Sunday, July 02, 2017

A “Bloody” TV Encounter Between Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

When former tag team partners Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat split in the aftermath of a wild two ring battle royal on December 3, 1978 in the Charlotte Coliseum, the bad blood between these ex-friends was palpable over the next year or so. The extent of the bad feelings between the two was showcased several months after the break-up in two segments on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television.

Ricky Steamboat
At the outset of the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling TV show that was taped on March 28, 1979, Ricky Steamboat was brought out to the set to accept a plaque from the American Red Cross for his participation in a Christmas 1978 blood drive. Bill Huey from the Winston-Salem, North Carolina chapter of the American Red Cross told the viewing audience that due to Ricky’s participation in the drive, “The result of that was a better than fifty percent increase in our total blood collection and Ricky has given tremendous support to Red Cross blood services and we’d like to take the opportunity to present this award…the award is the blood drive ‘Big Drop’ award for outstanding participation in the blood drive at Christmas and also to express our appreciation to Ricky for what he has done not only for Winston-Salem but for the entire Red Cross blood services area. So, Ricky, with our very deep appreciation, sir.”

When Huey handed Ricky the ‘Big Drop’ plaque an emotional Steamboat responded, “Hey, thank you very, very much. You know, everybody realizes that I have a busy schedule but on something like this I do like to take time out and just a little bit of my effort and if my appearances there, or just to say a few words on behalf of the drive such as this, which is to bring the people out to come and to donate for this type of organization or anything that would benefit the life of another human being in some way, form or matter. I tell you what, if I had a lot more time I would be doing much more…but that one special thought and that I want to thank you very, very much.” Announcer Bob Caudle then commented, “And that’s a very nice honor for a fine young man and really an outstanding citizen, Rick Steamboat.”

No. 1 Paul Jones
Later in the show, “Number One” Paul Jones appeared on the set with Caudle and was none too pleased with Steamboat’s new accolades. “I saw Steamboat receive that plaque out here,” Jones fumed. Caudle responded, “Shows what a fine citizen he is.” Paul instantly retorted, “Well let me tell you somethin’, everything’s going Steamboat’s way. Let me tell you somethin’…that plaque…I gave blood one time and all I got was a cup of Kool-Aid and a cookie! And Steamboat gets a plaque!! Well let me tell you somethin’…Steamboat’s gonna need the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and a Greyhound bus when I finish with him!”

The rift between these two former partners had grown so wide by March of 1979 that the two couldn’t even see eye-to-eye on giving blood! Jones’ response to Steamboat’s charitable endeavors, along with being one of the best one liners I can ever remember, foreshadowed what would be occurring for the rest of 1979 between these now bitter rivals...‘big drops’ of blood being spilled in the wrestling ring between these two and their respective tag team partners, with the Red Cross nowhere in sight.


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