Friday, July 01, 2022

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling's Most Obscure Championship (1974)

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

PART ONE

Fans in most Jim Crockett Promotions television markets that tuned into the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling show that aired on December 7, 1974 were treated to a most improbable milestone. The most obscure championship in the history of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling was about to be decided right before their eyes!

Announcers Bob Caudle and Big Bill Ward could hardly contain their excitement about the upcoming championship event, as they hardly paid any attention at all to the ongoing bout between Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion Johnny Valentine and Klondike Bill. Ward exuded, “We will have a Champion crowned on this program,” to which Caudle replied, “I’m really interested in this arm-wrestling!” Then the predictions began as Ward queried Caudle, ‘Who’s it gonna be, what’s your guess? I’m saying Paul Jones!’ Caudle concurred with that prediction, replying, ‘I’m going to have to go along with that.’ Ward responded, ‘He’s about the best I’ve seen yet!’

To add to the importance of this new championship, none other than the President of Jim Crockett Promotions, Mr. Jim Crockett, Jr., came out to the ring to set the stage for this TV event. Crockett began, “This is the Finals of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling Arm-Wrestling Championship. There are three Finalists—Paul Jones, the Avenger and the Super Destroyer.”

While looking directly at Ivan Koloff and Wahoo McDaniel who were standing menacingly in the ring, Crockett sternly announced, “There will be NO seconds in the ring during the Finals.” Mr. Crockett then turned and faced referee Sony Fargo and firmly stated, “Referee, please ask Mr. Koloff and Mr. McDaniel to leave the ring. There will be NO seconds.”

Referee Fargo relayed Mr. Crockett’s message, but neither the “Russian Bear” nor the “Indian Chief” seemed very receptive. At that time, Koloff and Jones were locked in a struggle over the Mid-Atlantic Television Title, while Wahoo was friends with both Paul and the Avenger, and the Chief had absolutely no love for the Super Destroyer. Koloff, on the other hand, was great friends with the masked Super D.

Jim Crockett then explained the championship format to the fans in attendance at the WRAL TV studio and to the many thousands upon thousands watching at home. “By draw, Paul Jones will meet the Super Destroyer first,” Crockett announced. Immediately, Jones interrupted saying, “Let me tell you something—my shoulder is killing me but I know one thing, this is the Finals tonight. And if I don’t arm wrestle tonight I’ll never get another chance! So, I don’t know how strong [the Super Destroyer] is, but we’ll find out in a few minutes.”

A clearly agitated Jim Crockett, Jr. then tersely told Koloff and McDaniel to leave the ring again, and then said to the pacing masked Avenger, “Mr. Avenger, will you just please wait and you will take on the winner.”

Referee Sonny Fargo, sensing Mr. Crockett’s frustration that none of the wrestlers had exited the ring, told everybody except Jones and the Super Destroyer, “I hate to ask you all to leave, but I have to or you’re gonna forfeit the match. I hate to do it.”

Wahoo was incensed and shouted back at Fargo, “Where’d you get all that authority?!?” Sonny then turned towards Jim Crockett, and Mr. Crockett retorted, “Koloff and McDaniel, out of the ring! You cannot be in the ring.”

When the boss spoke, everybody listened and finally left the ring except the combatants Paul Jones and the Super Destroyer, along with referee Fargo. Jones and the Super Destroyer approached the arm-wrestling table and the noise from the studio audience built up to a deafening crescendo. Paul seemed particularly annoyed as he approached the Super Destroyer who appeared to be smiling through his mask…

To be continued in Part II!