Sunday, January 31, 2016

Darius Rucker Puts the Minnesota Wrecking Crew in All-Time Top 5

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Ole and Gene Anderson
A few years ago, we posted a brief audio clip from "The Dan Patrick Show" radio broadcast where Patrick asked guest country music star Darius Rucker about his interest in pro wrestling.

Darius, a big Mid-Atlantic Wrestling fan going back to the early 1970s, ranked his top 5 greatest wrestlers of all-time and of course he had his long-time friend Ric Flair on the top of that list. But he also included a tag team in the list - Gene and Ole Anderson, the Minnesota Wrecking Crew.

That was a cool moment for me me personally, as the Anderson Brothers were among my favorites growing up as well. It was great hearing Darius mention their names in that list and on a national radio broadcast.

I thought I'd post that radio audio clip here again. Along with his all-time Top 5 greatest pro-wrestlers, Darius also mentions Mid-Atlantic legends Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson during the discussion with Dan Patrick.



(Audio clip also available on SoundCloud.)

Darius Rucker and Ric Flair
Darius was recently on Ric Flair's podcast "WOOOOO! Nation" and mentioned that he enjoyed reading the Mid-Atlantic Gateway and remembering all the great days of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling. We obviously marked out a little bit for that. (Thanks also to our good friend Conrad Thompson, Ric's co-host, for generously plugging the Mid-Atlantic Gateway as well.)

After listening to the audio clip above, be sure to check out Darius's appearance on WOOOOO! Nation with Ric Flair and Conrad Thompson available for free download (along with all of Ric's other podcasts) at www.Play.it.

Darius Rucker's current album is titled "Southern Style" and is available in stores and online at iTunes and Amazon.com. Visit his website at dariusrucker.com.




Saturday, January 30, 2016

Darius Rucker Joins Ric Flair on WOOOOO! Nation

  
"If my grandmother was alive, she would be so mad at me because I'm friends with Ric Flair. The one thing she always said, even when Ric turned babyface, the one thing she always said, "You can't trust that Ric Flair."  - Darius Rucker on WOOOOO! Nation

Man, I just love that. That was what growin' up watching wrestling was all about.

Ric Flair and Conrad Thompson on WOOOOO! Nation
Darius Rucker, who is a HUGE old school Mid-Atlantic wrestling fan, is Ric's guest this week on the 39th episode of WOOOO! Nation!

From the WOOOO! Nation website:
Ric and Darius go back almost 30 years to when Hootie & The Blowfish were playing bars in the Carolinas.  Ric shares incredible, hilarious stories and wrestling fans will be pleasantly surprised by how big a fan Darius was and still is.  Learn about how The American Dream, Dusty Rhodes inspired Darius when he was growing up.  A really great episode of WOOOOO! Nation!
 
Add a little Flair to your life by joining the Nature Boy every week as he talks pro wrestling, sports, tells stories like only he can, and interviews his celebrity friends. No topic is off limits for Flair during his weekly CBS podcast. Come join WOOOOO! Nation!

Ric Flair and Conrad Thompson are on "WOOOOO! Nation" right now! Check it out via iTunes or directly download from the WOOOOO! Nation page at the PLAY.IT website.

A Toast to Gordon Solie







I came across this song and thought a lot of you might get a kick out of it. A tribute to Gordon Solie by singer/songwriter Doug Boykin.

Want another? Check out "I Broke Wahoo's Leg" by Sweet G.A. Brown.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Another in the Long Line of Anderson Championships

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Part of our "Minnesota Wrecking Crew" Series

http://www.collegefootballplayoff.com/
Championships come in many forms.  But you normally wouldn't think of the College Football National Championship when you think of Anderson family championships.

Mid-Atlantic and Georgia tag team titles? Certainly. NWA world tag team championships? Most definitely. But a college football national championship?

Yes, indeed.

Add the 2015-2016 National College Football Playoff title to the long and storied list of Anderson family championships.

Gene Anderson
Pro-wrestling legend Gene Anderson, head of the famous Anderson wrestling family and founder of the Minnesota Wrecking Crew, died of a heart attack in 1991 at the age of 52 -- way too young -- and several years before his son Brad's three boys would be born. 

He would have been proud of all of his grandson's various accomplishments in school and athletics, but he would have been extremely proud of one particular recent accomplishment.

Blaine Anderson, the oldest son of Gene's only son Brad Anderson, was a high school football standout at Myers Park High School in Charlotte, NC. After graduation, he left home to attend college at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa and probably felt his football days were behind him.

But his desire to play football, a sport he truly loved, continued to gnaw at him. And so Blaine Anderson worked up the courage to do something most would never have the guts to even consider: walk-on at one of the top college football programs in the nation, a team that has its pick of the best high school players in the country. What were the odds, one might reasonably ask. The Alabama Crimson Tide is arguably one of the two or three most storied programs in all of college football history.

Blaine tried out his sophomore year. "The day before school started I found out I didn’t make the final roster," he told Rick Bonnell in the Charlotte Observer. But Blaine's's ability and determination had apparently caught the eye of someone in the program. "My junior summer I was told they wanted me back if I still wanted to come back."

He did, and this time Blaine made the team.

"It took a lot of willpower not to quit with all the running and conditioning," he told the Charlotte Observer. Yet he persevered.

His contributions as a defensive back were mainly on the scout team. But anyone in football will tell you what a critical role those on the scout team play in a team's preparation for their next opponent, especially when your team is gunning for a national championship. Blaine did so well in that role, he dressed for four of Alabama's home games in his senior year, as well as the two college football national championship playoff games against Michigan State and Clemson. Members of the scout team don't always get to dress for games. So it was a particular honor to be chosen to dress for the two games in the National Championship play-off.

Blaine's resolve and hard work earned him further recognition from his coaches and teammates. It even earned him a championship belt. And as you know, championship belts are something very familiar to Andersons. 

Blaine won the "Ball Out" award three times in training camp, a special team award given to the outstanding defensive player of the week. That recognition went along with a custom championship belt he would hold until the next time it was awarded.

Championship belts. Anderson tradition.

Blaine's high school friends and teammates back home in Charlotte were happy to read about him in the hometown newspaper the week leading up to the National Championship playoff game between Clemson and Alabama.

But many of those friends were not aware he had a famous grandfather in professional wrestling, a grandfather that established a wrestling dynasty, and a grandfather Blaine never got to meet. But Blaine knew of the stories of Gene and Ole Anderson, their tag team championships, and the legendary history of the Minnesota Wrecking Crew.

Blaine's father Brad, himself once a pro-wrestler, instilled in him such a degree of pride in the Anderson wrestling tradition that Blaine had the image of his grandfather's wrestling boots tattooed on his left shoulder. And not just any boots. These were the famous maroon-and-gold striped boots that were a trademark of the Anderson tag-team. All the Andersons -- Gene, Lars, Ole, Arn,  - - were famous for wearing those boots.

Anderson boots. Anderson tradition. 

On Monday night, January 11, 2016, the University of Alabama Crimson Tide squared off against the Tigers of Clemson University with college football's top prize at stake.

One fall. Sixty minute time limit.

Alabama prevailed in a tough battle and hoisted the national championship trophy, its fourth national title in 7 years.

"I can't begin to describe how proud and excited I am," Blaine's father Brad wrote me recently in a hand-written letter. "My Dad would be beside himself. He never missed any of my sports games, and definitely would be screaming from the mountain top that his grandson was a national champion." 

And now with a national championship ring on his finger, the third generation of the Anderson family had just added one more championship to the Anderson family trophy case.

Roll Tide. 




Blaine Anderson (41) of the National Champion Alabama Crimson Tide
(Screen capture from the ESPN broadcast.)
Blaine Anderson (middle) with his brothers Forrest and Carter. 
The New Wrecking Crew?

http://amzn.com/1475133278


Monday, January 25, 2016

Main Event Memories: The Gathering On Tour


Township Auditorium
Columbia, South Carolina 
January 23, 1986

As my friend Jamie said when he sent us this clipping, sign me up for this. What a great card.

Actually, it was sort of a typical card for Jim Crockett Promotions at the time. Just an amazing locker room during the Dusty years.

Some interesting things about this card:

(1) I've never been aware that there was a "Gathering Tour." I don't think this was mentioned on the WTBS shows, but I could be wrong. I'd love to know more about it. It was most likely just an instrument in local promotional spots and newspaper ads to help promote some big shows following "Starrcade '85: The Gathering."

(2) Tully Blanchard and James J. Dillon had just hooked up weeks earlier, Blanchard having dumped Babydoll after the seeds of distrust had been planted by Dillon. Babydoll was now with Dusty Rhodes (as you will observe in the main event of this show.) J.J. had previously been the manager of "Nature Boy" Buddy Landel and had led him to the National heavyweight title, but Landel was fired in late December and J.J. was put with Tully Blanchard to form "Tully Blanchard Enterprises." The Four Horsemen hadn't quite yet taken off, although they had begun referring to themselves as that on TV.

The program with Jimmy Valiant only lasted a few weeks. J.J. Dillon targeted the Boogie Man to try and get close to Rhodes, as Jimmy Valiant was thought to be Dusty's right hand. Blanchard soon moved on to directly challenge Rhodes for the National title, eventually winning it two months later in a memorable televised match.


(3) Interesting to see Magnum T.A. defending the U.S. title against Nikita Koloff just before the big program between the two began where they didn't face each other for months while the Koloffs were demanding stipulation that were "approved by the Kremlin." I loved all that.

(4) Ricky & Robert defending the world tag team titles against the Russian combination that they won them from - Ivan Koloff and Krusher Kruschev.



Special Note: If anyone has clippings or information on other cities that were part of "The Gathering Tour", we'd love to start a list. Send us a message through the "Contact Us" page above.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Letter From a Childhood Hero

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway
originally published in February 2010

Can you imagine being 12 years old today and writing a letter to one of the WWE wrestlers and actually hoping for a response? Well, of course, today a 12 year old wouldn’t write a letter; he’d send an e-mail, I suppose. Do any of us actually write letters anymore? But if, in a grand gesture to an earlier more gentler time, a 12 year old would indeed put pen to paper and write one of his childhood wrestling heroes, what are the odds that same wrestling hero would put pen to paper and write him back? Probably slim to none.

In July of 1975, a young kid by the name of George South was a fanatical wrestling fan who did his best to attend every Monday night wrestling card he could at the old Charlotte Park Center and would never think of missing wrestling on WBTV-3 television every Saturday afternoon. At 12 years old, the only way his grandmother could make him behave was to threaten to not let him do either.

That worked, by and large, and he immersed himself in the wonderful, colorful world of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling and closely followed all the big stars - Paul Jones, Blackjack Mulligan, the Anderson Brothers, “Mr. Wrestling” Tim Woods, Wahoo McDaniel, Johnny Valentine, and even a very young Ric Flair. But one of his very favorites was a wrestler who had begun to phase out of his active wrestling career, his matches at the Park Center becoming fewer and far between. This star was a legend in the territory, a wrestler who had main-evented in singles and tag team competition for as long as George could remember. His legend was bigger than life, especially to this young kid who lived every moment for his wrestling heroes. That wrestler’s name was Sandy Scott.

Sandy & George Scott

Before the Anderson Brothers there were the Scott Brothers. The “flying Scotts” they were called then, Sandy and George Scott, wrestling’s greatest brother tag team at that time, champions in various territories for parts of three decades, and bonafide legends in the Mid-Atlantic territory. George Scott no longer wrestled, but Sandy had continued his ring career, teaming with other partners like Nelson Royal. Sandy Scott and Nelson Royal won the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team championships just weeks after George South's 11th birthday.

Now at age 12 and out of school for the summer, with a baloney sandwich and a glass of milk, he watched Mid-Atlantic Wrestling every Saturday afternoon, hoping to see Sandy Scott. Host Bob Caudle would announce that if fans wanted to write the wrestlers, they could send their letters to the TV station where they taped studio wrestling. He faithfully gave the P.O. Box address in Raleigh each week; it was the same address if you wanted to reserve tickets for the TV matches in Raleigh, too. George knew he would probably never get to go to the tapings; Raleigh seemed a world away to a 12-year old boy. But that wouldn’t prevent him from writing to one of his favorites. So at Bob Caudle's suggestion on TV, he decided to write Sandy Scott a letter.

George sat down at his grandmother’s kitchen table with a pencil and a piece of notebook paper and wrote Sandy the nicest letter he knew how to write. He told Sandy how much he loved him, how much he loved the Scott Brothers team, and how he was Sandy's most loyal fan. George also drew a picture of Sandy, working hard to duplicate what he had seen in a wrestling magazine.

George carefully folded the letter and the drawing, slid them into a plain white envelope, applied a 10-cent first class postage stamp, placed the envelope in his grandmother’s mailbox, and raised the red metal flag.

He didn’t really expect anything in return. Surely, he thought, a wrestler as important as Sandy Scott wouldn't have time to write a letter back to a fan. But a few weeks later a large white envelope arrived from Charlotte, the mailing label bearing the logo and address of Jim Crockett Promotions. It was the coolest thing George had ever seen. He held it for a while before opening it, marveling at the words on the label – “Member of the National Wrestling Alliance.”

Inside was a letter from the one and only Sandy Scott. And it wasn’t a form letter that someone from the office had sent him; it was in Sandy’s own handwriting, and mentioned things that George had written in his original letter. He knew Sandy had written it himself. Not only was there the letter, but he had also sent an 8x10” black and white photograph that Sandy personally signed: “To George, Yours in Sports, Sandy Scott.”


The letter, dated July 15, 1975, read:

Dear George,
It was good to receive your letter and to know you’re such a good fan. I’ll be sure to tell George that you said hello and the nice things you said about us as a tag team. Enclosed you will find a picture that I have autographed for you. Good luck to you. 

Yours in Sports,
Sandy Scott
And on the back:
PS – The picture you drew of me was very nice and I enjoyed it very much.

It’s hard to imagine today’s superstars taking the time to write fans, if one could even imagine fans caring enough to write the wrestlers to begin with. Wrestling today is just one of many amusements to pass the time, a few hours on Monday night, and not another thought given to it after the show is over. No one is reaching out to make a personal connection, no wrestler is talking you into the local building for the next show in your home town. Today they just hope you’ll tune in the following week, hoping they can pull a good rating. No emphasis is given to filling the seats at the Park Center on a Monday night, or other arenas like it, once the life's blood of the wrestling business. This letter was but one example of the outreach that Jim Crockett Promotions conducted with its fans.

Lost is the personal bond between wrestlers and fans, or between a wrestling company and its fans. But that summer in 1975, Sandy Scott had made a 12 year old fan very happy with a short hand-written letter. And that young fan, now in his late 40s, has held on to that letter to this day.





Story originally published February 10, 2010
on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

 

 
Sandy Scott passed away on Thursday March 11, 2010 after a tough fight with pancreatic cancer.
The Mid-Atlantic Gateway sends its heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Sandy Scott.


The video tribute above was produced by Thom brewer, a friend of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway, for a tribute show for Sandy in Rocky Mount, Virginia in 2010.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

History of the Fabulous Freebirds

"Ring the Damn Bell" offers a nice pictorial review of the Fabulous Freebirds through wrestling history.

Michael Hayes, "Bam Bam" Terry Gordy, and Buddy Roberts were the original three, and Jimmy Garvin was a big part of the history, too. But there were other less memorable members and they are all outlined here in the article "The Not So Fabulous Freebirds Through the Years."

The original Freebirds briefly wrestled for Jim Crockett Promotions in 1984 before leaving to go to the WWF. Their tenures in both places lasted a matter of only weeks.



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Mid-Atlantic Photographs & Memories

by Peggy Lathan
Special for the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Back in the 1970s and 1980s, I went to wrestling almost every week in Spartanburg and Greenville, South Carolina. Over the years, I got to be good friends with many of the wrestlers, friendships I maintain to this day. We had lots of fun hanging out with Ric Flair and many of the other wrestlers out behind the Spartanburg Auditorium where the wrestlers entered the building, sometimes throwing frisbee and just killing time.

I was able to take lots of photos over the years, many of which I have shared on my facebook page. The Mid-Atlantic Gateway has presented many of them, too, and Dick Bourne has even featured several of my photos in his books.

Here are links to two online photo albums the Gateway has presented of my photos. I hope you enjoy; these are such great memories of a special time in my life with such special people.


Snapshots from Spartanburg and Greenville 1975-1981
That 70's Album: The Nature Boy Ric Flair

Photos include Roddy Piper, Ole and Gene Anderson, Greg Valentine, Tommy Young, Tully Blanchard, Ric Flair, Scott McGhee, Ricky Steamboat, Jimmy Snuka, Paul Orndorf, The Hollywood Blondes (Buddy Roberts and Jerry Brown), Ray Stevens, Dick Murdoch, Don Kernodle, Bill White, Doug Somers, Lanny Poffo, and Blackjack Mulligan.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Video Tribute to Sandy Scott





Our friend Thom Brewer put together this short video tribute to wrestling legend Sandy Scott. It was shown on the big screen during a tribute show in Rocky Mount, VA, held in Sandy's memory not long after his death in 2010. (Hard to believe it's been almost 6 years since his passing as this is written.)

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling alumni Jim Nelson, Jimmy Valiant, Don Kernodle, Rocky Kernodle, Rich Landrum, and Ric McCord were on hand to pay tribute to Sandy. Also on hand were Sandy's wife Sandra, daughter Tracy, and grandson Coleton.


More features on Sandy Scott coming soon.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Ric Flair Doesn't Give Himself Enough Credit

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Ric Flair doesn't always give himself enough credit when talking about his recuperation from the 1975 Wilmington NC plane crash that could have easily ended his career.

Flair suffered a broken back in the October plane crash that ended the career of Johnny Valentine and Bob Bruggers and killed the pilot. Also injured in that crash were wrestler Tim Woods and promoter David Crockett.

During his recent appearance on Steve Austin's podcast "The Steve Austin Show" (that also aired on the WWE Network), Austin asked Flair how long it took before he could get back in the ring.

"So you're in the hospital, you broke your back in three places," Austin said. "How long did it take you to mend up?

"I was back in the ring in eight months," Ric replied.

But Ric doesn't give himself enough credit. And as we've learned over the years, wrestlers are sometimes the worst at remembering specific things about their own careers, especially as it relates to specific dates and periods of time. Flair can be forgiven in this case as it was over 40 years ago, after all.

Flair's first night back in action. January 30, 1976
Ric actually returned to the ring in just under four months. It is one of the most amazing stories of healing and recuperation from a serious injury in the storied history of pro wrestling, especially considering his doctor told him he would never wrestle again.

The airplane crash happened on Saturday, October 4th, 1975. On Friday January 30, 1976, Ric stepped back into the ring at County Hall in Charleston, SC. He teamed in a 6-man match with Angelo Mosca and Blackjack Mulligan to battle Wahoo McDaniel, Tim Woods, and Tiger Conway, Jr.

Exactly 3 months and 26 days after being told he would never wrestle again, Ric Flair was right back in the thick of things.

Being in the six-man contest protected Ric on his first night back and allowed him to ease back into things slowly if he chose to. But lest you think he took that path, the next night, January 31, in Greensboro, NC, Ric battled his main rival Wahoo McDaniel in a singles match, successfully defending his Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship in the process.

Ric Flair was, and remains to this day, a miraculous example of the body's recuperative process under the right circumstances. Combined with Flair's will and determination to make it back, the result was a run that included 16 world championships and one the greatest careers in the history of professional wrestling.

. . . . . 

Ric's conversation with Steve Austin about the plane crash and many other subjects can be heard on "The Steve Austin Show" podcast, available at Podcast One. This particular episode can also be seen and heard on demand on the WWE Network.

Ric Flair has his own podcast "WOOOOO! Nation" available at Play.it.

Newspaper clippings, as always, from the collection of Mark Eastridge.

Friday, January 15, 2016

WTBS & Center Stage: Yesterday and Today

Our buddy Brian Rogers sent us this link to a post on the "Ring the Damn Bell" website, as he knew how I liked the old TV studio settings for wrestling.

The article "Yesterday And Today: A Look At Some of the NWA/WCW’s Past" takes a quick yesterday-and-today look at some of the mid-to-late 1980s settings for NWA wrestling in Atlanta and elsewhere, including the WTBS TV studio and Center Stage.

Cool article.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Crazy Cool Replica Wrestling Posters at Crowbar Press

http://www.crowbarpress.com/posters/replicas/index.html
Our good friend Scott Teal at Crowbar Press has been creating some very cool replica posters of some of the great wrestling cards from years gone by.

Many different territories are covered and the posters are available in three different sizes (16x20, 12x16, and 8x10.)

My personal favorites are from the Mid-Atlantic and Georgia territories, but Scott has created these from all the major areas including Florida, WWWF, Australia, California and all points in between, from the 1930s on through to early PPV era.

The poster shown at right is from a famous show in the Georgia territory in 1980. Not only headlined by NWA world champ Harley Race against future world champion Tommy Rich (with special referee Lou Thesz to boot), it is the show with the famous cage match where Ole Anderson turned on Dusty Rhodes in one of the most brilliantly conceived, long drawn out angles ever. It served as the model for a similar angle in the same building a little over 5 years later when Ric Flair would turn on Dusty in a cage. That Dusty just never would learn. You can order this poster (without the watermark of course) in the three different sizes listed above.

There are tons of posters on Scott's site from all corners of the world and from some of the most famous cards and shows in the world.  Check them out at Crowbar Press!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Symbol of Excellence


This was quite a team! Three of the Four Horsemen with all their hardware, flashing the four fingers, and accompanied as always by their manager James J. Dillon.

Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard are wearing those beautiful blue NWA world tag team belts. Barry Windham is wearing the 5th version of the United States heavyweight championship belt. (Learn all about those 5 belts and the champions who wore them in the new book on the championship - info here.)

Photographer and location unknown, but a great photo of what many consider three of the greatest wrestlers of that era.

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


Monday, January 11, 2016

Cornette: Tuesday Night at the Gardens

FROM THE BOOKSHELF
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Following in the footsteps of earlier books "Rags, Paper & Pins" and "The Midnight Express Scrapbook," the Louisville Slugger Jim Cornette hits another home run with "Tuesday Night at the Gardens: Pro Wrestling in Louisville."

http://www.jimcornette.com
Cornette and Mark James' new book (which actually came out early fall of 2015) examines the history of pro wrestling in Louisville, Kentucky, during perhaps the hottest period there 1970-1975. The famed Louisville Gardens hosted wrestling on Tuesday nights.

In typical fashion like Cornette's earlier collections of memorabilia and history, this one is loaded, too. Over 500 photos, newspaper articles, and programs grace the pages of this massive 275-page collection, all tied together by the wit and wisdom (and historical reflection) of the one and only James E. Cornette.

I'm a huge fan of the territory era in professional wrestling and welcome most every opportunity to learn more about the territories I'm less familiar with. The Memphis territory is one of those. Over the years, my friend Dave Millican has schooled me on the great history there, and I've enjoyed seeking out old footage and TV tapes. Now Cornette completes that education with his books. Cornette's earlier "Rags, Paper, and Pins" is a terrific collection of photographs and memorabilia from the Memphis territory broadly, where-as "Tuesday Night at the Gardens" looks at one city in that territory in about as complete a way as one wrestling city could ever be covered.

Cornette not only educates you on the historical events in Louisville that led to the boom period of 1970-1975 he covers in great detail in the book, he delivers all the details of the broader, extremely complicated, evolution of the promotional wars in that whole area involving the Gulas and Jarrett families and all the rest. It's a fascinating read.

Being a big fan of old wrestling venues, I also particularly enjoyed the entire chapter devoted to the building itself - the historic Louisville Gardens.

Co-author Mark James puts it all together in a beautiful, well organized, thoughtful, and complete look at a wrestling city as has ever been put together.

Full details on "Tuesday Night at the Gardens" are available at Cornette's website at www.JimCornette.com. Order directly from Jim and receive a free 2-hour DVD of rare, historic footage from the Louisville Gardens from 1970-1975. The book is also available on Amazon.com.

Friday, January 08, 2016

Main Event Memories


The following is a list of all posts in the ongoing "Main Event Memory" series on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway (with more to come.)

MAIN EVENT MEMORIES
1. The Anderson Family (1976) The Andersons and their cousin Ric Flair
2. Dusty's Big Championship Weekend (1976) with Flair, Mulligan, and the Andersons
3. Mulligan vs. Flair on a Hot July Night (1978) Worlds Collide!
4. The Origins of Wahoo vs. Flair (1975) with Wahoo McDaniel and Ric Flair
5. Blackjack Mulligan vs. Rufus R. Jones (1976) "Have mercy, Mama!"
6. The Briscos Challenge Flair & Valentine (1978) Jim Crockett makes the match.
7. A Local Boy Gets His Shot (1981) Don Kernodle teams with Ric Flair in his hometown.
8. Bullrope Match: Ole vs. Flair (1981) Dusty prepares Ric for a big match in Charlotte.
9. Ric Flair Wins His First Mid-Atlantic Championship (1975) Hair vs. Title in Hampton!
10. Blackjack Mulligan Regains the U.S. Title (1978) New Year's Night in Richmond


All "Main Event Memory" Posts  - Scroll through all the "Main Event Memory" posts on one page.

The following is a list of all posts in the "Main Event Memory" series on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. <br /> <br /> You can also bring up all of these posts at one time to scroll them in sequence by <a href="http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/search/label/Main%20Event%20Memory">clicking here</a>.<br /> <br /> <br /> 1. <a href="http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/2015/06/main-event-memory-anderson-family-1976.html">The Anderson Family</a> (1976) The Andersons and their cousin Ric Flair<br /> 2. <a href="http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/2015/07/main-event-memory-dustys-big.html">Dusty's Big Championship Weekend</a> (1976) with Flair, Mulligan, and the Andersons<br /> 3. <a href="http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/2015/07/mulligan-flair-richmond.html">Mulligan vs. Flair on a Hot July Night</a> (1978) Worlds Collide!<br /> 4. <a href="http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/2015/07/main-event-memories-origins-of-wahoo-vs.html" target="_blank">The Origins of Wahoo vs. Flair </a>(1975) with Wahoo McDaniel and Ric Flair<br /> 5. <a href="http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/2015/08/rufus-jones-blackjack-mulligan.html">Blackjack Mulligan vs. Rufus R. Jones</a> (1976) "Have mercy, Mama!"<br /> 6. <a href="http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/2015/08/briscos-challenge-flair-valentine.html">The Briscos Challenge Flair & Valentine</a> (1978) Jim Crockett makes the match.<br /> 7. <a href="http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/2015/08/kernodle-flair-burlington.html" target="_blank">A Local Boy Gets His Shot</a> (1981) Don Kernodle teams with Ric Flair in his hometown.<br /> 8. <a href="http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/2015/09/main-event-memory-flair-vs-ole-in.html">Bullrope Match: Ole vs. Flair</a> (1981) Dusty prepares Ric for a big match in Charlotte.<br /> 9.<a href="https://www.blogger.com/40%20years%20ago%20today%20-%20Ric%20Flair%20wins%20his%20first%20Mid-Atlantic%20Heavyweight%20Championship%20vs.%20Wahoo%20McDaniel%20Sept.%2020,%201975.%20Hair%20vs.%20Title%20in%20Hampton!%20Audio,%20newspaper,%20more.%20Great%20memories%20on%20the%20Mid-Atlantic%20Gateway!%20http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/2015/09/ric-flair-wins-his-first-mid-atlantic.html" target="_blank"> Ric Flair Wins His First Mid-Atlantic Championship</a> (1975) Hair vs. Title in Hampton!<br /> 10. <a href="http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/2016/01/blackjack-regains-us-title.html">Blackjack Mulligan Regains the U.S. Title</a> (1978) New Year's Night in Richmond<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <a href="http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/search/label/Main%20Event%20Memories">All "Main Event Memory" Posts</a>  - Scroll through all the "Main Event Memory" posts on one page.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

The Life and Times of the Richmond Arena

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway
from "Classic Venues" on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway Archive

I never had the pleasure of attending a wrestling match at the old Richmond Arena. I knew of the Richmond Coliseum, but not being from the area, I had never even heard of the Arena until I met David Chappell in 1998 and heard tales of great adventures he had attending wrestling shows there while growing up as a teenager in Richmond. Over the years as I researched old wrestling venues in the Mid-Atlantic wrestling territory, I began to learn more about this grand old building and its rich history in the city of Richmond.


Mike Harris of the Richmond Times-Dispatch wrote extensively on the history of the Arena for his newspaper in 1997 in advance of the building being town down. The building was considered an architectural gem of the early 20th century, he reported. It served many purposes over its 90 year lifespan before being torn down in 1997....

Read the entire article on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway Archive site >>>
Lots of interior and exterior photographs.


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

Monday, January 04, 2016

U.S. Title Memories: Harley Race challenges Magnum T.A.

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway


Usually when we post something about a 30th or 40th anniversary, it's something significant like a title change or a historic card or something like that. But today, January 4, 2016 is simply the 30th anniversary of one of my favorite episodes of Jim Crockett's Saturday night "World Championship Wrestling" show on Superstation WTBS. So I thought I'd post about one little part of that show that was really special to me.

You can still check this show out in the Vault section on the WWE Network. There were many things to like this show for:

  1. Major developments in storylines including the pairing of James J. Dillon with Tully Blanchard to form Tully Blanchard Enterprises and the major injury to Ole Anderson by Dusty Rhodes and the Road Warriors at the OMNI on New Year's night.
  2. The announcement of a title change that featured Dusty Rhodes' fictional win over Buddy Landel for the National heavyweight championship (Landel had just been fired by the company.)
  3. Amazing promos ranging from the intense (Magnum T.A.) to the hilarious (Dusty Rhodes) to the intense AND hilarious (Ric Flair and Arn Anderson.)
  4. Footage from the OMNI (always loved it when they showed film footage from an arena)
  5. Visiting NWA superstar Harley Race
 
It was that last item that led to something small, but memorable, as it related to the top singles title for Jim Crockett Promotions.

I've always liked it when a wrestler refers to something that took place in wrestling history that has a bearing on something happening modern day. In this case, it was former multi-time NWA world champion Harley Race hearkening back to a historic match he was involved in for Mid-Atlantic Wrestling ten and a half years earlier in 1975.

It was just cool to have Race on the show to begin with. He was the reigning Missouri heavyweight champion at the time, even though he didn't have that famous belt with him at WTBS. He had just wrestled Ric Flair for the NWA world title days earlier, first at the Kiel Auditorium in St. Louis on New Year's night, and then at Memorial Hall in Kansas City the next night.

Now Race was making an appearance for Jim Crockett Promotions, wrestling on the WTBS TV taping that Saturday morning in Atlanta, and then challenging Magnum T.A. for the United States heavyweight title later that same evening in Greensboro, NC.

Race came out on TV as an unscheduled color commentator for a match between U.S. champ Magnum T.A. and The Barbarian, managed by Paul Jones. As he told David Crockett, he was there ostensibly on a scouting mission, knowing he was facing Magnum later that night in Greensboro:

"I thought I'd come out here David and watch this and see what Magnum's got to offer. He's in there against a guy that's a formidable opponent and should present a very good match. I just want to stand here and kind of go through this with you, and get  look at what I've got to look at very shortly."  - Harley Race, WTBS

Harley Race offers commentary on the Magnum T.A. vs. Barbarian match on WTBS

Race challenging Magnum for the U.S. title all these years later was special because Race was actually the first wrestler to hold that very same United States championship. He came to Greensboro as U.S. champion on July 3, 1975 and lost the title to Johnny Valentine, which established the U.S. title in the Mid-Atlantic area. That history would have been lost on most fans, except that Race himself brought it up on WTBS that day.

As the match was getting underway, Race said the following:


"That belt, as you know, John Valentine a number of years ago beat me for in the city of Greensboro, North Carolina. And it's been a long time since I've had it, and I'd love to have it again." 
- Harley Race, WTBS

Race's mention of that match added a bit of context and texture to his upcoming title match with Magnum T.A. He reminded fans he had once held that title, and he invoked the name of the legendary Johnny Valentine which hadn't been heard on television in many, many years. In typical Race fashion, and in a manner more typical to those from his era, he put importance on the championship itself. After all, if he was coming to Greensboro to wrestle for the U.S. championship, that championship held importance to him, and he wanted fans to know it.

Attention to detail, to the little things; that's part of what made wrestling so special "back in the day."

. . . 

Postscript: During the match between Magnum and the Barbarian, the referee got knocked down and Race went in to make the three-count on Magnum. A brawl erupted that ended with both Race and Barb leaping from the turnbuckles with their flying headbutts and leaving Magnum laying.

The Greensboro match later that same night between Race and Magnum was never shown on TV, although cameras were there in Greensboro that night (footage from the NWA TV tournament that took place the same night aired on television.) Fan footage exists on YouTube of a few minutes of the match, but not the finish. Results posted on the internet list Race as the winner, presumably by DQ or by count-out.

As best we can tell, Harley Race and Magnum T.A. only wrestled three times, this 1/4/86 match being the 3rd and final encounter. They apparently met twice in early 1985 when Race made a one-week tour through the Mid-Atlantic area, wrestling Magnum (who had only been in the Mid-Atlantic territory around a month at that time) in Greenville SC and Charlotte, NC.




The entire story of Harley Race bringing the United States title to Greensboro in 1975 and establishing it as the top singles title in the Mid-Atlantic area can be found in the detailed title history of Jim Crockett Promotions' United States Championship.

200+ full color pages with amazing photographs, its on sale now on Amazon.com and via PayPal from the Gateway.

"Bourne strikes gold with new book on U.S. wrestling title." - Mike Mooneyham, Charleston Post and Courier

"...the Indiana Jones of title belt archaeology." - Mike Johnson, PWInsider.com




Saturday, January 02, 2016

Wally Dusek's Letter (1973)

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Ronnie Jones was one of the biggest Mid-Atlantic Wrestling fans I ever met. George South introduced me to him at an event years ago and we had a great time talking about the good ol' days of Jim Crockett Promotions wrestling.

It was with great sadness that I learned of Ronnie's passing this year.  George told me his wife had given him some of Ronnie's memorabilia, and he had come across an amazing letter written to Ronnie from Wally Dusek, a longtime Crockett lieutenant who had many responsibilities, one of which was the making and transport of the wrestling rings. There was nothing quite like a Wally Dusek / Crockett ring.

Wally Dusek   (Photo by Dave Routh)

Wally's letter to Ronnie was in response to Ronnie's request for information about wrestling rings and how to become a wrestler. Ronnie's wife gave George permission to post the letter he received from Wally.

Can you image that ANYONE in a major league wrestling company today would take the time to respond to a fan in the total, complete, professional, and personal way Wally Dusek did here? It speaks volumes for the type man he was and the type of company Jim Crockett Promotions was.

From December of 1973, we proudly present Wally Dusek's letter to Ronnie Jones.





Friday, January 01, 2016

TV Memories: Tony Schiavone and David Crockett

Happy New Year! 

World Championship Wrestling on SuperStation WTBS (1985)

Main Event Memories: Blackjack Regains the U.S. Title (1978)

Happy New Year!

On New Years Day in 1978, Blackjack Mulligan won the U.S. championship for the 4th time. Greensboro, North Carolina was the site for the record-breaking 4th reign.

Wahoo McDaniel also defeated Greg Valentine in an Indian Strap Match.

38 years ago today!
Clippings from the Mark Eastridge Collection


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