.

Rocky was fun to be around and always seemed to have a kind word for the fans. He will be missed by many.

RIP Rocky!
- Rich Landrum                

Monday, January 27, 2020

Distant Signals

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Some of you old folks out there (like us!) will remember the days when you stayed up late at night and tried to maneuver your set-top or aerial antenna to pull in some distant station that had wrestling.

In this rough image, Mid-Atlantic champion Ric Flair and Blackjack Mulligan talk with Ed Capral on Wide World Wrestling from the WRAL television studios in December 1975. Ric wasn't back to wrestling yet at this point, still recovering from injuries suffered in the October 1975 Wilmington NC plane crash. But he was back doing interviews and color commentary by the end of December.

Kids born in the cable generation don't have any idea what the excitement was like when you manipulated those "rabbit ears" on top of the TV and were able to pick up a distant VHF or UHF signal from some other city. It was a great adventure! Sometimes it was more snow than picture, but you could still listen to the audio.

Folks that were lucky enough to have an outdoor/rooftop aerial antenna could sometimes pull in distant signals from hundreds of miles away, depending on the time of day and the weather. The only problem was having to run outside and turn the antenna pole so that the antenna would face the right direction. That was later solved with the advent of a motorized rotor that would turn the pole using a control box from inside the house, usually sitting right on top of the television set. An example of that control box is seen in the vintage ad below.

Image courtesy of Carroll Hall on Facebook.

It sometimes surprises us what reaction little memories like this get on our social media pages at the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. This little graphic seemed to stir up lots of memories about rabbit ears, wire hangers, and "tin foil" from our friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Friday, January 24, 2020

The Conspiracy Against Wahoo McDaniel

The Story of the Heel Turn of Chief Wahoo McDaniel (Part 2)
Part Two in a Four-Part Series
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Catch up on PART ONE of this series, "Wahoo McDaniel's Black Saturday," which details the beginning of the 1984 heel turn of Wahoo McDaniel.

After being stripped of the United States Championship by NWA President Bob Geigel and the NWA Board of Directors, Wahoo was, as expected, very angry. In his mind at least, this was a major league miscarriage of justice. Some of it might be written off as paranoia. But when you listened to him make his case, you had to concede - - Wahoo had a point!

An angry Wahoo McDaniel makes his case, while David Crockett holds
the held-up U.S. title belt on Wide World Wrestling.

(Photo by Scooter Lesley/Mid-Atlantic Gateway graphic.)

First of all, Wahoo couldn't understand why there was even a controversy to begin with. The NWA cited in their decision the interference of Tully Blanchard in the Wahoo/Steamboat match that cost Steamboat the title. Wahoo correctly asserted that he had nothing to with Blanchard hitting Steamboat with a steel chair. In fact, it was Wahoo himself who was the original target of Blanchard's wrath, but had ducked out of the way. Wahoo simply pinned Steamboat, who he found moments later prone on the mat, not knowing that Blanchard had knocked Steamboat out with the chair. (See Part One for the complete story of that match.)

Secondly, Wahoo was outraged that the title had been taken from him based on a review of the film, and done so weeks after the match. He used the example of a football game, suggesting that if a referee made a bad call in the Super Bowl, the NFL wouldn't come back weeks later and take away the winning team's championship rings. (The Pandora's box of instant replay review in the NFL was still a couple of years away in 1984.)

Adding to Wahoo's frustration, this was the third time in the last three years Wahoo had lost a championship by an adverse ruling. This win over Ricky Steamboat was Wahoo's fourth time winning the United States Championship. However, in two of his three previous title reigns, the title had been taken from him by legislation rather than having lost it in the ring:

  • He defeated Roddy Piper for the title in 1981 only to sustain an injury at the hands of Piper's henchman Abdullah the Butcher, resulting in Wahoo being unable to give Piper his contracted rematch. The NWA stripped him of the title even though it was Piper who set the whole thing up to begin with. 
  • After defeating Sgt. Slaughter for the title in 1982 (the first of two times), the NWA experimented with a temporary rule that included a provision where a champion would forfeit the title if he wasn't able to defend it for any reason.  Wahoo had been intentionally injured by Sarge in a rematch, and was unable to defend against him in a second rematch. By virtue of the temporary rule, the NWA forced him to forfeit the title to Slaughter, even though it was Slaughter who had devised the plan to incapacitate Wahoo to begin with. To add insult to injury, the NWA chose to not renew the rule at the end of its trial period. 

Now, for the third time in as many years, the NWA was stepping in again to remove the championship. You could easily forgive a guy for thinking the governing body of his sport was out to get him.

Then, add to that this final outrage (and Wahoo didn't bring this up, but he could have): The only person to beat Wahoo in the ring for the U.S. title in the four times he had held it at that point was Greg Valentine in late 1982. In that case, a film of the match clearly showed Valentine's manager Sir Oliver Humperdink hand him a foreign object out of the view of the referee, which Valentine used to knock Wahoo out. The NWA did not return the title to Wahoo as a result of that film, and the title was not held up. Yet they had done just that in this match with Steamboat and the interference by Tully Blanchard.

Was it any wonder Wahoo was so angry?

Wahoo absolutely believed that there was a conspiracy to get the title off of him involving Ric Flair, along with co-conspirators Bob Geigel (NWA President), and promoter Jim Crockett. He believed Flair was part of the plot because, without the U.S. title, Wahoo was no longer automatically the number one contender for Flair's world title, and in Wahoo's mind, Flair could continue to duck him. In fact, he suggested Flair constructed the whole plot to begin with.

When the decision was announced, Ric Flair told Bob Caudle in an interview that he thought the NWA had made a "wise move" with their decision. Wahoo angrily replied later that if it had been Flair's title belt taken away, Flair wouldn't have felt that decision was so "wise."

All of this led to the continued hardening of Wahoo's heart. He said he didn't care what the fans thought about this, he knew he was right. He had already suggested that the fans had preferential feelings for Flair and Steamboat over him anyway. ("Every time we rode together and the people would come up and say, "Hey Ric Flair! You're the world's champion!! Oh, hi Wahoo." You know how that stuck in my craw!?") All of a sudden, Wahoo had no friends in either locker room. He seemed an island all unto himself.

Tully Blanchard took delight in the fact that now neither Steamboat nor Wahoo were U.S. champion, and his TV championship would make him the new number one contender for Flair's world belt. Steamboat gave an interview saying how disappointed he was in Wahoo for accepting the U.S. title to begin with under those circumstances. Wahoo responded by calling his former friend a "whining crybaby." It was getting ugly fast.

Even the normally reserved and non-confrontational Bob Caudle was on his case. "This is not the Wahoo I know," Caudle kept telling him. Man, they are ALL lined up against you when even Bob Caudle jumps aboard.

Of all the moving parts in this drama, there was oddly one person that Wahoo seemed to have a growing respect for - - Tully Blanchard. Even though Wahoo knew Blanchard was a rat, he recognized that at least Blanchard had put his TV title up against him. In fact, the bitter feud the two had over the TV belt was what resulted in Tully trying to attack Wahoo with the chair that ultimately led to Steamboat's demise. But now, Blanchard was saying that even he recognized Wahoo was getting screwed over by the NWA. And Wahoo was taking notice that the lone voice defending him was Tully Blanchard. 

By the way, Wahoo did get his promised title shot against Flair, the one that had resulted from the end of the Dorton Arena confrontation (outlined last week), where Flair angrily told Wahoo, "You want a title shot? You got it." And it was at the end of that very match that the seeds were planted for a new alliance. An unthinkable alliance. An awesome alliance.

The "Awesome Twosome" was about to be born. Details coming up in PART THREE!

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


For all the positives of this well thought-out and multi-layered story, there were a couple of odd things woven into it that almost took you out of the moment, especially since they just weren't true in the stories of years past, nor were they really necessary to tell this one:
  • When the promotion announced that the title had been held up, the assertion was made over and over how it was the first time in wrestling history that a major title had been held up. I'm not sure where this assertion came from or why it was even necessary. There had been a number of times over the years that titles had been held up, most recently as outlined earlier with Wahoo McDaniel and this very championship! In 1981, Wahoo was stripped of the title and the title was held up and eventually decided in a tournament (which would be won by Sgt. Slaughter). It was very similar to the situation that was playing out here less than three years later.
  • Wahoo asserted on a couple of occasions that Flair "had never put the title up" against him. Now this could just be carelessness in his promo, but that just clanged like a bell. Flair had given Wahoo dozens of shots at the NWA title less than two years earlier in 1982, when Flair was wrestling in the Mid-Atlantic as a heel NWA champion.

Those little oddities aside, this whole story playing out with Wahoo's heel turn was one of the most well thought-out and expertly portrayed turns ever. It was a hallmark of Dusty Rhodes' genius as a booker, the ability to plan angles and stories that were multi-layered and allowed him to present main events off that story in a number of different combinations. In this case, Steamboat could get rematches with Wahoo, or Steamboat could chase Tully to seek revenge for costing him the title. Wahoo would get his title matches with Flair, and even Tully Blanchard would get a few shots at Flair's belt as well.

Wahoo gets a lot of credit here, too. I've always read that Dusty was more of a "macro" booker with big, broad ideas, and it often was someone else who filled in the details. J.J. Dillon was famous for that during his time as Dusty's assistant. There is no doubt that Wahoo came up with much of the argument to support his case in this story line. Brilliant stuff it is, too. 

When people write about Dusty's great talent at coming up with muti-layered angles and storylines, they usually point to 1986 and the Great American Bash tour, when it was Dusty and Magnum, the Four Horsemen, the Road Warriors, the Midnight Express, all against each other in many different combinations, stipulations, and permutations. But for its sheer beauty and simplicity, I'd put this 1984 angle up against any, and there is still more of it to cover here.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Series Breakdown:
Part One: Wahoo McDaniel's Black Saturday
Part Two: The Conspiracy Against Wahoo McDaniel (This Article)
Part Three: The Awesome Twosome (Coming Next!)
Part Four: Redemption - The Tournament and Starrcade (Coming Soon)
* * * * * * * * * * * *

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Mid-Atlantic TV Report: June 5, 1982

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
on the WWE Network
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
TV Summaries & Reviews
by David Taub
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

This is a review of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling as it appeared on the WWE Network. Results are included for the week (Monday-Sunday of the given week) as available. Please email with any corrections, typos, results, other details at Follow @TaubGVWire

For links to all available summaries, visit our TV Summary Index.

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
Original broadcast: 6/05/82
(taped 6/26/82 at WPCQ-TV studios in Charlotte)
WWE Network feed.  [How to watch this show on the WWE Network.]
WWE Network Direct Link to this show: Mid-Atlantic 6/05/82

Bob Caudle opens the show saying we have great tag team action, including Ivan Koloff & Steve Sybert (?!?).  Jimmy Valiant comes out, ranting, while holding a kids tape recorder. He says he’s bought Johnny’s contract, and he storms into the ring where Koloff & Sybert are at. Caudle throws it to a commercial right away.


Match 1
Jimmy Valiant & Mike Rotundo d. Steve Sybert & Ivan Koloff
Stu Schwartz is the referee for the hour. Valiant will team with Rotundo, while Weaver joins the announcer’s desk. Valiant wears a red, white and blue number with “Stars & Stripes” in the back. Valiant works on Sybert, and Koloff wants nothing with a tag in. Koloff goes to great lengths to avoid the tag. He finally joins the match, when Rotundo is in. Valiant makes the hot tag in and nearly trips in his way into the ring. Koloff tags out and leaves the ringside area. Rotundo pins Sybert after the airplane spin. Valiant is none too happy.


—Int. w/Bob Caudle: Jimmy Valiant
Valiant rants about almost getting Koloff. That red kid’s recorder. I’m sure I once owned that.

Match 2
Paul Jones & Jack Brisco d. Carl Fergie & David Patterson
Weaver sticks around on commentary. Brisco & Jones work on Patterson’s arm. New Mid-Atlantic tag team champions Porkchop Cash & King Parsons will meet the old champs, The Privates, later on. Brisco misses a drop kick, and the heels take over. But, not for long. Jones then missed a drop kick. Oh, a match that is telling a story. Jones eventually makes Fergie submit to the Indian Death Lock.

—Int. w/Bob Caudle: The Privates
Kerndole says the will get their title back. He says “two boys had stolen” their belts. Somehow, I don’t think that line would get over in 2019. Nelson said it was a conspiracy by Sandy Scott. He had to wrestle twice. No word when and where the title change took place.


Match 3
King Kong Mosca & Sgt. Slaughter d. The Samoans: #1 & #2
Weaver just calls them #1 & #2. Definitely not Afa & Sika. Not Samu. Maybe Tapu & Tio, who were wrestling in Knoxville and Indianapolis shortly before this time period. Samoans have no chance. Mosca pins #2 (the skinnier one) with an elbow smash to the head.


—Int. w/Bob Caudle: Roddy Piper; Angelo Mosca & Ninja; Ivan Koloff; Sgt. Slaughter.
Only 30 seconds from Piper. He wants a match against Brisco. Mosca comes in next, ranting, while Ninja plays with his nunchakus. Ivan Koloff is in and says he signed to face Weaver & Rotundo. That’s not right, and he won’t get away with it. A chain match is coming. Slaughter doesn’t like Gomer chants. He has a bunch of matches signed against Wahoo.
Caudle introduces the next match via magic screen.


Match 4
Mid-Atlantic tag title: Pork Chop Cash & King Parsons [ch.] d. The Privates: Pvt. Jim Nelson & Pvt. Don Kernodle
This is the first title defense for Cash & Parsons. When did the switch take place? No mention. The educated guess is 5/31/82 in Wilmington, NC, since that is the only listed meeting between the teams in the last week. A slower-paced match. Slaughter joins the commentary mid-match. Nelson worked on Cash for seemingly minutes. Out of nowhere, Cash gets a small package. Kernodle comes in, but Parsons hits a shoulderblock to thwart him. 1-2-3, Cash gets the pin. The Network theme song overdub covers up what we were supposed to hear during the replay.

—Int. w/Bob Caudle: Mike Rotundo, Kelly Kiniski, and Terry Gibbs
This is in lieu of local promos. Rotundo gives the ah-shucks interview about Koloff running off before. Gibbs gets mic time. Not bad. Weird, given how I only know him from his WWF enhancement days. Kiniski, in his big Canada jacket, talks about the tough competition of Slaughter and Mosca.


—Int. w/Bob Caudle: Don Muraco
Muraco tells a story, with sunglasses and a complete smug look on his face. He said six months ago, the Indian came to him looking for King Curtis, wanting free Don Ho tickets because he was broke. Caudle interrupts to start the next match.

Match 5
Non-Title: Wahoo McDaniel [U.S. Champion] d. Juan Reynoso
Muraco, referring himself as “Magnificent” continues his story of Wahoo came to him in Hawai’i looking for a partner in the World tag team tournament. Muraco, his voice rising, says he left the island, took his pregnant wife, moved. And what happened? The Indian likes shiny things. Wahoo left him. Caudle observers that Muraco is really upset, because Wahoo let him down. Muraco says, no, he’s upset because Wahoo lied to him. He’s ticked because the $50,000 prize for the World tag team tournament final is postponed. In the ring, Wahoo with no problem. It looks like he is lightly slapping Reynoso on the chest, while both me are on the mat. Still looks like it hurt like hell. Muraco is still ranting. Now, he’s getting PISSED. “Don’t call me Don! Don’t call me Don!” Maybe the last few weeks of not calling him Magnificent led to this point? Sorry I second guessed JCP. McDaniel makes the pin, after a chop. It kind of looked like Reynoso tried to kick out.
Jack Brisco shakes Wahoo’s hand as he exits the ring.

—Int. w/Bob Caudle: Paul Jones, Jack Brisco
Jones talks about teaming with Brisco. He said he’s been spreading himself too thin the last few months. But, now he’s back home. Caudle turns to Brisco, he holds up the Mid-Atlantic championship, taunted Piper. He says there’s no way Piper will get out of his figure-four. McDaniel steps in. He says he’s never went back on his word. Says he had no idea he would win the U.S. championship. He doesn’t mind Muraco wrestling elsewhere. Wahoo will honor his commitments. Muraco will just have to live with it.  He calls last week a misunderstanding. Says Muraco broke his commitment. Words turn to Slaughter. He says he’ll beat Slaughter again.

“So long for now!”

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

Results for the week, 5/31/82-6/06/82
(source: Clawmaster’s Archive via Sports and Wrestling blog posted by David Baker; “Wrestling” newsletter by Joe Shedlock)

Mon., 5/31/82 Wilmington, NC — Legion Stadium
Wahoo McDaniel vs. Sgt Slaughter
King Kong Mosca vs. Don Muraco
Pvt. Kernodle & Pvt. Nelson vs. Porkchop Cash & King Parsons [Cash & Parsons believed to win the match and Mid-Atlantic tag team championsip]
Abe Jacobs vs. Mike Rotundo
Plus one other match

Tue., 6/01/82 Columbia, SC  — Township Auditorium
Samoan #2 beat Ali Bey
Samoan #1 beat Bill White
Paul Jones & King Parsons beat Pvt. Kernodle & Pvt. Nelson
Killer Kahn beat Johnny Weaver
Jack Brisco beat Roddy Piper

Tue., 6/01/82 Wadesboro, NC
Ivan Koloff & The Ninja vs. Jimmy Valiant & Jake Roberts
Carl Fergie vs. Ron Ritchie
Bill White vs. Kelly Kiniski

Thu., 6/03/82 Norfolk, VA
Terry Gibbs beat Juan Reynosa
Kelly Kiniski beat Bill White
Johnny Weaver & Mike Rotundo beat Pvt. Kernodle & Pvt. Nelson
Ivan Koloff & The Ninja beat Jimmy Valiant & King Parsons
Jack Brisco beat Roddy Piper

Fri., 6/04/82 Charleston, SC — Charleston County Hall
Samoan #2 beat Steve Sybert
Keith Larsen beat Ken Timbs
Mike Rotundo beat Bill White
King Parsons & Porkchop Cash beat Pvt. Kernodle & Pvt. Nelson
Jack Brisco beat Roddy Piper by countout

Sat., 6/05/82 Charlotte, NC
Ron Ritchie beat Keith Larsen
Jimmy Valiant beat Ivan Koloff in a Russian chain match
Wahoo McDaniel beat Sgt. Slaughter
Paul Jones beat Angelo Mosca
Kelly Kiniski & Mike Rotundo beat Carl Fergie & Dave Patterson
Jack Brisco & Don Muraco beat Roddy Piper & Ole Anderson

Sun., 6/06/82 Greensboro, NC — Greensboro Coliseum
Wahoo McDaniel beat Sgt. Slaughter in a Canadian lumberjack match
Jack Brisco beat Roddy Piper
Paul Jones beat The Ninja
King Parsons & Mike Rotundo beat Gene Anderson & Iron Sheik
Juan Reynosa beat Tim Horner
Mike Rotundo beat Carl Fergie
Jim Dalton beat Keith Larson
Ron Ritchie beat Bill White
Terry Gibbs beat David Patterson

Sun., 6/06/82 Toronto, Ontario— Maple Leaf Gardens (Maple Leaf Wrestling)
Angelo Mosca beat Gene Kiniski
Jimmy Valiant beat Ivan Koloff to win NWA(Mid Atlantic) Television Title(Only recognized in Toronto)
John Studd beat Jake Roberts
Johnny Weaver & Kelly Kiniski beat Pvt. Nelson & Pvt. Kernodle
The Destroyer beat Nick DeCarlo
Porkchop Cash beat Steve Siebert
Mike Davis beat Ken Timbs

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Wrestling in the Rain

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

The following is edited from was a private message to our Facebook account from Bryan Taylor, who used to attend cards at the Rocky Mount Ball Park in Rocky Mount, NC, back in the 1970s.

Outdoor wrestling at the ball park was a tradition in Rocky Mount, usually on Wednesday nights. The wrestlers would finish up on the TV tapings at the WRAL TV studio in Raleigh and speed west out U.S. highway 64, Sometimes just barely making it on time for the main events.

With outside shows, though, there was always the threat of rain, especially in the heat of the summer. Bryan's story deals with what happens when it rains on a wrestling mat. It's a nice little memory we thought we'd share here with his permission.

My dad used to take me to the matches at the Rocky Mount ballpark when I was a kid. One of the most vivid memories I have from there was a day when it was raining steady the entire day. I was so afraid they would cancel the event since it was outdoors. Luckily it let up around 5 or 6 PM.
Mark Eastridge Collection

It started to drizzle just as the show started. Once again a rush of fear came across me as I just knew they we going to pull the plug. 

The show went on, the mat was slippery and they kept falling down in the first match. Every match after that they spent 90% of the time fighting outside the ring around the crowd. Ric Flair was the main event. I can't remember his opponent, maybe Blackjack Mulligan? Anyhow, half way through the match it started pouring, but the guys kept going. The next day all I could tell everyone was "I saw Ric Flair wrestle in the rain!" 

Those guys were the best. Thanks for all you do to keep their memories alive!

- Bryan Taylor           

If it was indeed Ric Flair vs. Blackjack Mulligan in that main event, it was bound to have drawn a huge house, as that was one of the the top feuds of 1978. I'm sure promoter Joe Murnick had no interest at all in cancelling that show due to weather and having to offer refunds. When it's Flair vs. Mulligan, the show must go on!

Bryan's note got me thinking about the 1978 Sylvester Stallone movie "Paradise Alley" which starred former NWA World Heavyweight champion Terry Funk as wrestler Frankie the Thumper. The final battle between Frankie and Victor Carboni (played by Lee Canalito) took place in the rain, which added to the drama of the whole thing as the imagery of the bodies taking bumps in slow motion in that huge rain storm stands as one of the greatest wrestling scenes ever in cinema. (A brief glimpse of that scene can be found toward the end of the original theatrical trailer for the movie. You'll also catch a glimpse of wrestler Ray Stevens, who appeared with many other wrestlers in earlier scenes of the movie, doing his patented turnbuckle flip that was the inspiration for a spot Ric Flair was later famous for.)

Thanks to Bryan for sharing his memory of wrestling in the rain with us.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Wahoo McDaniel's Black Saturday

The Story of the Heel Turn of Chief Wahoo McDaniel (Part 1)
Part One in a Four-Part Series
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

"I'm the one that trained you! I'm the one that did all the sacrificing. Now you're the big deal, and I'm just a little ol' poor Indian. You put the title up, big boy!!"  
- Wahoo McDaniel to Ric Flair (June 1984)

One of the great storylines of the year 1984 (and honestly of any year during the Mid-Atlantic era in Jim Crockett Promotions) was the slow-burn heel turn of one of the most beloved wrestlers ever in the territory, Chief Wahoo McDaniel.

Wahoo had been one of the most, if not the most, popular wrestlers for Jim Crockett Promotions since he first entered the area full time in August of 1974. His following was loyal and fanatical. People believed in Wahoo. Those unsure about what was real and what wasn't about pro wrestling usually thought something along the lines of "that other stuff might be fake, but Wahoo is real." And even if you knew better, you got caught up in him. As Charles Kuralt once opined, "only a hardened cynic could not suspend his disbelief and scream for Wahoo McDaniel."

Wahoo was after championship gold. He had spent a large part of the late spring and early summer of  1984 chasing Tully Blanchard's NWA Television championship. But Wahoo would pivot in late June and would also lay down a challenge to his friend, the very popular Ricky Steamboat, for a shot at Steamboat's United States Championship. Wahoo had expressed frustration over his lack of recent title shots at Ric Flair's NWA World title, and knew that holding the U.S. title would automatically make him the number one contender for Flair's World belt. Wahoo realized he had to defeat his friend Steamboat to get that title. Steamboat, up to any challenge, happily put the title up against his friend and mentor.

But before their match would take place, a confrontation would take place, the ramifications of which would echo through the rest of 1984 and well into 1985.

During this period leading up to the summer of 1984, Ric Flair and Wahoo McDaniel were in one of those long stretches where they were also good friends. Flair was still a very popular champion in his home Mid-Atlantic territory, despite being a hated heel everywhere else. Wahoo had helped Flair train for his historic Starrcade '83 match with Harley Race where Flair regained the gold belt Wahoo now so badly wanted. So Flair seemed caught off guard when Wahoo began loudly complaining on TV that Flair was ducking him for shots at the NWA World title. During a TV interview, Flair confronted Wahoo on the subject. "If you've got a chip on your shoulder Chief," Flair told Wahoo, "you don't gotta tell Bob Caudle about it, tell me about it."

Wahoo accused Flair of taking advantage of their friendship to avoid giving him title shots. But before the two could hash it out, they were interrupted by another wrestler also wanting a shot at Flair's "ten pounds of gold", the aforementioned Tully Blanchard. Blanchard and Flair had been trading barbs in recent weeks. Tully told Bob Caudle he had no time for Wahoo but wanted to address Flair. When Flair blew him off, Blanchard sucker-punched him and briefly left him laying, tearing Flair's shirt and jacket off in the process.

Wahoo surprisingly stepped back and let the beating Blanchard was handing Flair continue. It would be the first major indication that something inside Wahoo had changed.

After Blanchard had split the scene, Flair angrily confronted Wahoo, asking why he hadn't come to his aid. Wahoo let all his recent frustration boil over.

 It makes me sick sometimes when I think that [Flair and Steamboat] always say "bring the Indian along, let him drive the car. Give him a couple beers, keep him happy. That way we'll never have to wrestle him, right?"...  I can't jump on [Blanchard]. At least he puts his [TV] title up, and tries to defend it, and gives me a chance. Harley Race put the title up against me! ... Every time we rode together and the people would come up and say, "Hey Ric Flair! You're the world's champion!! Oh hi, Wahoo." You know how that stuck in my craw? ... I'm the one that trained you! I'm the one that did all the sacrificing! Now you're the big deal, and I'm just a little ol' poor Indian. You put the title up, big boy!!" - Wahoo McDaniel

Flair, still flabbergasted at all that had just happened around him, angrily told Wahoo "You want a title, shot, you got it!"

Given the long, involved history between Wahoo McDaniel and Ric Flair (their long and bloody feud in the 1970s, their evolving friendship in the early 1980s, and Wahoo's support for Flair when he was training to take on Race), it appeared that deep held adversarial instincts between the two quickly resurfaced. Maybe even a little jealousy on Wahoo's part?

That confrontation on the set of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" is one of the most remembered TV angles from 1984, set against the backdrop of the evening sky outside those tall signature windows in Raleigh's famed Dorton Arena. 

Although Flair had agreed to the title shot, there was other business immediately at hand for Wahoo. He defeated Steamboat on June 24, 1984 in Greensboro for the U.S. title in the title match mentioned earlier, but under very controversial circumstances, although Wahoo saw nothing controversial about it. The tape showed that when mutual foe Tully Blanchard entered the ring and attempted to hit Wahoo with a steel chair, Wahoo ducked and the chair caught Steamboat instead, knocking him out cold. Wahoo, however, saw none of that and after dispensing with Blanchard, turned to see Steamboat prone with his shoulders flat on the mat.

"One of the first things they taught me when I got into wrestling," Wahoo told Bob Caudle after the match, "was when you see a man's shoulders on the mat, you pin him." And that's exactly what Wahoo did.

Fans weren't real happy about it. They figured once Wahoo saw the film of the match and saw Blanchard hit Steamboat with the chair, he would see that his win was improper and return the title to his friend Steamboat.

But Wahoo stood his ground, calmly explaining he had nothing to do with Blanchard hitting Steamboat with the chair, didn't see it when it happened, and he felt he won the title fairly and planned to keep it. After all, it was his ticket to get a shot at Flair and the NWA World championship. 

Steamboat, staying out of the rift between Wahoo and Flair, asked the NWA to review the film of the match where he was hit in the head with a chair by Blanchard, and Wahoo had pinned him. A week later, the NWA did indeed take action, only they didn't give the title back to Steamboat, they simply stripped Wahoo of the title and held the belt up pending a decision by NWA president Bob Geigel and the NWA Board of Directors on how the matter would be resolved.

It was Wahoo's own July 1984 "Black Saturday." Geigel and Jim Crockett had stripped Wahoo of his title during the same period of time Vince McMahon and the WWF were ripping Georgia Championship Wrestling away from the NWA.

Needless to say Wahoo didn't react well to this news. And Wahoo's own "Black Saturday" soon led to more dark days for him and Mid-Atlantic fans in the summer of 1984.

Wahoo reacts to being stripped of the U.S. title, sure of a multi-part conspiracy against him. He makes the case, and we lay out the entire devious plot in Part Two, "The Conspiracy Against Wahoo McDaniel."

 * * * * * * *

You can watch the TV shows featuring these events on the WWE Network. They are in the "In Ring/Territories/Mid-Atlantic" section. But beware: the dates they list for these particular shows are incorrect, usually shown as one week later than when the show actually aired. But here are the links to the shows:
Wahoo/Flair/Blanchard angle  |  Wahoo Wins U.S. Title  |  Wahoo Stripped of U.S. Title.

* * * * * * * 

For all these details and more regarding all the stories of the United States Heavyweight champions and title changes from 1975-1988, check out our book on "Jim Crockett Promotions' United States Championship", on sale via the Mid-Atlantic Gateway bookstore and on

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Mid-Atlantic TV Report: May 29, 1982

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
on the WWE Network
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
TV Summaries & Reviews
by David Taub
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

This is a review of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling as it appeared on the WWE Network. Results are included for the week (Monday-Sunday of the given week) as available. Please email with any corrections, typos, results, other details at Follow @TaubGVWire

For links to all available summaries, visit our TV Summary Index.

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
Original broadcast: 5/29/82
(taped 5/126/82 at WPCQ-TV studios in Charlotte)
WWE Network feed.  [How to watch this show on the WWE Network.]
WWE Network Direct Link to this show: Mid-Atlantic 5/29/82

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
Original broadcast: May 29, 1982 (taped 5/26/82 at WPCQ-TV studios in Charlotte)
WWE Network feed

Bob Caudle opens the show solo, running down the TV lineup. A lot of big things are happening, and he introduces the new United States Heavyweight champion, Wahoo McDaniel.

—Int. w/Bob Caudle: Wahoo McDaniel
Wahoo says his TV win over Slaughter is no fluke. But, he does say that winning the U.S. title upsets the pending best-of-seven World tag team title series, Wahoo & Muraco vs. Ole Anderson & Stan Hansen. Wahoo says that has caused some dissention in some place, rolling his eyes. In comes Muraco. He says he spent $15,000 to move his family from Hawai’i to the East Coast. He congratulates Wahoo, but thought he was here for the World tag team title. Muraco leaves in a quiet frustration. Caudle notes the dissention. Wahoo agrees, that it’s embarrassing to him that this may come between them. He hopes it works out. For the record, no day or city mentioned for the title change. It was May 21 in Richmond.


Match 1
Wahoo McDaniel & Don Muraco d. Juan Reynoso & Bill White
Bill Alfonso is the referee for the hour. Caudle recaps the problems with Wahoo’s U.S. title win and problems with the tag team tournament final. Wahoo & Muraco seem to be teaming well. Caudle calls Muraco “The Wildman.” Surprisingly, he’s not called “Magnificent” during this Mid-Atlantic run. Muraco with some mat wrestling. We’ll see the Piper-Brisco incident from last week. Slaughter shows up ringside, and interferes with Wahoo’s pin attempt of White. The ref missed it because he was putting Muraco out of the ring. Muraco is in the ring and gets doubled-teamed in the corner, while Wahoo is chasing Slaughter to the back. Muraco breaks free, but no one is in his corner. Caudle is picking up on that fact. Wahoo is back, and Muraco makes an aggressive tag. He walks out on his partner! Wahoo survives the double-team, and pins White after a chop.

— Int. w/Bob Caudle: Wahoo McDaniel
McDaniel gives Muraco the benefit of the doubt. Saying he didn’t see Slaughter interfere with him. He talks about Slaughter a bit. Says he’s a great wrestler, but it will be hard to get it back from him. We now go to a clip of the match (upon a second watching, they never say this is the title switch, just “a recent match.” It is May 23 in Greensboro. In fact, Wahoo notes he is defending the title in this match.). Slaughter has the Cobra Clutch, but men roll to the outside. With the new experimental rules, no countout, no DQ. Wahoo rams Slaughter’s head into the post. Wahoo is blown up narrating the footage. Back in the ring, Slaughter attempts a hip toss, but Wahoo reverses it into a backslide for the win. Slaughter attacks Wahoo afterward. Wahoo apologizes for what happened in the ring at the end.


Match 2
Terry Gibbs d. Ken Timbs
Gibbs, best known as a WWF enhancement talent in the mid-late 80s, looks big here. He wins after a few minutes with the abdominal stretch into a pin combo. Which reminds me, Terry Taylor must no longer be around.

The show has a new graphic going to break, the logo superimposed over a shot of the crowed. Reminds me of The Price is Right.

— Int. w/Bob Caudle: The Privates; Juan Reynoso
This is in lieu of local promos. The Privates can’t believe Wahoo defeated Slaughter. They call it a fluke. Nelson & Kernodle are wearing the Mid-Atlantic tag team title, with no mention who they beat, when nor where. Reynoso drops in a few lines, about Wahoo’s fluke and he’s here in the area.


— Int. w/Bob Caudle: Johnny Weaver
Weaver says he and Jake Roberts were supposed to face The Privates, but that isn’t happening because of an incident. We go to video from Greensboro, Roberts & Jimmy Valiant vs. Ivan Koloff & The Ninja. Back and forth action. The camera is partially blocked by a fan standing up. Roberts gets sprayed in the eye by Ninja, blinding him. Valiant suplexes Ninja for the pin. Koloff clobbers Valiant with a chair post-match. Gene Anderson comes in for the triple-team.
The above clip is the same arena as the Wahoo-Slaughter clip from earlier. The most recent Greensboro show was May 23, so it makes sense that both clips are from then.
Enter Valiant, exit Weaver. The Network edit music drowns out most of Valiant’s interview. But, he’s going to get even.

Match 3
Non-Title Match: Mid-Atlantic tag team champions Pvt. Kernodle & Pvt. Nelson d. Johnny Weaver & Mike Davis
Caudle points this is part of the new NWA experimental rules, where matches can’t end in a time limit draw. Of course, this match started two weeks ago, and one of the participants are MIA. In the middle of the match, David Crockett comes out, and tells Bob to ring the bell. We have to go to a break. The match will pick up on the other side. A pause in the action. Literally.


— Int. w/Bob Caudle: Angelo Mosca; Ivan Koloff & Ninja; Sgt. Slaughter
Instead of going directly back to the match, Caudle chats with Mosca, who rants that he can beat his opponents in minutes, and we don’t need this current match. Koloff & Ninja come in. Koloff rants about getting rid of Jake Roberts. Valiant is next. Koloff sill has the TV title. Slaughter is out saying he is finding out there are no friends in wrestling. The tape is doctored; he had his shoulder up.


Back to the match. At one point, all four men in the ring. As the referee puts out Weaver, Kerndole (the illegal man) comes off the top rope with a clothesline on Davis. Nelson makes the pin. After the match, the Privates do a number on Davis. Weaver is sent out of the ring. Ron Ritchie and a revived Weaver make the save.

— Int. w/Bob Caudle: Roddy Piper
Piper has his green Superman shirt. “When Roddy Piper wants to hurt someone, he does it on TV.” After Piper brags about himself, Caudle calls for the tape from last week. Piper says he’s tired of the Briscos bragging about themselves. Piper knows the counter the figure four. Piper mocks Jack Brisco. He wants a title shot against Brisco for the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight championship.

— Int. w/Bob Caudle: Ron Ritchie; Terry Gibbs
This is in lieu of local promos. A blown-up Ritchie issues warnings to one-time friend Kerndole. Gibbs says he does it on the mat. Mid-Atlantic is the place to be.


Match 4
Ivan Koloff & Ninja d. The Samoans
The Samoans aren’t Afa & Sika. They do have the pink wraps around them. Koloff & Ninja are late getting to the ring. I believe these Samoans are Tapu & Tio, who were wrestling in the Knoxville promotion and Southeast at the time. Koloff pins the skinnier one (Caudle never individually identify them) after a series of backbreakers. Even though the other Samoan seemingly broke up the pin, Alfonso counts three anyway.

— Int. w/Bob Caudle: Jack Brisco and Paul Jones
Brisco holds his Mid-Atlantic title belt, knowing that drives Piper nuts. His brother Jerry’s knee is torn. More taunting from Brisco. Jones says Piper and others have gone too far. People want to see justice done.  

“So long for now!”


No mention of the first four cities of the best-of-seven world tag team tournament final. Read the excellent recap of the tournament elsewhere on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. At this point, Ole Anderson and Crockett went separate ways. After a nine month build up, it’s like it never happened.


Results for the week, 5/24/82-5/30/82 
(source: Clawmaster’s Archive via Sports and Wrestling blog posted by David Baker)

Mon., 5/24/82 Greenville, SC
NWA Champion Ric Flair d. Wahoo McDaniel
Sgt Slaughter d. Paul Jones
Ole Anderson d. King Parsons
The Samoans: Tio & Tapu d. Carl Fergie & David Patterson
Ben Alexander d. Ken Hall

Tue., 5/25/82 Raleigh, NC
NWA World Champion Ric Flair beat Wahoo McDaniel

Tue., 5/25/82 Columbia, SC
Keith Larson beat Ben Alexander
David Patterson beat Samoan #2
Carl Fergie beat Samoan #1
Don Muraco beat Sgt. Slaughter
Jack Brisco beat Roddy Piper

Thu., 5/27/82 Sumter, SC
NWA World Champion Ric Flair beat Wahoo McDaniel
Gene Anderson beat Abe Jacobs
Paul Jones beat Angelo Mosca
Killer Kahn beat Kelly Kiniski
The Samoans beat Steve Sybert & Jim Dalton

Fri., 5/28/82 Charleston, SC — County Hall
Samoan #2 beat Ken Timbs
King Parsons beat Abe Jacobs
Mike Rotundo beat Juan Reynosa
Porkchop Cash beat Jim Dalton
Angelo Mosca & Killer Kahn beat Don Muraco & Paul Jones
Wahoo McDaniel beat Sgt. Slaughter

Fri., 5/28/82 Knoxville, TN — Chilhowee Park Ampitheater (Flair/Mulligan promotion)
Kenny Hall vs. David Patterson
Keith Larsen vs. Carl Fergie
Johnny Weaver & Tim Horner vs. Kevin Sullivan & Bill White
Dusty Rhodes vs. Kabuki
NWA World Heavyweight championship: Ric Flair vs. Harley Race

Fri., 5/28/82 Lovingston, VA — Nelson County HS
Mike Davis vs. Steve Sybert
Ron Ritchie vs. Pvt. Nelson
Kelly Kiniski vs. Pvt. Kernodle
Jake Roberts vs. Ivan Koloff
Jack Brisco vs. Roddy Piper
Jimmy Valiant vs. Ninja

Sat., 5/29/82 Greenville, SC (Special Saturday Card)
Terry Gibbs beat Jim Dalton
Carl Fergie & David Patterson beat the Samoans
King Parsons beat Gene Anderson
Paul Jones beat Sgt Slaughter in a lumberjack match
Jimmy Valiant beat Ivan Koloff in a cage match

Sun., 5/30/82 Asheville, N.C.
NWA World Champion Ric Flair beat Jack Brisco
Wahoo McDaniel beat Sgt. Slaughter
Jimmy Valiant beat Ivan Koloff
Kelly Kiniski beat Killer Kahn
Terry Gibbs & Ron Ritchie beat Carl Fergie & David Patterson
Tim Horner beat Bill White

Sun., 5/30/82 Roanoke, VA
NWA World Champion Ric Flair beat Wahoo McDaniel
Sgt. Slaughter beat Don Muraco
Jack Brisco beat Angelo Mosca
Paul Jones & Johnny Weaver beat Pvt. Nelson & Pvt. Kernodle

Friday, January 17, 2020

Championship Podcast: February 6, 1982
The new episode of the "Mid-Atlantic Championship Podcast" has dropped and features a look at the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling episode from February 6, 1982.

Each week, Mike Sempervive and Roman Gomez will review another episode form the series that is currently available in the In-Ring/Territories section of the WWE Network. The show is a production of the Arcadian Vanguard Podcast Network and is available to stream on their website and anywhere else you get your podcasts (such as iTunes, etc.)

We continue to enjoy this weekly deep dive into each of these Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling episodes and encourage you to check it out if you haven't already done so.

Also available from the podcast is a special "Prelude Episode" that set the stage for the year 1982 and things to come, as well as two "bonus" episodes, one looking back at Starrcade '84, the other a special bio/profile of the patriarch of the Crockett promotional empire Jim Crockett, Sr. Both of these bonus shows are excellent!

Previous Episodes:
January 02, 1982
January 09, 1982
January 16, 1982
January 23, 1982
January 30, 1982
* * * * *

From the "Mid-Atlantic Championship Podcast" website for this episode:

Welcome to The Mid-Atlantic Championship Podcast. On this episode of the show, Mike Sempervive returns alongside Roman Gomez, to take a look at Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling from February 6, 1982, featuring:

  • NWA World Champion Ric Flair returns to area television and battles Jay Youngblood
  • Blackjack Mulligan Jr – aka Barry – continues to have headaches with Sgt. Slaughter.
  • Roddy Piper makes an interesting selection to be his tag team partner for the show.
  • Another superfecta of Hall of Fame promo artists.
  • Plus results from around the loop, a check-in with George Scott and Paul Jones out in Oklahoma, and much more, on another exciting edition of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Podcast!
Also, be sure to also check out David Taub's summaries of the Mid-Atlantic shows that are on the WWE Network. We will be cross-referencing that listing with links to the podcast episodes as well.