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 EIGHT
PART EIGHT

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!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Ric Flair's Original Challenge to the Anderson Brothers

INCLUDES VINTAGE CLASSIC AUDIO

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

We've spent some time recently looking in-depth at the story of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling's "Dream Team" of the 1970s, Ric Flair and Greg Valentine. One of the main storylines for that team involved an almost two-year feud with the "Minnesota Wrecking Crew" Gene and Ole Anderson. The Anderson brothers were NWA world tag team champions and had held those belts for the better part of the two previous years before Ric and Greg were able to take them away in late 1976. A big part of this story was the "family feud" between Flair and his cousins.

While you might think this family feud first originated when Flair broke away from the Andersons to team with Valentine in late 1976, you would be overlooking a brief exchange that took place almost a year earlier when Ric and Blackjack Mulligan were first forming their alliance.

"You know what, Cuz? We might even remove you from those belts."   -Ric Flair

It was early December of 1975 and Ric was still recovering from the broken back that he suffered in the October 1975 airplane crash. While he was still roughly two months away from getting back in the ring, he was already back on television doing interviews and occasionally sitting in as a color commentator with Bob Caudle or Ed Capral.

The first sign that the cocky, brash, younger cousin of the Andersons might actually be thinking about challenging them for their world tag team titles took place on TV in December 1975 and early January of 1976. Flair announced in an interview with Ed Capral on "Wide World Wrestling" that he would be forming a team with Blackjack Mulligan (who had entered the area not long after Flair was injured in the plane crash) and that they would challenge anyone and everyone, including the world tag team champions.

Ole later responded to Capral:

 "Ric Flair is family. And I hate to get any kind of discussion going about family here on the television, I don't believe in airing your linen. But Ric, Ric is full of a little bit of vim and vigor, and he sometimes gets carried away, he sometimes just doesn't think. But, uh...ah, let's just leave it alone right now, I don't want to get into that family kind of discussion."


But the following week on "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling", Flair made his intentions known directly to Ole during an interview that followed a particularly brutal Anderson match on TV. The interview was the closing interview of the program, and featured all four guys: Ric Flair. Blackjack Mulligan, Gene and Ole Anderson.

For full context of the following audio clip: the Andersons had just fought Tony Rocca and Roberto Soto in the final match of the program, and really put a beating on Tony Rocca's arm and injured Roberto Soto after the match. Host Bob Caudle was incredulous about the tactics of the Andersons. Notice Ric Flair early on was complimentary of his cousins, but moments later would make a quick challenge. Transcript follows, so you can read along. (And the conclusion follows the transcript.)





- - - - - - TRANSCRIPT - - - - - -

Bob Caudle: And here come the Andersons, and again...again, Ole...

Ric Flair: Have you ever seen anything like my great cousins the Andersons? In your life, ever?!

Bob Caudle: ... this was completely uncalled for!

Ole Anderson: These two guys, they shouldn't even get in the ring with us, because we're just too good for 'em. You got a couple of young guys like this that think they are pretty great. They are going to use us for a stepping stone, they think that just by getting in the ring with us that they are going to get a little bit of a reputation. Will maybe they will, but it won't be at our expense. It's going to be at theirs once you see what we've done to these guys, it's a sample of what we're going to do for the new year of '76.

Bob Caudle: Alright...

Blackjack Mulligan:  Let me tell you something, you are looking at right now two of the top rasslers in the world, the Mid-Atlantic Champion Ric Flair and none other than Blackjack Mullgian. And look at what I say: any combination with Flair and Blackjack Mulligan together, or in singles, we're gonna do it! 1976 is gonna be the big year, the big year...I'm gonna tell you right now, if we ever come to your arena, as a tag team, I don't believe there is a building big enough to handle it, Ric Flair.

Ric Flair: ... there is excitement in the air with Mulligan and Flair...everybody knows, individual or as a team, we're the greatest wrestlers in the world. We can go anywhere in the world and beat anybody, and let me tell you something: it gets down to me, I just came to the realization that the Blackjack and I are gonna be tagging up a lot in the future, and you know what, Cuz? We might even remove you from those belts, there.

Bob Caudle: Oooo! Uh oh! What about that, Ole? [Flair and Mulligan leave.] Hey, why did you walk away, Ric?

Ole Anderson: You know they've got enough to do, and uh.... he must be a little bit sick, he comes back...well that's family, and I don't want to get into that kind of stuff.

Bob Caudle: No, no...

Ole Anderson: ...I guess everybody has their days. But right now what I'm concerned about is not Flair and not Mulligan. I'm concerned about these promoters down here that keep putting these ringers against us. They bring in these young guys, they know that they are full of vim and vinegar, they know that they have a lot of endurance and everything else. And they also know, like I've said once before that we're on the road alot and they're hoping that one of these days we're gonna come in really tired and they're gonna get some team out here to beat us, to embarrass us right on television. And Gene and I are just as determined to see that that doesn't happen. And the best way...the best way that we can think of to see that something like that doesn't happen is to make sure  every time we get in the ring, we do something so damaging, so miserable to our opponents, so devastating, that the word is gonna get around, and pretty soon people are going to say "Well, now, we'll wrestle, but we don't want to wrestle the Anderson Brothers."

Bob Caudle: You can't, you can't do that every time. You can't go in and just maim somebody every time they get in the ring...

Ole Anderson: You wanna bet? You wanna watch us? Well then you and all these other people that are watcing right now, you tune in and you watch us. Becasue every time we're on television, we're going to do the same thing that we just did here to this Mr. Soto and "Mr. Wrestler" or whatever his name happens to be. And what we really want to see is guys like Wahoo McDaniel, Paul Jones, Rufus R. Jones, Ken Patera, Tim Woods...we want to see those boys...we want to see their knees start to shake. We want to see them get a little bit scared. We want to see them back out maybe of a few of the contracts that they've got set up for us. And we'll rule as kings forever. The world tag team champions.

Bob Caulde: All right, that's it from the Andersons, fans, and we'll see you next week, until then, so long for now.

- - - - - - END TRANSCRIPT - - - - - -
 
* * * * * * *

The Aftermath:

In the end, it was all much ado about nothing, at least for the time being. Flair returned to action in late January and immediately began teaming with the Andersons against various combinations involving Johnny Weaver, Paul Jones, Rufus R. Jones, and Wahoo McDaniel. Whatever friction had developed between Flair and the Andersons over the holidays had been smoothed over by the time of Flair's return. Flair maintained a tight relationship with his cousins throughout the majority of 1976 until another young and brash blonde bomber named Greg Valentine hit the Mid-Atlantic scene late in the year. And that's when Ric finally made his move to separate himself from his family and formed the team with Valentine.

To learn more about the dynamic duo of Flair and Valentine and the path of destruction they cut across the Mid-Atlantic area, check out David Chappell's mammouth 8-part series on the "Dream Team" which is currently ongoing on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

And for a look at the entire story of Ric Flair's tumultous relationship with the Anderson family (including the 1980s with younger cousin Arn Anderson), check out the timeline history book of the Andersons in wrestling titled "Minnesota Wrecking Crew." Click the ad below for more information!


http://midatlanticwrestling.net/andersons.htm

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Dream Team: Flair and Valentine (Part 6)


PART SIX
PART SIX
by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

(Before you jump into Part 6, get caught up in Parts: 1  2  3  4  5

* * * * * * *

The early 1979 bouts were the last bouts ever featuring Ric Flair and Greg Valentine as a regular tag team. But it did not spell the end of Ric Flair and Greg Valentine attempting to team up, and even teaming up on several rare occasions in the future. Some very interesting interactions between Ric Flair and Greg Valentine were definitely looming down the road.

The first of those interactions occurred at the end of 1979, when Greg Valentine wanted to bring the “Dream Team” back to life! Upon returning to the Mid-Atlantic area in December of 1979 after a successful run in the WWWF, Greg yearned to team up with Ric Flair again and recapture past glory. But things had changed a lot between February and December of 1979, most of all, Flair had changed and had become a fan favorite. Valentine was still a rulebreaker when he returned, and was perplexed by Ric’s change of wrestling philosophy. The two had a memorable exchange on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television program that was taped on December 5, 1979.

This feature includes CLASSIC AUDIO from December 1979
at the bottom of this post.

In the first segment of the show, announcer Bob Caudle said to the viewing audience, “Here is Greg Valentine, who has returned to our area, just recently…Greg.” Valentine responded, “Yes, Bob, you know I’ve, since I’ve been back in the area, I’ve only been here maybe two or three days now. Before, when I left, a very good friend of mine by the name of Ric Flair…Flair and myself were very, very tight. Although when I left we had some hardships because we lost the World Titles…we actually never got pinned, but the NWA took it away, took the belts away from us, because we didn’t show up for a match, which wasn’t our fault.”

Valentine continued, “Now everybody says that Ric Flair won’t talk to me. And it’s true that I have seen the man in the last two or three days, and he hasn’t paid any attention to me. This might seem a little bit off text or off the wall, but I believe Ric Flair will talk to me. I believe Ric Flair will become my partner again, and I’d like to call him out here right now. You hear that, Ric? I want you to come out here and talk to me right now. Your old friend, Greg Valentine; remember me?”

Caudle interjected, “Greg, I was gonna say at times I thought you and Ric were just about as close as brothers, you were just about that close.” Greg replied, “Well of course, of course. We’ve done everything together. In fact, we were closer than brothers.”

Ric Flair then appeared on the set and told Caudle, “This is it brother…Greg and I were close friends. We did it all. We did everything there was to do in professional wrestling. Nobody ever beat us for the World belts; they were taken from us by the NWA as everybody knows. As far as I’m concerned, we left our partnership; we left the wrestling world together, on top. That’s the way I feel.”

Caudle pressed, “What about friendship, though?” Flair answered, “Friendship for me still exists. I think Greg’s a heckuva a guy. But I’ve asked Greg, he knows it, we’ve talked on the phone, I’ve told Greg that things have changed around here, that Ric Flair has changed a little bit…and he doesn’t seem to want to accept that.”

Valentine followed up telling Flair, “I want to ask you to be my partner again. Remember what we had together. We were an unbeatable combination! Nobody out there in that entire world, listen to me, nobody out there in that entire world could touch either one of us in the ring. We were the World Champions, and I’m asking you to forget what’s happened here in the last, I don’t know what’s happened, all I know is when I left and went to New York, when I went to Japan, we were pals, we were friends like always. I’m asking you to come back.”

Ric answered, “Let me explain this; I’ve put a lot of thought into this…I knew this day would come. But I’ve watched you on TV recently. I haven’t seen that you’re wrestling with guys that are friends of mine anymore. I see you with Raschke and Jones, I see you with Snuka and Stevens…and those guys just don’t buy it for me brother.” A perplexed Valentine barked out, “Wait a minute now, who are your friends?” Ric explained, “My friends are guys like Steamboat and Youngblood, even Mulligan and I are friends again! That’s right!”

Visibly shaken, Greg exclaimed, “Ric, I don’t understand that. We’ve rode along in the cars over miles and miles of road, airplanes and everything, you told me how much you HATED Mulligan, that you couldn’t stand Steamboat…that he was a little punk, how much you couldn’t stand Jay Youngblood, all these guys, now you’re tellin’ me they’re your friends? Man, somebody’s been brainwashing you or somethin’. I can’t understand it. I must have been gone too long…I can’t digest that Flair.”

The Nature Boy stood firm saying, “You don’t have to digest that. That’s the way it stands. I’m not asking you to digest anything. You just accept things, just like you accepted them before…if you can’t accept that, if you want to hang around with Snuka and Stevens, Raschke, Jones…you hang around them.”

Now upset, Greg lashed out, “Listen, I’m sorry I called you out here, and I’m sorry I even asked you. I can’t believe you…man, you have changed so much! I can’t believe it. You’ve really gone soft, haven’t you?”

Flair wasn’t pleased with the last comment and curtly responded, “Do I look like I’ve gone soft? Would you like me to show you how soft I’ve gone?” Valentine retorted, “Hey, you have gone soft! You don’t have to show me nothin’! I can see it. I look at your face right now; you haven’t even got any depth in your face, any character! Just think of all the money we can make together! All you’re thinking about right now is friendship. What is friendship in professional wrestling, it means absolutely nothing! This is a vicious sport that we are in; we’re in this sport to make money. Not to go out and sign autographs, and get glory…that’s all you’re thinkin’ about. I’m thinkin’ about money! And you better start thinkin’ about money Flair.”

Ric fired back quickly, “Hey, I got all the money I’ll ever need. You know that brother. I got all the money I’ll ever need. I got some friends now! I can hold my head high when I walk out! I’m not havin’ my car torn apart every night, people aren’t throwin’ rocks at me! They’re sayin', ‘Nature Boy, you’re all right.’” After Greg told Ric he was “soft” again, the Nature Boy had enough, telling Valentine and the viewing audience, “Hey, I’m gonna conclude this right now. Bob, you look real nice, David looks real nice, and you can stay lookin’ real nice if you stay outta my way.”

A red faced Valentine was livid, saying, “Mr. Flair, I got news for you. You walked away from me…you embarrassed me by walkin’ away. [Flair’s] so worried about what people are gonna think about him…he’s sickening! That’s all I can say for it, he made me sick out here. I’m so sick; I’m about ready to lose what I just ate for supper tonight! Flair, you disgust me! I tell you one thing; I’ve got some other wrestling friends around here that will come along with me. Men like Ray Stevens, men like Jimmy Snuka…these are men. I don’t need your kind anymore Flair!”

The unthinkable happened within a few weeks, with Ric and Greg actually wrestling against each other! But it wasn’t too long before Flair and Valentine moved on to other opponents, but Valentine never forgot the “slight” when Ric would not agree to team up with him again. Greg had a devious plan devised to get revenge against his former partner, and he would put that plan into action in May of 1980.

* * * * * * * * * *

Now, as an added bonus from the Gateway, relive this entire exchange between Ric Flair and Greg Valentine by listening to this rare audio direct from "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" in December of 1979. The video of this no longer exists, but the memories remain through the magic of Mid-Atlantic Gateway Radio



Stay tuned for PART SEVEN coming soon!


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

Friday, August 19, 2016

Blooper - Wrong Country!



Our "Blooper" this week comes from a big tag-team main event on a Saturday night in Spartanburg, SC in 1974.

NFL veteran Bob Bruggers and Bear Cat Wright took on the tandem of Chuck O'Connor (later better known as Big John Studd) and Ivan Koloff.

Except the writer of this ad got his countries mixed up and renamed the Russian Bear IRAN Koloff!

Add to that the typo-blooper of Ivan's partner, spelled here as Chuck O-CONNERS. What?? We're thinking the ad writer might have been a bit hungover from the night before!

Where in the world do you come up with "IRAN" Koloff?The "R" and the "V" aren't even next to each other on the keyboard, so it's not a typo.

IRAN Koloff may have foreshadowed a feud 6 years later in the Mid-Atlantic era where the "Russain Bear" Ivan Koloff had a bloody heel-vs.-heel war with Iran's Hussein "The Arab" The Iron Sheik!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Greg "The Hammer" Valentine Reunites with the "Nature Boy" on "The Ric Flair Show"


Ric Flair and Conrad Thompson

It's time once again to walk that aisle.

Ric's guest this week is Greg "The Hammer" Valentine! These two career-long good friends reunite on this week's podcast.

Back in the 1970s, these two terrorized Jim Crockett Promotions rings as the NWA World Tag Team Champions, feuding with teams like Paul Jones & Ricky Steamboat and the "Minnesota Wrecking Crew" Gene & Ole Anderson. A detailed look at this Mid-Atlantic "Dream Team" is currently being posted in an 8-part series on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.
 
Along with his co-host (and friend of the Gateway) Conrad Thompson, "The Ric Flair Show" drops every Wednesday at 9 PM on the MLW Radio Network (mlwradio.com), RicFlairShow.com, iTunes and many other podcast platforms.

Look for the new show every Wednesday night! Ric will review the big news in pro-wrestling for the week, "This Week in Wrestling History" looking back at the Nature Boy's career, the call of the week, contests, and so much more. Wooooo!


In weeks to come, you’ll hear the Nature Boy talk about the “good ole days” with his friends like Hulk Hogan, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Sting, Bret “the Hitman” Hart, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, Terry Funk, Kurt Angle, Eric Bischoff, and every other major name in wrestling from the last 40 years.

Ric has some of his other friends on the show too like NFL Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor and even Grammy Award Winning Darius Rucker.

The fans even get a chance to be involved with the show and ask any question they want using #AskNaitch. Don’t miss a minute by subscribing to the "Ric Flair Show" today on iTunes."

Nikita Koloff Wins the Best of 7 Series and the U.S. Championship


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

Full Color! Amazing photographs of the champions and the belts!

Striking Out On Her Own

Charlotte looks to establish WWE legacy well beyond being Ric Flair's daughter
by Brian Campbell
ESPN.com


Considered by many to be the greatest professional wrestler in history, Ric Flair has a hot take to share with you regarding his daughter, former NXT and WWE women's champion Charlotte.

"I think she's the greatest female [wrestler] of all time right now, and I don't think that's being biased," Flair told ESPN.com. "I don't know what the argument would be for anyone else."

If you think the 16-time world champion's opinion is compromised by his beaming pride as a father, you would be correct. But take a moment and think about what he's actually saying -- because he may not be wrong....


Read the entire article on ESPN.com:
http://www.espn.com/wwe/story/_/id/17317979/charlotte-steps-ric-flair-enormous-shadow-forges-own-wwe-legacy


See also: "Do It With Flair" posted in June 2015 when Charlotte ruled the roost at NXT and was making a callback to a famous t-shirt of her Dad's 30 years earlier.

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

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Carter Anderson Keeps a Family Tradition Alive

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Ever since Brad Anderson and I became friends, his youngest son Carter was always afoot. Carter was always angling to get into a wrestling ring, even as he had just seemingly learned to walk. He got involved in the finish of a match at an outdoor show at his grandmother's church once, he couldn't have been more than 7 or 8 years old. It was all for fun, but even at that young age, he was fearless and always willing. I wrote in the epilogue to my book "Minnesota Wrecking Crew" that Gene Anderson would have been proud of his grandson that day. Brad later laughed and told me his father probably would have rolled over in his grave if he knew his grandson was in the ring without any real training. Gene was fiercely protective of the business.

Carter changed all that when he enrolled at George South's pro wrestling training school at the Highspots.com facility in Charlotte several years back. South had his hand in training the kids of several of the biggest names in the business including Ricky Steamboat's son Ricky Jr., Ric Flair's son Reid, Bobby Eaton's son Dillon, and most recently Tully Blanchard's daughter Tessa (not to mention his own son, George Jr.) So it seemed only fitting that an Anderson should be added to that list. And Carter Anderson was a natural.

Brad and Carter Anderson - Tournament Winners
Anderson Brothers Classic Tag Team Tournament (2013)
A year or so later, again in a fun little finish to a tribute show to Gene and Ole Anderson known as the "Anderson Brothers Classic Tag Team Tournament", Carter actually teamed with his father Brad. His Dad did all the work in the match of course, Carter was still a pretty young kid. But when Brad had one of their opponents stunned and staggering on his feet, he tagged in young Carter who did the prettiest flying body press from the top rope that you've ever seen. He got the three count and won the tournament trophy with his Dad, and in so doing, honored his grandfather - - the great Gene Anderson, the founder of the Minnesota Wrecking Crew.

What few people realized in the building that night was that young Carter Anderson was wearing his grandfather's wrestling boots. Yes, those boots - - "Anderson boots"- - the famous maroon-and-gold striped boots that were a trademark of the Anderson Brothers going back to the mid-1960s.

Brad had started bringing his Dad's boots to the ring with him when he wrestled in the mid-2000s. He would hang the boots over the turnbuckle in the corner where they would stay during his matches. It was a tradition started in 2005 at a big wrestling legends show in Spartanburg, SC, and Brad continued to do it for several years to follow.

Now Carter carries on that tradition, just in a different way.

Carter is not currently training. I'm not sure if he still wants to wrestle professionally or not, but it's clear that he loves honoring his grandfather. When he comes to some of George South's shows, especially the Anderson Brothers tribute shows, he always brings his grandfather's famous boots with him. Sometimes his ring jacket, too, and even the hickory cane Gene carried with him when he was a manager.

With Carter Anderson
holding Gene Anderson's wrestling boots.
Sometimes he brings them to events just because he knows I get a kick out of seeing them. Such was the case recently when Carter attended the "Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Hall of Heroes" dinner banquet. David Chappell and I were being recognized that night for our work on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway website alongside others who were being honored for their work in the wrestling business. When we shook hands after not having seen each other in well over a year, Carter smiled and said "I brought the boots." This meant something to me because it meant something to Carter, just bringing them in the first place. He knew how much we all loved just seeing the boots. They were iconic of a wonderful time in our lives - - David, George, myself - - growing up and watching the Anderson Brothers dominate pro-wrestling.  I respect how this kid, now growing into a young man, puts so much thought into honoring the memory of his grandfather and helping keep a grand family tradition alive - - those famous Anderson boots.

It was a magic night, having Bob Caudle induct the Mid-Atlantic Gateway into the Hall of Heroes Class of 2016 (Bob a member of the inaugural Class of 2007 himself), and receiving our plaques. But Carter's gesture was just as special. I was as honored standing there holding his grandfather's boots as I was standing on the rostrum later that night. 


Don't miss another story posted here of another one of Gene's grandsons keeping Anderson traditions alive: Another in the Long Line of Anderson Championships


http://midatlanticwrestling.net/andersons.htm

Monday, August 15, 2016

Nick Richards wins Johnny Weaver Cup 2016

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

In its 13th amazing year, and in what has become one of the great wrestling traditions on the North Carolina independent wrestling scene, the annual Johnny Weaver Memorial Cup Tournament was won by popular Nick Richards on August 13 at the Mid-Atlantic Sportatorium in Gibsonville, NC.

Richards won the prestigious trophy by defeating former 2-time Weaver Cup champion Erik Royal in the finals.

Nick Richards holds the Weaver Cup Trophy high above his head at the

Richards gave an emotional speech in the ring afterwards, respectfully acknowledging what an honor it was to win a trophy bearing Johnny Weaver's name.


"I honestly don't know if Johnny Weaver would even like a guy like me, or would be honored to share a ring with someone like me. But I just want to tell you that I am honored - - honored - - to have been able to represent him here tonight."

The tournament was established in 2004 when Corey Edsel defeated Ric Converse in Thomasville, NC to win the first championship cup.

Since that time such CWF Mid-Atlantic stars as the Gemini Kid, Ric Converse, Arik Royal, and Trevor Lee have claimed the honor of being Johnny Weaver Cup champion.

Over the years, many legendary stars of wrestling's glory years in the Mid-Atlantic area have appeared as special guests at the tournament including Johnny Weaver himself as well as Sandy Scott, Boris Zhukov (who wrestled here as Pvt. Jim Nelson with Sgt. Slaughter), TV host Rich Landrum, Ric McCord, and Don and Rocky Kernodle. Weaver's daughter, Wendi Weaver, has also been on hand to present the trophy to the winner on occasion.

For full results of the 2016 tournament visit this link:

Nick Richards Wins the 2016 Weaver Cup Tournament


The Mid-Atlantic Gateway's history page for the Weaver Cup can be found on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway Archives. Previous posts about the Weaver Cup on the now-closed Johnny Weaver Blog can be found archived here.

The "CWF World Wide" show that featured the final match is embedded below.

Congratulations to all those at CWF Mid-Atlantic Wrestling for another successful tournament.

Note: This post was back-dated for historical and contextual purposes.




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

Promotional Poster for the 2016 Johnny Weaver Cup


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Dream Team: Flair and Valentine (Part 5)

PART FIVE
by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway



(Before you jump into Part 5, get caught up in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4

On the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show that was taped on April 5, 1978, Jim Crockett, Jr., President of Jim Crockett Promotions, appeared on the set at the beginning of the program. The “head honcho” of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling told the fans:
“I just recently attended a Board of Directors meeting of the National Wrestling Alliance. Mr. Ric Flair and Mr. Greg Valentine in a recent match for their World Titles did not show up; in two recent matches in this area they left the ring before a decision was reached. The NWA has ruled that they are no longer the World Tag Team Champions, and a tournament will be held in the very near future to select new champions.” 

A visibly shocked announcer Bob Caudle said, “Gee Jim, that’s blockbuster news, really! It doesn’t happen very often that champions are stripped of their belts that way!” Jim Crockett replied, “No, it doesn’t, and Mr. Flair and Mr. Valentine are not happy about it. But when you don’t show up to wrestle an opponent because you’re afraid of him…or, they claim they missed their plane, they left the ring on two separate occasions; they are no longer the champions.”

Valentine and Flair were livid at being stripped of their World belts, and loudly claimed that it only happened because the NWA “powers that be” were jealous of their success and that they missed a plane, which was totally out of their control. A mega one night tournament was set on April 23, 1978 in the Greensboro Coliseum to crown new World Tag Team Champions. Ric and Greg were scheduled to face the tandem of Wahoo McDaniel and Andre the Giant in the first round of the tournament, but lost by forfeit as they no-showed in the ring for that match. The popular duo of Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat ultimately prevailed in the grueling tournament, and became the new World Tag Team champs.

After the tournament in Greensboro, Flair and Valentine continued to team, though less frequently, over the next month or so. And the results were not good for Ric and Greg, as the NWA taking their World belts clearly took the starch out of them. The World Champions Jones and Steamboat took the measure of Ric and Greg nearly every week in May of 1978, whipping the “Dream Team” on May 14th in Asheville, May 21st in Hampton, and May 28th in Greensboro. The trend continued into June, where Jones and Steamboat prevailed again at Raleigh’s Dorton Arena on June 6th. Several days prior to the loss in Raleigh, Greg and Ric did notch an exciting win by disqualification over the “M & M Boys,” Blackjack Mulligan and Dick Murdock, in Asheville, North Carolina.

During this same time frame from late April to early June of 1978, Ric Flair was again the United States Heavyweight Champion, having regained the belt on April 9, 1978 in Charlotte. And on June 7, 1978 at the WRAL TV studios in Raleigh, Greg Valentine was a “mystery partner” with Baron von Raschke, and that new duo upset Jones and Steamboat to become the new World Tag Team Champions. This victory by Valentine and Raschke effectively shut down the “Dream Team,” who wouldn’t team again with any frequency until early 1979.