Sunday, March 11, 2018

Briscos Win Charlotte Leg of NWA World Tag Team Tournament

The 1982 NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament
Part Three
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

If you missed earlier posts in this series, check them out in the links below, especially the INTRODUCTION, which puts the whole tournament in a perspective that serves as a launching point for the following discussions.

PART ONE: Introduction
PART TWO: Greensboro

Date: February 14, 1982
Venue: Charlotte Coliseum

The 1982 NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament continued on Valentine's Day night with its second city tournament taking place in the hometown of Jim Crockett Promotions - - Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Charlotte leg featured four returning teams and four new teams, including a team from Championship Wrestling from Florida that would win it all here in the Queen City.

Returning teams from Greensboro that were also entered in Charlotte:
  • Ole Anderson & Stan Hansen
  • Jake "The Snake" Roberts & Jay Youngblood
  • Ray Stevens & Pat Patterson
  • Austin Idol & Ivan Koloff
New teams entered in Charlotte:
  • Jack and Jerry Brisco
  • Sgt. Slaughter and Pvt. Nelson
  • Blackjack Mulligan Sr. and Jr.
  • Roddy Piper and Greg Valentine

The Brisco Brothers from "Championship Wrestling from Florida" enter
the NWA World Tag Team city tournament in Charlotte

Four of these teams featured "outside talent" from other territories:
  • Jack and Jerry Brisco came in from Florida for the Charlotte tournament, and Jack wound up staying on full time in the territory, and would have memorable feuds in the year 1982 over the Mid-Atlantic title with Roddy Piper, Paul Jones, and Dory Funk, Jr. as well as challenging regularly for Ric Flair's NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Jerry would be in and out sporadically, working a part time schedule in Florida, Georgia, and the Mid-Atlantic, while also working in management in both Florida and Georgia at various times. He mostly did TV and weekend shots for JCP until coming in full time in 1983 to team with Jack and eventually to challenge for and win the NWA World Tag Team championship. But at this point, they were still a Florida team.
  • Blackjack Mulligan Sr. and Jr. joined forces to make a run at the tag team titles. Blackjack Mulligan was running the Knoxville territory (closely affiliated with JCP), and Mulligan Jr. (Barry Windham) was the top babyface there, but was also making regular shots in the Mid-Atlantic territory. The team was not in the Greensboro tournament a week earlier because Junior was challenging Sgt. Slaughter for the United States title on that big show.
  • As mentioned in the Greensboro write-up, Pat Patterson and Ray Stevens reunited their classic team of the 1970s from California and the AWA. It was mentioned many times on Mid-Atlantic TV leading up to the tournament that they were former world tag team champions. Stevens was a regular in the Mid-Atlantic area at this time, and brought in his old partner Patterson who was scheduled in for a few shots specifically related to the tournament. Patterson worked for the WWF at this time as TV host, part-time wrestler, and behind the scenes for the company as well. But given the nostalgic nature of this classic tag team pairing, I consider them an AWA entrant into this tournament.  
  • Stan Hansen teamed once again with Ole Anderson. As mentioned in the Greensboro post, they were largely considered a team from Georgia Championship Wrestling, as Stan was a regular there, and was making limited appearances in the area, mostly related to the tournament.

The Mid-Atlantic teams were stronger overall in Charlotte than Greensboro. 
  • The tournament reunited Roddy Piper and Greg Valentine, who once formed the self-described "Dream Team" in the Mid-Atlantic area two years earlier.
  • U.S. Champion Sgt. Slaughter took his young protege Pvt. Jim Nelson as his partner. Nelson had only recently come under the tutelage of the Sarge. 
  • Two teams that had competed in the Greensboro tournament, Ivan Koloff/Austin Idol and Jake Roberts/Jay Youngblood, rounded out the Mid-Atlantic field. 

Stan Hansen, Ole Anderson and Gene Anderson talk with Bob Caudle
Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen came charging into Charlotte having just won the Greensboro tournament and were the odds-on favorite to take the Charlotte tournament, too. Gene Anderson accompanied the team in many of their appearances in the area. Gene was injured and unable to compete, which was the reason this whole tournament came about to begin with. Gene and Ole were stripped of the titles when Gene could no longer wrestle, and Ole had taken Georgia regular Stan Hansen as his partner. It was not unfamiliar to see Gene in this managerial role, as he had achieved great success as a manager guiding Ray Stevens and Jimmy Snuka to the NWA World Tag Team championship a few years earlier.

As mentioned in the Greensboro post, one notable team not in the tournament was the duo of former World tag team champions Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood. The two were considered early favorites to win the tournament should they decide to enter. But Steamboat was in the middle of another chase of Ric Flair's NWA World Heavyweight title, and so Youngblood teamed up with Jake "The Snake" Roberts. Jake was one of the top singles babyfaces in the territory at this time, and the two would team in a couple of other city tournaments as well. Steamboat, who faced Flair for the NWA title a week earlier on the Greensboro card, met Killer Khan in a special attraction singles match in Charlotte.


The tournament came down to Jack and Jerry Brisco vs. Ray Stevens and the visiting Pat Patterson in the finals, with the Brisco brothers eventually taking the honors and winning the Charlotte city tournament.

Many times in pro wrestling tournaments, there are double disqualifications or double count outs that eliminate two teams and move another team ahead based on the resulting bye in the brackets. Thankfully, as in Greensboro, we did not see this in Charlotte.

The Briscos defeated two tough Mid-Atlantic teams on their road to the Charlotte finals, topping Sgt. Slaughter and Pvt. Nelson in the opening round, and despite it being Valentine's Day, topped Greg Valentine and Roddy Piper in a wild semi-final bout.

Stevens and Patterson defeated Ivan Koloff and Austin Idol in the opening round, which set up a rematch of the finals in Greensboro against Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen. This time, Stevens and Patterson avenged their Greensboro loss to advance to the Charlotte finals.

Jack and Jerry Brisco


The two singles main events rounding out the Charlotte card featured talent from outside the territory as well. 

With Ole Anderson booking both the Mid-Atlantic and Georgia territories, there was a mix of talent crossing promotional borders during late 1981 and early 1982. Georgia star "Wildfire" Tommy Rich made several appearances in the Mid-Atlantic area over this time frame and was one of the hottest babyfaces in the country. He was just ten months off his upset win over Harley Race for a short 4 day reign as NWA World Heavyweight champion in 1981. Rich was now in hot pursuit of Flair for the title in the Peach State, and was bringing that chase to the Queen City to headline the Charlotte tournament card.

Flair had just recently turned heel again, one of several turns in the Mid-Atlantic area during his first reign as NWA champion as promoters and fans had a difficult time deciding whether to love him or hate him when he was a heel in the rest of  the wrestling world.

This title bout got out of hand quickly, and both Flair and Rich were disqualified, with Flair retaining the title. 

There wasn't much build-up to the Steamboat/Khan match, it was simply a special attraction standing on its own. Killer Khan had a worldwide reputation and was featured heavily in newsstand wrestling magazines, and had been seen on Mid-Atlantic TV in a tape sent from the WWF. Khan dominated most of the match, but it was Steamboat who got the big win with a flying bodypress from the top turnbuckle.

Special Note: Both Tommy Rich and Killer Khan, outsiders in these two singles events in Charlotte,  would return to the Mid-Atlantic area in subsequent weeks with tag team partners in tow to enter the ongoing NWA World Tag Team Tournament.

Coming up in PART FOUR:
The tournament moves to Commonwealth of Virginia, as Richmond hosts the third city tournament. Both winners of the first two city tournaments (Anderson and Hansen in Greensboro and the Briscos in Charlotte) are entered in the Richmond tournament with hopes of getting a second win under their belt. Richmond hosts a team comprised of the two top "good guys" in the Georgia territory as well. Be here for our next post about the very interesting 1982 NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament.

Special thanks as always to Mark Eastridge for the newspaper clippings.