Saturday, November 17, 2018

Grand Slam Champs in Action

Photo courtesy Jody Shifflett
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

We recently posted a series on four wrestlers that we dubbed the Grand Slam Champions of Jim Crockett Promotions. These four wrestlers were the only four who held all five of the Crockett Promotions titles in the 1970s and 1980s.

Those four wrestlers are the "Hawaiian Punch" Ricky Steamboat, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine,  "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, and "Number One" Paul Jones.

We recently featured a drawing of what a Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Mt. Rushmore might look like if these four were on it. Jody Shifflett saw that and sent us a photo of one of his posters that featured those four in a main event tag match in June of 1978 in Forest City, NC.

Only two were actually Grand Slam champions at the time of this show, Paul Jones (accomplished in one calendar year in 1975) and Ric Flair (accomplished from 1974 to 1977.) Valentine and Steamboat would have all five jewels in the crown within the next few years, too. But it's cool to see all four here in a tag team main event. These two teams feuded over both the Mid-Atlantic and NWA World Tag Team titles during these years.


For a look at each wrestler and their amazing championship pedigree, check out these earlier posts on what we like to call Jim Crockett's Grand Slam Championship.
  1. Paul Jones
  2. Ric Flair
  3. Greg Valentine
  4. Ricky Steamboat
On an unrelated note to the Grand Slam but related to this poster: think of how many years Johnny Weaver and Gene Anderson were in the ring together. In the 1960s it was Gene and Lars Anderson who battled Weaver and George Becker in tag team matches. In the 1970s, Weaver took different partners to battle Gene and Ole Anderson over the years in spot show matches or on TV. And even into the 1980s, they would meet occasionally, once in particular I'm remembering when Gene tagged with Red Dog Lane to battle Weaver and Pvt. Jim Nelson on the famous Final Conflict cage match show in Greensboro in the spring of 1983, the same show that was the inspiration for Jim Crockett Promotions to try closed circuit later that year on Thanksgiving night. They also met in many singles matches over the years, including this one in Forest City.


http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/p/yearbooks.html

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Swedish Killers!

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

What a great old newspaper ad this is from Asheville, NC, in 1967, written by promoter Paul Winkhaus. Winkhaus was the local promoter for Jim Crockett Promotions in the Greenville and Asheville area, and he put a lot of thought (and drama) into his newspaper advertisements at the time.


 
The main event was the team of George and Sandy, the popular "Flying Scott Brothers" versus the "Swedish Mat Killers" Lars and Gene Anderson.

THE SCOTTS FACE KILLER SWEDES IN THIS HOT TAG MATCH! PRESTIGE AND MAT RATINGS AT STAKE!

Killer Swedes! Can Flying Scotts compete with Killer Swedes? The card also featured Chippewas, Shawnees, Bulldogs, Mummies, and Panchos!

What a great main event featuring brother team vs. brother team. We're big fans of the Minnesota Wrecking Crew (and the Scott brothers for that matter), so we loved seeing this ad.

A great period in the 1960s and a hot card at the old Asheville City Auditorium.

See T.V. Wrestling each Saturday 5 PM on channel 4!

Thanks to Andy McDaniel for forwarding this newspaper ad to us. 

http://bookstore.midatlanticgateway.com

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Post Highlights: Wrestling in Roanoke, VA

Over at our sister website "Studio Wrestling" we've had a streak of posts recently revolving around the "Star City" Roanoke, VA, and the wrestling show that once originated from there on WDBJ-7.

Here is a list of links from those recent posts:


For all of the posts dealing with studio wrestling at WDBJ-7 in Roanoke, VA, including promoter Pete Apostolou, announcer Hall Grant, and the Roanoke Sports Club CLICK HERE.

For the Mid-Atlantic Gateway's page on the history of Studio Wrestling visit this link: WDBJ-7 Roanoke VA

Lastly, for a look at all of the studio locations where wrestling was taped for Jim Crockett Promotions from 1956-1981, visit the "Guide to Studio Wrestling" page on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway (currently on the Gateway Archive site.)

http://horsemen.midatlanticgateway.com

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Guest Ring Announcer in Florence

by Andy McDaniel
Special to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway


During the eighties there was no area hotter for pro-wrestling than the Mid-Atlantic territory. Maybe others would argue that, but as one who lived in that area and during that era, I stand by my opinion. As I have written in many articles, my love for action at County Hall in Charleston, SC is beyond measure. However, there are also fond memories of the other venues that Henry Marcus promoted across the state.

While many of us love to remember the great matches we witnessed or those awesome Saturday morning promos that gave us just the right words to draw the crowds to the upcoming events, it is also the funny moments which took place, that we recall with a smile. While looking through some of the archived articles on the Gateway, I ran across a story on an event that took place in Florence, SC. These events were held outdoors at the football stadium. It was normally very hot, and the bugs were always terrible. The wrestlers never truly seemed excited to be there. It was not the greatest venue.

As I read about the card featuring the Rock and Roll Express I was reminded of a truly funny moment that took place at another show from this same venue. The match featured Jimmy “the Boogie Woogie Man” Valiant in his war against Paul Jones and his army. The opponent on this night was Teijo Kahn. The funny moment was not during the match, bur rather during the introduction. The scheduled ring announcer for the night was not there, not sure why, but regardless of the reason, it was determined the getting one of the locals to handle the intros would be a good idea. However, it would soon be learned, in a very comical way, that other arrangements should have been made. The names listed on the card were handed to this gentleman. It was abundantly clear that he had never done such work before and even more obvious was his unfamiliarity with wrestlers and their names.

It was bell time, he began to stumble his way through the first few matches and then came time for the Jimmy and Teijo match. Paul Jones entered the ring with his henchman and the introduction was to follow, but what actually happened caused the crowd filled bleachers to howl in laughter. Our guest ring announcer peered at the paper in his hand and looked over at the mohawked muscleman, looked back at his paper and then without covering the microphone or at least walking over to get closer and less obvious, he simply blurted out: "What the hell is your name?"

It was clear that Paul was fighting back the laughter, but with his tongue being bit, he leaned over to the confused and way out of his comfort zone ring announcer and gave him the name, but it still did not correct the issue and he asked Paul to repeat the name once again. By this time, it had just become funny and the man finally said, “Oh yeah, Kong, here is Kong in the blue corner.”

Just writing these words makes me laugh when I think back to this fun night. The written bloopers that are sometimes featured here on the Gateway are fun to read, but when you got to see one in person, it is even better.

http://bookstore.midatlanticgateway.com

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling's Mount Rushmore

Artwork by Mandy Knowles

Our friend Mandy Knowles created a beautiful rendition of what a Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Mount Rushmore might look like, based on our recent series on the only four men who held all five of the Crockett Promotions titles in the 1970s and 1980s.

Those four wrestlers are the "Hawaiian Punch" Ricky Steamboat, Greg "The Hammer" Valentine,  "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, and "Number One" Paul Jones.

For a look at each wrestler on this version of a Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Mount Rushmore and their amazing championship pedigree, check out these earlier posts on what we like to call Jim Crockett's Grand Slam Championship.
  1. Paul Jones
  2. Ric Flair
  3. Greg Valentine
  4. Ricky Steamboat
Now, we certainly realize that there would be lots of differing opinions on who should make up a true Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Mount Rushmore. I mean, how could one leave off Wahoo McDaniel? Blackjack Mulligan? The Anderson Brothers? The Four Horsemen? You could probably list a dozen more yourself.

Then again, how could you argue leaving off any of the four in this drawing, especially given their amazing title pedigree in Jim Crockett Promotions?

Mandy became a wrestling fan back in 1984 and her favorite wrestler of all time was Andre the Giant. We appreciate her excellent creation of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling's Mount Rushmore!


http://horsemen.midatlanticgateway.com

Friday, November 09, 2018

WHW Live! This Sunday 11/11 in Charlotte

https://www.facebook.com/whwmonday/

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

The VHS Days


Remember when you had to pay $40 - - FORTY DOLLARS! - - for a highly edited VHS tape of the big Jim Crockett Promotions events? I didn't care, I loved these things, the packaging, the artwork, the long rewinds.

Ahhh, the VHS days!

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Blooper! Who knew Sarge was a Saint?

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

It's been awhile since we posted a newspaper ad blooper on the site, and our friend Andy McDaniel recently noticed this one, so I thought we'd post it today.

A word about Bloopers: they aren't just simple typos or misspellings - - in order to qualify they have to result in something unintentionally funny. For example, my personal all-time favorite wrestling ad blooper is this one for Ole Anderson. There are also occasionally wrestler's names that somehow get so changed in the journey from wrestling office to newspaper office, you wonder how in the world they could possibly happen. Like Rufus R. JOYNER.

So in that spirit, we have a great card from Charlotte in the fall of 1981 (37 years ago!) featuring a Texas Death Match main event between Roddy Piper and Wahoo McDaniel.

But it was the second main event that gave us a chuckle. As Andy said in his text message, "I don't remember Sgt. Slaughter being a saint." Yep, this simple typo resulted in the abbreviation for "sergeant" turning the reigning U.S. Heavyweight champion into a saint!

St. Bob Slaughter.

Sgt. Slaughter had just won the U.S. title in a tournament in Charlotte two weeks earlier, defeating Ricky Steamboat in the finals. Now Steamboat was Slaughter's number one challenger for the gold belt.

Certainly fans at the Charlotte Coliseum that October night thought Steamboat was more of a wrestling saint than Slaughter!

To filter our website to show only our Blooper posts, click here or click the Blooper link in the list of all "All Labels and Tags" in the right hand column of the website.

More bloopers to come.

http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/p/yearbooks.html

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

"Big Time Wrestling" returning to the Mid-Atlantic Area

 
RALEIGH & PRINCE GEORGE in NOV!
BRISTOL & SPARTANBURG in DEC!

The "Big Time Wrestling" promotion is returning to the old traditional Mid-Atlantic area again this year with shows in Raleigh, NC, Friday 11/16 and Prince George, VA Saturday 11/17.

They also will be back in December with shows in Bristol, VA, Friday 12/7 and Spartanburg, SC, Saturday 12/8

Different shows feature Mid-Atlantic legends such as Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson (the Rock & Roll Express), Sgt. Slaughter, Magnum T.A., the Barbarian, Meng, plus other superstars such as Mick Foley, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, and many others. See specific show/ticket pages for details. 

Check out the posters for the events below, and visit their website for ticket information:

http://www.btwtickets.com/events/2018-11-16.html

http://www.btwtickets.com/events/2018-11-17.html

http://horsemen.midatlanticgateway.com

Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Wrestling and Election Returns on the bill at Dorton Arena (1972)

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

I recently came across this little Raleigh newspaper clipping for a November 1972 card at Dorton Arena. I was struck by the mention that election returns would be announced during the event.

Promoter Joe Murnick assured fans they would be made
aware of local election results at his Dorton Arena show.

__________________________________________
This got me thinking about that presidential election year of 1972 and how differently we follow things like that today with our smart phones, Twitter, and cable news networks. In 1972, there were only three broadcast networks and unless you were glued to the TV in your living room or perhaps to your local AM radio station, you had no idea of how the election was playing out.

But savvy promoter Joe Murnick wanted fans to know that they didn't need to sit around the television at home and wait for local WRAL news anchor Charlie Gaddy to give them election results - - - election results would be announced in the arena!

That's an unusual pitch for a wrestling show. Politics have always been an ugly business, but can you imagine election results being announced at a wrestling event today? The fights in the ring would likely pale in comparison to the brawls that would break out in the stands.

I'm guessing that the local races were what were really of interest to the local crowd. There wasn't much drama in the presidential race that year as Richard Nixon wound up putting a 520-17 electoral college smackdown on George McGovern. But in North Carolina, Republican Jesse Helms was in a tough battle with Democrat Congressman Nick Galifianakis for the open U.S. Senate seat. Galifianakis led early in the race by 20 points, but Helms wound up winning on election night by a solid 8-point margin. It was the first time a Republican had won a U.S. Senate seat in North Carolina in the 20th century and began a long tenure for Helms in the U.S. Senate.

Helms had several connections to wrestling. In the 1980s, Mid-Atlantic Wrestling announcer Bob Caudle, who was a longtime WRAL news personality, worked for Helms in his constituent office. Several wrestlers, including area stalwart Johnny Weaver, did political ads for Helms that aired during the wrestling programs in Helms' re-election bid in 1978. In the 1990 election, Ric Flair campaigned for Helms. 

Here are the match-ups in the three top bouts which all featured members or affiliates of the Minnesota Wrecking Crew:
Ole Anderson vs. Johnny Weaver
The winner of this bout would go on to meet NWA World Champion Dory Funk, Jr. on a future show. The stipulations were that there would be a $1,000 fine to anyone who interferes in the event. We're assuming that was targeted to other wrestlers and not angry fans because their candidate lost.

Gene Anderson vs. Art Nelson
This was billed as "brass knuckles" match.

The Menace vs. Sandy Scott
The Menace was a masked associate of the Anderson Brothers. He wore a maroon colored mask (Anderson colors) and often accompanied Gene and Ole in matches and would occasionally interfere on their behalf. I'm guessing that tendency to  interfere was one of the reasons there was the $1,000 fine stipulation in the Anderson/Weaver main event. 

Late edit: Results of the show - -
  • Johnny Weaver defeated Ole Anderson
  • Gene Anderson defeated Art Nelson
  • Sandy Scott won by DQ over The Menace
  • Freedy Sweetan & Mike "The Judge" Dubois defeated David Finley (Crockett) and Frank Hester
  • Terry Kay defeated George "Two Ton" Harris
  • Bobby Kay defeated Tinker Todd


There were two other Mid-Atlantic cards that evening, one each in the other two states of the territory, as Jim Crockett Promotions often ran three shows a night:

  • In Columbia, SC, Eastern Heavyweight Champion Jerry Brisco defended his title against Rip Hawk, who was being managed for the first time by Homer O'Dell. O'Dell had recently taken over the managerial duties for Hawk and partner Swede Hanson from Gary Hart.
  • In Danville, VA, Thunderbolt Patterson and Ronnie Garvin battled The Royal Kangaroos in a tag team main event. 

I earlier mentioned Charlie Gaddy, who wound up a broadcasting legend in the Raleigh market, hosting the local news anchor desk at WRAL into the 1990s. The national network anchors at that time were John Chancellor on NBC, Walter Cronkite on CBS, and Harry Reasoner on ABC.

***

Special thanks to Mark Eastridge as always for access to his newspaper clippings archive.
Updated with results from the Raleigh show provided by Carroll Hall of the All Star Championship Wrestling website.

http://bookstore.midatlanticgateway.com

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Mr. Wrestling Tim Woods' Last Stand (Part 6)

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Catch up on this story in:
PART ONE  |  PART TWO  |  PART THREE  |  PART FOUR  |  PART FIVE

* * *

PART SIX

When the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling show that was taped on October 24, 1979 from the WRAL TV-5 studios in Raleigh, North Carolina opened, Tim Woods was standing front and center with announcers Bob Caudle and David Crockett. Caudle quickly exclaimed, "Tim Woods [is] right here with that "Wanted Poster" and that baseball bat on your shoulder!"



Woods smiled and answered, "Well, this [bat] is my buddy...he's gonna be a real companion of mine until I get this score settled. You know, Buddy Rogers and Jimmy Snuka hurt me once, they hurt me twice, but I promise you they're not gonna hurt me again. I've made no bones about it, I've put "Wanted Posters" out all over. I've given thousands of them away and I've got thousands more to give away."

Tim continued, "And I want them to know that I mean what I say. Not only that, but I've proved it by taking off my mask which I've fought for, for a long, long time. And I hope if nothing else that will convince them that I'm very serious about this. They were fined and reprimanded by the National Wrestling Alliance but that's a small thing compared to what they've got in store for them."

While staring intently at the baseball bat on Woods' shoulder, Caudle queried Tim, "When you say you want them out, and you want them out of wrestling...is this right here have anything to do with the way they may go out of wrestling?"  Woods answered, "I'll tell you what, I don't care how I put 'em out..." At this juncture, "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka was up in the ring and was barking loudly at Tim, and this was clearly starting to get under Woods' skin.

Woods snapped, "Jimmy Snuka's standin' up there right now but I guarantee..."  Caudle interrupted, "Now wait a minute...now Snuka's standing up on the ropes and [Woods'] got that bat!" Crockett quipped, "Better watch out for that swing!" Caudle then laughed, "Yeah, I'm gonna be ducking, David!" But Woods was not in a jovial mood, taunting Snuka saying, "When there's two of them against one they're pretty tough. All I've got is a little equalizer...come on down, HEY come on down!"

At this point, an extremely agitated Woods is positioned in a batter's stance with the bat! Crockett deadpanned, "Looks like he's getting ready to hit a home run." Caudle responded, "Yeah, and I tell ya, when you have guys like Snuka and John Studd, not to mention Buddy Rogers, and you don't know what's gonna happen because..." Crockett then cut Bob off as the cameraman did a close-up of Snuka whose facial expression was extremely scary to say the least.

Crockett commented, "Look at Snuka right now, look at the expression!" Caudle concurred with seeing the far-out look that the "Superfly" was displaying, noting, "You know David, everybody has said that maybe Snuka and maybe Studd are hypnotized by Rogers or something, and if that's the case there's no telling what they're gonna do." Crockett followed, "Snuka's got to have more respect for a man with a baseball bat!"

Woods abruptly ended the interview with his bombshell announcement, proclaiming, "The neck brace is off; next week I'm gonna be wrestling right here!" A gushing Caudle responded, "The neck brace is off; he is recovered David! It's been a long haul for Tim Woods, but he's back." Crockett ended this tense segment by saying, "That's right, he is back and about the hypnotism we'll talk a little more about that later on.

Buddy Rogers addresses the charge that he hypnotizes Jimmy Snuka as a means to terrorize Tim Woods... to be continued in Part 7!


http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/p/yearbooks.html

Saturday, November 03, 2018

How Johnny Valentine's 1000 Silver Dollars Doubled!

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway


 
Originally published October 30, 2015

PART ONE

Early in the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling tenure of Johnny Valentine, the “Champ” truly came up with a gimmick match that would entertain fans around the territory for years. Valentine had a stranglehold on the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship belt during the year of 1974, but Johnny felt he needed more competition to keep him sharp beyond merely defending the Mid-Atlantic Title. This led to the birth of Johnny Valentine’s 1000 silver dollar challenge!

Around the middle of the year in 1974, Valentine began bringing a fish bowl full of silver dollars to ringside…1000 silver dollars to be exact. Johnny promised that he would give up the silver dollars to any wrestler that could pin him or make him submit in 10 minutes. These challenges occurred almost exclusively on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television, but as the months went on some of these challenges made it into the area’s arenas.

During the early months of these 1000 silver dollar challenges, Valentine defended his money against a host of challengers at least a couple of times a month. While Johnny said he would take on all comers, he generally defended the $1000 only against lower and mid card wrestlers, mainly on the “good guy” side of the area’s talent ledger. Interestingly, Valentine had very few easy matches defending his money, even against a slew of lesser opponents. Johnny often had to “pull rabbits out of his hat” to prevail close to the 10 minute time limit mark, and even had a few surprising draws sprinkled in.


Listen to Joe Murnick's ring introduction to Johnny Valentine vs. Bob Bruggers
for the 1000 Silver Dollars!

Despite all the close calls, Valentine continued his 1000 silver dollar challenge unbeaten streak against challenger Bob Bruggers on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV show that aired in many area markets on Saturday July 20, 1974. Immediately after the bout, Johnny was confronted by none other than “Mr. Number One” Paul Jones! Paul challenged Johnny, and “Mr. #1” said that Valentine was afraid to put his 1000 silver dollars on the line against him. Valentine scoffed at the notion of such a match, telling Paul, “Get in line boy! You’re not good enough to wrestle me!” Johnny went on to say that Paul Jones was at the bottom of the ladder, didn’t belong in the same ring with him and should be carrying his bags!

Valentine brushing off Jones’ challenge just made Paul more angry and determined. And Paul had a plan to move himself up to the top of Valentine’s list. Jones said to Johnny, “I’ll give you some incentive boy!” Jones told Valentine and the viewing audience that he would match Valentine’s 1000 silver dollars, and bring the money next week, making it a total of 2000 silver dollars. Paul then said to Johnny, “And I can beat you in 10 minutes, and I know I can! And if I can’t beat you in 10 minutes you can have the 2000 dollars! You just be here; I’ll be here! And I bet you move me right to the top of the list next week!” Johnny, who was on his way out of the ring, immediately turned around when he heard Paul say he would bring money to the ring next week!  Valentine said, “Wait a minute; wait a minute.” Jones responded, “DON’T YOU WAIT A MINUTE ME!!”

No. 1 Paul Jones battles Johnny "The Champ" Valentine

Valentine then shouted at Jones that he still thought that Paul didn’t belong in the same ring with him, but that he saw money now. The “Champ” again queried Jones if he was serious about bringing 1000 silver dollars of his own money to the ring next week. Valentine said, “You’re telling me that if you can’t beat me in 10 minutes your thousand dollars is MINE??” Jones said, “Yeah, that’s EXACTLY right! I knew I’d get you in the ring one way or the other!” Paul went on to say, “I’ll be here next week early with my 1000 silver dollars! I’ll put ‘em in there myself, and match your thousand silver dollars. And I can beat you in 10 minutes…I know I can!!”

After an instant of digesting what Jones had said, a big smile came over Valentine’s face and he exclaimed, “I ACCEPT!”

After Paul left the ring, Valentine continued to roam around the ring with a maniacal smile across his face, shouting at Jones to bring his money next week and yelling at ring announcer Joe Murnick, “I want SILVER DOLLARS…SILVER DOLLARS!!!” The “Champ” clearly had a quite odd fixation on silver coins, rather than paper money!


Listen to the final minute of the Bruggers match called by Bob Caudle and Johnny Weaver and then all of the the classic verbal confrontation between Paul Jones and Johnny "The Champ" Valentine!



To Be Continued..... The challenge has been accepted!

Paul Jones battles Johnny Valentine with 2000 Silver Dollars on the Line 
in PART TWO!


http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/p/yearbooks.html

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Jim Crockett's Grand Slam Champions - Part Four: Ricky Steamboat

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

In PART FOUR of our "Grand Slam" feature, we take a look at "The Hawaiian Punch" Ricky Steamboat.

Steamboat was the fourth and final wrestler to hold all five of Jim Crockett Promotions' titles during the Mid-Atlantic years, something we here at the Gateway call Crockett's Grand Slam Championship. (For a more complete explanation of the Grand Slam, see PART ONE on Paul Jones.)


The five Crockett titles were:
  • NWA World Tag Team Championship
  • United States Heavyweight Championship
  • Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship
  • Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championship
  • Mid-Atlantic/NWA/World Television Championship

There were only four men that held all five titles though their complete tenure in our area. Those men are:
  1. Paul Jones
  2. Ric Flair
  3. Greg Valentine
  4. Ricky Steamboat

Here is a summary of Ricky Steamboat's amazing championship pedigree in Mid-Atlantic Wrestling:


PART FOUR: RICKY STEAMBOAT

MID-ATLANTIC TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
When Ricky Steamboat first entered the Mid-Atlantic area in 1977, he was immediately recognized as one of the up-and-coming "young lions" of professional wrestling. But for a few months he worked mid-card, getting himself established with the Mid-Atlantic fan base. A slow. several-week build found TV champion Ric Flair making fun of Steamboat and interrupting his interviews until finally Steamboat had enough. He challenged Flair for the TV title on episode of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" taped June 15, 1977 at WRAL studios in Raleigh. Flair didn't really take him seriously....until Steamboat came crashing down on him from the top turnbuckle with a devastating double chop and pinned him for the title. It was Steamboat's big break in the business and set off what would become one of wrestling's most bitter rivalries.


MID-ATLANTIC TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
After Steamboat's big win over Flair for the TV title, Paul Jones began to mentor the young superstar, taking him under his wing, and together they defeated Ric Flair and Greg Valentine for the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team championship on August 22, 1977 in Charlotte, NC. They lost them two months later to Flair and Big John Studd. But better days were ahead for Steamboat on the tag team front. 


UNITED STATES HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Flair made his own comeback of sorts following the TV title loss to Steamboat, defeating Bobo Brazil for the U.S. title. But as soon as he won that championship, fans demanded that Steamboat get a shot at Flair since he had just recently beat him for the TV title. Steamboat captured the famous red-leather United States title belt from Flair on October 21, 1977 in Greensboro, turning his first year in the Mid-Atlantic area into one ladden with championship gold. This title win put Steamboat on the map nationally, and his picture on the cover of wrestling magazines lining the racks at the local news stands.

Steamer lost the title to Blackjack Mulligan in early 1978, but the Flair/Steamboat battle over that title would resume during that same year with the belt being traded back and forth between them. Steamboat would gain that title once more in 1984 when he defeated Dick Slater for the honors.


NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
On April 23, 1978, Ricky Steamboat and Paul Jones defeated the Masked Superstar and Ken Patera in the finals of a one-night tournament in Greensboro to win the NWA World Tag Team championship. The titles had been stripped from Ric Flair and Greg Valentine for their failure to defend them. They would lose them to Greg Valentine and Baron Von Raschke on TV a few months later.

in 1979, Steamboat would find a new partner in Jay Youngblood and the team held the NWA World Tag Team titles on several occasions over the next several years, feuding with Paul Jones and Von Raschke, Ray Stevens and Greg Valentine, Stevens and Jimmy Snuka, Sgt. Slaughter and Don Kernodle, and the memorable feud with Jack and Jerry Brisco. When the NWA tag titles were renewed by promoter Bill Watts for WCW in 1992, Steamboat had yet another run with partner Shane Douglas.


MID-ATLANTIC HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
The final jewel in Steamboat's Grand Slam crown came in 1980 when he defeated the Iron Sheik for that title on November 1 in Richmond, VA. He lost the title to Ivan Koloff in 1981 but regained it from the Russian later that same year before losing it for good to Roddy Piper in November of 1981.


Thanks to Todd Stutts for prodding me on my bad memory!

* * *

Did you miss our stories on the first three Grand Slam Champions? Visit the links:
"No. 1" Paul Jones
"Nature Boy" Ric Flair 
Greg 'The Hammer" Valentine


http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/p/yearbooks.html

Sunday, October 28, 2018

"Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods' Last Stand (Part 5)

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway 

Catch up on this story in PART ONE  | PART TWO  |  PART THREE  |  PART FOUR

* * *

PART FIVE
At the outset of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television program that was taped at the WRAL TV studios in Raleigh, North Carolina on October 17, 1979, the still injured masked "Mr. Wrestling" surprisingly removed his hood to show his unyielding resolve to settle his score with Jimmy Snuka and Buddy Rogers. After having the whole TV program to contemplate and digest the actions of a very focused Tim Woods, Rogers and Snuka appeared on the very last segment of the show to address this shocking turn of events.

Legendary Jim Crockett Promotions announcer Bob Caudle exclaimed to the two villains, "All right, Buddy Rogers [and] U.S. Heavyweight champ Jimmy Snuka right here. I gotta ask you about this...'Mr. Wrestling' Tim Woods, he came out! He is ready; he's gonna be back soon. His neck is healed...watch out; watch out!"

An ultra confident Buddy Rogers defiantly responded, "Let me tell you something, when it comes to Tim Woods not only is he gonna wait in line but he's goin' on the very bottom of the list. He might grow too old before he ever sees a shot at this title just due to the fact that heavy fine that was imposed on Snuka and myself by the NWA."

Still visibly upset by the mere thought of that stiff NWA fine, Buddy continued, "I guarantee you, he'll never live that down." Bob Caudle then directly challenged Rogers by commenting, "A lot of people would look upon that as saying, 'hey, they're afraid'...Rogers is afraid to have Snuka meet him!" Rogers scoffed at that notion and barked back, "Let 'em say anything they want but Tim Woods will NEVER get a shot at this Title as long as my man has it!"

Tim Woods would then have a whole calendar week to stew about Rogers' comments about him not getting a United States Heavyweight Championship bout against Jimmy Snuka. Woods was so upset that he would appear first on the next edition of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV, leading off a blockbuster show that would feature Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood defeating Paul Jones and Baron von Raschke for the NWA World Tag Team Championship.



Woods showed up on that October 24, 1979 television program with a "Wanted--Out Of Wrestling" poster with the images of Snuka and Rogers on it in one hand, and a baseball bat on his other shoulder with the menacing Snuka and Rogers positioned in the ring only a few feet away from him, and the newly unmasked Tim Woods would have a major announcement for the Mid-Atlantic faithful during this ultra tense encounter with his mega rivals!

Tim Woods drops a bombshell on Jimmy Snuka and Buddy Rogers! To be continued in Part 6!

Special thanks to Brack Beasley.

http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/p/yearbooks.html

Friday, October 26, 2018

Record Low Price for "Ten Pounds of Gold" on Amazon


I have no idea how this works on Amazon, but as of this writing they currently have the color version of my book "Ten Pounds of Gold" on sale for 46% off our already discounted price in our current 25% off special. So the price right at this moment is ..... $12.23! (See screen capture above.) I can't even by them at that price!

This surely can't last long, and I have no idea why this is discounted the way it is, but that price will probbaly never be seen again.

Go to the "Ten Pounds of Gold" Amazon page.

Thanks for your support of this book and of our website!

http://bookstore.midatlanticgateway.com

Gateway Interview: "Mr. Unpredicatable" Dick Slater (2010) Part Three


In 2010, David Chappell had the opportunity to interview the legendary Dick Slater for the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. The lengthy interview covered a wide range of topics spanning Slater's entire career.

This is the final PART THREE. If you missed the earlier installments, visit them here:
PART ONE   |   PART TWO

* * * * * * * * * * * *
PART THREE

Chappell: When the shift came later to WCW, you were there weren’t you? Isn’t that where you started getting hurt?

Slater: I got hurt in ’96. I got hurt in Gainesville, Georgia. It was a TV match, and I blew a disc out…L four and five.

Chappell: That sort of started all of your injury problems?

Slater: That started it. Then I had one operation…the guy was supposed to be a good surgeon, but he did a real bad job. Then I had another operation done by a surgeon who was supposed to be a real good surgeon…and he did a pretty bad job. There’s actually no back surgery that’s 100% successful. It’s the hardest part of the body to operate on. My last surgery was the latest technology. But you never know what can happen. It could put you in a wheelchair forever.

Chappell: I thought that all the problems with your back started in that late WCW time frame.

Slater: I never had one bad injury until I had that.

Chappell: Going back a little earlier in your WCW years, you were reunited with your good friend Dick Murdock as the tag team of the ‘Hardliners.’ Tell us about Murdock.

Slater: Oh yeah, Dickie was a great friend of mine. Him and I went to Japan together, on his last trip over there. I stopped on the way home in Amarillo, Texas, and was at Terry Funk’s there for about three days. We talked to Dickie’s girlfriend, and he had gone to a rodeo and when he got home, the next day, he sat on the couch, said he wasn’t feeling well, and he passed away on the couch from a heart attack. I mean, I was just with him two days before that. You know David, that was a real bad blow to me.

Chappell: It had to be…I know how close you were to him.


Slater: We had just had a great time together in Japan for a couple of weeks. I was a real big shock. Same thing with Wahoo, you know? A lot of people are gone now. Look at all the people that are gone. Ray (Hercules) Hernandez, a good friend of mine, he’s gone. Road Warrior Hawk, Mike Hegstrand, is gone. There has been quite a few of us that have checked out.

Chappell: And many at such early, premature ages.

Slater: (pauses) Yeah…I know.

Chappell: Well, Dick, after you finished wrestling in the ring in the mid-90s, you sort of faded from view. And then, about a year ago, your name surfaced again in a very unfavorable light---you were charged with attempted murder, for allegedly stabbing your ex-girlfriend repeatedly. What was going on with you after your in-ring career ended?

Slater: Funny thing David…last month I had like 350,000 hits on the Internet, you know? Everybody’s asking a lot of questions about me, what I’m doing. I haven’t answered them yet, and I really haven’t said anything at all. Now I’m doing your interview, and I’m writing a book. Everybody’s concerned about, you know, what’s happened to Dick Slater and what’s he doing.

Chappell: We’re very happy you’ve chosen the Gateway to talk about some of these things…

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Gateway Interview: "Mr. Unpredicatable" Dick Slater (2010) Part Two

In 2010, David Chappell had the opportunity to interview the legendary Dick Slater for the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. The lengthy interview covered a wide range of topics spanning Slater's entire career.

This PART TWO.
If you missed PART ONE, check it out here.


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

PART TWO

Chappell: That Mid-South promotion was terrific. I actually moved out to that area in late 1984 for a while, and got to see that promotion up close.

Slater: You were out there the same time I was!

Chappell: Yep, pretty much…that was a heck of a promotion! And I want to talk some more about Mid-South in a little bit…and especially ‘Dark Journey’!

Slater: (laughs)

Chappell: I guess Dark Journey was really a ‘valet’ and not a manager, but I’d like your thoughts on your use of managers over your years in the business. Did you feel that they added a lot to the equation?  I know you had Gary Hart as your manager before you came into the Mid-Atlantic area, and for a while when you first came into the Crockett territory.

Slater: Actually, I’m pretty sure when I first went up to Jimmy Crockett’s territory, I’m pretty sure Gary Hart was working there…or came in soon after.

Chappell: That’s right…I believe Gary was focusing on Kabuki and the Magic Dragon for the most part then. But I remember you and Gary working together some in the Mid-Atlantic area.

Slater: I never really needed a manager to do the talking for me, but depending on the situation, managers could really add a lot…and generate heat. Gary was great…he managed Bobby Orton, Jr. and I in Georgia…before we ended up together in the Carolinas.  Gary was a talented manager…one of the best managers in wrestling.

Chappell: Since we’re still really talking about your pre Mid-Atlantic stuff, something that always comes up when the subject is Dick Slater…is the incident when Wahoo McDaniel shot you.

Slater: Well, Wahoo McDaniel, me, Tommy Rich and Andre the Giant were at a lounge in downtown Tampa that we always hung around down there. Andre, Wahoo and I were sittin’ at the bar, and somebody said something about Tommy Rich’s wife that got Wahoo real mad. Tommy went outside, this was about at closing time, and what I remember was that Wahoo got in an argument with this guy, and the guy went to the car, and gets his knife out, right?  So, Wahoo saw that, and I guess he went to the car and got a gun out.

Chappell: Oh boy…

Monday, October 22, 2018

Gateway Interview: "Mr. Unpredicatable" Dick Slater (2010) Part One

In 2010, David Chappell had the opportunity to interview the legendary Dick Slater for the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. The lengthy interview covered a wide range of topics spanning Slater's entire career.

We thought it would be special to run that interview again on the Gateway in light of Dick's passing last week. It will be presented in three parts.

One of the all-time great characters and performers in the pro wrestling business, he will be sorely missed by friends and fans.


* * * * * * * * * * * *
Some have called him “Mr. Unpredictable.” Others have referred to him as “Mr. Excitement.” Still others just call him “Dirty.”

Dick Slater lives up to all those nicknames, and a whole lot more.

When Dick Slater entered Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling in January of 1983, he had already established himself as a major star in the wrestling business. His battles in the ring as part of Jim Crockett Promotions only added to the lofty reputation he brought to Charlotte with him. Whether it was watching him go toe to toe with Greg Valentine, or conspire with Bob Orton, Jr. to injure Ric Flair and pave the way for the mega-card of Starrcade 1983, or seeing him bring out his own NWA World Heavyweight Title belt and declare himself the World Champ in early 1984, Dick Slater always gave the wrestling fans everything they were hoping to see…and usually a surprise or two on top of that!

Dick Slater has lived his life to the fullest, both in and out of the ring. Many of his highs have been very high, and some of his lows have been very low. In this enlightening interview, Dick not only talks about his battles inside the squared circle throughout his illustrious wrestling career, but candidly talks about his recent life’s battles. Slater has many fascinating things to say, and much more will be revealed soon in a book he’s working on, aptly entitled "A Thousand Lives." For now, the Mid-Atlantic Gateway is happy to provide you a small sample of the story Dick Slater has to tell us all.

The Gateway would like to express our thanks to Lisa Lostraglio for her efforts in linking us up with “Mr. Unpredictable” Dick Slater. Without Lisa, this interview would not have happened. The Gateway’s friend, Peggy Lathan, also played a large role in Dick Slater’s visit to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Dick Slater has not spoken out since his recent legal issues. The Gateway is proud that Dick chose the Mid-Atlantic Gateway to again talk about his career in wrestling, and the more recent unfortunate events that his name has been linked to.

Much like his wrestling days in the Mid-Atlantic area, when you read some of the things Dick has to say in this interview, you may like him or you may dislike him. There never was much of a middle ground with Dick Slater. One thing I’m surer of is, after reading this, you’ll likely agree that Dick Slater’s reputation for being a fighter and a tough guy is well deserved. And not only in the ring…but in the game of life. 

- David Chappell
October 2010

* * * * * * * * *

PART ONE

David Chappell: Dick, I’m really delighted to have you talk with the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. I appreciate your taking the time to chat a little bit tonight.

Dick Slater: I’ve been looking forward to it, David.

Chappell: Same here! Well, to start, please tell us about your beginnings in wrestling if you would.

Slater: I actually started wrestling, Mike Graham and myself, in 1968. I started with Eddie Graham at Robinson High School.

Chappell: We’re talking about the Tampa, Florida area, right?

Slater: That’s right. There had never been a high school wrestling program in the state of Florida. What happened, is that Eddie Graham, who was a promoter here for Florida Championship Wrestling and Don Curtis, who was the promoter in Jacksonville, bought a wrestling mat for Robinson High School and actually started the high school wrestling program.

Chappell: I know you played football and wrestled for the University of Tampa, so obviously we now know you got into wrestling before your college days!

Slater: This was all before I went to the University of Tampa. What happened, is I was wrestling for what was called AAU---which was a wrestling organization that trained people to go from, say, college to the Olympics…

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Mooneyham Memorializes Slater, Jonathan

Mike Mooneyham
As always, Mike Mooneyham puts the lives and careers of wrestling legends in such great perspective. His recent column in the Charleston Post and Courier deals with the recent deaths of pro wrestlers Dick Slater and Don Leo Jonathan.

Follow the link below to read Mike's excellent piece on both.

Especially poignant to us at the Gateway is the material on Slater, who was an important part of the championship scene here in the 1980s, and had memorable feuds with Dusty Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, and others.


Pro wrestling says goodbye to Dick Slater, Don Leo Jonathan
By Mike Mooneyham 
Special to The Post and Courier, Oct 20, 2018

Two wrestlers from two different generations. Top stars with different styles who both made their mark on the profession.

The wrestling community said goodbye last week to Dick Slater and Don Leo Jonathan.

From the 1950s through the ’70s, Jonathan was a box-office attraction across the globe, earning a well-deserved reputation as being one of the greatest big men to ever grace a wrestling ring.

Aptly given the nickname “Mr. Unpredictable” by longtime promoter Jim Barnett, Slater boasted a different type of reputation, that of a gun-slinging, tough-as-nails competitor whose slew of titles in a variety of territories validated his standing in the business.

The passing of both represent another page turned in the final chapter of pro wrestling’s revered and fondly remembered territorial system, a time when wrestlers lived out of a suitcase and spent more than 300 days a year on the road.

It was a profession that was much different than it is today.........

--> Read the full article on the Charleston Post & Courier website.


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Don't miss David Chappell's 3-part interview Dick Slater from 2010 that will run throughout this coming week on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway:
"I was close to both Briscos for years. Terry Funk is a great friend. Greg Valentine is another. All the guys that are in my era and that worked with me, that you know, that when I got in the ring with these people it was something to see. All them guys are all part of my life. And all them guys helped me through the years…for many years. And I can’t really single out just one or two people easily, because there are so many people that I owe a lot to. Really…I owe everything to everybody."
- Dick Slater
Interview with the Mid-Atlantic Gateway, 2010

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