Saturday, December 29, 2018

Drinkin' A Little Beer, Fryin' Up Some Bacon

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Perhaps the toughest loss for us in 2018 was the passing of the legendary "No. 1" Paul Jones. David and I had become friends with Paul in the last 15 years of his life, and David especially had kept in close touch with Paul over the last year.

With Paul Jones in 2003
My best memories of knowing Paul revolve around our phone calls in the mid-to-late 2000s, after he left Charlotte and moved to Florida. Paul and I talked on the phone almost once a week. On most occasions when I would call, I would ask him what's going on and he'd say something like "Oh, just drinkin' a little beer and fryin' up some bacon." This always amused me and I used to ask him, "Is this all you eat?" And he would generally reply something like, "What more can you want out of life at this point?"
 
Actually, that doesn't sound bad at all. Livin' easy in the Sunshine State, drinkin' a little beer, fryin' up some bacon.

But that lifestyle eventually contributed to some serious health issues for Paul and he moved to the Atlanta area in 2008, where his son could keep a better eye on him. After he got situated there, Peggy Lathan took Ole Anderson down to visit Paul, and invited me to go along. It was a fun trip and I loved seeing these two old friends in a completely relaxed setting, still ribbing each other after all these years.

Paul Jones and Ole Anderson visit in Atlanta in 2008

Paul and I had a little falling out not long after that trip, and we didn't talk for many years. David stayed in touch with him through most of that time. We reunited at the NWA Wrestling Legends Fanfest in Charlotte in 2016, and began to correspond again. He had given up beer at this point (not so sure about the bacon) and I enjoyed a long conversation with him at the University Place Hilton. He seemed like he was in a really good place.

At the 2016 Hall of Heroes Awards Ceremony & Banquet
NWALegends.com Fanfest, Charlotte NC

The loss of "No. 1" Paul Jones hurt us. He had become a real friend of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. He is a part of that group of wrestlers we've lost over the years that were the core group during the years David and I first became wrestling fans in the mid-1970s - - Gene Anderson, Tim Woods, Wahoo McDaniel, Rufus R. Jones, Blackjack Mulligan, many others. We hope they are all in a big ol' battle royal in the great beyond, maybe in some smoke-filled arena just like the old days, sold out and hanging from the rafters, or so they will surely claim. And hopefully having a big New Year's Eve party - - drinkin' a little beer and fryin' up some bacon.

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Thursday, December 27, 2018

Mid-Atlantic Myths: Eastern States Championship Wrestling

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

A recent YouTube video on the history of Jim Crockett Promotions (Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling: The Untold Story) asserts that the promotion was known as "Eastern States Championship Wrestling" prior to the rebranding to "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling." This is not the case, but if you Google the phrase "Eastern States Championship Wrestling", you'll find a dozen or so pro-wrestling references, all oddly similar, that mention this was the early branding identity of Jim Crockett Promotions.

Eastern States Champion Rip Hawk
There was an Eastern States Championship in the
1970s, but the territory was never known as
"Eastern States Championship Wrestling"

* * *
This appears to be a modern-day Internet/Wikipedia phenomenon, and sadly it has become one the most common misconceptions among fans about the history of the company. To our knowledge, neither the territory nor the company were ever known (officially or otherwise) as "Eastern States Championship Wrestling."

One of the reasons I bring this up is because our website is credited in the documentary as a general source for information used in the video, and I wanted to document here that we are not the source for this misconception.

It's not exactly clear where this myth got started, although some of the earliest independent references I could find through Internet searches trace to this early 2000s post on the Kayfabe Memories website (quoted almost word for word in the YouTube documentary): "The history of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling goes all the way back to 1935 when Jim Crockett Sr. started promoting in the Carolina and Virginia areas....The area was known at the time as Eastern States Championship Wrestling." (-KayfabeMemories.com)

First let me say that Kayfabe Memories is a wonderful website with an amazing collection of memories and stories written by many knowledgeable people about the territory days of pro-wrestling. But in an age of "cut-and-paste" internet journalism, some things that are simple honest errors or misunderstandings get copied to other sources (like Wikipedia and fan websites) and before you know it there are lots of references to things that are untrue that spread throughout the Internet that people begin to accept as fact. The idea that Jim Crockett Promotions called itself "Eastern States Championship Wrestling" is a great example of this.


MISTAKES HAPPEN
Now I'm the last person to throw stones at someone making an error, especially when it comes to the largely undocumented world of pro-wrestling history. I've made plenty of honest errors myself when writing about wrestling. And I always try to own up to them and get them corrected as soon as possible. But this Eastern States myth is one that has bothered me for awhile because there is really no basis for it. The only possible thing I can speculate on that might have resulted in this misconception is the existence of the company's Eastern States Heavyweight championship in the early 1970s, but that only existed for three and a half years (1970-1973). How that got misunderstood as going back in the 1930s is beyond me.

Prior to the switch in branding to "Mid-Atlantic" which began as early as 1972, there was no specific name for the promotion publicly. It was usually referred to as "Championship Wrestling" or "All-Star Wrestling" in newspaper ads and on event posters, which were the names of the TV programs when they were launched in the late 1950s. Prior to that, ads and posters simply promoted "Wrestling". The local promoters partnering with JCP were independent contractors up until the 1970s and they occasionally used other regional names to promote shows in their ads, but there was no broader company name until 1972-1973 when the branding for Mid-Atlantic Wrestling began.


MORE MYTHS
Other popular misconceptions included alongside this Eastern States myth are that
(1) Jim Crockett, Jr. took over the company after his father retired, and that
(2) he subsequently named it Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling.

Jim Crockett, Sr. never really retired. He died on April 1, 1973 while still fully in charge of the company. The person he was grooming to take over the family business was his son-in-law John Ringley. Not long after Crockett, Sr.'s death, Ringley left the company after a separation from his wife Frances (Jim Sr.'s daughter), and that's when his oldest son Jim, Jr. took over.

The branding name "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" was actually conceived of by John Ringley in the early 1970s, suggested to Jim Crockett, Sr. as both men were riding in a car together on Morehead Street in Charlotte. Ringley remembers it clearly, as related to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway in my conversation with him in 2016. (David Crockett confirmed this in the 2013 Michael Elliot documentary for Highspots.com "Jim Crockett Promotions: The Good Old Days.") Ringley wanted to brand their company to the public, moving away from the generic "All Star Wrestling" or "Championship Wrestling" names that were used by them and many other promotions for the TV shows and live events for decades. Jim Sr. approved of the idea, and the name "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" started showing up in newspaper ads as early as March of 1972, more than a year before Jim Crockett, Sr.'s death. The TV show's name was changed when TV production was consolidated to one location in 1973.

Whatever way the story of "Eastern States Championship Wrestling" got started, I felt the need to set it straight, at least as best we know it. We always welcome further information that helps fill in gaps or provides further detail on the rich history of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling and Jim Crockett Promotions, and we appreciate anyone and everyone who endeavors to keep the history of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling alive.

Thanks to Carroll Hall for his assistance with this article.


http://bookstore.midatlanticgateway.com

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas from the Mid-Atlantic Gateway!


The original Masked Superstar (Bill Eadie) is seen here at WRAL Studios, in Raleigh, NC, right around Christmastime in the late 2000s.

WRAL was the TV home of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling from 1959-1981. The studio wrestling shows were taped there.

This photo was taken by Eric Stace and is one of our favorite Christmas season images, a nostalgic look back at a great territory and one of its greatest wrestlers. 

David Chappell and I wish all of you Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings, Peace on Earth, and a very Merry Christmas. Hope to see you in 2019!  -Dick Bourne

Take a look back at Mid-Atlantic Christmas Night wrestling cards in the 1970s

* * * * * *

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2: 11-14 KJV)

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Sunday, December 23, 2018

Wrestling on Christmas Night (1968-1979)


As we do every year about this time, we've linked to an old feature that is still found on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway Archives (our legacy site) that features the newspaper ads for Jim Crockett Promotions Christmas Day shows in the years 1968-1979. We will eventually (maybe? possibly? definitely!) get around to adding the 1980s, but until then enjoy these great memories from days gone by.  

And MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling on Christmas Day

http://midatlanticwrestling.net/resourcecenter/christmas/christmas_index.htm



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

Friday, December 21, 2018

Classic Poster Friday: Valentine and Hawk challenge Jones and Bruggers

Winston-Salem, NC    June 13, 1974
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

What a classic poster featured here, a show in Winston-Salem, NC, from June 13, 1974. It features the rare pairing of Johnny Valentine and Rip Hawk together as tag team partners in a Mid-Atlantic Tag Team title challenge against reigning champions "No. 1" Paul Jones and Bob Bruggers.

Championship Context:
Reigning tag champs Paul Jones and Bob Bruggers had defeated Gene and Ole Anderson for the titles two months earlier in Fayetteville, NC. and were defending the titles here against the reigning Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight champion Johnny Valentine and his partner Rip Hawk.

Hawk had taken several different partners over the preceding months in an attempt to take the titles from Jones and Bruggers, including Ivan Koloff, Chuck O'Connor (later Big John Studd), and Gene Lewis. But it was a rare opportunity to see Johnny Valentine and Rip Hawk team up together.

Not long after this show in Winston-Salem, Hawk would take a very young up-and-coming star named Ric Flair as his regular partner, and less than three weeks after this Winston-Salem show defeated Jones and Bruggers for the titles on a big Independence Day card in Charlotte.


The poster before digital restoration
by Uptown Color
Newspaper Results
Winston-Salem NC 6/13/74
  • Jones/Bruggers defeated Valentine/Hawk by DQ
  • Scott/Conway defeated Ota/Hiyashi
  • Ivan Koloff pinned Danny Miller
  • Scott Casey drew Mike Paidousis
  • Amazing Zuma defeated Frank Morrell
  • Les Thatcher defeated Pedro Godoy by DQ


Poster Restoration
Having this crisp image of this poster is a small miracle in and of itself. The original poster we had collected was terribly marked up by the original owner (seen above) with the winners circled and various notes written on the poster. We found a print shop in Richmond that agreed to take on the challenge of cleaning it up for us and results were incredible! We can't say enough good things about the professionalism and craftsmanship of our friends at Uptown Color! 

Poster from the collection of Brack Beasley, originally the Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Restoration project coordinator: David Chappell
Digital Restoration service provided by Uptown Color, Richmond VA

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Champions in 1977 (Action Figures Friday Christmas Special!)




Featured above are three legendary champions from 1977 representing the three top singles titles in the Mid-Atlantic area (set against the backdrop of Bob Caudle's Hall of Heroes induction plaque.)

  • Harley Race first won the NWA title in May of 1973 from Dory Funk, Jr. and then won it a second time defeating Dory's younger brother Terry in February of 1977.
  • Ric Flair would later win the NWA title in September 1981, but before his rise to the top of the mountain, he was a multi-time United States champion back when that title was recognized as the top title in the U.S. just below the NWA title. Flair first won the U.S. title in July of 1977 defeating Bobo Brazil, and later won the title from Ricky Steamboat in April 1978. He would hold the title on several more occasions.
  • Greg Valentine first won the Mid-Atlantic title in June of 1977 from Wahoo McDaniel, losing the tile back to Wahoo before winning it from the Chief a second time in September of 1977 in the famous TV match where he broke Wahoo's leg.

These three actually only overlapped with these three titles as featured in the photo above for 11 days in late July and early August of 1977.

The replica figures, robes, and belts evoke great memories of a great time in for Jim Crockett Promotions and Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling.


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

Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Domed Globe: Harley Race Places a Bounty on Tommy Rich

Classic Video from Georgia Championship Wrestling, February 23, 1980
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway 

* * * * * *

Occasionally, we swerve over into something fun from Georgia Championship Wrestling. In this case it's one of my favorite segments ever from Georgia featuring NWA World champion Harley Race, Tommy "Wildfire" Rich, and "The Universal Heartthrob" Austin Idol in 1980. This post was originally featured over on the Domed Globe website in July of 2017.

 * * * * * *

I was happy to come across this classic old video on YouTube (embedded down below). It is one of my all-time favorite matches and angles in Georgia Championship Wrestling history.

The match was Tommy "Wildfire" Rich challenging "The Universal Heartthrob" Austin Idol for the  TV championship, with Harley Race at ringside. But the TV title wasn't the main focus.

NWA Champion Harley Race on "Georgia Championship Wrestling"
Idol was the #1 contender for the NWA World championship in Georgia and was slated to challenge reigning champion Harley Race for the laurels on Sunday February 24, 1980 at the Omni in Atlanta. Race had made no bones about the fact that he did not want to face Rich, and had placed a $5000 bounty on his head. Any wrestler who could take Rich out before the match at the Omni would collect the cash.

No one really considered that Idol would be in the hunt for the bounty, as he had his own issues to worry about defending his TV title. However, Idol somewhat unexpectedly agreed to defend against Rich on national television the day before the Race-Rich showdown.

On the Saturday 2/23/80 edition of "Georgia Championship Wrestling", Idol met Rich in the cozy confines of WTBS studios in Atlanta. Prior to the match, Idol did an interesting interview where he had his TV championship belt over his right shoulder and a simple dress belt over his left shoulder. He never mentioned the belt, and Gordon Solie never asked him about it; it was just there. We would find out why Idol had the belt a little later.

The actual match between Idol and Rich was a typically good match between the two, with Rich maintaining the upper hand through most of the early moments with classic chain wrestling, arm drags, and hip tosses.

A few minutes in, however, who should show up at ringside to watch the match but the NWA World Heavyweight Champion himself, Harley Race. Race was in street clothes, and was clearly cheering on Idol in the match, getting on the referee for what Race thought were slow counts, complaining that Rich's sleeper hold was actually a choke, etc. Race became a distraction at ringside, however, and Idol began to dominate  the match with a elbow drop from the middle turnbuckle and a flying knee drop to the forehead of Rich.

As Rich began to regain momentum, though, Idol threw him into referee Scrappy McGowan, and with the ref down, Idol attempted to apply a figure-four leglock to Rich. Race became excited at this,  climbed up on the ring apron, an exhorted Idol to go after the leg of Rich while the referee was down. However, as Idol was attempting to apply the hold, Rich kicked him off and Idol collided with Race on the ring apron, sending Idol crashing to the mat and Race crashing to the floor.

http://tenpoundsofgold.blogspot.com

Rich covered a stunned Idol in an attempted pin, but the referee was still down from the earlier collision. Seeing the ref down himself, Race removed his sport coat, climbed to the top of the turnbuckles and dove off attempting to hit Rich with his famous, patented flying headbutt. But Rich saw it coming and moved to the side and Race hit Idol with the headbutt instead. Rich covered Idol again and a revived referee Scrappy McGowan crawled over and made the three-count.

Tommy Rich had just won the National TV Championship from Austin Idol, and much of that had been brought on by Harley Race.

Rich immediately went after Race in response to his interference, and the two brawled in the ring, Rich hammering away at the world champion as the WTBS studio crowd became unglued.

Idol momentarily left the ring but when he returned he had that dress belt with him, the same simple dress belt he had draped over one shoulder in the earlier interview with Gordon Solie. He attacked Rich from behind, laid him out, and applied the figure-four leglock. It was then that it became clear why Idol had been carrying around that dress belt. He looped it around both his and Rich's legs, basically strapping both of them together so that Rich could not escape the hold. Idol began clamping down hard on the figure-four leg lock and as he did so, Race began dropping his knee repeatedly down on Rich's left knee and leg.

It became clear what was going on: Austin Idol was attempting to collect the bounty that Harley Race had placed on the head of Tommy Rich. And Race was happy to help him do it.

Eventually, help came from the locker room, and Mr. Wrestling II delivered his famous knee lift that sent Race sailing out of the ring. Idol eventually bailed out of the ring as well, aided by Race, and the two hightailed it to their locker room.

Rich had won the TV title, but was badly injured at the hands of Idol and Race. He was unable to challenge Race the next night at the Omni. Idol had successfully claimed the bounty.




There is much more that developed from this angle. Mr. Wrestling II replaced Rich and got the shot at Race for the title. Wrestling II dedicated the match to Rich, but in the end, II wasn't able  to take the title from Race. Race's master plan had worked, and he was successful in getting out of Atlanta with his championship intact. Rich would get a measure of revenge, but we'll save that story for a future update.

I've included the video of all this here for two reasons: (1) as mentioned up front, this is one of my favorite Georgia angles ever, and (2) the video includes some wonderful interviews with Race spotlighting the NWA domed-globe belt, ten pounds of "PURE gold", as Race liked to say.

Enjoy the video and the memories.

Originally published on The Domed Globe website, July 14, 2017.

http://midatlanticwrestling.net/nwabelt.htm

Friday, December 14, 2018

My Secret Charlotte

by Kyra Quinn
Special to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Originally published December 14, 2013


I live in Charlotte now. I just moved here after having spent most of my life in Pennsylvania. During repeated visits over recent years I slowly fell in love with Charlotte's tree-lined streets, distinctive neighborhoods and New South charm. But what drew me here initially and continues to captivate me is wrestling - the gritty, compelling wrestling of Jim Crockett Promotions from the mid-1980s.

I discovered Crockett wrestling one Saturday morning in Pittsburgh in the summer of 1985 when I was 8 years old. Immediately I became hooked, captivated by what I now understand to have been the perfect mix of athleticism, drama, and charismatic personalities working together to near perfection. The result was wrestling so gripping and so real that people truly believed. I certainly did. I believed in the hatred between Tully Blanchard and Magnum T.A. I believed that the Four Horsemen were trying to permanently maim Dusty Rhodes. And I believed without question that Ric Flair was the best wrestler alive in what he always referred to as the "greatest sport in the world".


I quickly became an avid fan and was even able to see wrestling in person when the NWA came to the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh. But they didn't come to Pittsburgh very often, and it didn't take me long to realize that the wrestling I loved was centered in the faraway and, to my young mind, exotic states of the Carolinas and Virginia. As a 4th grader in 1985 my knowledge of United States geography was undoubtedly broader than that of my classmates because each week I watched as Tony Schiavone promoted upcoming shows in places like Greensboro, Raleigh, Richmond, Norfolk and, of course, Charlotte. The names of these cities - and their venues - took on an almost mythical status for me. But Charlotte - home of Charlotte Coliseum, Memorial Stadium, Jim Crockett Promotions and the "Nature Boy" himself - was clearly the center of it all.

That, though, was all decades ago. The Charlotte of 1985 could scarcely have imagined its present-day self. The Queen City has grown exponentially in the years since Jim Crockett Promotions grossed millions of dollars working out of a tiny office on Briarbend Drive. Charlotte is now the country's 17th largest city. It is home to professional sports teams, a vibrant cultural scene and a continually growing and diversifying population. Charlotte is a modern boomtown that continues to carefully craft and cultivate its burgeoning identity as a cosmopolitan New South city. But professional wrestling is no longer part of Charlotte's reality or self-image. Although it was a mainstay of the city for decades, wrestling simply slipped away. Jim Crockett Promotions was sold off, the wrestlers left town, and Charlotte didn't look back. These days, the only official recognition of the importance of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling/Jim Crockett Promotions is located at the exceptional Levine Museum of the New South in uptown Charlotte. There, as part of the main exhibit, a small display educates visitors about the storied history of Mid-Atlantic wrestling and its cultural significance to the city and the region. Beyond that, there are sporadic references in the local media to the glory days of Charlotte wrestling. And the city still has a healthy independent wrestling scene. But that grand tradition - the sold-out arenas, the white-hot feuds, the rabid fan base - seems to have been relegated to a footnote in the story of Charlotte.

The Grady Cole Center, once known as the Charlotte Park Center, home to weekly Monday night Mid-Atlantic Wrestling cards from the late 1950s through early 1980s

And so there are no physical markers here, virtually nothing to indicate the hold wrestling once had on this place. But if you know where to look, reminders of Charlotte's rich wrestling heritage are all around. In a city that often seems to demolish rather than retain its history, the key venues are, incredibly, still standing. Memorial Stadium and the adjacent Park Center (now Grady Cole Center) are both still in use and appear largely as they did during their wrestling heydays. I am not old enough to remember the days when Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling filled the Park Center every Monday night. But I do recall the sight of Memorial Stadium in 1985 and 1986 when it hosted the Great American Bash. I only got to see clips of the Bashes on television, but that was enough for me to sense the magic: stadium lights blazing against a velvet Charlotte sky... tens of thousands packed into the bleachers... and at the center of it all, the ring, bathed in light, with the wrestlers giving it all they had on those hot July nights. Even through TV the excitement was palpable. As for the other primary Crockett venue, the old Charlotte Coliseum (now Bojangles Coliseum) still proudly stands on Independence Boulevard. Instantly recognizable by its silver roof and glass fa├žade, the Coliseum somehow remains in operation, though long gone are the days when it hosted all of the city's major events. Because of their historic and cultural importance to the city, both Charlotte Coliseum and Memorial Stadium have been designated as historic landmarks by the City Council of Charlotte. In all of the documentation that accompanied those designations I found only one reference to wrestling. But it made me smile. Buried deep in the lengthy historical essay which was prepared for Charlotte Coliseum as part of the designation process was the following elegantly understated sentence: "Professional wrestling also flourished." And so it did.


The Charlotte Coliseum in the early 1960s. The facility was known as Independence Arena during the 1980s heyday for Jim Crockett Promotions. It is now known as the Bojangle's Coliseum.

It is not, however, only the venues which serve as connections to Crockett Era Charlotte. There is Price's Chicken Coop, where George South was once a regular customer, buying up boxes of the legendary fried chicken; he bought it not for himself but for the Four Horsemen, among others, who were stuck at the Crockett office on Tuesdays during marathon taping sessions for local promos. And there is the classic South 21 Drive-In on Independence Boulevard, just down the road from the Coliseum and a long-time wrestling program sponsor. Obscure as they are, these connections evoke a time when wrestling was a fixture here, part of the fabric of Charlotte. And there is one other location of note, the aforementioned Crockett office. Although the building has long since been demolished, its place in wrestling history is secure for what happened there on an overcast fall day in 1986. It was there, of course, in the parking lot, that the Horsemen cornered and attacked an unsuspecting "American Dream". It was shocking, and it was perfect, and it is now the stuff of legend.


Ric Flair and Nikita Koloff square off at the Great American Bash at Memorial Stadium

I encounter at least one of these history-laden sites on an almost daily basis, and each time it is a thrill. Charlotte is a magical place for me. When I drive through the city, I feel like Charlotte and I share a secret. I live in and enjoy the Charlotte of the present, but I also see a Charlotte most people don't. When I drive the same stretch of road that the Horsemen did as they followed Dusty that day, I imagine his little red sports car up ahead, delivering him to that masterful ambush. When I pass Memorial Stadium at night, I see it with the lights still blazing and the World Champion making his triumphant helicopter entrance. And when I ride by Charlotte Coliseum, I hear the echoes. The echoes of a wild "Rock-and-Roll!" chant; of the majestic 2001 theme; of the gasps as Baby Doll turned on Dusty.

When I come across native Charlotteans - which is not the common occurrence one might think here in Charlotte - I always try to work wrestling into the conversation, just to see if they remember. They usually do. They remember and they smile and then casually toss out a memory of the Bash they saw at Memorial Stadium, or nonchalantly recall how they used to live on the same street as Ricky Morton. I listen, and I wonder all over again what it must have been like to live here then, when wrestling was so much a part of this city.

Much has changed, but wrestling will always be part of the story of Charlotte. And for those of us who listen - for all who remember and all who believed - the whispers of magic will never cease.


Charlotte's Memorial Stadium in the distance, much as it might have looked on a hot July night in 1985 at the Great American Bash.    (Photo credit - Flickr: Compulsive Collector)

Originally published December 14, 2013 in the Smoke Filled Rooms section of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.
Republished here as part of our 'Best of the Gateway" series, the 5th anniversary of it first being published.
The original article, with additional supporting links and material, can be found on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway Archives.



Postscript

This article was written during my brief but meaningful stay in Charlotte in 2013. Since that time I moved back to my home state of Pennsylvania. I love Pennsylvania, but I miss Charlotte; most of all, I miss my near-daily encounters with the city's magical wrestling relics. But I know that wherever I am, the whispers will continue.
 - Kyra Quinn, June 2015





Feedback From a Friend
by Dick Bourne

A good friend of ours, Linda Ostrow, gave Kyra Quinn (the author of the above article) some positive feedback on "My Secret Charlotte" that I thought I would include here. While Linda is admittedly not a wrestling fan, she has a strong connection to wrestling, Charlotte, and to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway as well.

Linda wrote Kyra:
"So moving and touching. Your writing brought tears to my eyes. I was taken back to what I thought was a great movie about second chances...Field of Dreams. If only to go back to that time, even for just a day. But dust is slowly covering memories and nothing seems  as glorious. Even though I never got hooked, wrestling touched everyone [in Charlotte] and I think it had a lot to do with putting Charlotte on the map. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.  - Linda"

Linda has been a good friend of Ric Flair's ever since the "Nature Boy" moved to Charlotte in 1974. She is the person to whom he entrusted the original 1973-1986 NWA world title belt that Ric maintained possession of, after it was retired, from 1986 until it went to the WWE Hall of Fame in 2011. (It current hangs in the office of WWE executive Paul Levesque, a.k.a. "Triple H.") She designed a custom frame for it, and had always been the person responsible for removing and replacing it in the intricately designed custom case when Ric would need to have it with him on WCW or WWE television. The belt today is still in the frame she made as it hangs on the wall at WWE headquarters.

Her story, as it regards that wrestling connection, is documented fully in "Ten Pounds of Gold", the book written about the history and construction of that belt.

When I first took Kyra by to meet Linda years ago at her Queen's Gallery studio in Charlotte, we learned Linda is originally from Pittsburgh as is Kyra. The two immediately struck up a friendship and have enjoyed occasional visits now that Kyra has moved to the Queen City.

Linda Ostrow's art gallery and frame shop are located at 1212 The Plaza, Charlotte, NC. For more information, visit www.thequeensgallery.com

- Dick Bourne, Jan 2014, Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Photograph by Dick Bourne from the book "Ten Pounds of Gold"


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

NWA Champion Harley Race and Sylvester Stallone (1978)



This is one of or favorite images from the late 1970s in the Stanley Weston ("Apter") magazines. NWA World Heavyweight champion Harley Race stands with "Rocky" franchise star Sylvester Stallone. Sly looks like he's ready to take on the champ right then. He knows a good lookin' championship trophy when he sees one.

There are certain photos from the old wrestling magazines that have always stuck out in my mind. This is one of them.

The photo is thought to have been taken in Houston, TX in 1978.


(Originally posted in Feb. 2018 on our sister-website The Domed Globe.)

http://www.tenpoundsofgold.com

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Mr. Wrestling Tim Woods' Last Stand (Part 8)

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

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

* * *

PART EIGHT

At the World Wide Wrestling television taping on October 24, 1979 Tim Woods and Buddy Rogers had their final dueling TV interviews before the bombastic in-ring action between Woods and Jimmy Snuka finally occurred. Announcer Rich Landrum opened the program with Tim Woods standing beside him holding one of his "Wanted" posters. Landrum told the fans, "Tim Woods, Mr. Wrestling,  joining us... what have you got there?"



Woods answered, "Well, all it is, is just a 'Wanted' poster...I've been distributing these to all the arenas and to anybody that will take one from me. This is at my expense, they are free of charge to the people. I just want 'em to know, and I want especially Rogers and Snuka to know that I want 'em out of wrestling, and I'm gonna put 'em out of wrestling."

Tim then pulled out his baseball bat with Snuka's name on it, that he now referred to as his "ding-bat," and continued, "All I want is my hands on either one of 'em anytime I can get, and I will be carrying an equalizer here. It's not baseball season anymore as far as I'm concerned..." Landrum then interrupted, "It's a Louisville Slugger though!" Woods agreed, "It's a Louisville Slugger and I assure you they hurt me once, they hurt me twice, but they're not gonna do it again!

Tim Woods and his "Ding Bat"
Landrum then commented on Woods' recovery, "Well, I see you don't have the collar on and I'm glad of that; you must be progressing fairly well." Tim responded, "I'm comin' along real fine, I've taken the mask off and I said I'd leave it off until I settled the score. And if nothing else maybe that should make you believe that I mean what I say. I WILL settle the score. I'm a firm believer in doing unto others as they have done unto you. And Rogers and Snuka, you've got something coming and I'm gonna give it to you...that's all I've got to say." Rich then concluded the segment, "Thank you Tim Woods, Mr. Wrestling, glad to see him recovering too, and I know he means what he says."

Later during the same World Wide Wrestling television taping, Snuka and Rogers got equal time. Landrum addressed the fans as Rogers stood next to him holding one of the posters Woods had left behind."Jimmy Snuka, U. S. Heavyweight Champion, is here and his manager Buddy Rogers, and Tim Woods, Mr. Wrestling, was out here on the opening of the program...yeah, he had one of those 'Wanted' posters," Landrum stated.

Rogers countered about the 'Wanted' poster, "Well, I don't know if you people seen this thing but just imagine, this would be about the lowest thing you could do to a man in his livelihood. We've put a whole lifetime in wrestling, Snuka and I, and by golly we come in this business to be square shooters, straight guys, all the way. Well let me tell you, when a man can do what this man did, this is trying to deprive him of a livelihood, and trying to hurt him..."

That prompted a quick rebuke from Landrum, "Well that's exactly what you tried the do!" Rogers fired back, "Wait a minute! We hurt the man because he came out here and challenged us. Well, we got news for him, he'll wait a long time before he ever gets a shot at this man's title, because as long as I'm this man's manager I will guarantee you that he will never get that shot at the title...this man will have to be next to dead before he gives him that title shot."

Rich replied, "Well, I tell you Tim Woods has assured me that he's on his way back and he's gonna get some kind of revenge." Rogers scoffed at that idea laughing, "Like I said, I don't care where he's at...we don't fear him, we're ready for him anytime at all but before he gets a title shot, which I know he wants, he'll wait a long, long time. As far as Snuka and I are concerned, he'll never do nothin' to us...we're just too much for him to handle!"

The October war of words in this feud were boiling red hot, but they had finally reached their zenith. Tim Woods would return to the ring in a week's time, and the time for talking would be done. In November it would be action time!

Tim Woods returns to in-ring action...to be continued in Part 9!

(Special thanks to Brack Beasley for the photos!)

Friday, December 07, 2018

Favorite Promos: Drinkin' and Leg Divin'




*  *  *

"From the time I was born, I was runnin' bad, Jack. I mean they had to chase me around the 'hawspital', you understand, trying to get me to calm down. 
I was throwing elbows on nurses, and leg divin' doctors, Jack!"

http://midatlanticwrestling.net/nwabelt.htm

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Nick Aldis makes some Mid-Atlantic Magic in latest episode of NWA's "Ten Pounds of Gold"




by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

There is so much to love about this video recently released by the NWA. It's another in an ongoing series called "Ten Pounds of Gold" produced by David Lagana.

NWA President Billy Corgan and reigning NWA World champion Nick Aldis walk us through everything currently going on with the NWA, including an announcement about things upcoming.

But the real magic for me was hearing Aldis talk about what it was like driving down I-85 and passing all those great old Mid-Atlantic/Crockett cities like Raleigh and Greensboro. As the man currently holding the NWA title you could feel how keenly aware he was that he was literally traveling in the same pathways of the giants that came before him, those who had held that same title.

There was also a magic moment (thankfully captured on video) where Aldis and former legendary champion Harley Race reunited. Aldis was a trainee at Race's wrestling academy many years ago, but they met again that night with Aldis now holding the title that Race himself held for so many years. Seeing how gracious both Aldis and Race were to each other was priceless. One man showing respect for the other who had laid the foundation; the other showing respect for the man who now carries the torch.

There is also nice footage of Aldis's recent defense against Jake Hager (aka Jack Swagger in the WWE and Jake Strong in Lucha Underground) at the annual WrestleCade event in Winston-Salem over the traditional Starrcade weekend of Thanksgiving. Hager takes care to put over the NWA title, too.

We continue to enjoy and look forward to these great videos and particularly like the feel of tradition and respect (as well as a bit of warm nostalgia) involved in making the NWA great again.

* * * * *
Follow the "Ten Pounds of Gold" series on the NWA's YouTube Channel.
You can also follow the principals on Twitter: @nwa (National Wrestling Alliance), @billy (Billy Corgan), and @Lagana (David Lagana.)

From the video description on YouTube: The return to provenience of the NWA (National Wrestling Alliance in 2018 is tied to the legacy created by men like Harley Race and others who held the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship (AKA The Ten Pounds of Gold).   Current reigning NWA Champion Nick Aldis has carried the tradition as well as the President of the NWA - William Patrick Corgan.  

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Peggy's Mid-Atlantic Photographs and Memories


by Peggy Lathan
Special for the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

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

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

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



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

(Originally published on the Gateway 1/19/2016)

http://horsemen.midatlanticgateway.com

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Mid-Atlantic Hidden Gems from Charlotte in the WWE Network Vault

FLAIR, RACE, BRISCOS, YOUNGBOAT, PIPER, VALENTINE ALL FEATURED IN PREVIOUSLY UNSEEN RAW FOOTAGE
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

If you are a WWE Network subscriber, you'd never know they've added a few new Hidden Gems from Mid-Atlantic Wrestling in 1983 unless you just swerved into them.

The WWE Network itself does a terrible job in making folks aware of what has been added to the Vault section of the site. A great resource, however, to keep up with new additions is the unaffiliated WWE Network News website. That's how we recently learned that the network had added two new raw footage Jim Crockett Promotions matches from the Charlotte Coliseum in the summer of 1983.

Back in May, they added a match from Charlotte on July 9, 1983 between then United States Champion Greg Valentine and arch-rival "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. (We mentioned it on our Facebook page.) The two new matches are from the same big Charlotte card, making three matches in all (the three main events) from that show.

Here is a list of the three matches and a direct link to them on the WWE Network.


NWA WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
HARLEY RACE (Champion) vs. RIC FLAIR
WWE Network Link: http://network.wwe.com/video/v2519768083


NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
JACK & JERRY BRISCO (Champions) vs. RICKY STEAMBOAT & JAY YOUNGBLOOD
WWE Network Link: http://network.wwe.com/video/v2519768183


NON TITLE MATCH
GREG VALENTINE (U.S. Champion) vs. RODDY PIPER
WWE Network Link: http://network.wwe.com/video/v2073979883

Interesting to note these three main events in Charlotte on 7/9/83 would be the three main events for Starrcade '83 four months later. Jim Crockett Promotions was getting ready to move TV production out of the studio and into arenas a month later, and theri new production truck was taping lots of material from shows in Charlotte during this time.

For additional context, Race had just regained the title for a record breaking seventh time less than one month earlier. Race was making his first tour as new champion in the Mid-Atlantic area, and was defending against now-former champion Flair across the territory beginning on July 2 in Greensboro, followed by Savannah, Greenville, Raleigh, Sumter, Norfolk, Richmond, and finally July 9 in Charlotte.

These matches are great to watch, especially if you attended matches live during this era. They bring back great memories.  Without commentary and featuring great ambient sound, you get a good feel for what it was like to attend shows then. I love that there was no entrance music, no pyro, no video screens. Just warriors making their way through the crowd and up into the ring.

If you have have never subscribed to the WWE Network, its easily worth the $10/month to get the old Mid-Atlantic shows they currently have up from 1981-1983, plus hidden gems like these. New subscribers can try the network free for one month.

Very cool to see these "Hidden Gems" and we are hopeful for more coming down the line.


http://horsemen.midatlanticgateway.com

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Mr. Wrestling Tim Woods' Last Stand (Part 7)

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

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

* * *

PART SEVEN

Later in the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television program that was taped on October 24, 1979 announcer Bob Caudle confronted Buddy Rogers about Tim Woods' earlier pronouncement that he was back from his injury, and about the blockbuster allegation that Buddy was hypnotizing the "Wildman" Jimmy Snuka prior to his matches. As the threesome came out to the interview area, Caudle told the fans, "Big John Studd, Buddy Rogers, Jimmy Snuka are here, and Tim Woods was just out here and had that baseball bat and it looked liked this wild man [Snuka] may even attack him with the bat!"

Rogers responded for the trio, "Let me tell you something, when I take this man Jimmy Snuka and tell him to go after Tim Woods he could have three bats, four bats...he'll be right on him pal. And that goes for [John Studd] too...any time I want them on Tim Woods." Buddy then pause and reflected, "I don't need them, I'll take him myself any time any place!" A stunned Caudle exclaimed, "You'll take Tim Woods?!?" Rogers reiterated, "I will take Tim Woods any time, any place!"

Caudle then followed up with Rogers, "I gotta ask you one thing, earlier you said that you really hated Tim Woods, you hated him more than any man alive...why is that Buddy? Why Tim Woods?" Rogers responded with a stunning claim, "Well, this man at one strategic point of my life cost me at least TWO MILLION dollars, and that came out of purses that I could have had in wrestling! But he became what I call a fink, and that's a RAT...someone that would squeal a secret that I had planned. He turned around and told the world!"

At this point, Snuka went directly up to the camera with a far-off stare that looked disturbing to say the least. Caudle blurted out, "Look at his eyes; look at his eyes! Are these guys hypnotized?!?" Without hesitating Buddy answered, "I hypnotize these guys between fifteen and twenty minutes before they come out to any ring! And I guarantee you they will face a tiger when I say sic 'em!"

Bob pressed on, "Did you get them to do your dirty work if you hate Tim Woods so much? Is that the reason you've got them?" Rogers chuckled, "The night that he tuned Tim Woods up it wasn't me, I was just watching!" Caudle asked, "Is it revenge?" A giddy Rogers shot back, "Oh yeah, it sure is revenge, and revenge is sweet! But let me tell ya, Tim Woods will never forget that night!"

Caudle fired back about the returning Tim Woods, "He's back though, don't forget he's back, he's well and he says he'll be ready!" Buddy scoffed, "Listen, the good Lord was on his side, but I tell ya he won't be on his side too long 'cause we're gonna put him right back where we want him, once and for all!


The dueling television interviews on October 24, 1979 between Tim Woods and Buddy Rogers and Jimmy Snuka did not stop with the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling show...things would heat up that same night in the WRAL TV-5 studios on the set of World Wide Wrestling!

The War of Words between Tim Woods and Buddy Rogers continues to escalate on World Wide Wrestling...

To be continued in Part 8!


http://bookstore.midatlanticgateway.com

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Thanksgiving Flashback: Starrcade '85


Thirty-three years ago today: Starrcade '85!
 
What a great photo taken in Atlanta's Omni at Starrcade '85. It features the Atlanta crowd watching Greensboro's closed circuit broadcast featuring the legendary Johnny Weaver with the old Greensboro Coliseum logo behind him. Great memories. 32 years ago. (More on STARRCADE '85)


We also should point out one of the photographers listed for the photos that would follow in the article from Greensboro was Mid-Atlantic Gateway contributor Eddie Cheslock.

http://horsemen.midatlanticgateway.com