Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Anderson and Hansen Take First Tournament Win in Greensboro

The 1982 NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament
PART TWO
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

If you missed the INTRODUCTION (Part One), check it out here before moving forward. That post puts the whole thing in a perspective that serves as a launching point for these following discussions.

GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA 
Date: February 7, 1982
Venue: Greensboro Coliseum

The 1982 NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament started off strong with its first city tournament taking place in the epicenter of Jim Crockett Promotions, the fabled Greensboro Coliseum.

The Greensboro leg had perhaps the most diverse roster of teams that would compete in one single city except for the possible exception of Atlanta later that month.

Teams Entered in Greensboro:
  • Ole Anderson & Stan Hansen
  • Adrian Adonis & Jessie "The Body" Ventura
  • Jake "The Snake" Roberts & Jay Youngblood
  • Ray Stevens & Pat Patterson
  • Johnny Weaver & Jimmy "Boogie Man" Valiant
  • Terry Taylor & Tim Horner
  • Mr. Fuji & Mr. Saito
  • Austin Idol & Ivan Koloff



Three of these teams featured "outside talent" from other territories:

  • 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 had made one other special tournament appearance for Jim Crockett Promotions four months earlier when he had participated in the United States Heavyweight title tournament in Charlotte in October of 1981. Patterson worked behind the scenes in the WWF at this time, while also serving with Vince McMahon as co-host for their "Championship Wrestling" television program. He was making limited ring appearances in the WWF as well. But given the nostalgic nature of this classic tag team pairing, we consider them an AWA entrant into this tournament.
  • Adrian Adonis and Jessie "The Body" Ventura were touted as having come in from the AWA. Tape of one of their AWA TV matches was shown in advance of the tournament. They were former AWA World Tag team champions and were considered the AWA entrants in the tournament as a whole, even though both were wrestling in the WWF at this time. In fact, the night before (2/6/82) at the Boston Garden, Ventura had challenged Bob Backlund for the WWF Championship.
  • Mr. Fuji and Mr. Saito were reigning WWF Tag Team champions at that time, however were not discussed much on the main TV shows as being part of the broader tournament the way other teams were. This was their only appearance. Mid-Atlantic fans might not have known much about Saito, but they were quite familiar with Mr. Fuji, who had held the Mid-Atlantic tag team titles a few years back with Tenyru.

THE MID-ATLANTIC TEAMS
Ole Anderson selected Stan Hansen as his partner. Hansen was one of his regular tag team partners in Georgia and replaced Ole's brother Gene in Ole's quest to become World Tag team champions again. They were largely considered a team from Georgia Championship Wrestling, as Stan was a regular there, and also as discussed in the introduction, Ole Anderson was booker of both the Mid-Atlantic and Georgia territories. Gene Anderson accompanied the team in many of their appearances in the area. 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.

Stan Hansen, Ole Anderson and Gene Anderson talk with Bob Caudle

The Mid-Atlantic teams (other than Ole and Stan) were basically thrown together without much thought. 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 (which was the singles main event on this Greensboro show), 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.

TOURNAMENT BRACKETS & RESULTS

The tournament came down to Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen vs. Ray Stevens and the visiting Pat Patterson in the finals, with Anderson and Hansen eventually taking the honors and winning the first 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, we did not see that in Greensboro.

Anderson and Hansen defeated two of the Mid-Atlantic teams in the tournament to advance to the finals (Roberts/Youngblood and Weaver/Valiant.) Stevens and Patterson had the more interesting path, defeating two "outside" teams (Ventura/Adonis and Fuji/Saito) along their way to eventual defeat at the hands of Anderson and Hansen.  They would have a chance to avenge that loss one week later in Charlotte.

GREENSBORO WINNERS:
Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen




OTHER MAIN EVENTS

NWA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP:
RIC FLAIR vs. RICKY STEAMBOAT
Ric Flair was in the middle of a schizophrenic period where he oscillated between "bad guy" and "good guy" several times in the Mid-Atlantic area during his first NWA title reign. Flair had just fought Steamboat's partner Jay Youngblood in an excellent match on "World Wide Wrestling" which had brought out Flair's "heel" persona again. Steamboat now stepped in to challenge Flair for the NWA title, renewing their rivalry that went back to 1977.

Flair was disqualified in the match with Steamboat in Greensboro and therefore retained his title. It set up a rematch down the road that would send Flair back to the "good guy" side for a short while. That's a story for another day.

UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP
SGT. SLAUGHTER vs. BLACKJACK MULLIGAN JR.
Blackjack Jr. (Barry Windham) had been Slaughter's top contender for the U.S. title basically since Sarge had entered the territory and won the title in the tournament back in October of 1981. His father was running the NWA territory out of Knoxville, TN, which has a close affiliation with Jim Crockett Promotions, and Junior was splitting time between both. A big part of their feud was the attempt to break Sgt. Slaughter's devastating cobra hold. Slaughter retain the title in this match.


Coming up in PART THREE:
The tournament moves to Charlotte, North Carolina, where four new teams join the tournament competition, including a Mid-Atlantic dream team and another "outsider" team, this time from Florida. Can Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen win a second city title as they march towards the Eastern finals? Will Patterson and Stevens be able to avenge their loss in the finals in Greensboro? Find out in our next post about the very interesting 1982 NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament.

(Thanks as always to Mark Eastridge for the newspaper clippings.)


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