Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Bill Murdock Remembers George Scott

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Author Bill Murdock

Bill Murdock recently wrote a wonderful piece remembering the late, great George Scott.

Scott was the booker for Jim Crockett Promotions from 1973 through 1981 and was responsible creatively for most of what wound up being a huge boom period for the company during that time.

Although we've only gotten to know each other in recent years, Bill and I grew up watching "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" on the same TV station each Saturday back in the day - WFBC (now WYFF) channel 4 out of Greenville, SC. Every Saturday at 1:00 PM.

I like Bill's writing very much. His book "Brisco" (Jack Brisco's autobiography that Bill helped Jack write, and recently re-published by Crowbar Press) is one of my favorite books.

I always seem to gravitate to sentimental, nostalgic writing about wrestling, especially Mid-Atlantic Wrestling, and his piece on Scott resonated with me.

An excerpt:

Countless heroes adorned our bedroom walls in posters and pictures in our youthful days filling us with admiration and fueling our young dreams and aspirations. My friends’ heroes came mostly from the football field, the basketball court, the boxing ring, or the baseball diamond.

They came from the Green Bay Packers, the New York Jets, and the Miami Dolphins. They came from the Boston Celtics, the Milwaukee Bucks, and the Los Angeles Lakers. And they came from the Atlanta Braves, the Oakland A’s, and the Cincinnati Reds. Mine came from the ring in the old Asheville City Auditorium.

My first hero was George Scott.

George Scott was a professional wrestler.

George Scott was my friend.

The article also informs about George Scott's supportive role in the early days of Eblen Charities, an organization in Asheville, NC that assists families in western North Carolina in times of need. Bill serves as CEO of Eblen Charities.

Read "Remembering George Scott" by Bill Murdock.


https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/remembering-george-scott-bill-murdock?articleId=6175796016252534784#comments-6175796016252534784&trk=prof-post
George Scott with Andre the Giant on the set of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, circa 1975

The "Gateway Boys" with George Scott at the 2004 Mid-Atlantic Wrestling
Legends Fanfest in Charlotte.

http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/p/us-title-book.html

Monday, August 29, 2016

Mr. Fuji Passes Away

Tenryu and Mr. Fuji
Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champions (1981)

We were saddened to learn of the passing of Mr. Fuji (Harry Fujiwara) this past weekend.

While remembered more today for his work in the WWE, both as an in ring competitor and manager, the Mid-Atlantic Gateway remembers Mr. Fuji fondly as a champion in the Mid-Atlantic territory, teaming with a young Genichiro Tenryu in 1981 to defeat Dewey Robertson and George Wells for the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championship.

He was also in the territory in the early 1970s. Les Thatcher once wrote in one of the promotional magazines for Jim Crockett Promotions:

"His pet hold "the cobra" is the move to watch for. When he locks it on his man, you can start to put on your coat."

Our condolences go out to Mr. Fuji's friends, family, and colleagues.

From the WWE Network
WWE HOF Career Highlights Video

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Dream Team: Flair & Valentine (Part 7)

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Before diving in to Part 7, check out all the previous installments of the "Dream Team."
Parts: 1  2  3  4  5  6

PART SEVEN
On the World Wide Wrestling television program that was taped on May 28, 1980 from the WRAL TV studios, Greg Valentine called Ric Flair out to the set and seemingly sincerely said to Ric, “I would like to say one thing. I know you’re the U.S. Champion, you’re a very good U.S. Champion…I wanna tell you that right now. I still have a lot of respect for you, Ric. I wanna say one thing, and I want all the people to hear this as well as you. I’ve made a mistake. I know it’s hard for you to believe that I’m sayin’ this, but I’ve made a mistake. I’ve done a lot of thinking; I’ve done a lot of thinking the last couple of weeks.”

Valentine continued, “Six months ago I came in from New York and I asked you to be my partner again [as we learned in Part 6], and I was very rude to you. Right here, I think it was in this same studio. But I would just like to say right now that it’s never been the same in the ring without you, it’s never been the same outside the ring without you. When we were together that two to three years, it was the most fantastic time in my professional wrestling career…I want you to know that. And I’m speaking from the bottom of my heart, I’m sincere, this is no joke. I wish you would take me or at least consider, or think about it, take me back as your partner. I’m not asking you to come on my side to be my partner; I’m asking you to take me back. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

 
This feature includes CLASSIC AUDIO from May of 1980
at the bottom of this post.

Announcer Rich Landrum was shocked, and said, “Ric…this is a surprise to me. I would NEVER expect this.” Ric incredulously responded, “I can’t believe what you’re saying. You realize the money we’ve thrown away by you not thinkin’ about this earlier? Remember what I told you? I said on this side of the fence you get to enjoy life; you get nice letters from people that believe in you. You get to enjoy life without people throwin’ stuff at you and callin’ you names. You get to hold your head up high. I told you this six months ago! I can’t believe you’ve come out here.”

Flair paused, and then continued, saying, “I tell ya, I think you’re a helluva man for standin’ out here and admitting it, if you’re sincere. And I really wish you were, because if you and I, if I could believe you were sincere, and you and I could get it together again brother, I got two guys, three guys in line that just couldn’t handle Valentine and Flair standin’ side by side again! But, I just find it hard to believe that you’d call me out here.”

Valentine quickly responded, “Let me say one more thing. Now, maybe a lot of the fans don’t know this…we had one heck of a wrestling match just about a week ago in Greensboro, North Carolina for your U.S. belt, your gold you call it. I just want to say, we went the time limit, it was a sixty minute time limit, it was the toughest match I’ve ever had in my professional wrestling career. I just wanted to let you know that you’re the most fantastic wrestler of all-time, I mean I’m sincere, I’m sincere, you’re one tough dude. Nobody could beat us together in that ring. And I still have all the respect and admiration, I always have for you Ric. I mean, we were the best of friends. I just want to seal it, and I want you to think about being my partner, and I just want to shake your hand, really. I mean, at least do that, at least think about it.”

An emotional Nature Boy said, “Aw man, you know you make my heart flutter when you talk to me like that, because if I could believe you brother…” Valentine interrupted, “I’m sincere; I am sincere.” Flair continued, “If you’re sincere, and you want to come over to my side of the tracks, you wanna lead that life that I’m leadin’ right now? Hey, I’m gonna give it some serious thought. If you can stand out here, Valentine I’ve never said you weren’t a man. And I’ve never said you weren’t a double-tough guy; I’ve told everybody that. I’ll always respect you. You’re on, and I’ll give it some thought.”

Anderson's Army
Ray Stevens, Jimmy Snuka, and The Iron Sheik
Ultimately, Flair gave Valentine the benefit of the doubt and the “Dream Team” reunited, and their first match back together was on June 8, 1980 in the Greensboro Coliseum. Ric and Greg were booked to battle the nefarious team of Jimmy Snuka and the Iron Sheik, managed by Gene Anderson. The tag team match started normally, but it turned out to be anything but a normal tag team bout!

When Flair attempted to tag Valentine in when Ric felt he needed a breather, Greg refused to tag. After that snub, Ric made another attempt to tag his “Dream Team” partner, and the nightmare for Flair began in earnest. Valentine jumped off the apron of the ring, and clearly had no intention of ever assisting Ric. Clearly, Valentine had suckered Flair! Without a tag team partner that would assist him, Ric was brutalized by Snuka and the Sheik before being pinned. If that was not bad enough, Valentine then joined the beat-down, grabbed the cane that Gene Anderson sported in his managerial capacity, and cracked Flair in the face with it. This vicious blow broke the Nature Boy’s nose, and led to a major feud between the “Dream Team” members that went on hot and heavy for the remainder of 1980, including multiple switches of the United States Heavyweight Championship. Valentine would even call himself the new “Nature Boy!”



After this major blowup between Flair and Valentine in 1980, it seemed impossible that the “Dream Team” would ever operate as a tag team again. But lo and behold, fast forward to the end of 1982 and early 1983, and Flair and Valentine would reunite one final time, for a memorable last hurrah!


Stay tuned for the final installment - - PART 8 of the "Dream Team!"


Saturday, August 27, 2016

This Was a Party Not to Miss

by Andy McDaniel
Special to the Gateway

When I think back over my years as a wrestling fan (over 40 now) there have certainly been many great memories. As is obvious, some stand out more than others. I enjoy sharing some of these old stories with my friends here at the Gateway. I was so blessed to spend some time with Dick and David during the recent Fanfest in Charlotte and was so glad to be there to witness their Hall of Heroes induction, it was a great moment indeed. The introduction they got from Bob Caudle was simply awesome to say the least.

I recently came across a picture that reminded me of a special moment in my life as a wrestling fan. In 1974 I attended my very first wrestling match. It was in the historic County Hall located in Charleston, SC. It would become a normal part of my week as a youngster, as me and my dad would make that venture down to County Hall for the 8:15 bell time as many Friday nights as possible. I remember on one of those rides down we were passing a van and as I looked over, I could not believe it, it was Ric Flair. I could not believe that I had just actually witnessed him driving down the road like a regular person. I was thrilled and wanted my dad to drive slow so we could follow him to county hall. (What a silly kid, but I was like 5 or 6.)

There was always something about Ric that just drew me in as a fan, regardless of which “side of the fence” he was on that particular time. Well indeed the years went on and we all know the business changed many times over, but the one constant always seemed to be Ric Flair. He was still “the man.” He was still styling and profiling as only he could do. During 1998 when I was putting together the reunion show we did at County Hall, Ric did some local promos for us and was even coming to the show, but during that time his dad was ill and he was unable to make it. However, it was still pretty incredible that we had his endorsement for what we were doing.

Later the next year, Mike Mooneyham called me and asked if I was busy in the next couple of days. At the time I was still on the road as a deputy sheriff and so indeed I had a shift coming up. Mike asked if I could possibly get my shift covered or simply be out, naturally I asked him why. He would then tell me that if I could make arrangements, that I could go with him to Ric Flair’s 50th birthday party. I could not believe what I was hearing. Here I was, a lifetime fan, and now I had the chance to be at something so personal. I immediately said yes without actually knowing how I would do it. In fact, I didn’t even check, I just went, and called in sick. Looking back now some 17 years later, I normally would not take such a risk or be so spontaneous, but this was a literal once in a lifetime moment, so I went. We had a ball and although short, I got a few minutes to speak with Ric and share a few personal memories and a special personal story of how my oldest daughter, Morgan, was indeed named so because of his middle name also being, Morgan. He seemed truly moved that he meant that much to a fan.

The years have gone by and all of us have gotten older, yes even the Nature Boy, but the memories are still fresh and will never be forgotten. So Naitch, the last 40 some odd years as a wrestling fan have been great and from the passing moment on I-26, to all the great moments in the ring, to the birthday party and now hearing the old stories on the "Ric Flair Show" podcast, I simply say thank you. It's been great. Woooo!!!!
 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Crockett Foundation: J.J. Dillon's Early Days for JCP

CrockettFoundation.com

The Crockett Foundation has posted an interview that the Mid-Atlantic Gateway conducted with James J. Dillon exclusively for their Foundation website.

When most fans today think of James J. Dillon, they think Four Horsemen. "J. J.'s Early Days" is a short discussion with Dillon about his early career stint as a wrestler with Jim Crockett Promotions in the early 1970s, before the passing of patriarch Jim Crockett, Sr.

Topics discussed include his memories of Jim Sr., the old Crockett office on Morehead Street in Charlotte, his first match for JCP, thoughts and memories on guys that helped 'Jim Dillon' along the way, and what his time in the 'Charlotte territory' meant for his career moving forward.

Dillon had a hall-of-fame career (he's now in three different pro wrestling halls of fame) and was involved in many aspects of the business as a wrestler, manager, and in management behind the scenes for Jim Crockett Promotions, World Championship Wrestling, and the WWE. He is now a "tag team partner" of the Crockett Foundation.

Check out the interview with J.J. on the Crockett Foundation website.


https://crockettfoundation.com/store/

"Tag in; help out!" 
Support the Crockett Foundation with your purchase of their classic "Four Horsemen" t-shirts, as well as caps and other goodies, all available on the Crockett Foundation online store.

The Crockett Foundations is a tax-exempt 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Official "Ric Flair Show" T-Shirt!

Image on the "Ric Flair Show" official t-shit.
The first official "Ric Flair Show" t-shirt is now available from ProWrestlingTees.com.

The black t-shirt sports the official "Ric Flair Show" logo on 100% preshrunk heavyweight cotton tees and printed with DTG (Direct to Garment) printers.

Support your favorite podcast and purchase your "Ric Flair Show" t-shirt today! They ship worldwide.

The "Ric Flair Show" is part of the MLW Radio Network. A new show rolls out every Wednesday at 9 PM ET. This week's show features two amazing guests, former WWE world champion Kurt Angle and UFC's head honcho Dana White!

For more information on the show including how and where to download it, visit RicFlairShow.com.

The Mid-Atlantic Gateway is a proud sponsor of "This Week in History" on the Ric Flair Show!


http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/p/big-gold.html

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Rhodes and Slater defend the World Tag Team Titles in the Mid-Atlantic Area - - Almost

PART SEVEN
by Dick Bourne and Mark Eastridge
Mid-Atlantic Gateway
includes Vintage Classic Audio

As we've discussed in 7 earlier installments in this series, full time wrestlers from both the Mid-Atlantic territory and the Georgia territory made special appearances in each other's areas for one-night events.

While Augusta Georgia was "ground zero" for Georgia Championship Wrestling in this exchange, Georgia stars appeared in many different Mid-Atlantic towns during this time period including Richmond, Charlotte, and Greensboro, and others.

In September of 1976, reigning NWA world tag team champions the Anderson brothers left the Mid-Atlantic territory to go to Georgia, and they took their NWA world tag team title belts with them. A year later, they lost those belts to the unlikely pairing of Dusty Rhodes and Dick Slater on 9/23/77 in Atlanta.

Rhodes and Slater were scheduled to come to the Mid-Atlantic territory to defend their newly won titles on October 30 in Greensboro, and actually had sent in video taped interviews to promote the match to be aired in the local Greensboro TV market. Newspaper ads ran advertising Rhodes and Slater bringing their titles to Greensboro to face former champions Ric Flair and Greg Valentine.

 
But before Rhodes and Slater made it here with the belts for the 10/30 show, they lost them back to the Andersons on 10/14/77 in Atlanta. Greensboro newspaper ads, seen above, were revised to reflect the Andersons as new champions.

"Dusty Rhodes, you may call yourself  'the American Dream' but you're going up against the Dream Team!"  - Greg Valentine 

Here is rare vintage audio of Valentine and Flair welcoming Rhodes and Slater to town:


Vintage Audio: Greg Valentine and Ric Flair promote their scheduled match with Rhodes and Slater


 
I've always hated that Dusty Rhodes and Dick Slater never made it here with the tag team belts. It would have been an interesting match-up between them and Flair and Valentine - - to say the very least!

And it's nice to hear Greg Valentine use the term "Dream Team" - - that's the name of David Chappell's ongoing 8-part series about Mid-Atlantic Wrestling's "dream team" of the 1970s, Ric Flair and Greg Valentine.

More of the Mid-Atlantic/Georgia Wrestling partnership to come!