Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Steve Strong and Superstar Billy Graham arrive in Mid-Atlantic Wrestling

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

The early autumn of 1975 saw changes in the Mid-Atlantic States that went beyond the advent of the colorful fall foliage. October in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling witnessed the arrival of two newcomers that were even more colorful than the falling leaves outside, Superstar Billy Graham and Steve Strong.

Superstar Billy Graham
Charlotte Park Center (1975)
Hailing from Arizona, Graham and Strong stood out from the crowd not only because of their colorful and outlandish ring attire, but each possessed amazingly muscular physiques. Each claimed to have 22 inch biceps, and bragged when they tagged up that their opponents were facing a collective 88 inches of bicep muscles.

Young, brash and jacked up, Graham and Strong verbally hit the territory by storm. Graham already had a national reputation in the wrestling world, and Strong was developing one. Prior to their introductory interview with announcer Bob Caudle on October 15th, Graham had popped into the territory for a match in Greensboro in April and Strong had been on the prior week’s TV show watching the matches, but otherwise they were brand new to the fans of Jim Crockett Promotions.

Bob Caudle began the interview, “We bring you the very finest professional wrestling in the world. And in the Mid-Atlantic area we have the greatest wrestlers also in the world, and two more that have now arrived in the Mid-Atlantic area and we want to introduce them to you right now, Superstar…”

The flamboyant Graham interrupted Caudle by spouting out, “Don’t just say two more, this is something special baby! It’s not just two more wrestlers arriving; you are lookin’ at two of the greatest in the entire world, in the entire universe. Comin’ in for one reason and one reason only…to get a hold of Wahoo McDaniel baby, to get a hold of Paul Jones man, but cannot get them under contract baby! They will not, they refuse to ink the contract mama. They refuse to step inside the ring with Superstar Billy Graham!”

Steve Strong

At this juncture, the Superstar focused his attention onto the muscularity of his friend, Steve Strong. Graham shouted, “Show a trap shot of him baby…look at this body! Zoom in on my man here! What you gonna do with him Paul Jones, Wahoo McDaniel, when we unleash the power baby?”

Graham went on to disparage Wahoo, bellowing, “I ran the Indian-cat out of Minnesota baby. He had to leave the state, leave the northern plains and come down to the Carolinas, the Mid-Atlantic coast baby. Now the Superstar and the Strong-man baby are gonna put some lumps on his head, gonna put some cuts on his head! And him and Paul Jones are gonna be hitchhiking on Route 67 baby, goin’ south…further south!”

The Superstar then wanted to rap about his own muscular body, boasting, “No way, no way in the world you can penetrate this body…and I want all the ladies to take a good look, but don’t touch, baby! Just take a good look at the power, take a look at the beauty, take a look at the body, and most of all McDaniel Wahoo and Paul Jones, take a good look baby and get ready because we’re comin’ someplace sometime. Just get us in the ring with the Indian-man and Paul Jones!”

With the interview segment almost out of time, Caudle attempted to at least get a word in edgewise with Strong, inquiring, “What about that Steve Strong, that’s Superstar Billy Graham.” Steve cockily answered, “Wahoo McDaniel is strictly reservation material. Has no right to be in the ring with the Strong-man and Superstar. Paul Jones, Number 1, I eat more for breakfast than that man weighs!”

Caudle concluded, “I tell you fans, two of the greatest…you don’t want to miss them whenever they get into your area. Superstar Billy Graham, Steve Strong now…talking about Wahoo McDaniel, Paul Jones. Also we have Steve Keirn, Tiger Conway, and all of the great wrestlers around the Mid-Atlantic area will be waiting on them and will be meeting them soon. So, that’s it from them.”

The muscular duo would team occasionally during the fall of 1975, but Graham’s appearances were sporadic and he would often wrestle Wahoo McDaniel in specialty matches in the area’s bigger venues before leaving the territory in between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Strong would also team with Blackjack Mulligan, but his main event run in the territory fizzled out by the end of 1975, though he stayed around into the spring of 1976 working matches further down the cards.

With the super strong arrival of these two in October, it’s a bit surprising that their 1975 run in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling only amounted to a largely forgotten footnote in the history books of Jim Crockett Promotions. Like those colorful fall leaves, the brash and colorful Superstar Billy Graham and Steve Strong had largely been blown away by the approaching chill of the Mid-Atlantic winter.

 

Originally posted April 2, 2017 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

http://midatlanticwrestling.net/yearbooks.htm

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Mid-Atlantic TV Report: June 25, 1983

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling on
the WWE Network

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
TV Summaries & Reviews
by David Taub
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

This is a review of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling as it appeared on the WWE Network. Results are included for the week (Monday-Sunday of the given week) as available. Please email with any corrections, typos, results, other details at 1davidtaub@gmail.com. Follow @TaubGVWire

For links to all available summaries as well as links to the Mid-Atlantic Championship Podcast, visit our TV Summary Index.


Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
Original broadcast: 06/25/83
(taped 6/22/83 at WPCQ-TV studios in Charlotte)
THIS SHOW IS MISSING FROM THE WWE NETWORK

We are missing this week from the Network. 

Here are the results:

  • Dory Funk Jr. d. John Bonello
  • Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood d. Bill Howard & Masa Fuchi
  • Jimmy Valant & Bob Orton Jr. d. Great Kabuki & Magic Dragon
  • Jake Roberts d. Rick McCord
  • Greg Valentine NC Mike Rotundo


The Briscos defeated Steamboat & Youngblood 6/18/83 in Greenville to win the tag team championship.


Results for the week, 6/20/83-6/26/83
(source: Clawmaster’s Archive via Sports and Wrestling blog posted by David Baker; “Wrestling” newsletter by Joe Shedlock)

Mon., 6/20/83 Burlington, NC
Johnny Weaver vs. Dick Slater
Plus other matches

Tue., 6/21/83 Columbia, SC; Township Auditorium
Ric Flair beat Greg Valentine by DQ
Dory Funk, Jr. beat Johnny Weaver
One Man Gang & Kelly Kiniski beat Jos LeDuc & Bob Orton, Jr.
Mike Davis beat Bill White
Gene Anderson beat John Bonello
Keith Larson beat Jerry Grey

Tue., 6/21/83 Raleigh, NC
Gene Anderson d. Brett Hart
Rick McCord d. Sgt. Jacques Goulet
Jake Roberts d. Mike Rotundo
Rufus R. Jones d. The Magic Dragon
Jimmy Valiant d. The Great Kabuki
Rick Steamboat & Jay Youngblood d. Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco

Wed., 6/22/83 Charlotte, NC; WPCQ-TV studio
Dory Funk, Jr. beat John Bonello
Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood beat Bill Howard & Masa Fuchi
Jimmy Valiant & Bob Orton, Jr. beat Magic Dragon & Great Kabuki
Jake Roberts beat Rick McCord
Greg Valentine double DQ Mike Rotundo
Jake Roberts beat Mike Davis
Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood beat Jerry Grey & Masa Fuchi
Jimmy Valiant & Bob Orton, Jr. beat Ben Alexander & Bill White
Jos LeDuc beat Bill Howard

Fri., 6/24/83 Richmond, VA; Richmond Coliseum
Bob Orton, Jr. d. Jake Roberts
Non-Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight championship: Rufus R. Jones d. Dory Funk Jr. [ch.]
Dick Slater d. Jos LeDuc
Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco d. Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood
Greg Valentine d. Ric Flair

Fri., 6/24/83 Charleston SC; County Hall
Great Kabuki beat Jimmy Valiant
One Man Gang & Kelly Kiniski beat Mike Rotundo & Johnny Weaver
Magic Dragon beat Mike Davis
Gene Anderson beat Keith Larsen
Ric McCord beat Kim Duk
Bill Howard beat John Bonello

Sat., 6/25/83 Charlotte, NC; Charlotte Coliseum
Rick McCord beat Masa Fuchi
Mike Rotundo beat Kelly Kiniski
Jos LeDuc beat One Man Gang
Jake Roberts beat Bob Orton, Jr.
Rufus R. Jones beat Magic Dragon
Great Kabuki beat Jimmy Valiant
Ric Flair & Roddy Piper beat Greg Valentine & Dory Funk, Jr.
Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco beat Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood

Sat., 6/25/83 Roanoke, VA; Roanoke Civic Center
Abe Jacobs vs. Cy Jernigan
Kelly Kiniski vs. Mike Davis
Magic Dragon vs. Brett Hart
Bob Orton Jr. & Mike Rotundo vs. One Man Gang & Sir Oliver Humperdink
Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight championship: Dory Funk Jr. vs. Rufus R. Jones
NWA TV championship: Great Kabuki vs. Jimmy Valiant

Sun., 6/26/83 Asheville, NC; Asheville Civic Center
Masa Fuchi beat Mark Fleming
Jacques Goulet beat Rick McCord
Gene Anderson beat John Bonello
Keith Larson beat Ben Alexander
Ric Flair & Roddy Piper beat Greg Valentine & Jake Roberts
Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco beat Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

A Brief History of Wrestling in the Mid-Atlantic Area

A Look Back at the Promoters and Television History of Jim Crockett Promotions
by Dick Bourne

Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Professional wrestling has been one of the most popular live events in the Carolinas and Virginia since the early/mid-1900s. Several key players were responsible for making pro wrestling an institution here, some familiar to fans, others perhaps not so familiar.

The company known for promoting wrestling across Virginia and the Carolinas for decades was Jim Crockett Promotions. Jim Crockett, Sr. started promoting wrestling in our area when he bought an old warehouse in Greensboro, NC, in December of 1933, named it the “Sportrena”, and held his first matches there. With that first card, the company that later grew to be known as Jim Crockett Promotions was born.

Crockett established his base of operations in Charlotte a year later in 1934, moving in on a chaotic promotional scene at that time. In 1939 he and successful Richmond promoter Bill Lewis bought out the interests of promoter Pete Moore who had been in partnership with Crockett for nearly 10 years going back to their days headquartered out of Bristol, VA. Moore’s promotional interests spanned the width and breadth of the area that we think of now as the Mid-Atlantic territory.  After buying Moore out, Lewis based his operations out of Richmond, and Crockett based his out of Charlotte. Together they brought top pro-wrestlers from around the country to the halls, armories, and small arenas throughout the Carolinas and Virginia.

As the companies evolved, Crockett had become the main promoter, with Lerwis booking all of his talent through the Crockett's Charlotte office. Lewis died in 1961, and Crockett sent Joe Murnick, his top lieutenant in Charlotte, to replace him. Murnick would headquarter out of Raleigh, but assumed all of Lewis's territoy to the east, including Fayetteville, Richmond, Hampton, and Norfolk and all points in between.

Over the years, Crockett had many local promoters like Murnick working for him within the various regions of the main territory including such men as Henry Marcus (central and lower South Carolina), Paul Winkhaus (Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina) and Pete Apostolou (Central and Southwest Virginia.). These promoters coordinated the local promotion of Crockett’s wrestling events. However, it was Murnick who became Crockett’s largest and most trusted partner.

In April of 1973, Jim Crockett, Sr. passed away and his son in law, John Ringley, took over the operations of the company. He was soon followed by Crockett's oldest son, Jim Crockett, Jr., who during his tenure expanded the reach of the company outside of the traditional territorial boundaries that had existed for years within the pro wrestling industry, and wound up being one of the two top players nationally. 

Crockett Jr.'s lieutenants included Joe Murnick and his sons Elliot and Carl, along with longtime wrestlers Sandy Scott, Johnny Weaver, and Gene Anderson, who transitioned to regional promoters at the ground level, working with and later slowly replacing those listed earlier.

The territory was always known within the business as the “Charlotte territory” because that is where the Crocketts were based. Until the mid-1970s, fans simply knew it as “All-Star Wrestling” or “Championship Wrestling.” Around the time of Jim Sr.’s passing, the promotion began to brand its wrestling business as “Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling”, which also became the name of their television program. Prior to this time, television wrestling had been taped out of multiple locations each week including Charlotte, High Point, Roanoke, and Raleigh. In 1974, the company consolidated its weekly television production to one location - - the studios of WRAL in Raleigh, NC. There had been many hosts of the local programs over the years including Nick Pond, Charlie Harville, Hal Grant, Bill Ward, and Bob Caudle. After the 1974 consolidation, Caudle became the main voice of the company, and would serve in that capacity until the company was sold to Ted Turner in 1988.

But it was from the WRAL studio that the magic we saw unfold each week on our TV screens originally took place. In 1975, Crockett Promotions added a second studio program eventually known as “World Wide Wrestling” which was hosted at different times by Ed Capral, Rich Landrum, David Crockett, and Tony Schiavone.

Eventually finding itself on the losing side of a wrestling war in the late-1980s, the 53-year old family business was sold to Ted Turner in late 1988. Turner had been a partner in Crockett's national expansion, enthusiastically providing four hours of weekly television on his nationally cable-cast Superstation WTBS out of Atlanta. This eventually included quarterly prime-time TV specials as well.

The syndicated "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" (later renamed "NWA Pro Wrestling") and "World Wide Wrestling", along with the national WTBS "World Championship Wrestling" battleship, drove hundreds of thousands of fans to the arenas each month. For a short time anyway, the once small Mid-Atlantic territory one of the largest and most successful wrestling promotions in the country.

This article was based on a shorter limited piece originally posted June 28, 2017 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

http://www.midatlanticgateway.com/p/book-store.html

Monday, March 22, 2021

Charlotte O's Baseball Profiles of Tony Schiavone and Frances Crockett (1982)

Before Tony Schiavone joined ringside partners Bob Caudle, David Crockett, and Johnny Weaver as one of the voices of Mid-Atlantic and World Wide Wrestling in the early 1980s, he was the radio voice of the Charlotte O's baseball franchise, the AA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.

Both the wrestling organization and the baseball club were part of the Jim Crockett Promotions empire.

Ric Flair told listeners on episode #26 of his podcast "WOOOOO! Nation" that after meeting Tony and hearing him call O's baseball, he suggested to the Crockett family that Schiavone get a chance to join the wrestling part of the company.

Not long after Flair's suggestion, Schiavone was asked to interview Ric Flair at his home in Charlotte for a feature that aired prior to Flair's NWA World Title match against Harley Race at Starrcade '83. That went well, and he was tabbed with the opportunity to follow the legendary Charlotte wrestling announcer "Big" Bill Ward as host of the localized promo segments that were inserted into the wrestling shows. He eventually wound up getting his big shot co-hosting "World Wide Wrestling" alongside David Crockett in 1984. The rest, as they say, is history.

But before all that took place, the following short profile on Tony appeared in a 1982 Charlotte O's baseball program....


VOICE OF THE CHARLOTTE O's TONY SCHIAVONE (1982)
One of Greensboro's top radio personalities comes to Charlotte this year as the voice of the O's. He is Tony Schiavone, a 24 year old native of Virginia. Last year Tony was the voice of the Class A Greensboro Hornets and was named 1981 South Atlantic League Broadcaster of the Year.

Bob Taylor of WBTV will join Tony this year as color man. This will be Bob's second year on O's Radio, and the former professional player once again brings his knowledge of the game to the booth.

Schiavone is a graduate of James Madison University and has been in radio for five years. His past duties have involved football, basketball, and baseball play-by-play, and host of a call-in talk show.

His duties with the O's will also include coordinating media information and keeping official statistics.
Schiavone is married to the former Lois Berger of Greensboro and they are expecting their first child in July.

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

The following is a profile of Frances Crockett, then the general manager of the successful Charlotte O's baseball club. The O's were the AA affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles.

Both the Charlotte O's baseball club and the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling organization were part of Jim Crockett Promotions, Inc.

Frances is the oldest child of Jim and Elizabeth Crockett. She was the first woman General Manager of a professional baseball team and as reported on the Crockett Foundation website she has been profiled in Sports Illustrated, Sporting News and the Wall Street Journal. She serves as a special adviser to the board of the Crockett Foundation

This appeared in a 1982 Charlotte O's program sold at ballgames held at Crockett Park.

General Manager Frances Crockett

She sits back watching and listening never missing what is happening. Formulating and piecing together where she wants to go and what she wants for herself and the Charlotte O's. Basically shy and uncomfortable in the lime light, she nos taken the city of Charlotte by storm.

Since she took charge of the O's in 1977, Frances Crockett has developed a rare combination of energy and imagination to the job with spectacular results. In 1981 an all time Charlotte sports attendance record was set of 211,761. Crockett Park has become the place to be every spring and summer with promotions and give-aways every night of the season.
Frances' philosophy is that "The fans are what it is all about." This philosophy often throws her into conflict but she never falters. An old-fashioned girl who runs the team like any other business with old fashioned principles.
Her father, "Big" Jim Crockett, taught Frances everything she knows. Few knew more about managing and promotion than her father. She began in 1977 with no previous background in business or baseball. Many people thought of her as only a publicity stunt, but her natural charms with the team coupled with her shrewd business head has led her to the top of her profession.
"There are a lot of people who are responsible for the O's success. Our staff, both full-time and part-time, have to get a lot of credit. And I can't say enough about our loyal fans and advertisers. All these people, they are the ones that make this thing go."


For more information on the mission of the Crockett Foundation and the good work they do, please visit their website.


This post was combined and edited from two earlier posts from December of 2015 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

"Handsome" Harley Race on Kansas City TV


Relatively rare footage from the Kansas City territory (aka Central States or Heart of America Promotions). The studio presentation is hosted by Bill Kersten, likely in the late 1970s or early 1980s. We are told that this studio production was taped at KBMA TV 41, later KSHB 41. (Additional information always welcome.)

Race, sometimes called "Mad Dog" in Kansas City before winning the NWA title in 1973, now went by the moniker "Handsome" Harley Race, which was always our favorite. Bill Kersten drove that home throughout this match; Harley was the hometown favorite. The video is a nice time-capsule of Harley in his prime as NWA champion, with a great closing shot of him in the ring at the ropes holding the ten pounds of gold. 

Thanks to Mike over at the Mid-Atlantic Championship Podcast (@midatlanticpod) for tipping us off to this video (always love seeing Harley Race as in a studio ring) and Tyrone Mendez for info on the location. 

More information on Bill Kersten over at the Studio Wrestling.


This post is based on and edited from an earlier post from October 2020 on our Studio Wrestling website.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Tony Schiavone Reveals the Behind-the-Scenes History of the Crockett Cup Trophy

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

On a recent edition of the "What Happened When" podcast, Tony Schiavone revealed some previously undisclosed history regarding the origins of the iconic Jim Crockett, Sr. Memorial Cup tournament trophy that was presented to the winners of the annual event during it's all-to-short three year history. 

During the "Superstars on the Superstation" primetime special from February 7, 1986, Jim Crockett Promotions announced that the NWA would dedicate a new annual tag team tournament to his late father, naming it the Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup. At that point in the time, the site of the first annual event had not been announced, but Crockett announced he hoped it would be in their hometown of Charlotte. Of course, the NWA part of this was just part of the storyline; this was all a Jim Crockett Promotions event, part of the Crockett's follow-up to the 50th anniversary celebrations that had taken all during the year before.

A photograph of the trophy was shown on the screen.

Tony Schiavone and Conrad Thompson were reviewing the program in watch-along fashion on Tony's "What Happened When" podcast, when Tony took a moment to explain the little-known history of that actual trophy. 

"That cup had been with the Crocketts for a number of years," Tony told Conrad. "It was just a big silver cup, no inscription on it."

Tony knew this history well because his earliest work for the Crockett family was as a radio play-by-play announcer for the Charlotte O's, the minor league farm team of the Baltimore Orioles that the Crockett family owned. 

"The Charlotte O's won the Southern League championship, Doug Dellinger walked out with that cup and presented it to our manager, John Hart," Tony laughed. "I remember the report from Tom Sorenson said, 'The Charlotte O's won it, they celebrated, and a big ol' policeman with a big ol' cup came out and gave them their championship.'"

In fine pro-wrestling tradition, though, that presentation was a bit of a swerve. 

"That was not the Southern League championship [trophy], that was Frances Crockett being a promoter," Schiavone explained. "And the fans popped!"

Souvenir Program from the 1984
Championship Season
(funwhileitlasted.net)

The Crockett's bought the Asheville Orioles in 1976 and renamed the team the Charlotte Orioles, which would popularly become known as the Charlotte O's. The family then bought historic old Griffith Park, an old ballpark that had been home to the Charlotte Hornets which disbanded after the 1972 season, and they renamed it Jim Crockett Memorial Park (fondly known to the locals as simply Crockett Park) in 1977. Jim Crockett, Jr. promoted wrestling shows their in the summer for several years, too.

Frances Crockett became the manager of the team, becoming the first woman to hold that role in professional baseball. Under her stewardship, and led on the field by future Hall of Famer Cal Ripkin, the O's won the Southern League Championship in 1980 after which she was named General Manager of the Year by The Sporting News. They won again in 1984. Although Tony didn't mention which year Doug Dellinger brought out the big cup, we're guessing it had to have been 1984 since Tony didn't begin work for the Crocketts until 1981. 

Crockett Park burned to the ground in 1985, but the big silver cup apparently was not stored in the storage bunkers under the bleachers, or it would have been destroyed like lots of other wrestling and baseball memorabilia was with the fire. 

As plans were formulated for the first Crockett Cup, someone in the family remembered the big silver trophy. It would soon be engraved with the Crockett Promotions 50th anniversary logo and presented to the winning team of the tournament each year.

The tournament only lasted three years (1986-1988), ending after the family sold the business to Ted Turner in November of 1988. New Orleans, Baltimore, and Greensboro were the only three cities to see that trophy presented to the tournament champions. Sadly, Charlotte never got the cup as Jim Crockett had hoped for in 1986. 

Here at the Mid-Atlantic Gateway, it's often the little details we love learning the most. Thanks to Tony for sharing this bit of history on his podcast that otherwise would be lost to the sands of time.

Related posts:
Sundays with Schiavone
(our interview with Tony)
The Original Crockett Cup (1974)
Crockett and Watts at the Crockett Cup (1986)

What Happened When Podcast
(with Tony Schiavone and Conrad Thompson)
AdFreeShows.com


Tony Schiavone on What Happened When


Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Cherish Those Around You: Conrad Thompson's Day with Jim Crockett, Jr. Inspires Tribute

Conrad Thompson recently posted his tribute to Jim Crockett, Jr. on Instagram. I thought it was beautiful, and hope he won't object to me posting a somewhat edited version here for historical purposes on the Gateway.

From Conrad:

Of all the things I’ve been lucky enough to do with regards to wrestling, interviewing Jim Crockett, Jr. this past December tops the list.

When we met with him in South Carolina he would only allow us to call him “Jimmy.” He was shocked that anyone even remembered him much less cared to talked to him. He told us he only remembered being recognized one time in the last 20 years, at a toll booth in Texas of all places. We were quick to remind him that while he may have left wresting behind thirty years ago, the impression he made upon us fans was both everlasting and undeniable. 

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that beyond Vince, he was the most important promoter of our lifetimes. Had the cards fell a different way, who knows? But what an honor it was to spend the day with him, pick his brain, hear his stories, and enjoy lunch together. When we wrapped our shoot, we catered lunch and he acknowledged he didn’t really eat lunch but chicken parm was his favorite.

He couldn’t wait to talk about his family, how happy he was with the relationship he had with his siblings, how proud he was of his children and grandchildren, and how much he loved his wife. His wife Myra was his rock. He told us she was not only taking care of him but her father as well. He truly felt blessed to have her in his life. 

The way he ended our interview was poignant: cherish those around you. Jimmy did that. I hope he knows how much we cherished him and his contributions to what we all love so much. 

When we got the news Jimmy passed, we were just hours away from Tully Blanchard and J.J. Dillon appearing on a Turner station with the old JCP title belts in tow. (Thanks Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler!) How special is it that it happened the very day Jimmy passed away?

He leaves behind an incredible legacy that we could never honor adequately. 

 - Conrad Thompson                          

Conrad's entire post, including an amazing tribute video produced by Kris MacDonald, featuring a song handpicked by Conrad, Dave Silva, and Mike Dockins, is here, below the jump...

Monday, March 15, 2021

Part Two of Jim Crockett Jr. Interiew on Ad Free Shows


Don't miss PART TWO of Conrad Thompson's historic interview with Jim Crockett, Jr. on ADFreeShows.com, including an incredibly moving tribute video at the very end. 

Both PART ONE and PART TWO of this interview were excellent, but I'll admit that the second piece seemed much more poignant watching it only a couple of weeks after Mr. Crockett's passing. 

Here are the appropriate links to both audio and video versions of the interview. (A Patreon subscription to Ad Free Shows is required.)

Video Version: Part 1  |  Part 2
Audio Version: Part 1  |  Part 2


Mid-Atlantic TV Report: June 18, 1983

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling on
the WWE Network

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
TV Summaries & Reviews
by David Taub
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

This is a review of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling as it appeared on the WWE Network. Results are included for the week (Monday-Sunday of the given week) as available. Please email with any corrections, typos, results, other details at 1davidtaub@gmail.com. Follow @TaubGVWire

For links to all available summaries as well as links to the Mid-Atlantic Championship Podcast, visit our TV Summary Index.


Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
Original broadcast: 06/18/83
(taped 6/15/83 at WPCQ-TV studios in Charlotte)
WWE Network Direct Link to this show Mid-Atlantic 06/18/83
WWE Network feed.

We open with a clip of Harley Race winning the NWA World Heavyweight championship (mistakenly called World tag team championship by Bob Caudle). We’ll have more highlights later.

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Rick Steamboat & Jay Youngblood
Steamboat talks about all the men the Briscos have injured: Jim Nelson, Johnny Weaver and Jimmy Valiant. We then see clips. The weird thing is during the Valiant clip from last week, the credits are still rolling (as opposed to a clean master copy). Youngblood talks about how one of the governor’s of the Cherokee Tribe in Oklahoma, Dixon Palmer, bestowed upon him a war bonnet. The Briscos come out, very offended that one of their tribesman gave Youngblood the gift. 

Jack sucker punches Youngblood and walks off with his bonnet. Steamboat just stands there. Youngblood gives a fired up promo, without getting fired up. His speaking style has slowed down over the last few weeks.

Match 1
Bob Orton Jr. d. Bill Howard

Stu Schwartz is the referee, wearing traditional stripes. Orton wins with a backwards-facing elbow drop off the second rope.

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Roddy Piper
A subdued Piper talks about his ear injury. He thanks a fan from Spartanburg for sending him money, but asks fans not to send him money. He doesn’t need it. He says the commission won’t let him fight. He jokes that he’s sold his Sony Walkman. He’s adapting to his damaged ear. He just wants to fight again.

[Break]

Match 2
Jake Roberts & Dory Funk Jr. (w/Paul Jones) d. Mike Davis & Mark Fleming by CO

Davis gets the hot tag in, and slaps Roberts. That really pisses Jake off. A DDT, and Roberts just kicks Davis out of the ring. He looks legit angry. Fleming gets a beating too. The referee just counts Davis out and that’s the match. 

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Paul Jones, Jake Roberts & Dory Funk Jr.
Jones talks about his Dream Contest. He is offended by Rufus R. Jones wearing a tuxedo from last week. Goes semi-racial. Another plug to write in for the contest, not blocked out on the Network.

Caudle: Paul Jones
This is in lieu of local promos. Jones talks about how great his men, Funk & Roberts are. He has total control, because both men are single. No old bag to bring them down. Jones is unintentionally funny. If you want to be a great athlete, get your sleep! Jones rant is cut off.

[Break]

Match 3
Non-Title Match The Great Kabuki [TV champion] (w/Gary Hart) d. John Bonello

Hart says again that Kabuki is the TV champion anywhere the NWA flies its banner. Bonello is from Toronto, and later became a referee, mainly for the WWF cards in Ontario. Kabuki wins with a punch to the midsection from the second rope.

[Break]

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Mike Rotundo
Rotundo is seeking revenge for One Man Gang attacking him and cutting his hair. Rotundo has two goals: to become a champion and a millionaire. Fired up promo from Rotundo. We go to the clip of Gang & Kiniski attacking Rotundo from last week.

[Break]

Crockett asks the fans to be the judge who the champion is.
[CLIP][ST. LOUIS] Harley Race defeats Ric Flair for the NWA World Championship
We go to a clip June 10 in St. Lous, the final minutes. Flair locks in the Figure Four, but rope break right away. Second attempt, and Race sends him to the turnbuckle.  Race suplex attempt, Flair reverses and a belly to back suplex with both men’s shoulders on the mat. Race appears to get his shoulder up for the win. Crockett makes the argument that Flair’s shoulder on the far side came up. A slow-motion replay follows. It cuts off before the three count. Crockett keeps saying “you be the judge.”

[TAPE] Comments from new NWA Champion Harley Race
Race is in front of the orange NWA set. Race says he is the champion. He doesn’t care what other’s think. He will be the champion until he decides to hang it up.

-Int. w/David Crockett: Ric Flair
We are in front of the blue NWA set. Flair’s not going to cry about it. However, there is a lot of doubt in people’s mind if Race can beat Flair again. Race had his matches in Kansas City and St. Louis. Can he do it in the Mid-Atlantic in his backyard? Wooo!

[Break] 

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Dick Slater
Slater said he was sulking for the last month during his suspension. To relieve stress, Slater went down to the Bahamas. His Bahama Mama called him a fool. That fired him up to get him back in the ring. He thanks Paul Jones for getting his suspension lifted. Dick Slater will be taking care of Dick Slater. You can’t push him around. He’ll beat up people, legally.

[Break]

Match 4
Dick Slater d. Keith Larson

Slater went for a piledriver, but the referee prevented him from carrying through. A butterfly suplex later, Slater pinned Larson.

-Int. w/David Crockett: Rufus R. Jones; Bugsy McGraw; Jimmy Valiant
We are at the blue NWA set. Rufus calls Paul Jones a liar. He reads the “real” letters sent into the Dream Contest. McGraw is still on crutches, and rambles on. The Network overdub brings out Jimmy Valiant. He is waving the American flag, carrying on.

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Dick Slater
Slater says he is the greater athlete. More rambling about how he is the best.

“So long for now!”

 * * * * * *

Results for the week, 6/13/83-6/19/83
(source: Clawmaster’s Archive via Sports and Wrestling blog posted by David Baker; “Wrestling” newsletter by Joe Shedlock) 

Mon., 6/13/83 Greenville, SC; Memorial Auditorium
Vinnie Valentino vs. Masa Fuchi
One Man Gang vs. Cy Jernigan
Rick McCord vs. Magic Dragon
Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco vs. Jimmy Valiant & Bob Orton, Jr.
Ric Flair beat Greg Valentine

Tue., 6/14/83 Raleigh, NC
Gene Anderson d. Brett Hart
Rick McCord d. Sgt. Jacques Goulet
Johnny Weaver d. Kim Duk
Rufus R. Jones & Mike Rotundo d. Dory Funk Jr.  Jake Roberts
Ric Flair beat Greg Valentine by DQ 

Wed., 6/15/83 Charlotte, NC; WPCQ-TV studio
Bob Orton, Jr. beat Bill Howard
Jake Roberts & Dory Funk, Jr. beat Mike Davis & Mark Fleming
Great Kabuki beat John Bonello
Dick Slater beat Keith Larson
Bob Orton, Jr. beat Jerry Grey
Jake Roberts & Dory Funk, Jr. beat Mark Fleming & Brett Hart
Great Kabuki beat Keith Larson
Dick Slater beat Mike Davis

Wed., 6/15/83 Sumter, SC; Exhibition Center
Greg Valentine vs. Ric Flair
Rufus R. Jones & Jimmy Valiant vs. Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco
Kim Duk vs. Cy Jernigan
Jacques Goulet vs. Abe Jacobs
Rick McCord vs. Bill White 

Thu., 6/16/83 Norfolk, VA; Scope Coliseum
Ric Flair beat Greg Valentine by DQ
Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood beat Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco
Jimmy Valiant beat Dory Funk, Jr. by DQ
Dick Slater beat Johnny Weaver
Jake Roberts beat Vinnie Valentino
Mike Davis beat Masa Fuchi
Keith Larson beat Bill Howard

Fri., 6/17/83 Charleston, SC; County Hall
Greg Valentine beat Rufus R. Jones
Jerry Grey beat Vinnie Valentino
Bill White beat Red Dog Lane
Kelly Kiniski beat Ric McCord
Jacques Goulet beat Brett Hart
Dick Slater beat Johnny Weaver

Sat., 6/18/83 Greenville, SC; Memorial Auditorium
Vinnie Valentino beat Bill White
Kelly Kiniski beat Brett Hart
Bob Orton Jr. beat Kim Duk
Dick Slater beat Johnny Weaver
Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco beat Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood to win World tag team cahmpionship
Ric Flair & Roddy Piper d. Dory Funk Jr. & Greg Valentine

Sun., 6/19/83 Wilmington, NC
Ric Flair & Roddy Piper vs. Greg Valentine & Dick Slater
Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco vs. Rufus R. Jones & Jimmy Valiant
One Man Gang & Kelly Kiniski vs. Bob Orton, Jr. & Jos LeDuc
Bugsy McGraw vs. Magic Dragon
plus other matches

Saturday, March 13, 2021

The Funks battle the Oklahoma Cowboys in the Crockett Cup '85

SIXTEEN TEAMS ENTERED ROUND THREE: WHO IS LEFT?
See the Scouting Report on the remaining teams.


THIS WEEK'S MATCH
Third Round Match #6
(Tournament Match #38)
The Oklahoma Cowboys vs. The Funk Brothers

The 1985 Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Tag Team Tournament is underway. Wait, did you just say 1985? It’s time to take a look at one of wrestling’s biggest events from the mid-80s and see what it might have been like with a few historical alterations. What if Jim Crockett Promotions hosted its tag team tournament the Crockett Cup in 1985 and included teams from promotions outside the National Wrestling Alliance (“NWA”) including the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), the American Wrestling Association (AWA), New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), All Japan Pro Wrestling, and more? In this case, you’d have 48 of the greatest tag teams in the world battling in a winner take all tournament for $1,000,000 and the prestigious Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Trophy. 

The first round saw 32 teams competing to advance to round two with 16 teams making it in. Round two followed as these 16 teams battled the 16 top-seeded tag teams that received a first-round bye. Now, round two has finished and just sixteen teams remain as round three continues. 

Third Round Rules
Here are the rules for the round two of our tournament. A pool of referees from the NWA, AWA, and WWF have been appointed for the tournament and randomly selected for each match. The third-round matches have a sixty-minute time limit and are sanctioned under NWA rules (throwing an opponent over the top rope is an automatic disqualification). The matches are one fall with a win obtained by a pinfall, submission, count-out, or disqualification. 

The third-round matches are being held over two nights at the Omni in Atlanta, Georgia. The first four matches will take place on Friday April 19 while the remaining four will take place on Saturday April 20. Your commentators for the matches will be Bob Caudle and David Crockett, but as always, you never know when a special guest will show up. 

Note: The wrestling world lost one of the giants when Jim Crockett Jr. passed away on March 4, 2021. As someone who cut his wrestling teeth on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, his work means a great deal to me and his contributions to professional wrestling cannot be overstated.  

Last Week's Controversy with Brody and Hansen
Round three’s fifth match saw Bruiser Brody and Stan Hansen defeat the Road Warriors in a bloody bout that saw Animal taken out on a stretcher. In fact, announcers Bob Caudle and David Crockett inform the fans they have an update on the situation including the brutal post-match attack by Brody and Hansen. David Crockett says that as of now, his brother and NWA President Jim Crockett Jr. wants to remove Brody and Hansen from the tournament for their heinous actions. However, the NWA Board of Directors will meet and determine what course of action to take and fans will know in round four what will happen.
Bob Caudle says it’s a difficult situation and now, it seems like the entire tournament has been thrown into disarray. David Crockett adds there’s no telling what will happen. A different team could take Brody and Hansen’s place or the winner of match six could get a bye. Bob Caudle speculates as to what will happen if Brody and Hansen are allowed to compete in round four. What kind of message will that send to the remaining teams?   

Pre-Match Interviews
Johnny Weaver is backstage with the Funks, Terry and Dory Jr. Johnny Weaver looks like he’s about to ask a question but Terry yanks the microphone out of his hand. Terry raises his nose and starts sniffing before he says “What’s that awful smell? It’s not you Weaver—although I think you stink. No, that smell can only mean one thing, we’re here in Atlanta, Georgia. Me and my brother Junior tried to prepare for coming here by going to the Amarillo garbage dump, but there’s just no comparison. It’s a shame we have to wrestle here but for one million dollars, we’ll hold our noses. My big brother and I are ready to crush those two egg-sucking dogs the Oklahoma Cowboys.” Dory takes the microphone and says “I’ve never heard of any cowboys from Oklahoma, least of all ones named Tex and Roy. Terry and I are once again going to prove why we’re the best family in professional wrestling.”

Tony Schiavone is backstage with the masked team known as the Oklahoma Cowboys. Tony tells them they’re facing two former NWA World Heavyweight Champions whose tag skills are exemplary as well. Roy tells Tony he’s right. The Funks are two veteran competitors who aren’t afraid to do whatever it takes to win. Tex adds that we saw what some teams will do for the million dollars when Brody and Hansen injured Road Warrior Hawk. There’s no need for that kind of behavior in professional wrestling. Roy tells Tony that he and his partner have an advantage because they know the Funks, but the Funks don’t know them. Roy says he and Tex are going to win the tournament and unmask as promised. Then the wrestling world will be in for the surprise of the year.

The Oklahoma Cowboys (Tex and Roy)
vs. the Funks (Dory Jr. and Terry
)
The Oklahoma Cowboys come out to the ring to polite applause and sign autographs for a few fans at ringside before entering the ring. The Funks make their way as the fans boo them. Bob Caudle welcomes Mid-South Wrestling’s Jim Ross to the commentary booth. Ross says it’s a pleasure to be here and he’s thrilled to see some boys from Oklahoma participating in this prestigious tournament. Bob asks Ross if he has any idea who might be under the masks. Ross says he’s mulled things over, but he wants to watch this match before he takes any guesses. David Crockett remarks that he has no idea who the Cowboys are and the only person who knows their identities is his brother Jim Crockett Jr. Ross says he just wanted to say hello, but he’s got to get backstage because he’s hoping to land an interview with the Cowboys after the match. 

Memphis referee Paul Morton checks each team for foreign objects and advises them on the rules. The bell rings and Dory Funk Jr. locks up with Tex. Tex extends a hand and Dory slaps it away. Collar and elbow tie-up as both men vie for control. Tex presses Dory into a neutral corner and gives him a clean break. The two lock up again, this time with Dory putting Tex in a side headlock. The masked man escapes by running into the ropes, but Dory catches him with a hip toss as he bounces off the ropes. Tex gets up and the two men circle each other in the ring, eventually locking up again. Tex twists Dory’s arm and then shifts to a wrist lock, applying the pressure. Tex continues to apply the hold as Dory winces with pain, attempting to reach the ropes for a break. However, Tex is keeping him positioned in the center of the ring. Dory looks like he’s going to throw a punch, but the referee warns him. Finally, Dory catches a break as he makes it to the ropes, and Tex releases the wristlock. 

Tex comes towards Dory for another lock-up, but Funk knees him in the gut. Dory applies a front facelock to his opponent, locking it in tight. Bob Caudle welcomes veteran grappler Ray “The Crippler” Stevens to the announce booth saying Stevens is no stranger to tag team wrestling, having held a trophy case full of tag team championships. Stevens thanks Caudle and says he had to be here to watch the Funks, arguably one of the greatest tag teams in wrestling besides his Blond Bombers team. David Crockett says he remembers the Blond Bombers and how Stevens and his partner Greg Valentine held the NWA World Tag Team Championship. Bob reminds David that the original Blond Bombers were Ray Stevens and Pat Patterson. Stevens says if Pat wasn’t retired, they’d be in the tournament as that million-dollar prize is mighty tempting. 

Five minutes into the match as Dory has the front facelock cinched win with Tex down on the mat. Dory picks up Tex and drags him towards the Funks’ corner, tagging in brother Terry. Terry jumps off the second rope with a forearm to Tex’s back while Dory keeps the facelock applied. Dory releases the hold as Terry unloads with a forearm uppercut followed by a chop. Tag to Dory who comes in and delivers a snapmare to Tex, going for a chinlock. However, Tex lifts him up with a fireman’s carry, applying an arm bar on Dory Jr. 

Stevens points out that fans have had a chance to see a number of different styles of wrestling with the top teams from the world competing here. He doesn’t know much about the Cowboys, but he knows Dory and Terry are skilled technicians, but they’re no punks and they can get down and dirty with the best of them. Bob notes there’s something familiar about the Cowboys, but so far, no one has been able to put the pieces together.

Tex has the armbar securely locked on Dory. Funk goes to escape with a bodyslam but Tex blocks it, taking Dory to the Cowboys’ corner. Tag to Roy. The Cowboys each take an arm and whip Dory into their corner. Roy applies an armbar to Dory, who is stunned from being sent into the corner. Roy continues the pressure on the arm as Funk clinches his fist. Paul Morton warns Funk about the closed fist as Roy continues putting pressure on. Ray Stevens comments that there’s nothing wrong with an arm bar, but if the Cowboys want to win, they should be more aggressive and try and break Funk’s arm. That’s what he would do. Roy twists Dory’s arm, leading to Dory grabbing Roy’s mask and yanking him down to the mat and escaping the hold. The referee admonishes Dory, but he doesn’t seem too concerned as he drops an elbow on Roy. Dory whips Roy into a neutral corner and follows him in, unloading with several forearm uppercuts. Roy responds with a forearm uppercut of his own, knocking Dory back. The referee gets in and tells both men to get out of the corner. Stevens says this is the perfect place for a cheap shot and Dory must have heard him as he slugs Roy while the referee is standing between them. 

Ignoring the referee again, Dory whips Roy into the ropes and catches him with an elbow to the face, sending him down to the mat. David Crockett says Dory better listen to the referee or he’s going to get disqualified. Stevens tells David, “Let me give you a lesson in wrestling David, the Funks know how far to push the referee before they get into hot water.” Crockett says Dory should be disqualified and Stevens laughs, “Disqualified? He just gave him a love tap.”

While things heat up in the announce booth, they heat up in the ring as well, with Dory dropping an elbow on Roy. Ten minutes have elapsed so far. Dory lifts Roy up and slams him back down to the mat. Ten minutes have elapsed as Dory whips Roy towards Terry, who has a boot outstretched. Roy’s head bounces off Terry’s boot as Dory tags in. The Funks lift Roy up, delivering a double suplex to the masked man. Terry covers Roy, but only gets a two-count. Ray Stevens says this masked man beat the three-count, but you can be sure the Funks have lots more to dish out. 

Terry takes Roy as he’s getting up and bodyslams him back down to the mat. Terry drops an elbow on Roy and covers him, again only getting a two count. David Crockett cheers and says it looks too early to be going for the pin. Ray Stevens notes that kicking out always takes something out of you and that Funk is obviously wearing Roy down. Terry whips Roy into the corner and fires off a chop to the chest. However, Roy responds with a forearm uppercut. Terry turns to fisticuffs, but Roy blocks the punches and fires off a series of lefts that stun his opponent. Roy hits a Russian leg-sweep on Terry then picks him up and rams his head into the Oklahoma Cowboys’ corner. Tag to Tex who bodyslams Terry down to the mat. Tex drops an elbow to one of Funk’s legs then targets the same leg with a legdrop. Funk is rolling in pain, but things are just getting started as Tex drops another elbowsmash. Tex grabs the same leg and applies a leg-breaker. The masked man delivers another one as Funk tries to roll out of the ring. However, Tex grabs him by the leg, pulling him into the center of the ring. The ring announcer notes that fifteen minutes have elapsed in the match. Ray Stevens says this is the type of aggressiveness that is essential for any team that wants to win the Crockett Cup. Bob Caudle says the Oklahoma Cowboys aren’t holding back. David Crockett adds that the Cowboys are following the rules, unlike their opponents.

Tex takes Terry and picks him up, delivering a shin-breaker and quickly transitioning into a figure four leglock. David Crockett shouts “Tex has him in the figure four and it’s in the center of the ring!” Crockett is right and things are looking bad for Terry as he’s wincing in pain. Referee Paul Morton asks him if he’s ready to give up, but Funk is shaking his head. Funk sits up and tries an eye-rake on Tex, but Tex ups the pressure and Funk falls back to the mat. The referee counts to two, but Funk raises his shoulders. Funk tries to roll over, but it’s clear he’s in trouble. Finally, Dory runs in and stomps Tex in the head. Dory drops an elbow on Tex’ head for good measure as Roy runs in. Dory rakes Roy’s eyes then throws him through the ropes where he lands on the concrete. The referee begins a five-count for Dory to return to his corner. He stomps Tex in the head for good measure before exiting the ring. 

Terry gets to his feet, using the ring ropes to help raise himself up. He hobbles over to the corner and tags in Dory, who wastes no time going after Tex. Dory picks up Tex and delivers a swinging neckbreaker, covering him for a two count. Dory lifts Tex up again, this time delivering a vertical suplex in the middle of the ring and covering Tex again. Tex kicks out again. Twenty minutes have elapsed but Tex still seems to have some fight left in him. Bob Caudle says Dory is going to have to give Terry time to recover from the figure four leglock. David Crockett says Tex needs to make it back to his corner and that Roy is ready to tag in. Roy begins rallying the crowd, clapping his hands as the crowd cheers for Tex to make the tag.

Dory applies a side headlock as Bob Caudle says Funk looks to be changing gears, perhaps hoping to wear Tex down some more. Stevens says there’s still enough time to sap some of Tex’ strength before putting him away. Dory applies the side headlock, but Tex shows impressive strength by lifting him up for an atomic drop. Dory releases the hold as Tex rolls to his corner and tags in Roy.

Roy hits Dory with a forearm uppercut then whips him into the ropes, delivering a big back body-drop. Roy hits a leg-breaker on Funk followed by another. Roy goes for a figure four, but Dory kicks him, sending the masked man through the ropes. Dory goes over and slaps Tex, leading to him running in after Dory. Referee Paul Morton orders Tex back to his corner. Outside the ring, Terry Funk runs over to Roy and lifts him up for a piledriver. David Crockett notes we saw what happened in our previous match when someone gets piledrived onto the concrete. Fortunately for Roy, history doesn’t repeat itself as he counters with a back body-drop as Terry lands hard on the floor. 

Roy rolls into the ring while Dory is egging on Tex. Roy spins Dory around and delivers a big left followed by an Irish whip. Dory comes off the ropes and Roy applies an abdominal stretch. Dory is struggling to break free, but Roy has the move cinched in. Terry Funk climbs onto the apron, looking to step back into the ring when Tex helps him in with a suplex. Paul Morton turns away from the abdominal stretch to try and get Tex and Terry back to their corners. Terry knees Roy in the back, allowing Dory to escape. The referee warns Funk he’s coming close to being disqualified. Terry gets back into his corner as Dory tags him in. 

Terry drops an elbow on Roy, then gives him a stomp to the head. Terry drops an elbow to one of Roy’s knees then follows up with another one. Terry picks Roy up and delivers a side suplex. Cover on Roy, who kicks out just before three. Funk lifts Roy up and delivers a piledriver. Lateral press on Roy, who gets his leg on the bottom rope, breaking the count. Terry drops an elbow on the outstretched knee as the match passes the 25-minute mark. David Crockett says Roy needs to make the tag as he cheers him on.

However, Funk has no intention of letting up. Terry slams Roy to the mat then goes for a spinning toehold. Somehow, Roy counters, rolling Funk up in a small package as the referee counts. The ever-wily Terry reverses it and holds on to the rope for extra leverage. Unfortunately for Terry, referee Paul Morton sees this and kicks Terry’s hand off the rope. Roy takes advantage of the distraction and rolls Terry back up getting a 1-2-3 as Tex beats Dory to breaking up the pin. David Crockett says it looks like Roy may have grabbed the tights. Bob Caudle says nothing would surprise him at this point as teams seem obsessed with winning the tournament. 

Winners: The Oklahoma Cowboys (Roy and Tex)

After the match, Terry Funk gets in Paul Morton’s face and starts shouting at him. Morton raises the Oklahoma Cowboys’ hands as the Funks shake their heads. Terry and Dory look like they’re going after their Tex and Roy, but they roll out of the ring.

Join us next time as the Texas Outlaws (Dusty Rhodes and Dick Murdoch) tangle with the Iron Sheik and Nikolai Volkoff. Who will advance to round four in the quest for tag team glory and some serious cash?

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


PREVIOUS POSTS IN THE CROCKETT CUP '85 FANTASY SERIES

Original Tournament Announcement (May 2020)

Seedings and First Round Pairings Announced


THIRD ROUND MATCHES
[ Scouting Report ] [ Brackets ]

Third Round: Match 1 (Tournament Match #33)
     The Rock & Roll Express vs. The Russians
Third Round: Match 2 (Tournament Match #34)
     Ole & Arn Anderson vs. Antonio Inoki and Seiji Sakaguchi
Third Round: Match 3 (Tournament Match #35)
     Midnight Express vs. High Flyers
Third Round: Match 4 (Tournament Match #36)
     Kevin and Mike Von Erich vs. The British Bulldogs
Third Round: Match 5 (Tournament Match #37)
     Road Warriors vs. Brody and Hansen
Third Round: Match 6 (Tournament Match #38)
     Road Warriors vs. Brody and Hansen


SECOND ROUND MATCHES
Second Round: Matches 1 & 2 (Tournament 17 & 18)

     Mulligan/McDaniel vs. The Russians
    Rock & Roll Express vs. Maharishi/Nagasaki
Second Round: Matches 3 & 4 (Tournament 19 & 20)
    Brown/Jannetty vs. Inoki & Sakaguchi
    Ole & Arn Anderson vs. Windham/Rotunda)
Second Round: Matches 5 & 6 (Tournament 21 & 22)

    Midnight Express vs. Hart Foundation
    PYT Express vs. High Flyers
Second Round: Matches 7 & 8 (Tournament 23 & 24) 
    Rude/Barr (with Percy Pringle III) vs. Kevin and Mike Von Erich
    Fujinami/Kimura vs. British Bulldogs
Second Round: Matches 9 & 10 (Tournament 25 & 26)
    Brody/Hansen vs. Williams/DiBiase
    Road Warriros vs. Lawler/Dundee
Second Round: Matches 11 & 12 (Tournament 27 & 28)
    Piper & Orton vs. The Oklahoma Cowboys
    The Funk Brothers vs. The Younglood Brothers
Second Round: Matches 13 & 14 (Tournament 29 & 30)
    Rhodes/Murdoch vs. Adams/Hernandez
    Sheik/Volkoff vs. Steamboat/Snuka
Second Round: Matches 15 & 16 (Tournament 31 & 32)
    Fantastics vs. Fabulous Ones
    Sheepherders vs. Freebirds


FIRST ROUND MATCHES

First Round: Matches 1 & 2
    Hennig/Blackwell vs. Mulligan/McDaniel
    Tyler/Whatley vs. Maharishi/Nagasaki
First Round: Matches 3 & 4
    Windham/Rotunda vs. Bockwinkel/Saito
    Rougeaus vs. Inoki/Sakaguchi
First Round: Matches 5 &6
    Barbarian/Graham vs. Hart Foundation (Hart/Neidhart)
    High Flyers (Brunzell/Gagne) vs. Savage/Poffo
First Round: Matches 7 & 8:
    The Von Erich vs. Blanchard/Abdullah the Butcher
    Tenryu/Tsuruta vs. The British Bulldogs
First Round: Matches 9 & 10:
    Graham/Blair vs. DiBiase/Williams
    Valiant/McGraw vs. Lawler/Dundee
First Round: Matches 11 & 12:
    Piper/Orton vs. Patterson/Fernandez
    Rock & Roll RPMs vs. Youngblood Brothers
First Round: Matches 13 and 14:
    Dynamic Duo (Gino & Chris) vs. American Starship
    Sawyer Bros. vs. Steamboat/Snuka
First Round: Matches 15 and 16
    Batten Twins vs. Fabulous Ones
    Weaver/Houston vs. Sheepherders

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Got To Have Lovin': New Theme Music and Set Debut for Mid-Atlantic Wrestling (1979)


There were lots of great music themes over the years for Jim Crockett Promotions TV shows, but likely the most remembered is the 1979-1986 theme for Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. 

The music was an edit from a 1978 European disco hit titled "Got to Have Loving" by French writer/arranger Don Ray (real name Raymond Donnez.) It was the only single from Ray's solo album "The Garden of Love." 

The new theme debuted on the February 10, 1979 episode of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling (taped February 7 at WRAL studios in Raleigh.) It played across the same familiar "four square" opening that had debuted back in 1977. 

Here is the opening as it played out each week in your living room:



The complete Don Ray track can be found on YouTube (along with the complete album, too.)


That February show also debuted the familiar set that would be used on the Mid-Atlantic tapings through the remaining years at WRAL and then moved and used in modified formation at the smaller WPCQ studio in Charlotte. It was discarded all together when production moved out to the arenas in July 1983.


The set included a new standing-desk for hosts Bob Caudle and David Crockett, with a gorgeous textured background that included the new moniker "Mid-Atlantic Championship Sports" in raised block letters and a map that included two more states (West Virginia, Georgia) than the previous map and logo used on the 1974-1979 set.

Another big change going forward that began with this show was that introductions for matches would no longer be conducted from inside the ring, but instead by Bob Caudle as he would turn in front of a blue-screen NWA logo. That blue screen allowed a chroma key effect to be used, showing the wrestlers in the ring during their introduction. This set up would be used for the duration of the studio shows, and I've always thought it was a big mistake to make that change. The fans in the studio audience never reacted to Caudle's introductions like they had done over the years for Joe Murnick (or the Murnick boys) because Bob couldn't be easily heard by the fans. Most of the time it made for very flat reactions to the introductions.

Sadly, Don Ray's classic disco theme was removed from the episodes of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling that air on the WWE Network and replaced with a more generic sounding production cut.

But the winds of change were blowing with new music, a new set, and a new method for ring introductions, making the taping on February 7, 1979 one for the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling television history books.

Related links:
Wide World Wrestling Theme Music (1975-1978)
World Wide Wrestling Theme Music (1986-1988)

Three Seconds: Mystery Wrestlers on the Mid-Atlantic Open (1977-1883)

Originally published 3/1/21 on the Studio Wrestling website. Research by Dick Bourne. Some information taken from David Chappell's Mid-Atlantic Gateway Almanac.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

The Original Crockett Cup (1974)

The 1986-1988
Crockett Cup Trophy


by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

One of the more famous and still talked-about wrestling events ever is the Jim Crockett, Sr. Memorial Cup tag team tournament that took place for Jim Crockett Promotions from 1986-1988. The image of the large cup presented to the annual tournament winners is iconic, and still resonates with fans to this day. The modern-day National Wrestling Alliance even resurrected the tournament in 2019, and although the follow up event in 2020 was sidelined by the covid pandemic, they hopefully will continue that renewed tradition. 

What is less known is that the 1986 Crockett Cup wasn't actually the first trophy to carry that name. Hockey fans in particular will be interested to learn that in 1974 the Southern Hockey League (SHL) named their new championship trophy after the late Jim Crockett, Sr. It would be called the James Crockett Cup. Crockett was a big supporter of hockey in Charlotte, and the league generally. He had passed away one year earlier. The league would at various times have teams in many of the traditional Mid-Atlantic Wrestling cities, including Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Richmond, Roanoke, Hampton, and Norfolk. 

The Roanoke Rebels were the first
team to win the James Crockett Cup

The 1973-1974 season championship came down to the Charlotte Checkers and the Roanoke Rebels. Charlotte and Roanoke were linchpin cities for pro wrestling in the region, promoted by the Crockett family, and in the case of Roanoke, local promoter Pete Apostolou as well. Apostolou also had ties to hockey in Roanoke.

The first winners of the James Crockett Cup, for the 1973-1974 season, were the fighting Rebels from Roanoke. The Checkers from Charlotte won the next two seasons.

Ironically, much like the Jim Crockett, Sr. Memorial Cup in wrestling, the hockey championship trophy was only presented for three years, from 1974-1976. The SHL folded in the middle of the 1976-1977 season.  Jim Crockett Promotions was sold to Ted Turner in 1988, ending the three-year run of the Crockett Cup in wrestling. 

I've not come across a photo of the actual Crockett Cup trophy for the SHL, but we're always keeping an eye out. A nice little bit of Crockett family history.

Thanks to Mark Eastridge for his assistance with this article.

Monday, March 08, 2021

Jim Crockett, Jr. Makes a Rare Appearance in Madison Square Garden (1982)

Madison Square Garden, January 1982: (L-R) Jim Crockett, Jr., Hiashi Shinma, Ken Tajima, Vince McMahon, and Frank Tunney. (Photograph by George Napolitano)

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

It was quite the gathering of dignitaries during an intermission at the WWF wrestling event at New York's Madison Square Garden on January 18, 1982. The president of the WWF, Hisashi Shinma (second from the left) was making the announcement of the first annual I.W.G.P. (International Wrestling Grand Prix) Championship Tournament to be held in 1983 in Japan. Shinma, along with being the recognized president of the WWF was also a top official with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). 

Shinma was flanked by his interpreter Ken Tajima, and joined by National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) president and Mid-Atlantic Wrestling promoter Jim Crockett, Jr., WWWF promoter Vincent J. McMahon, and Toronto promoter (and NWA Vice President) Frank Tunney. It's also worth noting that Tunney and Crockett were business partners at this time, as Tunney was booking a majority of talent for his Maple Leaf Garden shows through Crockett's Charlotte, NC, office. 

It was a rare appearance for Crockett in Madison Square Garden. The WWF at this time was still a member of the NWA.

This gathering was captured by famed wrestling photographer George Napolitano who had the foresight to document the occasion. I've never seen any other photos from this rather historic gathering of wrestling dignitaries.

On the MSG Network broadcast of this show, the announcement was not covered. You could see this happening in the background of a wide camera shot, but announcer Vince (K.) McMahon was rambling on about something else while this was taking place. 

The 1/18/82 show was the first Madison Square Garden show I ever saw on TV. It was broadcast on delayed basis on the USA Network which had just been added to our local cable system in Kingsport, TN, where I grew up. The main event on that show was a really good WWF title defense by Bob Backlund against Adrian Adonis, where Adonis actually got the win, but not the title, when the match was stopped for blood. 

Mid-Atlantic stalwart Greg "The Hammer" Valentine was also on this show, defeating Pedro Morales, during one of Valentine's two big WWF stints during his 1976-1984 Mid-Atlantic period. Other regular Mid-Atlantic alumni on this card included former Mid-Atlantic champion Tony Atlas and perennial journeyman Charlie Fulton.   

According to the excellent reference book "Wrestling in the Garden: The Battle for New York" (by Scott Teal and J. Michael Kenyon, Crowbar Press), the show drew 18,301 and was simulcast live via closed circuit TV at the adjoining Felt Forum. While that book is an incredibly detailed compendium of all things related to the history of wrestling at Madison Square Garden, Teal and Kenyon oddly left out the gathering of these wrestling dignitaries at that January 18, 1982 show.

Thanks to Kyle Rosser for sending the photo clipping.

Mid-Atlantic TV Report: June 11, 1983

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling on
the WWE Network

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
TV Summaries & Reviews
by David Taub
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

This is a review of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling as it appeared on the WWE Network. Results are included for the week (Monday-Sunday of the given week) as available. Please email with any corrections, typos, results, other details at 1davidtaub@gmail.com. Follow @TaubGVWire

For links to all available summaries as well as links to the Mid-Atlantic Championship Podcast, visit our TV Summary Index.


Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
Original broadcast: 06/11/83
(taped 6/08/83 at WPCQ-TV studios in Charlotte)
WWE Network Direct Link to this show Mid-Atlantic 06/11/83
WWE Network feed.

Match 1
Non-Title: Rick Steamboat & Jay Youngblood [World Tag Team Champions] d. Bill White & Masa Fuchi

Tommy Young is the referee for the hour. We join the match already in progress. Caudle notes that the champs have been taking a lot of flack from the Briscos for not being on TV live. Steamboat presses Youngblood onto Fuchi for the pin.

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Jos LeDuc & Bugsy McGraw
McGraw is on crutches. He hurt his knee in a match vs. Kelly Kiniski. He said One Man Gang and Sir Oliver Humperdink jumped him prior to the match (likely 6/02/83 or 6/03/83). He had surgery on the knee last Saturday (6/04/83). LeDuc says he can be real bad. He warns Dick Slater.

[CLIP][World Wide Wrestling] Slater Injures Weaver
We go to the clip last month that caused Slater’s suspension. From 5/07/83 World Wide Wrestling. Slater and Valentine are double-teaming LeDuc. Johnny Weaver leaves the announce position to break things up. Slater piledrives him on the floor.

[Break]

Match 2
Non-Title: Greg Valentine [United States Champion] d. Mark Fleming

Fleming had no chance. Valentine wins with the abdominal stretch. Lots of intensity in The Hammer’s face. 

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Greg Valentine
“What do you got for me this week, Bob Caudle?” Valentine skeptically wonders. He doubts Piper is coming back. After a few minutes of smack talk, Valentine tells Piper “This is the year of your ear!”

[Break]

Match 3
The Great Kabuki & Magic Dragon (w/Gary Hart) d. Brett Hart & Rick McCord

Caudle is amazed Kabuki has red mist. Hart joins Caudle on commentary. He says his team is still learning. Dragon has Hart in a Gory Especial type of move. Kabuki comes off the top with a chop to Hart’s exposed chest and makes the pin. Hart calls it the Hart Crusher.

[Break] 

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Gary Hart, The Great Kabuki & Magic Dragon
Hart calls Ricky Flair unbeatable. Oops. A day before this aired, Harley Race won the title. Hart praises Valentine. Hart puts over Kabuki as TV champion. 

[Break]

[CLIP][All Japan Pro Wrestling] - Ric Flair vs. Jumbo Tsuruta
During the introductions, some weird echoey voice over introduces the match. Caudle & David Crockett then narrate the clips. It appears we are in the second fall. Lord James Blears is the referee. My guess this is from 6/08/82. Flair gets the fall with the figure four. And, that is the end of the clip. The men also wrestled 6/08/83, but I say it is highly unlikely that clip would be part of this show.

Bodyslam challenge: One Man Gang vs. Mike Rotundo
Same routine. Rotundo tries, and almost gets the slam. When Gang tries to attack, Rotundo fights back. He goes for the airplane spin, but Kelly Kiniski comes in for the double-team. Gang takes a lock of Rotundo’s hair.

[Break] 

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Rick Steamboat & Jay Youngblood
Youngblood tells the story of his new war bonnet. A governor of the Cherokee nation gave it to him, and made Rick an honorary member. Youngblood is taking real slow. Steamboat addresses the Briscos calling them no-shows. He wonders where the Briscos are.

[Break]

Match 4
Jake Roberts (w/Paul Jones) d. Mike Davis

Jones joins Caudle. Davis escapes the knee lift, but not the yet-to-be named DDT, which was called by both Jones and Caudle as the Brainbuster. 1-2-3 for the Snake. 

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Paul Jones, Dory Funk Jr. and Jake Roberts
Jones is in a tux, and Funk is wearing a sports jacket and tie. Jones talks about his contest for a poster. There has only been one negative letter. The address shows on the screen.

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Paul Jones
This is in lieu of local promos. Jones talks about Jake Roberts and Dory Funk Jr. He talks about their hard training. 

[Break]

Match 5
Bob Orton Jr. d. Ben Alexander

Caudle recaps the comments of Steamboat & Youngblood, and Valentine. A win for Orton with the Superplex. 

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Bob Orton Jr. & Rufus R. Jones
Orton briefly narrates his replay. Jones is wearing a turquoise tuxedo. He reads a letter from a fan saying Paul Jones gives her nightmare. He mocks Paul Jones.  Orton thinks Paul Jones has been lying about all his letters. He has some words for Greg Valentine.

It appears Caudle’s “so long for now” is cut off by the Network overdub.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Results for the week, 6/06/83-6/12/83
(source: Clawmaster’s Archive via Sports and Wrestling blog posted by David Baker; “Wrestling” newsletter by Joe Shedlock)

Mon., 6/06/83 Greenville, SC; Memorial Auditorium
Abe Jacobs beat Ben Alexander
Gene Anderson beat Brett Hart
Magic Dragon beat Vinnie Valentino
Jimmy Valiant & Johnny Weaver beat One Man Gang & Kelly Kiniski by DQ
Great Kabuki beat Jos LeDuc
Greg Valentine beat Bob Orton, Jr. 

Tue., 6/07/83 Raleigh, NC; Raleigh Civic Center
Kelly Kiniski d. Bret Hart
Gene Anderson d. Keith Larson
Johnny Weaver d. Bill White
Jos LeDuc d. One Man Gang
Dory Funk Jr. & Jake Roberts d. Rufus R. Jones & Mike Rotundo

Wed., 6/08/83 Charlotte, NC; WCPQ-TV
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling:
Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood beat Bill White & Masa Fuchi
Greg Valentine beat Mark Fleming
Magic Dragon & Great Kabuki beat Rick McCord & Brett Hart
Jake Roberts beat Mike Davis
Bob Orton, Jr. beat Ben Alexander
World Wide Wrestling:
Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood beat Brett Hart & Rick McCord
Greg Valentine beat Mike Davis
Bob Orton, Jr. beat Masa Fuchi
Jake Roberts beat Vinnie Valentino
Magic Dragon & Great Kabuki beat Mark Fleming & Keith Larson

Thu., 6/09/83 Harrisonburg, VA; Harrisonburg High School
Jos LeDuc & Bugsy McGraw vs. One Man Gang & Oliver Humperdink in a cage match
Great Kabuki vs. Johnny Weaver
Plus 3 other matches

Fri., 6/10/83 Charleston SC; County Hall
Dory Funk, Jr. double DQ Great Kabuki
Jake Roberts beat Mike Rotundo
Magic Dragon beat Ric McCord
Bill White beat Brett Hart
Masa Fuchi beat Abe Jacobs

Sat., 6/11/83 Roanoke, VA; Roanoke Civic Center
Mike Davis d. Vinnie Valentino
Gene Anderson d. Brett Hart
One Man Gang d. Cy Jernigan
Jake Roberts d. Mike Rotundo
Jimmy Valiant & Bob Orton Jr. d. Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco
United States Heavyweight championship: Greg Valentine [ch.] DDQ Ric Flair

Sat., 6/11/83 Spartanburg, SC; Memorial Auditorium
Keith Larson & Rick McCord beat Masa Fuchi & Bill White
Kelly Kiniski d. Abe Jacobs
Johnny Weaver beat Magic Dragon (Weaver sub for Jay Youngblood)
Jos LeDuc beat Kelly Kiniski (LeDuc sub for Weaver)
Rufus R. Jones beat Great Kabuki

Sun., 6/12/83 Columbia, SC; Township Auditorium
Vinnie Valentino beat Abe Jacobs
Magic Dragon beat Brett Hart
Jake Roberts beat Mike Davis
Keith Larsen & Rick McCord beat Ben Alexander & Gene Anderson
Rufus R. Jones & Jimmy Valiant beat Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco
Greg Valentine beat Ric Flair by DQ

Sun., 6/12/83 Toronto, Ontario; Maple Leaf Gardens
Kelly Kiniski & Jacques Goulet beat John Bonello & Don Kolov
Bob Marcus beat Bill White
Nick DeCarlo beat Joe Marcus
Dick Slater beat Jos LeDuc
Johnny Weaver beat Leo Burke
Great Kabuki beat Mike Rotundo
Sgt. Slaughter beat Jay Youngblood
Don Muraco beat Angelo Mosca by DQ

Sun., 6/12/83 Savannah, GA; Civic Center
Note: this was taped for All-Japan TV
Chavo Guerrero double countout with Masa Fuchi(9:51)
Giant Baba & Genichiro Tenryu beat Jake Roberts & Jerry Grey (6:47) via pinfall
Terry Funk beat Bret Hart(5:47) by submission
Rufus R. Jones beat Dory Funk, Jr. by DQ
Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco beat Jimmy Valiant & Bob Orton, Jr. via pinfall
Bruiser Brody double countout with Jumbo Tsuruta(15:56)
Greg Valentine beat Ric Flair(12:17) by DQ 

Sun., 6/12/83 Savannah, GA; Savannah Civic Center (All Japan TV)
Chavo Guerrero d. Masa Fuchi
Terry Funk d. Brett Hart
Rufus R. Jones d. Dory Funk Jr. by DQ
Jimmy Valiant & Bob Orton Jr. d. Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco
Greg Valentine d. Ric Flair by DQ
Jumbo Tsuruta DCO Bruiser Brody
Giant Baba & Tenyru d. Jake Roberts & One Man Gang