Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Jim Crockett's Grand Slam Champions - Part Four: Ricky Steamboat

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

In PART FOUR of our "Grand Slam" feature, we take a look at "The Hawaiian Punch" Ricky Steamboat.

Steamboat was the fourth and final wrestler to hold all five of Jim Crockett Promotions' titles during the Mid-Atlantic years, something we here at the Gateway call Crockett's Grand Slam Championship. (For a more complete explanation of the Grand Slam, see PART ONE on Paul Jones.)


The five Crockett titles were:
  • NWA World Tag Team Championship
  • United States Heavyweight Championship
  • Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship
  • Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championship
  • Mid-Atlantic/NWA/World Television Championship

There were only four men that held all five titles though their complete tenure in our area. Those men are:
  1. Paul Jones
  2. Ric Flair
  3. Greg Valentine
  4. Ricky Steamboat

Here is a summary of Ricky Steamboat's amazing championship pedigree in Mid-Atlantic Wrestling:


PART FOUR: RICKY STEAMBOAT

MID-ATLANTIC TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
When Ricky Steamboat first entered the Mid-Atlantic area in 1977, he was immediately recognized as one of the up-and-coming "young lions" of professional wrestling. But for a few months he worked mid-card, getting himself established with the Mid-Atlantic fan base. A slow. several-week build found TV champion Ric Flair making fun of Steamboat and interrupting his interviews until finally Steamboat had enough. He challenged Flair for the TV title on episode of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" taped June 15, 1977 at WRAL studios in Raleigh. Flair didn't really take him seriously....until Steamboat came crashing down on him from the top turnbuckle with a devastating double chop and pinned him for the title. It was Steamboat's big break in the business and set off what would become one of wrestling's most bitter rivalries.


MID-ATLANTIC TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
After Steamboat's big win over Flair for the TV title, Paul Jones began to mentor the young superstar, taking him under his wing, and together they defeated Ric Flair and Greg Valentine for the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team championship on August 22, 1977 in Charlotte, NC. They lost them two months later to Flair and Big John Studd. But better days were ahead for Steamboat on the tag team front. 


UNITED STATES HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Flair made his own comeback of sorts following the TV title loss to Steamboat, defeating Bobo Brazil for the U.S. title. But as soon as he won that championship, fans demanded that Steamboat get a shot at Flair since he had just recently beat him for the TV title. Steamboat captured the famous red-leather United States title belt from Flair on October 21, 1977 in Greensboro, turning his first year in the Mid-Atlantic area into one ladden with championship gold. This title win put Steamboat on the map nationally, and his picture on the cover of wrestling magazines lining the racks at the local news stands.

Steamer lost the title to Blackjack Mulligan in early 1978, but the Flair/Steamboat battle over that title would resume during that same year with the belt being traded back and forth between them. Steamboat would gain that title once more in 1984 when he defeated Dick Slater for the honors.


NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
On April 23, 1978, Ricky Steamboat and Paul Jones defeated the Masked Superstar and Ken Patera in the finals of a one-night tournament in Greensboro to win the NWA World Tag Team championship. The titles had been stripped from Ric Flair and Greg Valentine for their failure to defend them. They would lose them to Greg Valentine and Baron Von Raschke on TV a few months later.

in 1979, Steamboat would find a new partner in Jay Youngblood and the team held the NWA World Tag Team titles on several occasions over the next several years, feuding with Paul Jones and Von Raschke, Ray Stevens and Greg Valentine, Stevens and Jimmy Snuka, Sgt. Slaughter and Don Kernodle, and the memorable feud with Jack and Jerry Brisco. When the NWA tag titles were renewed by promoter Bill Watts for WCW in 1992, Steamboat had yet another run with partner Shane Douglas.


MID-ATLANTIC HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
The final jewel in Steamboat's Grand Slam crown came in 1980 when he defeated the Iron Sheik for that title on November 1 in Richmond, VA. He lost the title to Ivan Koloff in 1981 but regained it from the Russian later that same year before losing it for good to Roddy Piper in November of 1981.


Thanks to Todd Stutts for prodding me on my bad memory!

* * *

Did you miss our stories on the first three Grand Slam Champions? Visit the links:
"No. 1" Paul Jones
"Nature Boy" Ric Flair 
Greg 'The Hammer" Valentine


http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/p/yearbooks.html

Sunday, October 28, 2018

"Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods' Last Stand (Part 5)

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway 

Catch up on this story in PART ONE  | PART TWO  |  PART THREE  |  PART FOUR

* * *

PART FIVE

At the outset of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television program that was taped at the WRAL TV studios in Raleigh, North Carolina on October 17, 1979, the still injured masked "Mr. Wrestling" surprisingly removed his hood to show his unyielding resolve to settle his score with Jimmy Snuka and Buddy Rogers. After having the whole TV program to contemplate and digest the actions of a very focused Tim Woods, Rogers and Snuka appeared on the very last segment of the show to address this shocking turn of events.

Legendary Jim Crockett Promotions announcer Bob Caudle exclaimed to the two villains, "All right, Buddy Rogers [and] U.S. Heavyweight champ Jimmy Snuka right here. I gotta ask you about this...'Mr. Wrestling' Tim Woods, he came out! He is ready; he's gonna be back soon. His neck is healed...watch out; watch out!"

An ultra confident Buddy Rogers defiantly responded, "Let me tell you something, when it comes to Tim Woods not only is he gonna wait in line but he's goin' on the very bottom of the list. He might grow too old before he ever sees a shot at this title just due to the fact that heavy fine that was imposed on Snuka and myself by the NWA."

Still visibly upset by the mere thought of that stiff NWA fine, Buddy continued, "I guarantee you, he'll never live that down." Bob Caudle then directly challenged Rogers by commenting, "A lot of people would look upon that as saying, 'hey, they're afraid'...Rogers is afraid to have Snuka meet him!" Rogers scoffed at that notion and barked back, "Let 'em say anything they want but Tim Woods will NEVER get a shot at this Title as long as my man has it!"

Tim Woods would then have a whole calendar week to stew about Rogers' comments about him not getting a United States Heavyweight Championship bout against Jimmy Snuka. Woods was so upset that he would appear first on the next edition of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV, leading off a blockbuster show that would feature Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood defeating Paul Jones and Baron von Raschke for the NWA World Tag Team Championship.



Woods showed up on that October 24, 1979 television program with a "Wanted--Out Of Wrestling" poster with the images of Snuka and Rogers on it in one hand, and a baseball bat on his other shoulder with the menacing Snuka and Rogers positioned in the ring only a few feet away from him, and the newly unmasked Tim Woods would have a major announcement for the Mid-Atlantic faithful during this ultra tense encounter with his mega rivals!

Tim Woods drops a bombshell on Jimmy Snuka and Buddy Rogers! To be continued in Part 6!

Special thanks to Brack Beasley.

http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/p/yearbooks.html

Friday, October 26, 2018

Record Low Price for "Ten Pounds of Gold" on Amazon


I have no idea how this works on Amazon, but as of this writing they currently have the color version of my book "Ten Pounds of Gold" on sale for 46% off our already discounted price in our current 25% off special. So the price right at this moment is ..... $12.23! (See screen capture above.) I can't even by them at that price!

This surely can't last long, and I have no idea why this is discounted the way it is, but that price will probbaly never be seen again.

Go to the "Ten Pounds of Gold" Amazon page.

Thanks for your support of this book and of our website!

http://bookstore.midatlanticgateway.com

Gateway Interview: "Mr. Unpredicatable" Dick Slater (2010) Part Three


In 2010, David Chappell had the opportunity to interview the legendary Dick Slater for the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. The lengthy interview covered a wide range of topics spanning Slater's entire career.

This is the final PART THREE. If you missed the earlier installments, visit them here:
PART ONE   |   PART TWO

* * * * * * * * * * * *
PART THREE

Chappell: When the shift came later to WCW, you were there weren’t you? Isn’t that where you started getting hurt?

Slater: I got hurt in ’96. I got hurt in Gainesville, Georgia. It was a TV match, and I blew a disc out…L four and five.

Chappell: That sort of started all of your injury problems?

Slater: That started it. Then I had one operation…the guy was supposed to be a good surgeon, but he did a real bad job. Then I had another operation done by a surgeon who was supposed to be a real good surgeon…and he did a pretty bad job. There’s actually no back surgery that’s 100% successful. It’s the hardest part of the body to operate on. My last surgery was the latest technology. But you never know what can happen. It could put you in a wheelchair forever.

Chappell: I thought that all the problems with your back started in that late WCW time frame.

Slater: I never had one bad injury until I had that.

Chappell: Going back a little earlier in your WCW years, you were reunited with your good friend Dick Murdock as the tag team of the ‘Hardliners.’ Tell us about Murdock.

Slater: Oh yeah, Dickie was a great friend of mine. Him and I went to Japan together, on his last trip over there. I stopped on the way home in Amarillo, Texas, and was at Terry Funk’s there for about three days. We talked to Dickie’s girlfriend, and he had gone to a rodeo and when he got home, the next day, he sat on the couch, said he wasn’t feeling well, and he passed away on the couch from a heart attack. I mean, I was just with him two days before that. You know David, that was a real bad blow to me.

Chappell: It had to be…I know how close you were to him.


Slater: We had just had a great time together in Japan for a couple of weeks. I was a real big shock. Same thing with Wahoo, you know? A lot of people are gone now. Look at all the people that are gone. Ray (Hercules) Hernandez, a good friend of mine, he’s gone. Road Warrior Hawk, Mike Hegstrand, is gone. There has been quite a few of us that have checked out.

Chappell: And many at such early, premature ages.

Slater: (pauses) Yeah…I know.

Chappell: Well, Dick, after you finished wrestling in the ring in the mid-90s, you sort of faded from view. And then, about a year ago, your name surfaced again in a very unfavorable light---you were charged with attempted murder, for allegedly stabbing your ex-girlfriend repeatedly. What was going on with you after your in-ring career ended?

Slater: Funny thing David…last month I had like 350,000 hits on the Internet, you know? Everybody’s asking a lot of questions about me, what I’m doing. I haven’t answered them yet, and I really haven’t said anything at all. Now I’m doing your interview, and I’m writing a book. Everybody’s concerned about, you know, what’s happened to Dick Slater and what’s he doing.

Chappell: We’re very happy you’ve chosen the Gateway to talk about some of these things…

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Gateway Interview: "Mr. Unpredicatable" Dick Slater (2010) Part Two

In 2010, David Chappell had the opportunity to interview the legendary Dick Slater for the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. The lengthy interview covered a wide range of topics spanning Slater's entire career.

This PART TWO.
If you missed PART ONE, check it out here.


* * * * * * * * * * * *

PART TWO

Chappell: That Mid-South promotion was terrific. I actually moved out to that area in late 1984 for a while, and got to see that promotion up close.

Slater: You were out there the same time I was!

Chappell: Yep, pretty much…that was a heck of a promotion! And I want to talk some more about Mid-South in a little bit…and especially ‘Dark Journey’!

Slater: (laughs)

Chappell: I guess Dark Journey was really a ‘valet’ and not a manager, but I’d like your thoughts on your use of managers over your years in the business. Did you feel that they added a lot to the equation?  I know you had Gary Hart as your manager before you came into the Mid-Atlantic area, and for a while when you first came into the Crockett territory.

Slater: Actually, I’m pretty sure when I first went up to Jimmy Crockett’s territory, I’m pretty sure Gary Hart was working there…or came in soon after.

Chappell: That’s right…I believe Gary was focusing on Kabuki and the Magic Dragon for the most part then. But I remember you and Gary working together some in the Mid-Atlantic area.

Slater: I never really needed a manager to do the talking for me, but depending on the situation, managers could really add a lot…and generate heat. Gary was great…he managed Bobby Orton, Jr. and I in Georgia…before we ended up together in the Carolinas.  Gary was a talented manager…one of the best managers in wrestling.

Chappell: Since we’re still really talking about your pre Mid-Atlantic stuff, something that always comes up when the subject is Dick Slater…is the incident when Wahoo McDaniel shot you.

Slater: Well, Wahoo McDaniel, me, Tommy Rich and Andre the Giant were at a lounge in downtown Tampa that we always hung around down there. Andre, Wahoo and I were sittin’ at the bar, and somebody said something about Tommy Rich’s wife that got Wahoo real mad. Tommy went outside, this was about at closing time, and what I remember was that Wahoo got in an argument with this guy, and the guy went to the car, and gets his knife out, right?  So, Wahoo saw that, and I guess he went to the car and got a gun out.

Chappell: Oh boy…

Monday, October 22, 2018

Gateway Interview: "Mr. Unpredicatable" Dick Slater (2010) Part One

In 2010, David Chappell had the opportunity to interview the legendary Dick Slater for the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. The lengthy interview covered a wide range of topics spanning Slater's entire career.

We thought it would be special to run that interview again on the Gateway in light of Dick's passing last week. It will be presented in three parts.

One of the all-time great characters and performers in the pro wrestling business, he will be sorely missed by friends and fans.


* * * * * * * * * * * *
Some have called him “Mr. Unpredictable.” Others have referred to him as “Mr. Excitement.” Still others just call him “Dirty.”

Dick Slater lives up to all those nicknames, and a whole lot more.

When Dick Slater entered Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling in January of 1983, he had already established himself as a major star in the wrestling business. His battles in the ring as part of Jim Crockett Promotions only added to the lofty reputation he brought to Charlotte with him. Whether it was watching him go toe to toe with Greg Valentine, or conspire with Bob Orton, Jr. to injure Ric Flair and pave the way for the mega-card of Starrcade 1983, or seeing him bring out his own NWA World Heavyweight Title belt and declare himself the World Champ in early 1984, Dick Slater always gave the wrestling fans everything they were hoping to see…and usually a surprise or two on top of that!

Dick Slater has lived his life to the fullest, both in and out of the ring. Many of his highs have been very high, and some of his lows have been very low. In this enlightening interview, Dick not only talks about his battles inside the squared circle throughout his illustrious wrestling career, but candidly talks about his recent life’s battles. Slater has many fascinating things to say, and much more will be revealed soon in a book he’s working on, aptly entitled "A Thousand Lives." For now, the Mid-Atlantic Gateway is happy to provide you a small sample of the story Dick Slater has to tell us all.

The Gateway would like to express our thanks to Lisa Lostraglio for her efforts in linking us up with “Mr. Unpredictable” Dick Slater. Without Lisa, this interview would not have happened. The Gateway’s friend, Peggy Lathan, also played a large role in Dick Slater’s visit to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Dick Slater has not spoken out since his recent legal issues. The Gateway is proud that Dick chose the Mid-Atlantic Gateway to again talk about his career in wrestling, and the more recent unfortunate events that his name has been linked to.

Much like his wrestling days in the Mid-Atlantic area, when you read some of the things Dick has to say in this interview, you may like him or you may dislike him. There never was much of a middle ground with Dick Slater. One thing I’m surer of is, after reading this, you’ll likely agree that Dick Slater’s reputation for being a fighter and a tough guy is well deserved. And not only in the ring…but in the game of life. 

- David Chappell
October 2010

* * * * * * * * *

PART ONE

David Chappell: Dick, I’m really delighted to have you talk with the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. I appreciate your taking the time to chat a little bit tonight.

Dick Slater: I’ve been looking forward to it, David.

Chappell: Same here! Well, to start, please tell us about your beginnings in wrestling if you would.

Slater: I actually started wrestling, Mike Graham and myself, in 1968. I started with Eddie Graham at Robinson High School.

Chappell: We’re talking about the Tampa, Florida area, right?

Slater: That’s right. There had never been a high school wrestling program in the state of Florida. What happened, is that Eddie Graham, who was a promoter here for Florida Championship Wrestling and Don Curtis, who was the promoter in Jacksonville, bought a wrestling mat for Robinson High School and actually started the high school wrestling program.

Chappell: I know you played football and wrestled for the University of Tampa, so obviously we now know you got into wrestling before your college days!

Slater: This was all before I went to the University of Tampa. What happened, is I was wrestling for what was called AAU---which was a wrestling organization that trained people to go from, say, college to the Olympics…

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Mooneyham Memorializes Slater, Jonathan

Mike Mooneyham
As always, Mike Mooneyham puts the lives and careers of wrestling legends in such great perspective. His recent column in the Charleston Post and Courier deals with the recent deaths of pro wrestlers Dick Slater and Don Leo Jonathan.

Follow the link below to read Mike's excellent piece on both.

Especially poignant to us at the Gateway is the material on Slater, who was an important part of the championship scene here in the 1980s, and had memorable feuds with Dusty Rhodes, Ricky Steamboat, and others.


Pro wrestling says goodbye to Dick Slater, Don Leo Jonathan
By Mike Mooneyham 
Special to The Post and Courier, Oct 20, 2018

Two wrestlers from two different generations. Top stars with different styles who both made their mark on the profession.

The wrestling community said goodbye last week to Dick Slater and Don Leo Jonathan.

From the 1950s through the ’70s, Jonathan was a box-office attraction across the globe, earning a well-deserved reputation as being one of the greatest big men to ever grace a wrestling ring.

Aptly given the nickname “Mr. Unpredictable” by longtime promoter Jim Barnett, Slater boasted a different type of reputation, that of a gun-slinging, tough-as-nails competitor whose slew of titles in a variety of territories validated his standing in the business.

The passing of both represent another page turned in the final chapter of pro wrestling’s revered and fondly remembered territorial system, a time when wrestlers lived out of a suitcase and spent more than 300 days a year on the road.

It was a profession that was much different than it is today.........

--> Read the full article on the Charleston Post & Courier website.


******************

Don't miss David Chappell's 3-part interview Dick Slater from 2010 that will run throughout this coming week on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway:
"I was close to both Briscos for years. Terry Funk is a great friend. Greg Valentine is another. All the guys that are in my era and that worked with me, that you know, that when I got in the ring with these people it was something to see. All them guys are all part of my life. And all them guys helped me through the years…for many years. And I can’t really single out just one or two people easily, because there are so many people that I owe a lot to. Really…I owe everything to everybody."
- Dick Slater
Interview with the Mid-Atlantic Gateway, 2010

http://bookstore.midatlanticgateway.com

Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Anderson Family Unites to Battle Wahoo, Rufus, and Bravo

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway
From the "Main Event Memories" Series

Tonight's "Main Event Memory" on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway is from the early fall of 1976 and reflects back on a trio of individuals running roughshod through the Mid-Atlantic area that entire year - The Anderson Brothers and their young cousin Ric Flair.

The Anderson family prepared to battle Wahoo McDaniel, Dino Bravo, and Rufus R. "Freight Train" Jones. The big six-man battle was the main event on a card at the Scope Coliseum in Norfolk, VA, and would be fought under "Lights Out" rules: the match was not sanctioned by the National Wrestling Alliance -- anything goes!

One side of this main event was carrying all the championship gold:

  • "The Minnesota Wrecking Crew" Gene and Ole Anderson were the reigning NWA World Tag Team champions. 
  • The Nature Boy" Ric Flair was in the middle of his year long feud with Chief Wahoo McDaniel over the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight championship. He had regained the title from Wahoo after hitting him in the head with the broken table-leg in the infamous match in Charlotte that resulted in Wahoo going to the hospital legit and getting 53 stitches over his eye. 

The Andersons and Flair had issues with Wahoo, Rufus, and Bravo individually and were hoping to settle all of the issues in this one night where there were no rules. Lights out!

As Ole says, how can these three hope to compete with the "Anderson family" under those circumstances?



Listen as Les Thatcher interviews the Andersons and Ric Flair about their big upcoming bout on September 9, 1976!

* * * * *
Originally published June 28, 2015.

http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/p/yearbooks.html

Friday, October 19, 2018

Limited Time: 25% off "Ten Pounds of Gold" (Color Edition)

Celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the NWA with the book that gives all the details on the original domed-globe NWA World Championship belt.

This was the belt established in 1973 and worn by 8 different great champions for the next 13 years. Learn all the details about the belt itself, and the 8 men who held it.

The full retail price of the book is normally $29.95, but for a limited time, we've marked the book down for a limited time to $22.49. This is the FULL COLOR version of the book and is only presently available on Amazon.com.

For more details visit our BOOKSTORE or go directly to the purchase page on Amazon.com.

Thanks for your support of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway!


Note: The price on the Amazon.com page of $22.49 is the already discounted price. That page does not reflect the normal retail price of $29.95. Questions? Contact us.


http://bookstore.midatlanticgateway.com

NWA 70th Anniversary: Aldis-Cody II


http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/p/ten-pounds-of-gold.html

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Jim Crockett's Grand Slam Champions - Part Three: Greg Valentine

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

In PART THREE of our "Grand Slam" feature, we take a look at "The Hammer" Greg Valentine.

Valentine was the third wrestler to hold all five of Jim Crockett Promotions' titles during the Mid-Atlantic years, something we here at the Gateway call Crockett's Grand Slam Championship.

The five Crockett titles were:
  • NWA World Tag Team Championship
  • United States Heavyweight Championship
  • Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship
  • Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championship
  • Mid-Atlantic/NWA/World Television Championship

There were only four men that held all five titles though their complete tenure in our area. Those men are:
  1. Paul Jones
  2. Ric Flair
  3. Greg Valentine
  4. Ricky Steamboat

Here is a summary of Greg Valentine's amazing championship pedigree in Mid-Atlantic Wrestling:


PART THREE: GREG VALENTINE

MID-ATLANTIC TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP
Greg entered the Mid-Atlantic area in the fall of 1976, first presented as the brother of Johnny Valentine, but later would accurately be known as his son. It didn't take long for "The Hammer" to win gold in the territory, defeating "Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods for the Television Championship on November 6, 1976 in Spartanburg, SC. He would trade the title with Rufus R. "Freight Train" Jones soon after for a second reign as TV champion, and with Sweet Ebony Diamond a couple of times in 1981, eventually losing to Ron Bass.


NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
Upon entering the Mid-Atlantic area, Greg had immediately struck up a friendship with Ric Flair and the two formed a tag team that immediately seemed destined for championship gold. Flair had a falling out with his cousins, Gene and Ole Anderson, who were the NWA World Tag Team champions at the time. Flair took Greg as his partner to challenge his family and the two defeated the Andersons too take the titles on December 26, 1976 in Greensboro, NC.

Valentine and Flair would continue to feud with the Andersons over the tag titles for the next year and half, trading them once more in a series of memorable matches and angles. Valentine would later hold the titles with partners Baron Von Raschke and Ray Stevens.


MID-ATLANTIC HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
Valentine had many bitter singles feuds in the Mid-Atlantic area during his various tenures in the Mid-Atlantic area, but the most famous feud was with "Chief" Wahoo McDaniel over the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight championship in 1977 and 1978. Greg first won the title from McDaniel on June 11, 1977 in Greensboro, but it was his second victory over Wahoo for the title that is stuff of legend. On September 7, 1977 at a TV taping in Raleigh, NC, Valentine not only defeated Wahoo for the title but broke his leg in the process. The angle was so memorable that it was brought up many times over the years, and was even part of a the build-up to their battles over the U.S. title five years later.


MID-ATLANTIC TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP 
After the Anderson Brothers had regained the World Tag Team titles from Valentine and Flair, those titles were mostly defended in the Georgia area, and so the "Blond Bombers" set their sites on the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team titles until such time as they could gain another shot at the Andersons. On June 30, 1977 they defeated Dino Bravo and Tiger Conway, Jr. to win those belts, but lost them a less than two months later to Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat.

So in less than one year's time, Valentine had won four of the five titles in Jim Crockett Promotions, with the United States title being the only championship to elude him early on. It would take another three years, but Valentine would finally take the "fifth jewel" in the Grand Slam crown.


UNITED STATES HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
After four years dominating the championship scene in the Mid-Atlantic area, Valentine finally gained the one title that had eluded him. Returning from a successful stint in the WWWF in 1979 where he had headlined Madison Square Garden against WWWF kingpin Bob Backlund, Valentine was shocked to learn that his former partner-in-crime Ric Flair had become a fan favorite. Flair was involved in a bitter feud with "Anderson's Army" in the summer of 1980 and solicited his old friend and partner Valentine to aid him in a tag team match with Jimmy Snuka and the Iron Sheik. Valentine turned on his old friend, breaking Flair's nose with the cane of manager Gene Anderson. On July 26, 1980, Valentine defeated  Flair for the United States Championship in Charlotte, NC. The two former best friends had a bitter, bloody feud over that title for the rest of 1980.

Valentine would go onto hold the U.S. title on two other occasions over the next three years, renewing hostilities with Wahoo McDaniel and in a memorable feud with "Rowdy"Roddy Piper.

* * *

COMING UP IN PART FOUR: 
We shift our focus to "The Hawaiian Punch" Ricky Steamboat, the fourth and final wrestler to have held all five of Jim Crockett promotions' championships. We'll detail how he did it next time.

Did you miss our stories on the first two Grand Slam Champions? Visit the links:
"No. 1" Paul Jones
"Nature Boy" Ric Flair

Updated 10/18/18 with an additional detail on Greg Valentine TV title history. Thanks to Kenneth Childers.

http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/p/yearbooks.html

Saturday, October 13, 2018

NWA Title Match: Cody Rhodes vs. The Mack!




It's been fun following along with the direction of the "reborn" NWA and its champion Cody Rhodes. Cody recently defended the NWA World Heavyweight Championship against Willie Mack, who is one of our favorites on Lucha Underground.


http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/p/ten-pounds-of-gold.html

Friday, October 12, 2018

Johnny Weaver Battles Bruno Sammartino

Click Image for a Larger Look at the Clipping

What an interesting match-up featuring Johnny Weaver against Bruno Sammartino. It's a testament to how far back the Bobo Brazil/Sheik rivalry extends to see legends like Bruno and Weaver opening a three-match card.

From Terre Haute, Indiana in 1961. Clipping courtesy of the research of Carroll Hall.

This originally appeared on our Johnny Weaver Blog in November of 2014. 

http://bookstore.midatlanticgateway.com

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

David Chappell appears on Wrestler Weekly




Wrestler Weekly Presents S3:E13 Guest David Chappell of the Mid Atlantic Gateway

Scottie Richardson Founder and CEO of Wrestler Weekly and David Chappell of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway discuss 4 of the greatest MASKED Wrestlers of all time: MR. WRESTLING I/TIM WOODS, MASKED SUPERSTAR, MIL MASCARAS, and MR. WRESTLING II!

Scottie's New Book "FAMILY, BACON, RASSLIN" is now on Amazon! Pick up a copy by searching for Family Bacon Rasslin Book on Amazon!

Read our post on Family Bacon Rasslin':
"Family Bacon Rasslin" Rekindles some of our own Childhood Memories


http://bookstore.midatlanticgateway.com

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Jim Crockett's Grand Slam Champions - Part Two: Ric Flair

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

In PART TWO of our "Grand Slam" feature, we take a look at "Nature Boy" Ric Flair.

Flair was the second wrestler to hold all five of Jim Crockett Promotions' titles during the Mid-Atlantic years, something we here at the Gateway call Crockett's Grand Slam Championship. (For a more complete explanation of the Grand Slam, see PART ONE on Paul Jones.)


The five Crockett titles were:
  • NWA World Tag Team Championship
  • United States Heavyweight Championship
  • Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship
  • Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championship
  • Mid-Atlantic/NWA/World Television Championship

There were only four men that held all five titles though their complete tenure in our area. Those men are:
  1. Paul Jones
  2. Ric Flair
  3. Greg Valentine
  4. Ricky Steamboat

Here is a summary of Ric Flair's amazing championship pedigree in Mid-Atlantic Wrestling:


PART TWO: RIC FLAIR
 
MID-ATLANTIC TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP

Ric Flair's first title in Jim Crockett Promotions (his first championship of his pro wrestling career) came only a few months after he had entered the territory. Flair was initially billed as the nephew of area veteran Rip Hawk. He and "Uncle Rip" teamed up to defeat Paul Jones and Bob Bruggers on July 4, 1974 in Greensboro, NC.  Towards the end of the year, Hawk left the territory and Brute Bernard replaced him teaming with Flair in a title defense against Paul Jones and Tiger Conway Jr. on December 6, 1974 in Charleston's County Hall. Jones pinned Flair in that match and new champions were crowned. But Flair's star was on the rise, and he set his sights on his first singles title.


MID-ATLANTIC TELEVISION CHAMPIONSHIP

Flair began a feud with Paul Jones, who had defeated Ivan Koloff for the Television title in 1974. Koloff was to receive a rematch on February 8, 1975 in Winston-Salem, NC but due to travel circumstances, failed to appear for the match. Promoters gave Flair the title shot and the young blond bomber upset Jones for the title that night, under rather questionable circumstances it must be pointed out. Nevertheless, Flair was now on a main event track and was holding his second title, the second "jewel" in the Grand Slam championship crown. Flair lost that title back to Jones that summer, but would regain it two years later in a title reign that begat the famous Flair/Steamboat rivalry.


MID-ATLANTIC HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
 
The loss of the TV title back to Jones didn't slow down Flair one bit. He immediately set his sites on the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight title which was now held by Wahoo McDaniel, who had ended Johnny Valentine's 18 month reign as champion in July of 1975. Flair upset McDaniel on September 20, 1975 at the Coliseum in Hampton, VA. After the match, all the heels on that show emptied the locker room and celebrated with Flair in the ring. Flair was now a solid member of the main event class in Crockett Promotions and his feud with Wahoo McDaniel took center stage.

But before Flair had much time to celebrate his title win, his career was almost ended when the plane he was traveling on to a card in Wilmington, NC crashed short of the runway. This is the plane crash that did end the career of Johnny Valentine, and was thought to possibly end the career of Flair. But Flair made an amazing return to the ring three and a half months later. The NWA had allowed him to keep his title in the interim, and his feud with Wahoo McDaniel took off again as soon as Flair was back. The two traded the title back and forth for the entire year of 1976, before Wahoo got it back for good in December of 1976. Flair wouldn't hold that title again, but at this point he turned his attention elsewhere, forming a memorable "dream team" with new comer Greg Valentine.


NWA WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
 

Flair and Valentine traded the titles back and forth with the Andersons in 1977 and 1978 before ultimately stripped of the titles by the NWA in April 1978 because they refused to defend them against new #1 contenders Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat.

Flair would hold the World Tag Team titles on one other occasion, in 1979 with Blackjack Mulligan. But it was this 1976 win over the Andersons that cemented his fourth jewel in his Grand Slam championship run. All that was left now was to win the United States title.


UNITED STATES HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
 Flair had held the area's two regional singles championships, but he was hungry to win a national singles championship. On July 29, 1977 in Richmond, VA he defeated wrestling legend Bobo Brazil to win his first of six United States championships. With that victory over Brazil, he became only the second wrestler to hold all five of the Crockett championships, and he had done so by only his fourth year in the wrestling business.

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COMING UP IN PART THREE: 
We shift our focus to Ric Flair's biggest  rival "The Hawaiian Punch" Ricky Steamboat, who would become only the third wrestler to hold Crockett's Grand Slam. We'll detail how he did it next time.

Did you miss our story on the first Grand Slam Champion "No. 1" Paul Jones?
Paul not only was the first wrestler to hold all of Crockett's Mid-Atlantic territory titles, he did it all in one year! Check out PART ONE here.



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Saturday, October 06, 2018

"Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods' Last Stand (Part 4)

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by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway 

Catch up on this story in PART ONE  | PART TWO  |  PART THREE

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PART FOUR

After the second violent attack against "Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods by Jimmy Snuka and Buddy Rogers on Mid-Atlantic Wrestling television programming on September 19, 1979, Woods vowed another improbable comeback against the odds. The following week on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV, Blackjack Mulligan told announcer Bob Caudle, "Jimmy Snuka, I want to make a comment about you and your manager, your owner or whatever kind of relationship you have with Buddy Rogers, I don't know, but this sport of wrestling has no place for people that will try to injure people like you did Tim Woods, and you're gonna have to reckon with Mr. Wrestling before it's all over."

When the first week in October of 1979 rolled around, there was still no "Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods in the WRAL TV studios. But Woods was still the talk of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television program that was taped on October 3, 1979. On that show Bob Caudle addressed Buddy Rogers, "You guys have been fined the biggest fine in the history of wrestling for what you did to Mr. Wrestling."

Rogers cackled in response, "It was well worth the fine; whatever fine we got I paid it. I don't care how big the fine was, or will be or anything else...we got the job done on 'Mr. Wrestling' Tim Woods. That's just a sample of what my clan is gonna do!" Caudle then exclaimed, "I gotta tell you, Tim Woods is gonna be back! Mr. Wrestling is gonna be back!" Rogers dismissively answered, "I heard he's coming back. Let me tell ya, he said he was comin' back just a week ago...he's still isn't back, right? He'll be out a long time!" Caudle shot back, "He's improving..." But before Bob could finish his thought Rogers interrupted, "He don't have the word 'guts' to come back. What do you think fellas?" John Studd, who was standing next to Buddy, yelled, "I KNOW he doesn't have the guts!"

As the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV program that was taped on October 17, 1979 began, Bob Caudle opened it by welcoming Mr. Wrestling onto the set. The masked man came onto the interview area with both hands full...one hand holding a baseball bat with "Snuka" written on it and holding a "Wanted--Out Of Wrestling" poster with photos of Jimmy Snuka and Buddy Rogers on it in the other hand!



A smiling Caudle quipped, "Tim, come on in. I don't think it's baseball season here Tim!" A fired up Mr. Wrestling responded, "Yeah, it's baseball season." Bob clarified, "Is it open season or something?" Mr. Wrestling agreed, "It is OPEN season, but we'll talk about that in a minute. I hope the people can come in on this picture just a little bit...two of my favorite people, Buddy Rogers and Jimmy Snuka." At this juncture the fans were able to see a camera close-up of the "Wanted" posters that Mr. Wrestling had produced to distribute at the area's arenas.


Mr. Wrestling continued, "Now, we all get injuries in wrestling, and I'm not crying about anything...I've been wearing a neck brace for weeks now. Hopefully, the Doctor will let me take it off towards the end of this week. I'm wearing it only part of the time now; my neck is feeling much better and I'm coming along just very, very good. But, we all get injuries as I say. But it's the way you get them that makes you mad." Caudle added, "Deliberate injury too, I think, Mr. Wrestling."

Mr. Wrestling then made a very important symbolic gesture to the television audience saying while pointing to his mask, "I wanna say one thing...this mask has meant everything to me. I've defended it, I've worn it, I've been the World's Tag Team Champion with it; I've held a lot of titles wearing this mask and nobody has ever taken it off me." At this instant, Mr. Wrestling shockingly removed his mask exposing his face for all to see!

A startled Bob Caudle exclaimed, "Tim Woods! There he is, 'Mr. Wrestling' Tim Woods, David." In a very solemn tone Woods explained, "I'm gonna take this mask off and I'm gonna leave it off until I settle the score with Jimmy Snuka and Buddy Rogers. They hurt me once, they hurt me twice...but they're not gonna hurt me again. And if either one of them would like to come out right now I'll be more than happy to accommodate 'em."

Woods sternly finished, "I'm a believer in one thing and they can rely on it and I want 'em to go to bed tonight thinkin' about it...I've always been a believer in doing unto others as they do unto you. Think about that Snuka and Rogers, because I've never meant anything more in my life. When I make promises I keep 'em and I WILL get even with both of ya."

Caudle wrapped up the segment noting, "Alright, David, that's the story now from Tim Woods and it's great to see him out and great to see him up and as he says it won't be much longer and he'll be out of that brace and watch out Snuka and watch out Buddy Rogers." Crockett agreed, "That's right, it's unfortunate for Mr. Snuka and Mr. Rogers." Caudle concurred, "That's right, he's got more than blood in his eyes, David, if you know what I mean. If I were those two I'd be like he says, I'd be worried about that tonight when I go to bed."

Jimmy Snuka and Buddy Rogers respond to the newly unmasked Tim Woods and a confrontation ensues!

To be continued in Part 5!


Special thanks to Brack Beasley for the photographs of vintage Mr. Wrestling Tim Woods memorabilia. The baseball bat with Snuka's name on it and the "Wanted" poster are genuine vintage items from Tim Wood's personal collection.


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