Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Crockett Night at Charlotte's BB&T Ballpark Sunday 9/3


On Sunday, September 3, it's Crockett Night at the ol' ballgame.

This coming Labor Day weekend, make your plans to head out to BB&T Ballpark, home of the Charlotte Knights baseball team, for a great evening of baseball and to visit with some of the great legends of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling and Jim Crockett Promotions.

It's the 2017 Crockett Foundation Night at the ballpark, part of the final weekend of the regular season for the triple-A Charlotte Knights.The event is organized by the Crockett Foundation, the charitable organization run now by Jim Crockett, Sr.'s granddaughter Debbie Ringley.

Crockett Foundation

DATE: Sunday evening, September 3, 2017
WHERE: BB&T Park, 324 South Mint Street Charlotte, NC (Parking & Directions)
TIME: Gates open at 6:00 PM, First Pitch at 7:05 PM (Wrestlers available before the game)
SPECIAL EVENTS: NWA Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends plus Fireworks after the game!

* * * * * * * * * * * *


I recently had the opportunity to chat with Debbie about what's planned for Crockett Night this year.
Dick Bourne: How did "Crockett Night” at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte come about?

Debbie Ringley: It came about as a way to celebrate the 85th anniversary of Jim Crockett Promotions, both baseball and wrestling, last year. I had to come up with a way to put what Granddaddy created and the things that came after his death. Hosting wrestlers at a baseball game seemed to be the perfect way of bringing the two together. Last year’s event went so well that the Knights asked us back and we are going to make it a staple of both the Foundations and Knights events schedule each year.

Bourne: So the purpose for the event is to help raise awareness for the Foundation?

Ringley: It is to raise awareness. The wrestlers will not charge for their picture or autograph but they will be asking fans to throw some money in a jug towards a donation.

Bourne: You guys have some very cool wrestling-related merchandise that you sell on the Crockett Foundation website. Will some of that be available for fans to purchase at this event?

Ringley: We will have shirts, including our new "TBS 6:05" shirt, for sale and we will also have both of our wrestling books.

Bourne: I've seen the new "TBS 6:05" shirt - - very cool, it immediately conjures up memories of so many Saturday evenings where I wouldn't miss "World Championship Wrestling" out of Atlanta with David Crockett and Tony Schiavone.

Crockett Foundation / Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Ringley: The back of the shirt is awesome, too, with our Crockett Foundation logo and signatures of many of the wrestling personalities that are "tag team partners" of the Crockett Foundation.

Ringley: Jackie will be there to autograph his ["When Wrestling Was Wrestling"] and our second book contains stories about three of the wrestlers that will be there that night so it would be a great opportunity for a fan to get the books autographed by the subjects in the books. Both the books and the shirts will be on sale for $15.00

Bourne: Nice to have Jackie Crockett there to sign his book of photographs. He took some really amazing photos in the late 1970s and early 1980s. That is a wonderful collection.

Ringley: Both the books and the shirts will be on sale for $15.00

Bourne: What wrestling celebrities will be there?

Ringley: Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson of the Rock n Roll Express, Magnum T.A., J.J. Dillon, Baby Doll, Tommy Young, and Jackie Crockett.

Bourne: Wow, that's a great line-up and a small "who's who" of some of the big names of Jim Crockett Promotions in the hot period of the mid 1980s.

Ringley: It is, and since there was no [Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends] Fanfest this year, it may be the only gathering of this type in the Charlotte area this year. I don’t know of any opportunity like this around.

Bourne: I always enjoy seeing these guys get recognized and for fans to be able to show their appreciation for all they gave to the wrestling business. Will there be a special introduction of your special wrestling guests that evening at the game?

Ringley: All of the attendees will be introduced on the field prior to the game and just like last year Baby Doll will arrive on her Harley. I will be throwing out the first pitch but don’t expect much from that!

Bourne: Excellent! No pressure there, right?

Ringley: No, not at all!

Bourne: How will fans be able to interact with your special guests that night?

Ringley: They will be signing autographs and taking pictures with fans. All they will ask is a donation of some kind. Or a swag purchase from our merchandise table will get them pictures and autographs.

Bourne: Will Frances be there? Your mom [Frances Crockett] is such an important part of both the family history and baseball history in Charlotte.

Ringley: Yes, she should be. I think one of my sisters is bringing her. I have my hands full with all the others!

Bourne: I'll bet! Debbie, thanks for filling us in on Crockett Foundation Night 2017. I know both wrestling fans and baseball fans will have a blast.

Ringley: Thanks! Looking forward to seeing everyone there!

* * * * * * * * * * * *

DATE: Sunday evening, September 3, 2017
WHERE: BB&T Ballpark, 324 South Mint Street Charlotte, NC (Parking & Directions)
TIME: Gates open at 6:00 PM, First Pitch at 7:05 PM

If you are in the Charlotte area over Labor Day weekend, come out and support the Crockett Foundation and Charlotte Knights baseball. Buy some peanuts and some Cracker Jack and spend some time with the great legends of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

1985 Calling: Tony Schiavone, George South, and One Magical Phone Call

by Kyra Quinn
Special to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

About a year ago I got a phone call. But it was more than that. It was a link to a cherished part of my past, a connection to my youth and to one of the men who helped make wrestling real to me.

It was Sunday morning, August 7, 2016. I was getting ready for church and almost didn’t answer my ringing phone. But then I looked and saw that the caller was my friend, Mr. No. 1 George South. It was the Sunday of Fanfest weekend in Charlotte, and George knew I was sorely disappointed that I was unable to attend. I knew George was there, and I also knew that one never quite knows what Mr. No. 1 has up his sleeve. So I answered.

I was hailed with an excited, “Hey baby! How are you?” which is a pretty typical greeting from George. I could tell he was pumped to be there, spending the weekend amongst his friends and heroes – guys he has wrestled with and against for several decades. Quickly, George let me know he had someone who wanted to say hello to me. He told me to hold on.

The next voice I heard took my breath away: “Hi Kyra, this is Tony Schiavone.”

Of course, he needn’t have introduced himself. I would recognize that voice anywhere. It was one of the primary voices of my youth, the voice that conveyed magical moments with the perfect blend of exuberance, enthusiasm and realism. My heart pounding, my mind racing, I babbled some sort of ‘hello.’ As usually happens when I meet my wrestling heroes, I was awestruck. Initially, all I could think of was that he had said my name. Tony Schiavone said my name! Immediately I attempted to capture that moment in my mind forever so that I would always be able to recall it.

The conversation lasted a few minutes, and my excitement was such that I honestly don’t recall half of what I said. But I do remember the most important thing: I thanked Tony for helping to make it all so real to me. I discovered Crockett wrestling on Pittsburgh’s WPGH-53 one late summer morning in 1985 at the age of 8, with my introduction being the exhilarating title win of the Rock ‘n’ Roll Express over the Russians. I was hooked from then on, mesmerized by the athleticism, excitement, and the struggle between the good guys and the bad guys. From that first Saturday morning, Tony’s voice was an integral part of the spectacle, and of the realism that was the hallmark of Jim Crockett Promotions.  Tony’s love for wrestling came though, but so did his professionalism, in the way he called matches and handled interviews. He was, for me, a huge part of Jim Crockett Promotions, and when he left, some of the magic left with him.

My friends at the Gateway had Tony sign this for me that August in Charlotte.
It was a Fanfest I hated to miss.

Of course, Tony’s departure in early 1989 was only one of a slew of big changes around that time. My favorites, Ricky and Robert, were long gone; the Horsemen had disbanded; the whole talent roster had experienced upheaval; and the look and feel of the shows had changed. But Tony’s leaving was especially upsetting to me. He had been a constant – he had provided the soundtrack – and now he was gone. I was delighted when Tony eventually returned to what had become WCW, and I was always happy when past favorite wrestlers of mine found their way back to the promotion. But too much had changed. Wrestling was never quite the same for me.

When I thanked Tony for being such a big part of helping to make it real, he seemed genuinely grateful. Maybe it’s not a comment he hears very often, but he should. He was so good at what he did, and yet is so underrated. For those too young to remember, those who have simply forgotten, and those who can be critical, I’d suggest a visit to YouTube and a trip back to Jim Crockett Promotions in 1985 or 1986. Those shows have retained their magic. Watch the amazing talent in the ring, listen to the pops of the red-hot crowds, and pay special attention to the professional yet boyishly enthusiastic voice delivering the play-by-play. It doesn’t get much better.

* * * * * * * *

Also by Kyra Quinn on the Gateway:

My Secret Charlotte
Whispers of Magic from the City's Wrestling Relics

Dr. Joseph Estwanik: A Doctor Remembers
Noted Charlotte orthopedist recalls his experiences treating
the wrestlers of Jim Crockett Promotions

* * * * * * * *

Don't miss Tony's popular podcast "What Happened When" with co-host Conrad Thompson. It drops each Monday on the MLW Radio Network and can be found on all major podcasting platforms, including iTunes.

Also don't miss our huge feature with Tony looking back on his days as a fan of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. it was a multi-part series called "Sunday's With Schiavone" and can be found in its entirety by clicking here.


Friday, August 18, 2017

Action Figures Friday: The "Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff

It's Friday, and that means another in this great series of action figure photographs from collector Mike Simmerman. This week it's a shot that takes you back to late 1981 in the studios of WPCQ-TV in Charlotte, where "The Russian Bear" Ivan Koloff, master of the Russian Chain Match, is the NWA Television Champion.
Ivan Koloff first held the Mid-Atlantic TV title in 1974, defeating Danny Miller for the belt on 5/10/74 in Richmond, VA. He lost the title a couple months later to Paul Jones on 7/8/74 in Charlotte, NC, and then traded it again with Jones later that same year.

Seven years later, Koloff once again claimed the title, now known as the NWA Television Championship. He defeated Ron Bass for the title on 11/3/81 in Charlotte. He lost the title for a final time to Jimmy "Boogie Man" Valiant on 1/2/82 in Hampton, VA.

His feud with Jimmy Valiant is one of the most memorable during those years and will be immortalized with these action figures in future installments of this series.


Thursday, August 17, 2017

The "Terrible Andersons"

From the "Vintage TV & Wrestling Nostalgia" Blog
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Carroll Hall posted these newspaper ads from 1974 on his "Vintage TV & Wrestling Nostalgia" blog several months back, but we somehow missed them at the time.

Graphics for the second weekly taping of
"Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling"
hosted by Les Thatcher
I love the reference in the second ad to "the terrible Andersons." Right around this time, the Andersons were feuding primarily with Sandy Scott who was taking various different partners to challenge the Minnesota Wrecking Crew including Bearcat Wright, Bob Bruggers, Danny Miller, Jerry Brisco, and occasionally his brother George Scott (who was booking the territory at the time and not wrestling full-time.)

I love seeing these ads. WLOS-13 out of Asheville, NC, was one of the two stations I was able to watch Mid-Atlantic Wrestling on growing up. I grew up in east Tennessee but was fortunate that our cable company carried this station back before cable ops were prohibited from carrying out-of-market stations.


During the time period reflected in these ads, WLOS carried a second, separate version of the "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" show hosted by Les Thatcher. Just like the primary show hosted by Bob Caudle, it was taped at the studios of WRAL-TV in Raleigh, NC.

Les Thatcher and Bob Caudle
Hosts for the two separate hours of "Mid-Atlantic
Championship Wrestling" in 1974
The Thatcher show had huge ratings in the Asheville market, sometimes garnering a 60-share in the Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville TV market. This meant that 60% of the televisions that were on during that hour in that market were tuned to "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling." These were huge numbers for any program at any time in any era.

In October of 1975, that second hour of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling was replaced by a new program called "Wide World Wrestling" that was hosted by longtime Atlanta announcer Ed Capral. This gave that second JCP show a distinct name and identity.

Thatcher also hosted the localized promotional spots that were inserted into the programs in each market that promoted the arena house shows.

There are two more of these WLOS-13 ads on the page on Carroll's blog. Visit this link for the others:

For more on these shows and where they were taped, check out our Studio Wrestling feature on WRAL-5 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Get Well, Nature Boy

We join the rest of the wrestling world in sending our prayers and best wishes for the speedy recovery of the greatest wrestler to ever lace up a pair of boots - - "Nature Boy" Ric Flair.

Ric is recovering from surgery that took place on Monday 8/14 and is dealing with a number of various health issues at the moment.

Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family, and friends during this tough time. Get well soon, Naitch!

Valentine vs. Brisco: The Champ vs. The Champ

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

The year of 1974 was a watershed year in the history of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling.  After being brought into Jim Crockett Promotions in October of 1973, Johnny Valentine soon became the focus of a territory that was about to take off in a big way. After claiming the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship belt at the beginning of 1974, Valentine became so dominant during the course of the year that he was simply referred to by the promotion as the “Champ.”

When NWA World Heavyweight Champion Jack Brisco made a pass through the Mid-Atlantic area during 1974, he met the number one contender Valentine in a rare television match pitting Champion versus Champion. At the end of 1974, Valentine and announcer Sam Menacker talked over clips of this unique match in Mid-Atlantic Wrestling’s 1974 Year In Review television show.

November 24, 1974  -  Charlotte, NC
(Clipping from the Mark Eastridge Collection)
Valentine began the segment by telling the TV audience, “Well, they sent the World Champion in to make the Champ look bad, but he didn’t fare so well. In fact, he left after this match looking very bad himself and people were wondering why he was champion and not John Valentine.” Johnny continued, “You can see in this match as we go along that I handled him quite easily.”

Menacker noted, “Well, there’s no doubt about it, he’s the World Champion. And of course from what I heard about it you stayed right with him, but it wound up when the match was over he was still the champion.” Johnny curtly responded,  “Well, this was not a World Championship match or any championship match. It was a special TV match…if there were points given for this match I would have definitely won it on points. I was so far ahead it was ridiculous!” Valentine added, “He didn’t even look like a champion in this match.”

“It’s certainly evident that you’re the aggressor here,” Menacker commented. “I’m always the aggressor,” Valentine replied. The Champ continued, “I always strive to go out and win the match, not just waste my time and keep from getting beat because I knew then I was the better man. I had a hold of him for one minute and I knew I was a better man.”

As the film review continued Menacker stated, “Johnny, you really have a terrific arm bar hold on Jack Brisco.” Johnny chuckled, “Well, so far I’m the only one who had a hold…Brisco was strictly on the defensive. He’s backing up again in the ropes; he’s just hanging on for his dear life.” Valentine elaborated, “He expected to come in and make a fool of me, and look who is lying on the mat!”

In large measure, Menacker agreed exclaiming, “There’s Johnny, he’s picking him up, clubs him…man what a smash that was. And Brisco is definitely in trouble right there. I can’t help but agree with you, there’s a hard smash to the heart.” The Champ added, “This man was sent in just to make a fool of me but you can see what happened…the tables were turned! Brisco is out on the floor. Out on the floor, flat on his back. I personally think I should be World Champion.”

Menacker then commented, “Of course, in this television match, now it did wind up as a draw if I’m not mistaken...is that correct?” Valentine snarled, “Of course we ran out of time, lucky for Brisco we ran out of time because you can see who is taking all the punishment. There’s only so much punishment a body can take.”

As the film clip neared its conclusion Menacker observed, “Ordinarily I know those are punishing blows because I’ve seen Brisco and I know you have too where he has exceptionally quick recuperative powers, but in this particular match every time you club him he stays down for a while…it takes quite a time for him to get his bearings back. There he throws a punch, another punch, at you. He’s trying to come back, but he’s still weak. Beautiful move there, he brought you over in a rolling reverse cradle.”

Johnny answered, “Yeah, but I’m the stronger one; I’m able to come out. If I had him in that weakened condition he was in he may not have come out. I believe in hammering my opponent, hurting him, weakening him and then beating him.” Well, you are the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Champion and just watching this match here and having heard about it throughout the country I can understand why people say you should have another match with him besides yourself...naturally you want another match with him,” Menacker said. Johnny ended the segment by countering, “Well, naturally I want to better myself and having his belt will help.”

There can be no doubt that a Jack Brisco versus Johnny Valentine bout on television would be a highlight of 1974…or any year, for that matter. But the timing of this TV match, occurring when Brisco was the World Champion and Valentine was the Mid-Atlantic Champion made it even more memorable. Valentine’s strong showing certainly bolstered his status as Jim Crockett Promotions top dog.

And for sure, the Champ versus the Champ in 1974 was a moment in time on TV to be treasured by all the Mid-Atlantic faithful!

* * * * *

See also: Jack Brisco's NWA title defenses in the Mid-Atlantic area in 1974. 


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Wrestler Weekly: Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood Were Poetry in Motion

"These guys in the ring together were poetry in motion. They were, to the sport of wrestling, what Baryshnikov is to ballet and dance. While watching them perform, you were amazed, astonished, afraid for them, enthused with them, and most importantly, brought to tears of joy with them when they won." - Scottie Richardson, Wrestler Weekly

From the 720wrestling.com article
Just over a month ago, Scottie Richardson (of Wrestler Weekly, @wrestlerweekly) wrote an article about one of his favorite tag teams growing up, Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood.

Steamboat and Youngblood, or "Youngboat" as Jerry Brisco liked to call them, were one of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling's greatest tag teams ever. Their most memorable match, most likely, was their victory over Jack and Jerry Brisco at Starrcade '83 to win the NWA World Tag Team championships.

Richardson looks back at the multi-time tag champs, including from the perspective of the other great tag teams of that era.It is a really nice nostalgic look back at one of the great teams ever.

His article is on the 720 Wrestling website and can be found clicking here:

Just Have Fun: Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood 
720 Wrestling (720wrestling.com)


Friday, August 11, 2017

Amazing Ric Flair Promo for the PGA Championship


Weaver Cup Quarter Finals, JJ DIllon Phone Call, more!


Click this link for further details!


The 2017 Johnny Weaver Cup Tournament, now in its fourteenth amazing year, is underway at CWF Mid-Atlantic Wrestling.

On Saturday, August 12 the Mid-Atlantic bracket and Worldwide bracket collide to see who reaches the illustrious Final Four! The matches take palce at  the Mid-Atlantic Sportatorium in Gibsonville, NC.  All roads lead to the final four of the tournament which will take place Saturday, 8/26.

For more information on this tradition-rich event, check out the CWF Mid-Atlantic Website or look back at the thirteen previous tournaments on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Tully Blanchard Enterprises in the house! Two charter members of the original Four Horsemen, Tully Blanchard and James J. Dillon, will be on hand to help Classic Pro Wrestling celebrate their one year anniversary at their Anniversary Spectacular. The event will be held October 7 at West Point High School in West Point, Virginia. For more details, keep your eye on Classic Pro Wrestling's social media pages. (facebook.com/classicprowrestlin/, @cpwrasslin)

What Happened When with Tony Schiavone and Conrad Thompson
The J.J. Dillon Show with James. J. Dillon and Rich Bocchini
Go Get Over Podcast with Chris and Joey
Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling with Chad and Poz

As always, we thank you for your ongoing support of our website.


Action Figures Friday: Greg "The Hammer" Valentine

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

It's Friday, and we always celebrate here on the Gateway with "Action Figures Friday" (and usually "Free Fries Friday" at McDonald's, too.)

This week we take a look at a tribute to that iconic image from 1977 where Greg Valentine donned one of the most infamous wrestling t-shirts of all time - - "I Broke Wahoo's Leg" - - after defeating Wahoo McDaniel for the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship on TV, and breaking the Chief's leg in the process.

The replica figure is decked out with his own mini t-shirt and tiny replica of the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight title belt that was worn for many years during that era.

Valentine enraged fans back in the day with the t-shirt, often coming to the ring wearing a robe over it and then slowly opening the robe to reveal the shirt and the title belt with a devilish grin on his face.

And then when the robe came off, he would slowly turn so you could see the message on the back of the t-shirt, too - - "No More Wahoo."

And just as iconic as the shirt, and really the only thing that makes that imagery work, is the Mid-Atlantic championship belt strapped around his waist as well.

The Mid-Atlantic title was established in 1973, but has its roots going back to 1970 when the Eastern Heavyweight championship was established. That Eastern was renamed the Mid-Atlantic title in 1973. The complete title history can be found on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway here

The imagery and the memories of that famous t-shirt resulting from that historic televised match are still remembered today, and are even immortalized in a song by singer/songwriter Sweet G.A. Brown. (We've written a lot about that song, most recently here.)

In a short conversation with Greg while getting breakfast at the Univesity Hilton at Charlotte in 2016 at the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fanfest, he told me that usually one person will mention this to him at almost every appearance he makes. "I get asked to sign my autograph that way," he told our group. "All these years later, people still remember that."

All these years later, indeed. It's hard to believe it was 40 years ago this September of 2017.

I was the smart-alek who brought it up that morning at breakfast. Greg was in line at the buffet with his back turned and when we saw him, I said out loud, "Watch out folks, this guy broke Wahoo's leg." Greg slowly turned around with a big grin on his face and uttered in that deep, muttering voice, "You're damn right I did."

That is a nice memory of that weekend in Charlotte.

Thanks as always to collector Mike Simmerman for sending us these great photos from his amazing throw-back collection of action figures. To see all the other "Action Figures Fridays" posts, click here.


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Crazy Bloopers in Hub City!

File this one high up on the list of "How in the heck do these things happen?"

It was the regular Saturday night card at the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium on a cool October night. The main event was one of the hottest matches currently making the rounds in the Mid-Atlantic area: Ole Anderson vs. Thunderbolt Patterson.

The ad for the show ran in that morning's paper. All looked good until you started looking closely at the names wrestling on the mid-card. Heck, you didn't have to actually look all that closely, these odd name jumped right off the page to any fan familiar with the current stars of Jim Crockett Promotions.

In the semi-main event tag match (oddly called the "sub main event" here) the exciting babyface tag team of Jim Dillon and The Avenger (Reggie Parks) were scheduled to meet - - - JEAN Anderson and MASK Marvel.

Not "The Masked Marvel" - - just MASK Marvel.

In the scheduled third match of the night, ROMMIE ARVIN is scheduled to face PONCHO BALDER.

Poncho BALDER?? What the heck?

Lots of odd things about all this - -  

First of all, the fact that whoever put together the ad for the paper would spell Gene Anderson's name JEAN had to suggest that the local promoter called the scheduled line-up in to the paper and the person taking it down just spelled it like his mama's name was spelled. No one in the wrestling office would have spelled Gene's name JEAN. That might also explain ROMMIE ARVIN. Maybe a bad connection and the kid at the advertising desk couldn't hear the person calling it in real well. Although you'd think someone would pick up on the fact that ROMMIE ARVIN doesn't even much sound like a name.

But nothing explains PONCHO BALDER!

The wrestler scheduled to face Ronnie Garvin that night was Pancho Valdez. Actually, depending on the source and the territory, his first name was spelled both Pancho and Poncho. But Balder? How in the world the paper wound up with PONCHO BALDER is one of the great mysteries of these newspaper bloopers. Nothing explains that one. It certainly doesn't sound like Valdez that someone simply misunderstood. Even trying to decipher the worst handwriting in the world it's hard to see how you would get BALDER out of Valdez.

Maybe it was a rib.

One other little mystery is Gene Anderson's partner being billed as the MASK Marvel. While there had been a Masked Marvels tag team in the area before, there was no Masked Marvel in the area at present. Gene Anderson's partner this night was actually a masked wrestler named The Menace, who wore a maroon colored mask and was affiliated with the Anderson Brothers in a big angle at that time. The Andersons and their henchman The Menace were often teamed in 6-man bouts around the area at the time.

So just how did The Menace get billed as the MASK Marvel?

All of these things added together make this one of the strangest newspaper ad bloopers we've come across in some time.

The answers to these questions, if there are any, aren't really worth the time it took to wonder and write about them. This stuff just really puzzles me, how an ad department at a newspaper can get something so wrong. What could possibly explain these crazy errors?

There are other misspellings in names, including Jim GRAGMIRE. Given all these crazy mistakes, it's a wonder they got Mike Paidousis' name correctly. That's often a tough one.

The following day, the newspaper had no problem in getting the names of the wrestlers right, although the results show some changes in the card:
  • Thunderbolt Patterson defeated Ole Anderson
  • Jim Dillon and The Avenger topped Gene Anderson and The Menace
  • Peggy Patterson defeated Paula Kay
  • Ronnie Garvin defeated Pancho Valdez
  • Billy Hines beat Terry Sawyer
  • Johnny Heidman downed Jim Grabmire

For more Bloopers, visit the Blooper Directory.


Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Win a Copy of "FOUR HORSEMEN" and a Phone Call from James J. Dillon!

Win a copy of the book "FOUR HORSEMEN", signed by J.J. Dillon, and a personal phone call from J.J. himself. 

All you have to do is:
  1. Post a rating and review of the "JJ Dillon Show" podcast in iTunes. 
  2. Then email JJ at jjdillonshow@mlw.com and tell him in the email which review is yours. 
You are then automatically entered to win!

Two winners will be selected at random and both will receive a copy of the "FOUR HORSEMEN" book signed to you by J.J., as well as a personal phone call from J.J. to say thanks.

For more information, email that same address jjdillonshow@mlw.com or check out the most recent podcasrt (Episode #7, published 8/4/17) with all the information there.

Late edit:
Here is the relevant audio information pulled directly from the 8/4/17 episode of the podcast:

Don't miss JJ on his big Pennsylvania tour this weekend! He will have both his autobiography "Wrestlers Are Like Seagulls" as well as the new "Four Horsemen" book available at his booth or table.

1CW Wrestling
NTW Presents 1CW/Showcase Pro Wrestling
Celebration Hall at Saint Paul’s Lutheran Church
6:30pm Doors Open for Meet & Greet, 7:30pm Bell Time
139 Craigs Meadow Road, East Stroudsburg, PA 

Icons of Wrestling & Comic Book Collectorfest
Bud Carson table guest from 9am to 3pm at the 2300 Arena
2300 S. Swanson St., Philadelphia, PA 
For tickets and more info go to http://www.thecollectorfest.com/
For more information on Icons of Wrestling & Comic Book Collectorfest 

Bud Carson's Pro Wrestling World
12pm to 2pm at the Pro Wrestling World store in Allentown
1901 S. 12th St. Allentown, PA
For more info call 610-798-9900 or email prowrestling1@aol.com.

For more of J.J.'s schedule, click here.


United States Wrestling Club: Jake "The Snake" Roberts


In 1981, Jim Crockett promotions developed a club for their fans and called it the "United States Wrestling Club." For a membership fee of $5.00 for one year, fans got the bi-monthly club newsletter "Ringside," a discounted subscription offer on "Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Magazine," discounts on tickets to local Mid-Atlantic Wrestling events, and discounts on concessions at those events. Despite being initially well received by fans, Jim Crockett Promotions folded the club after only one year.

The 4th issue of the "Ringside" newsletter for the United States Wrestling Club arrived in November 1981. The feature article was editor Steve Waid's interview with Jake "The Snake" Roberts about his interest in snakes, making furniture, and his tenure in the wrestling business at that point in time.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *


If he’s wearing his cowboy hat, chances are the first thing you won’t notice about wrestling star Jake Roberts will be his tall, muscular body or seemingly stone-cut good looks.

Instead, his hat will capture all your attention. It’s a rather nondescript cowboy lid, except when you notice the hatband.

Now that’s a stunner.

It’s the skin of a rattlesnake, complete with head, open mouth and fangs – make that one fang. It’s a chilling sight and it gives the amiable Roberts something of a sinister air.

“I got that hat in Texas and the skin and head of the snake were given to me by a buddy who is a taxidermist,” said Roberts. “I guess it’s the kind of thing you don’t see every day. That other fang broke off just the other day.”

It seems only natural that Roberts would adorn his hat with the skin of a snake, because he has a fondness for the slithering creatures. He has two pet snakes – a huge boa constrictor and a python, both in the 7-foot range.

Don’t let his hatband or his unusual pets fool you, however. Roberts is no “snake in the grass.” He is, instead, a fine athlete who has only recently come into the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling area after successful stints in other parts of the country.

From the town of Sweetwater, Texas, near Dallas, Roberts was influenced by wrestling at a very early age. “My father was a professional wrestler called the ‘Kentuckian’,” he said, “and we shared more of a big brother/little brother relationship than anything else.”

“I would see the huge number of miles he’d pile up traveling and I’d see him get all busted up and I thought a wrestler was the last thing I ever wanted to be.”

As a youngster, Roberts drifted into basketball, baseball and football at Sweetwater High School, and in his own words, “I was the master of none.”

But that didn’t mean he lacked athletic prowess. He got a chance to prove that later in Baton Rouge, Louisiana where he had gone to visit his father.


“I was at a wrestling match with him and this guy didn’t show up for his particular match,” Roberts recalled. “Well, it was suggested that I fill in for him. My father was with me and I knew he’d be watching.”

“It was against a guy named Billy Ash. Time expired before he could pin me or I could manage to do anything with him, but I took the worst of it, let me tell you.”

“I went back to the dressing room and asked my Dad what he thought. He said it was the worst thing he had ever seen and that he was embarrassed. I considered that a challenge. I thought then I could be as good as he ever was. And so, here I am.”

That was “six long years ago” and Roberts is quickly becoming one of the more popular grapplers around. But he’s paid a price for it, much the same as his father did.

“I went to Florida to start my career, but had wrist surgery and was out for 18 months,” Roberts said. “Then I started back again in Florida, went to Tennessee, Kansas City and on to Canada, where I started out in Vancouver, British Columbia. Then I went to Calgary, also in Canada.”

“From there, I figured it was time to head back to Louisiana to show everyone what I had learned.”

Apparently, he had learned a great deal. He became the Louisiana State Champion.

But again, injuries plagued him. He separated his shoulder and then broke his arm twice, severely limiting his activities. Upon recovery, however, he had to do his father proud when he won the North American Championship in Shreveport, LA in January, 1980.

He remained in Louisiana until the middle of 1981, when he came to the Mid-Atlantic area to become involved in the competition that exists there.

“I had to keep right on going in the sport I’d chosen,” Roberts explained. “You have to go out and go places to make yourself better and better. And for me, it means a great deal of personal satisfaction, even though I’ve taken a lot of wear and tear on my body.”

“It proves that no matter what the odds are against you, you can achieve anything in this world if you work at it.”

To relax, Roberts makes furniture, in addition to tending his snakes. It seems the creativity of creating a fine chair or other household object is a welcome respite from the rigors of wrestling.

Outgoing and friendly, Jake Roberts has most of his career ahead of him. Even though he didn’t approve of wrestling after seeing his father’s involvement of several years, he’s met a challenge and become one of the best in his profession.

“I never thought I’d be in the position I am,” he said. “I have gained a lot of satisfaction from it.”

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Special thanks to Peggy Lathan for transcribing the Jake Roberts article.

Click here for all posts on the United States Wrestling Club.


Sunday, August 06, 2017

Richmond Countdown #13 - Friday, September 14, 1979

Chap's Top 15 Wrestling Cards in Richmond (1973-1986)
#13 - Friday, May 21, 1982
by David Chappell, Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Newspaper Clippings from the collection of Mark Eastridge

I'm proud to share my memories of my personal Top 15 cards ever in Richmond. Join me as I count down some of the most exciting thrill packed nights of wrestling action the Mid-Atlantic area ever saw.

* * * * * * 

Jim Crockett Promotions put on a memorable card of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling on the evening of September 14, 1979. The card included a major title change in the Main Event, plus a couple of other outstanding and intriguing bouts near the top of the card. Even the mid-card and preliminary matches on this night had a lot to offer. It was quite a night at the Richmond Coliseum!

MAIN EVENT—Ken Patera vs. Jim Brunzell

Ken Patera entered the Richmond Coliseum this night as perhaps the most dominant Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion ever. Patera defeated the legendary "Chief" Wahoo McDaniel for the Mid-Atlantic Title in April of 1978. Except for losing the title to strongman Tony Atlas for a very brief time in mid-1978, Patera had essentially held the title for a year and a half when he faced the challenge of "Jumpin’ Jim Brunzell" this night in Richmond. Brunzell had come to the Mid-Atlantic area earlier in 1979 from the AWA, where he had primarily been known as a tag team wrestler. There was a good buildup between Patera and Brunzell leading to their climactic bout in Richmond.

The title switch was set up a couple of weeks earlier on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television program, where Brunzell pinned Patera twice on the same TV show. This scenario was similar to an effective angle done two years earlier between Blackjack Mulligan and Dino Bravo, where Bravo was set up in the same fashion as a legitimate contender to Mulligan’s U.S. Title.

While there was a tremendous size and strength difference between Patera and Brunzell, Jim was able to utilize his speed and quickness to upend Patera and win the Mid-Atlantic Title this night. Patera dominated most of the match and bloodied Brunzell, but Brunzell captured a quick pinfall that ended Ken Patera’s impressive reign as the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion. Brunzell would have a decent reign as the Mid-Atlantic Champion, trading the title with Ray Stevens later in 1979 and finally losing the belt for good to the Iron Sheik in the spring of 1980.

Ricky Steamboat vs. Jimmy Snuka

This was a "Champion vs. Champion" match. Jimmy Snuka had won the United States Heavyweight Championship two weeks earlier in a tournament. Ironically, Snuka defeated Ricky Steamboat in the finals of that tournament. At this time, Steamboat was the NWA Television Champion. In this match, only Steamboat’s title was at stake as the TV title was always at stake for the first 15 minutes of any match that the champion wrestled. These two put on a spectacular high-flying display that was a sight to behold. This match was non-stop action from the two former friends, who had called themselves the SPC (South Pacific Connection) only months before prior to Snuka turning heel. The match ended on a disqualification from Snuka, but only after the two had thoroughly dazzled everyone in attendance.

Ric Flair vs. John Studd

This was an intriguing match for a number of reasons. By 1979, it was rare indeed to see any Mid-Atlantic card with Ric Flair involved in the third match from the top. It goes to show the strength of this particular card. Flair was about three months into his first Mid-Atlantic run as a "good guy." Ric had brought Studd into the area in late 1978 to collect a bounty that Flair had put on the head of Blackjack Mulligan. The storyline was that Ric was in Hawaii and "discovered" Studd on that trip and brought him back to the Carolinas. Veteran Mid-Atlantic fans would have recalled that Studd was actually the same person as Chuck O’Connor, who had wrestled for Jim Crockett Promotions in 1974.

This match was an extremely rare singles confrontation between Flair and Studd, as the two never worked a real program together. The difference in size between these two was staggering, and much like the Brunzell-Patera match, the bigger Studd dominated his smaller foe during much of the match. But by the end of the bout, the quicker Flair began running circles around his bigger opponent and ultimately snared a quick pinfall on the giant Studd.

Brute Bernard & Gene Anderson vs. Johnny Weaver & S.D. Jones

This was a fascinating bout to me, because if you took S.D. Jones out of the equation, you would have had a Jim Crockett Promotions Main Event from the 1960’s! Weaver, Bernard and Anderson were all on the downhill sides of their respective careers at this point in time, but they turned back the clock and put on a good and entertaining show on this evening. Weaver and Jones won the match, but that was secondary in my mind. I recall watching and wondering how many more times would I see these great aging stars wrestle against each other.

Preliminary Matches

It was interesting that a couple of former WWWF World Champions wrestled preliminary matches on this Richmond card. Former WWWF World Champion Pedro Morales teamed with Bob Marcus to defeat Charlie Fulton and David Patterson. Former WWWF Tag Team Champion Tony Garea beat veteran Swede Hanson. I wish that somehow Hanson had been part of the later tag match involving Weaver, Bernard and Anderson! That match would then have truly been a trip down Jim Crockett Promotions "memory lane!" The opening bout saw a rare battle of "good guys" as another old-timer, Abe Jacobs, wrestled to a draw against Coco Samoa.

This event had all the ingredients to place it among the best ever Mid-Atlantic Wrestling cards in Richmond. September 14, 1979 has thus been given the distinction of being placed at number 13 on my all-time list. An unlucky number, but for those who witnessed this card, they count themselves as very lucky!

* * * * * * * * * *

Click here for earlier installments of the "Richmond Top 15"

Up Next: #12 - May 1, 1981


Saturday, August 05, 2017

Celebrating Anniversaries

Dick Bourne & David Chappell - Hall of Heroes Class of 2016
Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fanfest, University Place Hilton, Charlotte NC
August marks the 17th anniversary of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway which David Chappell and I first started back in 2000.

It began as a small little site with a few pages of photos and newspaper clippings, and a little historical piece on the year 1975. It grew to include tens of thousands of pages of historical record, memorabilia, and great memories covering one of the great old territories throughout the 1970s and 1980s. It's been a fun little adventure.

Also, it was one year ago today, August 5, 2016, that David and I were recognized for our efforts on the website at the Hall of Heroes dinner banquet during the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fanfest in Charlotte, NC. It is a very nice memory for us. We were honored to be introduced by the legendary Bob Caudle, one of our heroes, and a member himself of the Hall of Heroes inaugural class of 2007. Thanks again to Greg Price and everyone involved with Fanfest. We hate there is no Fanfest event this year, but hopefully it will return in 2018.

Thanks to everyone who has contributed to and visited the Mid-Atlantic Gateway over these many years. 

David Chappell, Bob Caudle, and Dick Bourne
Raleigh, NC January 2017