Monday, May 20, 2019

Mid-Atlantic TV: November 14, 1981
Mid-Atlantic 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

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
Original broadcast: 11/14/81
(taped 11/11/81 at WPCQ-TV studios in Charlotte)
WWE Network feed.  [Watch this Episode on the WWE Network.]
TV Summary Index

We skip another week, Nov. 7, 1981. Results for them? Email me.

Bob Caudle & David Crockett introduce the show.
Sonny Fargo in the blue romper is the referee for the hour.

— Int. w/Bob Caudle: Sandy Scott
The NWA representative says they are recruiting the top sport stars to join them.
Caudle introduces the next match via blue screen.


Match 1
Jay Youngblood d. Ricky Harris. 
Youngblood wins with the tomahawk chop to the head followed by a flying chop to the prone Harris.


— Int. w/Bob Caudle: Sgt. Slaughter and Private Jim Nelson
Slaughter takes exception to Wahoo’s comments about himself and Piper last week. We go to a replay of Wahoo’s comments from last week with Bob Caudle. Sarge brings out a contract, challenging Wahoo to a title match.

Match 2
Non-title: Sgt. Slaughter [U.S. Champ] (w/Pvt. Jim Nelson) d. Ken Hall
It’s Slaughter with the win following the clothesline-cobra hold finish.

—Local promos w/Ken Conrad for 2/07/82 Roanoke
The Network airs a promo for 2/07/82 Roanoke. Wow, how far behind did this tape get bicycled? Nonetheless, this appears to be the tape from the Bluefield-Beckley-Oak Hill, WV market. Ken Conrad handles the mic. It’s Stevens & Mulligan Jr. vs. Choi Sun & The Ninja. Car vs. title: Valiant vs. Koloff. Koloff talks about his TV title vs. Valiant’s Cadillac match.

— Int. w/Bob Caudle: Sandy Scott
Scott talks about upcoming tournaments for a Cadillac to draw the top talent in the country. A clip of Tommy Rich vs. Tony Russo from what looks like a Mid-Atlantic house show plays. Piper comes out, saying he would sell his grandmother. Ole, then Slaughter come out wanting the Cadillac. Scott then plays a clip of Angelo Mosca from the WWF taking on Steve King. “He looks like King Kong, fights like Faye Raye,” Piper says.
[CLIP] Park Center: Tommy Rich vs. Tony Russo
[CLIP] WWF: Angelo Mosca vs. Steve King


— Int. w/Bob Caudle: Jay Youngblood, Ricky Steamboat, Jake Roberts
Youngblood, speaking a little slow and out of it, says he’s willing to sign Slaughter’s open contract (of course, he doesn’t). Steamboat & Roberts talk about all the tough competition coming into the Mid-Atlantic area. Steamboat wants Piper. Roberts calls Ole a snake in the grass, and he’ll mow him down.


Match 3
Jimmy Valiant d. Deke Rivers
The Network dub plays over the first part of the match. A quick match, with Valiant winning with the running elbow. Back to the overdub.

— Int. w/Bob Caudle: Roddy Piper
Piper is back, with his yellow shirt with the tiger in front and “I’m a Piper” in the back. Piper is tired of people calling him a coward. A clip plays from last week of Piper attacking Steamboat, who was in the middle of a match with a blue masked man. Piper says Steamboat hasn’t earned a Mid-Atlantic title shot. Steamboat is in the ring during the time. Awkward conclusion, as Piper leaves. Caudle is a deer in headlights, and Steamboat just leaves the ring.
[CLIP] Piper attacks Steamboat from last week

—Local promos w/Ken Conrad for 2/07/82 Roanoke
Youngblood & Stevens talk about Ninja & Choi Sun. Stevens says his opponent’s name sounds like a Chinese soup. Valiant is in to talk about his match against Ivan Koloff. Ric Flair defends the World title against Blackjack Mulligan Jr. Junior says he’s known Flair for a while. He has a lot of respect, but business is business.


Match 4
Jake Roberts & Rick Steamboat d. Super Destroyer & The Grappler by DQ
A back-and-forth main even struggle. Piper and Ole come to ringside cheering on the masked team. After minutes of working on Roberts, Steamboat gets the hot tag. As Steamboat makes the pin, Piper reaches in and we have a DQ. Piper and Steamboat go at it, as Roberts holds Ole at bay. Piper makes his escape.

— Int. w/Bob Caudle: Ricky Steamboat & Jake Roberts
Steamboat is steamed at Piper. He plays the rest of the Steamboat vs. blue masked man tape. Naturally, Steamboat gets the pin. He calls Piper “Casper, the White Ghost.”

“So long for now!”

Direct Link to this program on the WWE Network:
Subscription required. They offer a free 30-day trial.

Mid-Atlantic TV Summary Index

Results for the week of 11/9 - 11/15/81 after the jump......

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Saturday, May 18, 2019

Evel Knievel's Closed-Circuit Snake River Canyon Jump: A Ringley & Crockett Promotion

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway
On September 8, 1974, legendary daredevil Evel Knievel attempted to jump the Snake River Canyon in Twin Falls County, Idaho, in a self-designed rocket. As a 13 year old kid, this was a seminal moment in my childhood. I had just started getting interested in wrestling, and I always thought Evel Knievel would have made a great pro wrestler. Or maybe a a great pro wrestling manager. Either way, Evel could give as good a promo as anyone in pro wrestling.

I was already a huge Knievel fan, eagerly anticipating his next motorcycle jump over cars or buses that would regularly be televised on ABC's Wide World of Sports. I knew he had aspirations of one day jumping the Grand Canyon. This was apparently to be a warm-up to that bigger feat. Or perhaps the National Park Service had no interest in him attempting something like that at the Grand Canyon. Regardless, I was seriously into the hype surrounding the Snake River jump, even if it was the semi-final to some future main event.

The event drew national attention and was promoted on pay-per-view around the country. The Knievel organization established partnerships with local promoters, one of which was Ringley & Crockett, Inc. in Charlotte.

Ringley & Crockett, Inc. was the non-wrestling arm of Jim Crockett Promotions, run by Jim Crockett, Sr.'s son-in-law John Ringley until the end of 1974. Ringley promoted rock concerts, Harlem Globetrotters basketball, fishing tournaments, and all sorts of other events. They were also the promoters for the Evel Knievel Snake River Canyon jump to be telecast on giant-screen closed-circuit television at the Charlotte Coliseum on Independence Blvd., also the home of many big Mid-Atlantic Wrestling events in the Queen City. 

Sadly, the jump failed. A good description of what happened, as well as info on the jump-site (where Evel's dirt take-off ramp still stands as a tourist attraction), can be found on a favorite website of mine, An except:

With much media fanfare, daredevil Evel Knievel tried and failed to leap the mile-wide chasm of the Snake River Canyon on his specially engineered rocket motorcycle. His drogue parachute malfunctioned and opened on take-off. Evel and his contraption floated to the bottom of the canyon, landing on the riverbank directly below his launch ramp (If he'd gone into the river, his safety harness probably would have drowned him). It was a less-than-auspicious milestone for Evel and the city of Twin Falls, but Evel's fans loved him for at least trying.

Where I grew up, the closest closed-circuit location for the jump was in Johnson City, TN, and despite my ongoing pleading, my father had no interest in paying to see Evel Knievel climb into a rocket. 

Carroll Hall at the All Star Championship Wrestling website came across the clipping and forwarded it here. It was nice to discover the Crockett connection to this event after all these years.

For more on Evel Knievel, visit

Friday, May 17, 2019

Action Figures Friday: Roddy Piper


Another nice staging for Action Figures Friday by our friends Scottie and Reggie at @wrestlerweekly featuring United States Heavyweight Champion Roddy Piper in 1981. All that's missing are the bagpipes and a kilt!

Piper was a two-time U.S. champion, first winning the strap on 1/27/81 from Ric Flair at the Dorton Arena in Raleigh, NC. He lost the title on 8/8/81 to Wahoo McDaniel in Greensboro.

His second title reign came two years later when he defeated Greg Valentine on 4/16/83 in Greensboro, NC, only to lose the title back to "the Hammer" two weeks later on 5/1/83 in the same city.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Almanac: July 1980 - Part Five

David Chappell's
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History


The final days of the month of July 1980 featured two more television tapings from the WRAL TV 5 studios in Raleigh, North Carolina due to the month having five Wednesdays. The first of those remaining TV tapings occurred on July 23rd, and showcased the surprising return of a longtime star and a first of its kind "music video" featuring Ric Flair!

The returnee was none other than "Number 1" Paul Jones who had been absent from the area for several months after a lengthy run as a wrestling rule-breaker. Paul returned in his "good guy" persona to tell the fans that he was turning over a new leaf, and was going to start wrestling by the rules if the fans and wrestlers would take him back.

Jones told surprised Mid-Atlantic announcers Bob Caudle and David Crockett, "Listen, I'm ashamed of what I did. I left somewhere to get my head together, I even put a mask over my head I was so ashamed. But I'll never put another mask over my head again, and I'll never have to go to the people or the wrestlers and say I'm sorry, because I've always been a man. I've been down a wrong road, I realized it Bob and David, and all I want is the opportunity." Time would tell how sincere Paul was, and where his apparent change of heart would lead.

The most intriguing segment of the July 23rd program was a music video of sorts featuring Ric Flair. With the background music featuring Donna Summer's mega-hit "Hot Stuff" blaring, the Nature Boy strutted his stuff to the beat of the music. While Caudle and Crockett gushed over this novel production, not everyone was so impressed.

At the end of the show Greg Valentine complained to Caudle, "Now you showed this ridiculous thing with Ric Flair, out there disco dancing ." Caudle reacted, "That was great!" Greg continued, "I thought it was ridiculous. You know Flair, maybe you can dance pretty good, maybe you should stick to that! In fact, when I take that belt away from you maybe we can get you a job as a go-go dancer somewhere because that's all you'd be good for, except you'd have to wear a mask because your face is so scarred up."

The next two nights around the territory, Blackjack Mulligan continued his demolishing of Enforcer Luciano in Texas Street Fight matches, pounding the Enforcer into oblivion in Sumter, South Carolina and Charleston, South Carolina respectively. But Saturday night July 26th at the Charlotte Coliseum proved to be the most noteworthy arena event during the final days of July.

The super-spectacular card in Charlotte featured three title bouts, including NWA World's Heavyweight Champion Harley Race successfully beating back the challenge of Sweet Ebony Diamond. On that same star-studded card, and the Iron Sheik defeated Jim Brunzell in a wild and bloody No Disqualification bout. But the match of the night in Charlotte saw Greg Valentine defeat Ric Flair to capture the United States Heavyweight Championship with a clean win over the Nature Boy to the chagrin of the Charlotte faithful.

On Monday the 28th in the Greenville Memorial Auditorium and the following evening in the Columbia Township Auditorium, Ric Flair reversed roles and challenged Greg Valentine for the U.S. Title. While winning both of those contests by disqualification, the frustrated Nature Boy left both South Carolina venues title-less.

The final major arena card of the month of July occurred on the 29th at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia for a rare Tuesday night show, as Hampton cards were normally held on Saturday. What made this card additionally abnormal, was a power outage that occurred in the building during a tag team match pitting Swede Hanson and Enforcer Luciano against Special Delivery Jones and Johnny Weaver! Auxiliary power kicked in and the show went on with that tag match, with the bad guys prevailing once the lights returned.

The two main events in Hampton had significant pre-match buildups. The No Disqualification Mid-Atlantic Title bout between the Iron Sheik and Jim Brunzell had the feel of a last chance match for the challenger from White Bear Lake, Minnesota. In an in-your-area promo for the Hampton area fans, Brunzell told announcer Rich Landrum, "I don't like this match, Rich, but it's all boiled down to this. It's the only way things are going to be settled in the Mid-Atlantic area as far as I'm concerned, as far as the Iron Sheik is concerned. I'm tired of being put down, I'm frustrated, and I'm gonna vent those frustrations in this No Disqualification match. Sheik, I hope you're ready brother." Jim came up short in this critical matchup, which signaled the beginning of the end of Brunzell's year-plus successful Mid-Atlantic run.

The other main event in Hampton featured a World Tag Team Title encounter between champions Jimmy Snuka and Ray Stevens and challengers Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood, with the special stipulation of Johnny Weaver being in the corner of the "good guys" to counteract the champs' manager Gene Anderson. This stipulation was a direct result of Anderson interfering in a televised impromptu match between the two teams.

In an in-your-area promo for the Hampton faithful, Youngblood explained to announcer Rich Landrum, "You know, we asked Johnny to be in our corner and he jumped at the chance, because Johnny's the type of a man that likes to see a person get a fair break. That means Gene Anderson, there's gonna be law and order in that ring...we've got everything to gain and nothing to lose. And Hampton's gonna be the place where we get those belts back!" Unfortunately for the fan-favorites, while they won the match by DQ, they didn't carry the prized belts out with them. Much like the Sheik-Brunzell outcome, this decision portended storm clouds on the horizon for the Steamboat-Youngblood team in this feud.

The final TV taping of the month of July occurred on July 30th in the WRAL TV studios in Raleigh, and it was one to remember! Greg Valentine was announced as the new United States Heavyweight Champion, and came out on the TV set dressed in a tuxedo with two lovely ladies in tow. Greg gloated over his win, taunting Ric Flair and told Caudle and Crockett, "I'm not worried about challengers right now, I'm not accepting any challengers because I'm just gonna enjoy what this [belt] brings me...lots of money, and the fringe benefits right here."

Back in the control room listening to Valentine's diatribe, Ric Flair couldn't listen to anymore without taking action. The Nature Boy joined Valentine on the set, and proceeded to get the jump on the "Hammer" and tore virtually all of Greg's fancy clothes off, to the amazement of Valentine's girlfriends! However, Flair paid a heavy price for his embarrassing Valentine, as Greg's buddy "Bad Boy" Bobby Duncum came from the back and conked the Nature Boy flush with a steel chair with a sickening thud that reverberated through the TV studio.

Flair appeared at the end of the show, and thanked Johnny Weaver for taking his place in his schedule match. Ric said he was headed to the hospital to get checked out after the serious blow to his head. Duncum's involvement with the chair-shot later caused Flair to call his friend Blackjack Mulligan for assistance, and set up exciting tag team bouts featuring Duncum and Valentine against Flair and Mulligan as the calendar flipped over from July to August of 1980.

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Go back and review the entire month of July 1980!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Blackjack Mulligan's Public House

This place may have been founded by Blackjack's Irish cousins, he and his west Texas crew never mentioned it to us while down in Odessa and Sweetwater.

So how did we not know about this place? Blackjack Mulligan's Public House, two locations, one in Garfield, NJ, the other in Secaucus, NJ.

The next Mid-Atlantic Gateway Board Meeting is going to be held there. Last barstools on the right. I guess we'll flip a coin to figure out which location, although I'm thinking Garfield because they have Rib Night every Thursday.

Road trip!

JCP on WTBS: World Championship Wrestling 11/2/85

World Championship Wrestling
Jim Crockett Promotions
November 2nd 1985
Episode on the WWE Network

This is a review of World Championship Wrestling as it appeared on the WWE Network, and was prepared by @Dynasty_heel

Episode starts off with a tape of the Midnight expressing attacking Jimmy Valiant however it was brief.

Tony Schiavone and David Crockett on commentary.

Shows a tape from October 19th in Greensboro, Magnum T.A vs Tully Blanchard in progress, showing that both men could not get to their feet within the 10 count.

1st Match
Raging Bull (Manny Fernandez) vs Tommy Lane.

Match starts off with a crisscross between the wrestlers with Bull hitting a hip toss on Lane, shortly after Bull decides to do an arm drag and work on the arm along with some vicious chops to the chess. Bull wins with the forearm strike flying burrito.


Interview with Ric Flair by David Crockett.
Flair basically says that he’s been defending the World championship all over the world, and mentions how his farther was “the greatest physician in the whole state of Minnesota” and continues to say that Its impossible for Dusty Rhodes to wrestle with a broken leg. And he says that if Rhodes makes the mistake of getting back in the ring he will simply laugh at him.

Interview with Arn and Ole Anderson.
Arn says that Dusty is “Long on guts, but short on brains” because he choose to take the cast of his leg. Then explains that It’s mentally impossible for him to make it back. Ole says something similar to what Arn said in that Its “Too Soon” for Rhodes to make it back to the ring.
The Minnesota Wrecking Crew seems to be cheered weirdly enough by the entire TV Studio

Match Two
Buddy Landel vs Tony Zane
Match starts off by Landel going straight for Lane with left and rights in the corner to Zane, Landel then hits his Elbow drop, applies his Figure 4 leg lock and Zane taps out.

Interview with James J Dillon
Dillon begins by talking about Starrcade and issues a challenge to Terry Taylor for the National Heavyweight Title. Landel shines in and says, that he’s sick and tired of just beating guys that he knows that he can beat and he wants the National title.

Match Three
The Rock and Roll Express vs Mike Davis and George South
The match starts off with The Rock and Roll Express working on the leg with double team moves and submissions. Davis and South get the upper hand only for the R&R Express hitting a double dropkick for the pin.

Interview with Tully Blanchard
Talking about his match with Magnum T.A and states that it took him 3 days to recover from it.

TAPE - NWA President Bob Geigel states that he cannot sanction a match between T.A and Blanchard in an I quit Match because of the animosity between the two, and it’s simply too dangerous.

Match Four
Billy Jack Haynes vs Black Cat
Match starts off slow, with chinlocks and Haynes striking at the Black Cat. Haynes then Irish Whips Cat and executes a hiptoss followed by a suplex and an elbow drop but It wasn’t enough to put Cat away, Haynes applies a Full Nelson and Cat submits for the win.


Interview with Dusty’s Doctor Joeseph Estwanik
Who explains Dusty’s new cast which is new invented over the past couple of years and the goal is to allow him to compete and still provide protection. They then compare a regular wrestling boot and Dusty’s custom made boots, in which they say that his new boot will again provide further protection, and his doctor will soon reevaluate his ankle

Match Five
Magnum T.A vs Keith Erich
Standard T.A studio match, hits the belly-to- belly within seconds and gets the pin for the win.

Interview with Superstar Billy Graham
Graham’s Interview quickly gets interrupted by Paul Jones, and simply says that if he doesn’t have the guts to get in the ring before the arm wrestling contest, then he can tell the people. Billy then says that he wants to arm wrestle the Barbarian for 5,000 dollars and is questioning where he is.

Match Six
Superstar Billy Graham vs Abdullah The Butcher
As Graham was taking off his T-Shirt he gets attacked by Abdullah and slams him into the post, shortly after he repeatedly headbutts Graham’s arm, however Graham was able too fight off Butcher and strangle him with some kind of cable. But Abdullah quickly gains the advantage by choking him on the ropes and with outside help form Jones. After that Graham locks on a bear hug however Abdullah gets out off it and tries to hit his running elbow,  but Graham gets out of harms way before The Barbarian interferes and hits two diving headbutts. Match ends in Disqualification.


Match Seven
Pez Whatley vs Benny Traylor
Match starts off with a side headlock by Whatley, then transitions into a hammerlock as he hits kneedrops onto the arm. Whatley later on hits a gutwrench and goes into a chinlock, soon hits a backdrop and stomps on the face and once again goes back to the Hammerlock. As the match progressed, Whatley started to get slightly mad at Traylor for pulling his hair as he went back into the side headlock more aggressively, flying headbutt for the pin.

Interview with Black Bart and James. J Dillon
Dillon goes on too say that in Pro Wrestling Illustrated, he is running 3rd or 4th for manager of the year. He takes that as a personal insult because for the past two years in a row, he was manager of the year back to back. Bart then explains that Bass “Doesn’t stand a chance” against him at Starrcade in their Texas Bullrope match and reassures Dillon that Bass won’t get past him because if Bass beats Bart, he gets 5 minutes with Dillon.


Interview with Jim Crockett Jr
Crockett announces that next week, Billy Jack Haynes vs Thunderfoot will happen on the program.
Tony Schiavone and David Crockett talk about the tag team title match at Starrcade, The Russians vs The Rock and Roll express as they begin to run down the Starrcade card.

Crockett announces a Mexican Deathmatch with Manny Fernandez vs Abdullah The Butcher. And goes on to say that he needs to solve the rivalry with Magnum T.A and Tully Blanchard.

TAPE: They show a tape where T.A kisses Baby Doll and partially strips her before Blanchard jumps him from behind as a wild brawl ensues.  Crockett also  announces that they are sanctioning the I quit match in a steel cage for the U.S heavyweight title.


Match Eight
Tully Blanchard vs Denny Brown
Tully is enraged about the match at Starrcade being sanctioned as he goes full speed at Brown, with quick elbows and vicious body slams. Brown attempts a sunset flip but Blanchard kicks out as Brown gains control of the match before Blanchard slams his head into the corner. But yet again Brown somehow manages to get the upper hand, he then  goes to the second rope and dives at Blanchard but he got his knees up. Slingshot Suplex for the pin.

The Minnesota Wrecking Crew are back out and similar to Tully, they are losing it at the fact that Crockett made the I quit match official. Ole in particular mentions that he knows “ a whole bunch of lawyers” and complains that before, Tully only had one more commitment to wrestle T.A but now since the I quit Match is now sanctioned he know has two  matches with T.A. and says that if they even get one chance they are going to take T.A out. Arn then comments on Dusty’s boot and gives a scenario were if his arm was hurt, he would get Ole to tape it up, and they would go to the ring.


Match Nine
Nikita Koloff vs Mac Jeffers
Usual Nikita match at this point with him basically destroying his opponent, as he hits a back elbow and slams his head into the corner, then proceeds to choke his opponents as shortly after he his the "Sickle" for the pin.

Interview with the Russians, with Nikita talking about what seems to be talking about Ric Flair and his championship (It is hard to understand what he's saying. Krusher then explains how the Road Warriors are "lost" and how they keep facing people who are shorter than them. Ivan says that they want to prove a point, and starts talking about the Rock and Roll express, and how dangerous the Steel Cage can be.

Match Ten
Ivan Koloff and Khrusher Khrushchev vs Ricky Reeves and Jerry Garmon.
Ivan hits a back elbow along with a body slam and a leg drop as he tags in Khrushchev, he then hip tosses his opponent out of the corner, throughout the match, quick tags are being shown by The Russians. Khrushchev then hits some devastating strikes in the corner as Ivan hits a double axe handle off the second rope. Khrushchev hits a "Sickle" for the pin.

Match Eleven
Jimmy Valiant vs Jimmy Black
Valiant right from the start goes after black as he hits a huge back drop, then works on a nerve submission. A lady then appears from the crown and gets in the ring to kiss Valiant only to walk away, but before that, she knocks out Black with a right hand and Jimmy gets the pin.

Interview with Jim Cornette
Cornette claims that Valiant knows who the mysterious woman is , and he planned the whole thing out from the start. Valiant then interrupts and is overjoyed about the woman and says that he's in love, as they play back the tape of the woman kissing him and he quickly kisses Tony Schiavone  as the show ends.

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This summary was prepared for the Mid-Atlantic Gateway by @Dynasty_heel
Please note: This summary and review was prepared for the Mid-Atlantic Gateway and does not necessarily represent the views of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway or its publishers or editors. It is for information purposes only and is published here with permission.

This material is not affiliated in any way with the WWE Network,, or World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Remembering George Harben

by Mike Cline
Mid-Atlantic Grapplin' Greats
Published here with permission from the author.

Do you remember George Harben?  I certainly do.

I remember George Harben as the ring announcer on WBTV's CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING TV program, which was video taped every Wednesday night in Charlotte and broadcast that following Saturday afternoon.

And for a number of those years, the same program was broadcast over WBTV's 'sister station' in Florence, South Carolina.

However, Mr. Harben's career in the wrestling business went back quite a bit further than announcing on television and at house shows at PARK CENTER and the CHARLOTTE COLISEUM.

Harben was born in Stone Mountain, Georgia, a famous historical spot that is still visited by tourists the year round. He broke into the business as a wrestler in 1933 and had an active career until retiring in 1956.

In 1935, George helped train one of the all-time greats of modern wrestling, none other than LOU THESZ, who went on to become WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION six times. THESZ was a young boy of eighteen when he worked with Harben.

In 1940, during the years of World War 2, George Harben made a trip to Australia by boat to wrestle and was on board when the vessel was struck by a mine off the coast of New Zealand.

He also wrestled in Cuba before Fidel Castro took control of that country.

George Harben wrestled with his brother Charlie over most of the United States as a tag team. The two were in the main event that drew the largest crowd to ever witness a wrestling card at the old CHARLOTTE ARMORY. It was in early 1953, and the Harbens' opponents were GEORGE and BOBBY BECKER.

Besides his ring announcing duties for JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS, Harben also assisted in advertising the company's wrestling shows in several other towns besides Charlotte and for a while promoted house shows in Hickory, North Carolina.

George Harben passed away some years ago, but I can still his voice---
"Good evening Ladies and Gentleman and welcome to another exciting evening of Championship Wrestling on Channel 3."

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Originally published on Mid-Atlantic Grapplin' Greats, October 25, 2016 
Published here with permission from the author.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Charlotte Wrestling History: The National Hat Shop

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Growing up watching wrestling in the 1970s in Kingsport, TN, our cable system carried WBTV-3 out of Charlotte for a few years. This was around 1975-1978 and I saw some of the great local promotional spots for the cards each week in Charlotte at the Park Center or at the Charlotte Coliseum (now known as Bojangles Coliseum.)

The local promos were the way the local events were sold, and they were often more fun than the wrestling matches we saw on TV. Conducted in those years by the great Les Thatcher, these interviews would always include information on the screen with the date of the show, the town, and the venue. They also included information on where one could go to buy advance tickets.

For just about as long as the Crockett family promoted wrestling in Charlotte, the primary advance ticket outlet there was the National Hat Shop on South Tryon Street.

Newspaper ad for wrestling at the Park Center:
"Tickets on sale National Hat Shop"

Gary Silverstein is the son of the man who owned the National Hat Shop, a Charlotte landmark for just over five decades. I communicated with Gary via email awhile back and he was nice enough to share some information about the National Hat Shop and his father's relationship with Jim Crockett, Sr.

"My dad's name was Isadore Silverstein, but he was always called Izzy. He opened National Hat Shop in 1932. We had four different locations on South Tryon Street. Previous to that, he'd owned a cigar shop (Dixie Cigar Store on E Trade) and was selling tickets to events at the old Armory, the predecessor to the Park Center and the Grady Cole Center.

He was in charge of the box office for all Crockett Promotion events. In fact for the Monday night wrestling events, my dad would bring the money home with him and make the deposit for the Crocketts. Jim Crockett was a close friend of my father, as was Grady Cole.

My Grandfather came to Charlotte in around 1896 and opened the Vogue Men's Clothing store. My dad was born here in 1903. We continued to sell tickets to almost every event held at both the Coliseum and the Grady Cole Center (this was prior to Ticketmaster) until I closed the store in 1983."

Look closely at the photo above. Hanging from the upper level of the Charlotte Park Center are two banners: the one on the left is for wrestling each week on WBTV 3. The one on the right is for advance tickets at the National Hat Shop.

My thanks to Gary Silverstein for sharing these memories of an important part of Charlotte's wrestling history.

(A version of this story was originally posted in 2012
on the old Mid-Atlantic Gateway website in the 
Potpourri section of the Resource Center.)

Friday, May 10, 2019

Action Figures Friday: Valentine and Raschke!

Another great presentation from our friends Scottie and Reggie at Wrestler Weekly.

This time they feature the NWA World Tag Team Champions Greg Valentine and Baron Von Raschke in front of one of the classic issues of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Magazine from that era.

Man, these little belts make the whole thing work!  Check out the Wrestler Weekly twitter feed for more great wrestling memories, tributes, and memorabilia.