Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Vintage Audio Recordings from "The Tournament"

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

One Night Tournament for the Vacant United States Championship
Sunday, November 9, 1975
Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro NC

Archived audio from the original television broadcast.

Another indication of what a huge event the 1975 U.S. title tournament was for Jim Crockett Promotions was the manner in which the event was recorded for airing later on television.

The use of 16mm film footage of big matches later shown on TV was quite common during those years. These typically involved a single film camera and no commentary. That wasn't good enough for this tournament.

Jim Crockett had the whole thing video taped with "Wide World Wrestling" announcer (and former long time Atlanta TV host) Ed Capral calling the matches, with various color commentators including David Crockett and Danny Miller. Capral had only joined the promotion one month earlier on the debut of the new program. Portions of three matches were shown on "Wide World Wrestling" episodes on 11/12/75 and 11/19/75.

Featured below are rare audio recordings of those three tournament matches. Two special interviews following the tournament will be presented here on Friday's update.

This rare, historic audio was recorded by the late Leslie Smith Johnson using a handheld portable audio cassette recorder, long before the advent of video cassette recorders. The recordings were donated to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway in 2005 by Leslie's brother Kent Smith. They were included in the 30th anniversary feature we did on the tournament that same year. We are forever indebted to Kent for this gift. We treasure these recordings and are proud to present them again here.

Please note: The embedded audio player may not display properly and may not play at all or may not play completely on some versions of mobile operating systems. For optimum use, these should be played on desktop systems. 



A Quarter-Final Match
Commentary by Ed Capral and Danny Miller
Rhodes had Mulligan in a headlock when Mulligan shot him into the ropes. The two collided and Dusty fell to the ringside floor, landing on top of one of the official judges Augie Wilde. Blackjack fell to his back in the ring. The referee was distracted by Rhodes and Wilde, and began issuing the ten-count on Rhodes to return to the ring. While this was going on, Tim Woods, who had his hand broken by Mulligan some weeks earlier, entered the ring. Woods hit Mulligan with his cast, knocking Mulligan unconscious. Rhodes beat the ten count and returned to the ring, and then covered the unconscious Mulligan for the three count.


A Semi-Final Match
Commentary by Ed Capral and David Crockett
Race held the advantage most of the match, using his trademark flying head butts and knee-drops. Jones caught him by surprise with the same maneuver he used earlier to defeat Ole Anderson, coming out of the ropes with a body press for the pinfall. A major advance for Jones as he defeats former United States champ and former NWA world champ Race to advance to the finals.


Tournament Final
Commentary by Ed Capral and David Crockett
Both wrestlers, exhausted from their earlier encounters, wrestled a methodical, scientific match early on. At the end, there were several back-and-forth near falls. Referee Greg Peterson was inadvertently knocked down, and while he was down, Jones was able to pin Funk for what seemed like a five or six count. Peterson, who was also physically involved earlier during the Wahoo/Race brawl, was unable to get into position to count the pin. Eventually, an exhausted Jones lifted Funk for a vertical suplex, but could not get Funk over. Funk quickly cradled Jones for a three count to win the match and the United States Heavyweight Championship.

A 16-page section of the massive 8x10" 250-page "Mid-Atlantic Wrestling 1975 Yearbook" is devoted to the historic U.S. title tournament in Greensboro.

Click here to order your copy: 1975 Yearbook