Sunday, March 18, 2018

Slaughter and Nelson Shock the World and Win Richmond

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

SPECIAL AUDIO PROMOS INCLUDED BELOW! LOOK FOR "AUDIO CLIP" LINKS.

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 Overview and Background on the Tournament
PART TWO: Greensboro Anderson and Hansen Win the First Night
PART THREE: Charlotte The Briscos Win Big on Valentine's Night


RICHMOND, VIRGINIA
Date: February 26, 1982
Venue: Richmond Coliseum

Having concluded the first two city tournaments in Greensboro and Charlotte, North Carolina, the tournament moved to the Commonwealth of Virginia and the fabled Richmond Coliseum in the capitol city of Richmond, Virginia.

The Richmond leg of the tournament featured three returning teams and four new teams.

Returning teams from Greensboro that were also entered in Greensboro or Charlotte:
  • Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen
  • Jack and Jerry Brisco
  • Sgt. Slaughter and Pvt. Jim Nelson
    New teams entered in Richmond:
    • Pat Patterson and Mike George*
    • Tommy Rich and Bob Armstrong
    • Kelly Kiniski and Ron Ritchie
    • John Studd and Austin Idol
    *In TV promos, Leroy Brown was said to be Ray Steven's partner while the newspaper ad (at right) named Mike George. Research is unclear if it was Brown or George who actually teamed with Stevens on the card.

    TEAMS FEATURING OUTSIDE TALENT
    • Jack and Jerry Brisco  - While Jack Brisco was now a full-time wrestler in the Mid-Atlantic area, he and brother Jerry Brisco had come in for the original two tournaments in Greensboro and Charlotte from Championship Wrestling from Florida. Jack wound up staying in the territory full time. Jerry would eventually join him as a full-time tag team partner in December of 1982. 
    • Tommy Rich and Bob Armstrong - These two were the top babyfaces for Georgia Championship Wrestling out of Atlanta, and were brought in by booker Ole Anderson for the Richmond tournament. As mentioned in earlier posts, Anderson was booking both territories at that time. Rich had appeared on the previous tournament show in Charlotte where he challenged NWA World champion Ric Flair in the singles main event. Armstrong had appeared on a number of Mid-Atlantic shows recently against Roddy Piper as part of their big feud in Georgia.
    • Ray Stevens and Mike George - In the lead-up to the Richmond tournament on television, Ray Stevens explained that his regular partner Pat Patterson had been injured in a previous tournament by Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen. [AUDIO CLIP]  Ray Stevens picked a new partner for Richmond. Mike George was a veteran of the Central States (Kansas City) ring wars where he had been a multi-time Central States Heavyweight champion.  Stevens was a regular in the Mid-Atlantic area at this time. (In the localized promos for Richmond, Leroy Brown was interviewed as Steven's partner, but the newspaper ads listed Mike George.)
    • Stan Hansen and Ole Anderson. As mentioned in previous posts, Anderson and Hansen were largely considered a team from Georgia Championship Wrestling, as Stan was a regular there, but was making limited appearances in the Mid-Atlantic area, mostly related to the tournament. (See earlier posts for further details.) [AUDIO CLIP]
    • Austin Idol teamed with Big John Studd as his new partner in the tournaments after Idol and Ivan Koloff failed to advance in the previous tournaments in Greensboro and Charlotte. While Studd was making appearances semi-regularly in the Mid-Atlantic area, he was the top heel in the Knoxville territory at the time, feuding with both Blackjack Mulligan and Blackjack Mulligan, Jr.

    THE MID-ATLANTIC TEAMS

    Sgt. Slaughter and his recruit Pvt. Jim Nelson

    • Sgt. Slaughter (reigning United States Champion) took his young protege Pvt. Jim Nelson as his partner in Charlotte, but the two came up short there. They would stun the wrestling world with a victory here in Richmond. Nelson had only recently come under the tutelage of Sgt. Slaughter.  [AUDIO CLIP]
    • Kelly Kiniski (son of former NWA World champion Gene Kiniski) teamed with Ron Ritchie, the "young lions" entry in the tournament.  
    • Austin Idol and John Studd were considered a Mid-Atlantic team for the tournament, although Studd was spending most of his time in the Knoxville territory at that moment, and Idol spent at least half his time in Georgia.

    With this Richmond tournament, Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen became the only team to appear in all three tournaments so far (Greensboro, Charlotte, and Richmond.)

    The Richmond tournament only featured seven teams.


    TOURNAMENT BRACKETS & RESULTS

    The tournament came down to the Brisco Brothers and the team of Sgt. Slaughter and his young recruit Pvt. Jim Nelson in the championship round. In a big upset, the Marines got past the Briscos to take the honors in Richmond.  

    The Briscos defeated Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen in the semi-finals to advance to the tournament championship. It was their second win over Anderson and Hansen in these tournaments having defeated them in the finals of the Charlotte tournament on 2/14.

    Slaughter and Nelson advanced to the championship by defeating the Georgia team of Tommy Rich and Bob Armstrong in the semi-finals. It is believed they received a bye in the first round due to Slaughter's additional match that night with Blackjack Mulligan Jr. (Barry Windham) in Sarge's "$1000 Cobra Challenge."

    (Please note: There is limited information and results on the first round and bracketing for the tournament in Richmond. Some information is "best guess" based on the information available. If you have further info that would help us clarify the early round of the Richmond tournament please contact us. Thanks)

    RICHMOND WINNERS:
    Sgt. Slaughter and Pvt. Jim Nelson


     


    OTHER MAIN EVENTS


    MID-ATLANTIC HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
    LUMBERJACK MATCH:
    RODDY PIPER vs. RICKY STEAMBOAT
    Roddy Piper and Ricky Steamboat were involved in a big feud over the Mid-Atlantic title and this match was toward the end of their run together. In this match, the ring would be surrounded by wrestlers in what was known then as a "lumberjack match." It was designed to keep wrestlers from running. If a wrestler left the ring, the lumberjacks would toss him back in again. In previous encounters, Piper had left the ring and been counted out in order to save his title.

    SPECIAL ATTRACTION - COBRA CHALLENGE
    SGT. SLAUGHTER vs. BLACKJACK MULLIGAN JR.
    Sgt. Slaughter should get a special iron man award for working this match in addition to the tournament matches that night. Not only did he and Pvt. Nelson wrestle twice in the tournament, Slaughter met Blackjack Mulligan, Jr. in a special 5-minute challenge match to see if Junior could break Sarge's cobra hold and win $1000. The angle that set this up went all the way back to December of 1981, when an episode of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" went off the air with credits rolling as Mulligan Jr. was caught in the hold but about to escape it. (In promos leading up to the tournament [AUDIO CLIP], Slaughter told Pvt. Nelson he would defeat Mulligan Jr. in the Cobra Challenge for the $1000 and would reimburse nelson for his $1000 entry fee. Mighty nice of the Sarge!)



    AUDIO CLIPS EMBEDDED IN THE ARTICLE ABOVE

    RICHMOND PROMOS: ANDERSON & HANSEN, SLAUGHTER & NELSON

    RAY STEVENS EXPLAINS WHAT HAPPENED TO PAT PATTERSON


    Coming up in PART FIVE:

    On to the Omni! The first tournament taking place outside of the Mid-Atlantic territory would be two nights later in Atlanta, GA for Georgia Championship Wrestling. This one rivaled Greensboro for the most diverse line-up of teams, including a top team in from All Japan Pro Wrestling. In fact, some of the Atlanta tournament was televised in Japan (and we'll have video of one of those matches in the Atlanta post.) Some big singles matches on the card as well, a show that was loaded with international stars. Stay tuned for our next post about the very interesting 1982 NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament. (And as Freddy Miller would say, "Be there!")

    Special thanks as always to Mark Eastridge for the newspaper clippings. Eddie Maccon, in attendance that night in Richmond, provided some of the bracketing information. The vintage audio recordings are from the collection of David Chappell.


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