Monday, September 28, 2015

Mid-Atlantic Stars Challenge for Georgia Gold in Augusta, GA (1977)

by Dick Bourne & Mark Eastridge
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Our ongoing series spotlighting the talent exchange between Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling and Georgia Championship Wrestling in 1977 continues this week with an awesome show in Augusta, GA the first Monday in May.

In PART ONE, we looked at the Valentine's night show in Augusta. PART TWO featured a look at one of Georgia's top babyface Thunderbolt Patterson making special appearances in the Mid-Atlantic area challenging for the U.S. title and the world tag team titles.

In Part Three, we return to Augusta, GA, which was ground zero for these talent exchanges, located right on the Georgia/South Carolina border and in the television mix of both promotions. The May 2nd card at the legendary Bell Auditorium had an incredible line-up where all of the challengers for the Georgia titles were from the Mid-Atlantic territory.


Paul Jones vs. The Masked Superstar for the Georgia Heavyweight Championship

Paul Jones was the reigning Georgia heavyweight champion. He had been a long time regular in the Mid-Atlantic territory for many years, but was campaigning in the state of Georgia for the spring and summer of 1977. His challenger for the Georgia title was the Masked Superstar, who was one of the top heels in the Mid-Atlantic territory and in the middle of a red-hot feud with the Mighty Igor there. Later in 1977, Jones and Superstar would begin a heated and violent feud in the Mid-Atlantic territory that even resulted in the Superstar cutting Paul Jones hair. And years later the Superstar would become a regular star in the Georgia territory in the early 1980s. But for this one night, he unsuccessfully challenged Jones for the Georgia title, losing on disqualification for outside interference by Boris Malenko. Malenko was also a guest on this Georgia card, but was Superstar's manager in the Mid-Atlantic territory. 

Thunderbolt Patterson vs. Boris Malenko for the Georgia TV Title

The second main event that night was "Professor" Boris Malenko challenging "T-Bolt" Thunderbolt Patterson for the Georgia TV championship. Malenko was a veteran of all the southern NWA territories and was a recognized name in Georgia. Thunderbolt had been a big part of this talent-sharing period with the Mid-Atlantic territory, and had just days earlier been in Hampton, VA teaming with Wahoo McDaniel to challenge Ric Flair and Greg Valentine for the NWA world tag team championships in a Mid-Atlantic main event.

The Anderson Brothers vs. Johnny Weaver and Tiger Conway, Jr. for the Georgia Tag Team Titles

The third main event that night featured the reigning Georgia tag team champions Gene and Ole Anderson being challenged for those belts by the Mid-Atlantic duo of Johnny Weaver and Tiger Conway, Jr.

The Anderson Brothers were Georgia regulars during this time, but were still making regular Mid-Atlantic appearances in their old home territory trying to regain the NWA world tag team championship from Ric Flair and Greg Valentine. The Andersons had brought the world tag team titles to Georgia in the fall of 1976 and planned to keep them there until Flair and Valentine had snatched them away right after Christmas of 1976.  In the meantime, the Andersons had won the Georgia tag titles and were taking on all challengers, including the unusual Mid-Atlantic challenge of Weaver and Conway this night in Augusta.


Fans in Augusta had to be thrilled to see some of the top Mid-Atlantic stars making their town and challenging for the top titles in the Georgia territory.

The Mid-Atlantic challengers appeared to be in for one-shot deals as the Masked Superstar, Boris Malenko (managing Superstar at that time), and Tiger Conway were back in the Mid-Atlantic territory the next night in Raleigh NC, and Johnny Weaver was in Columbia, SC the next night as well.

This Georgia card had a great Mid-Atlantic feel to it with all of the Mid-Atlantic challengers and former Mid-Atlantic regulars in the main events. But the undercard had a Mid-Atlantic feel to it as well with the opening two matches featuring all guys who had been regulars in the Mid-Atlantic territory in 1975-1976 - Randy Savage (who had teamed under his real name Randy Poffo with his brother Randy Poffo in 1975), Roberto Soto (also teaming earlier in the Carolinas and Virginia with his brother Manuel Soto and battling the Anderson brothers), and Charlie Fulton and Don Kernodle (who had been opening card talent for Jim Crockett Promotions for several years.)

The following week, however, the crossover of Mid-Atlantic/Georgia talent would present one of the most amazing breaks from kayfabe during an era where those breaks were very rare. Stay tuned for May 9 in Augusta, GA next time we visit the Mid-Atlantic/Georgia talent exchange!

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Summary of articles in this series.
View all current articles in this series on one page.