Thursday, January 04, 2018

How Far Back Does WWE's Mid-Atlantic Libray Go?

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

When the WWE bought WCW from Time Warner, it acquired with the deal the original video tape library of Jim Crockett Promotions. That library originally transferred to Turner Home Entertainment following the Turner's purchase of Jim Crockett Promotions in 1988. When WWE bought WCW, the JCP library came along with it.

Johnny Weaver and Rich Landrum with "Rowdy"
Roddy Piper on "World Wide Wrestling" April 1981

(WWE Network)
Soon, original episodes for Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling from that library be available on the WWE Network,  the WWE's OTT streaming service.

This begs the question just how far back does the WWE's JCP library go? Back in 2009, the WWE began adding Mid-Atlantic Wrestling episodes to their premium cable channel originally called "WWE 24/7 On Demand" (later re-branded "WWE Classics On Demand.") They began showing sequential episodes of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling that began in November of 1981. This led many to believe that is when the JCP library started. It had been known for years that Jim Crockett Promotions did not begin archiving all of their programs until sometime in 1981. (Prior to that time, they simply recorded over each episode each week on the broadcast tapes that went out to the stations.)

However, there was evidence that they had some material that went back further than November of 1981. On the debut episode of the round-table discussion show "Legends of Wrestling", there was a 55-second clip of an interview with Roddy Piper that took place on "World Wide Wrestling" recorded on Wednesday, April 15, 1981 that first aired the following Saturday. This indicates that perhaps they have shows going back at least that far.

When WWE announced a special collection of ten selected shows to be released in advance of the big drop of shows on their service, the earliest was dated 9/12/81, which is two months earlier than the first show seen on the defunct WWE Classics On Demand cable channel.

We are very hopeful that the library goes back beyond August of 1981 to some of the shows taped at WRAL-TV in Raleigh, the long-time venue for Mid-Atlantic television tapings going back to 1959.In August of 1981, Crockett moved its TV tapings from WRAL to WPCQ TV in Charlotte. The WPCQ studio was way too small, requiring the ring to be set at an angle so that the ring, studio bleachers, cameras and set could all fit in. Add to that the quality of the studio equipment at WPCQ was noticeably inferior to the state of the art equipment at WRAL, resulting a noticeable drop in audio and video quality of the broadcast.

More updates as they become available on all this. The" WWE Network News" website reported last weekend that the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling episodes would begin appearing on the service on Monday, January 8.