Additional information regarding a faux
title change in March 1978 in Charleston.
on the venue and location for the Outlaw's win of the Mid-Atlantic
heavyweight title in 1984.
Plus video of the title change!
Title histories in pro-wrestling are
often hard to track down and confirm, mainly because very rarely
were official records kept by the promotions. Historians have
relied on magazine and program reports as well as newspaper
clippings, eye witness reports, and other sources.
All of the published title histories
we've found for the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight title are inaccurate or
incomplete at some point,
some of them wildly so.
Hours of tireless research (at least I like
to look at it that way!) studying hundreds of newspaper clippings,
reviewing hundreds of hours of audio tapes of the television shows,
and even reviewing historical notes from booker George Scott have
resulted in what we assert is the most definitive history of the
Mid-Atlantic Championship avialable.
We continue the process of
confirming each change, and providing supporting documentation.
If you have information which either
contradicts or confirms information we present here, please contact
us at the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.
Most of the photographs on this page
were taken by Bill Janosik, Eddie Cheslock, or Gene Gordon. Some
were taken from Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Magazine published by Jim
Crockett Promotions and no specific photo credit was given in those
SPECIAL NOTE: The Mid-Atlantic title was
originally called the Eastern Heavyweight title, which came into
existence in 1970. The name was
changed to Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight title (and a new belt
presented) in October of 1973.
Crockett Promotions recognized all Eastern title holders as former
Mid-Atlantic champions. We will include former Eastern title reigns in
the total number of Mid-Atlantic title reigns accordingly.
As part of the storyline to introduce the
Eastern heavyweight title to the Mid-Atlantic territory, it was
announced that Pat O'Conner was the reigning Eastern Heavyweight
Champion. This was established both on television and in newspaper
clippings. This is generally considered to be a fictitious title reign.
10/13/70 - Announced on TV (Air Date 10/17/70)
that Mauler won the Eastern Heavyweight title from Pat O'Conner in New
Mauler's first match back for Crockett in 1970
was on 10/12/70 in Charlotte NC. At WGHP TV studios on the following day
10/13/70, Mauler makes the announcement that he defeated O'Conner for
the Eastern title in New York. The earliest reference to an Eastern title match
we've found is in Lexington NC
on 10/17/70 vs. Al Torres.
O'Conner's reign as champion, and this title change,
are generally accepted to be
fictional for the purposes of creating and establishing the title. A
newspaper reference in January 1971 to O'Conner holding the title, and
Mauler defeating him for the title, can be found here:
11/30/71 WGHP TV Studio, High Point NC (Air Date: 12/4/71)
The date of this change was established by
process of elimination.
Missouri Mauler successfully defended the
title on Monday 11/29/71 in Greenville, SC. WGHP taped TV on
Tuesdays, and while no record exists of matches on that taping on 11/30,
neither Larry Hamilton (Mauler) nor Jack Brisco were on house shows
Tuesday 11/30 held in Raleigh or Columbia.
Carroll Hall (who assists us with title
histories) saw the switch on WGHP TV and knows it was around the
Thanksgiving weekend. It could not have been the Tuesday before
Thanksgiving (11/23/71) because Mauler is still champion on 11/29/71.
Plus, both Mauler and Brisco were wrestling in Columbia that night. It
could not have been two weeks later on Tuesday 12/7/71 because the
Mauler (but not Brisco) was wrestling in Columbia that night.
This only leaves Tuesday 11/30/73 at WGHP in
High Point NC as the possible date of the switch, and that date is now
considered confirmed based on the information and process above.
Rip Hawk (1)
2/14/72 Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte NC
Based on information found in the newspaper
ad for this show, Rip Hawk apparently won a tournament to earn the title
shot from Eastern Champion Jack Brisco.
Jack Brisco accounts in his autobiography
that he was unavailable for regular bookings in the territory due to so
many bookings elsewhere, and the promotion decided to give the title
back to Rip Hawk, the story being put forth that the title changed hands
in Puerto Rico.
Brisco is listed as defending the Eastern
title against the Missouri Mauler in Charleston on 4/25. This was the
last reference to Jack Brisco as Eastern champion.
In May, a clip is shown on WBTV where
Rip pins Jack Brisco, and Rip claims that he won the Eastern title from
Jack in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Wrestling Revue magazine from that year interviews new Eastern Champion Ole Anderson
and reports he won
the title at WRAL TV.
An original photograph taken in Richmond 5/4
has an inscription on the rear noting that Anderson won the title from
Brisco on 5/9, which was a Wednesday night, the night which television
was taped in Raleigh. The only house event that same night 5/9 was in
Asheville NC and neither Brisco nor Anderson were on the Asheville show,
which made it possible for them to be on Raleigh TV.
On 7/3/73, Jerry wrestles Ole Anderson for
the title in Columbia. Ole is billed as the champion and Jerry as the
former champion. There were no results in the newspaper. However, further
research shows no references to the Eastern title from 7/3 until 7/14. On
the 14th, Jerry defended the Eastern title against Ole in Roanoke VA.
Unless we uncover evidence to the contrary, this confirms Columbia 7/3 as
the site and date for the change.
This title change has
proven very difficult to document.
Here is what we know for
• Newspaper results from 12/28/73 in Charleston SC
show a title match between champion Jerry Brisco and challenger Johnny Valentine being
stopped after Brisco is injured. ("Brisco accidentally ran into the
referee, fell down, and hit the support. It was feared he may have broken
some ribs, so the match was stopped.")
• A newspaper clipping from
Columbia, SC promoting a 3/5/74 card at the Township Auditorium mentions
that Jerry was returning to action following an injury around Christmas
1973. The time frames line up well, and we will assume that Jerry Brisco
was out for an injury and the title was awarded to Valentine early in the
year 1974, using the story above. The clipping also mentions a tour of the
orient, so the story could be partially based on that truth. (Brisco was
not on Mid-Atlantic cards for the first 7 weeks of 1974.)
• Another possible story: Valentine was told on TV that he would be
title by default when Jerry Brisco failed to show up for a title defense.
Brisco later complained to announcer Elliott Murnick on the Raleigh version
of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling,
after returning to action,
that he never lost the belt in the ring, that the Crockets gave Valentine
the belt while he was in Japan with his brother Jack. (Credit - Carroll Hall)
This story matches a listing in
Title Histories by Duncan & Will: "Awarded [to Johnny Valentine] when Jerry Brisco goes to Japan."
• Contradicting this is a mention in an
issue of Wrestling Guide magazine by Charleston correspondent
James Reeves that Valentine won the title from Brisco in
Charleston. Looking at match dates and newpaper ads, by process of elimination, this would have had to happen on 1/4/74.
Valentine wasn't on the 1/11 card a week later. He is documented to be defending the
title as early as 1/21 in Charlotte, which would have been promoted on a Charlotte TV taping
on 1/16/74. Clippings for the 1/4/74 Charleston card are unclear, listing
Valentine wrestling "Tom Jones for the third time in as many weeks."
Tom Jones had wrestled Valentine twice in December (12/7 and 12/14/73).
We are guessing Tom Jones was a replacement for Brisco, who missed the
date due to either injury or going to Japan as documented above.
not believe Valentine defeated Brisco in the ring for the title.
• Earliest title-defense reference for
Valentine: 1/21/74 Valentine vs. Bruggers in Charlotte. Promotional work for that match would have taken
place on the TV taped 1/16/74.
• First match back for Jerry Brisco
following alleged injury: 2/11/74 Charlotte (in a 6 man tag team match.)
3/9/75 Park Center,
Jones pinned Valentine in
a fence match
As Jones pinned
Valentine, Valentine put his leg on the rope to break the count. The
referee did not see this, and Jones pulled Valentine's leg off the ropes
before the three count ended. Valentine protested, Ric Flair came down
to ringside and protested as well, but referee Angelo Martinelli raised
Paul Jones hand and awarded the title belt to Jones.
3/19/75. Announced at
taping in Raleigh (airing in most markets on 3/22/75) that Jones had
been stripped of the title and the belt returned to Johnny
Valentine by NWA President Sam Muchnick. Valentine is now recognized as
on the WRAL TV taping on 3/12/75 that he had sent the film of the 3/9
match in Charlotte to NWA president Sam Muchnick asking that the film
be reviewed and the title returned to him since he his leg on the rope
and the count should have been stopped (see Paul Jones above.)
Muchnick reviewed the tape, ruled in Valentine's favor, stripped Jones
of the title, and awarded the title to Johnny Valentine. This was announced at WRAL TV taping on 3/19/75.
Many title histories don't have Flair winning
his first Mid-Atlantic title until spring of 1976, but it was actually two
weeks before the Wilmington Plane Crash. Flair was allowed to maintain the title throughout his
rehabilitation period, despite not defending the title during the NWA
30-day defense period. He returned to action in January, mostly in tag
matches or six-man matches, and began
defense of the title in February.
This is the famous "Table Leg" match
where Ric hit Wahoo with a table leg that had been broken off from a
ringside table. Although the spot was worked, the table leg had a
nail sticking out of it and severely cut Wahoo over his eye,
requiring 40 stitches to close the wound. Wahoo would mention this
incident in TV interviews over the next decade.
9/7/77 at WRAL TV studios, Raleigh NC
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
This was the famous match where Valentine
broke Wahoo's leg on television. Greg Valentine put up the $2000 in
silver dollars against Wahoo's Mid-Atlantic title. In a match still
talked about today, Valentine had Wahoo prone on the mat and held his
leg and fell full-weight on the leg, breaking the ankle. Wahoo
submitted and Valentine had regained the title.
UPDATED: *Also documented to have changed hands two
days earlier on 3/31/78 in Charleston SC with Gene Anderson as a special
referee. The change was ignored in
Greensboro and Greg Valentine wore the belt into the ring and defended
against Wahoo on 4/2, so that date is still recognized as the official
Steamboat replaced Dusty Rhodes who was
originally scheduled to meet Koloff for a shot at the Mid-Atlantic
title. Rhodes spent several weeks in the area right after loosing the
NWA World title to Ric Flair.
5/10/82 Greenville Memorial Auditorium, Greenville SC
Brisco is a former 2-time Eastern
Heavyweight Champion, which is the title that morphed into the Mid-Atlantic title
in September of 1973. Eastern title reigns are recognized as former
Mid-Atlantic title reigns, making this reign Jack's 3rd Mid-Atlantic
Jack Brisco and his brother Jerry are
the only two men to have held both the Eastern States and Mid-Atlantic titles.
Piper had stolen the Mid-Atlantic title
belt after a disputed match, and would not return it to Brisco unless he
agreed to face him on TV and put up $10,000. Brisco quickly got up
the money (with help from Ricky Steamboat and Wahoo McDaniel) and the
two met in one of the more, memorable televised title matches of the
Jack Brisco (4)
8/3/82 Civic Center, Raleigh NC
Roddy Piper is stabbed by a fan after the
matches are over.
Koloff is given the title by Dick Slater
on Mid-Atlantic TV.
Slater won the US title
on 12/14/83 in Charlotte NC and elected to give the Mid-Atlantic title to Ivan Koloff.
This "handover" of the title, without
objection from the sanctioning bodies, cheapened the title in a manner from
which it never really recovered. While Koloff was a top level wrestler,
the title no longer had value because it was handed off and not won in
the ring. The title became a minor/mid-level
title from this point forward.
(Rhetorically, and in terms of the storyline,
fans have to ask why would the NWA and/or Crockett Promotions allow
something like this to happen? How is this reasonably explained? The
answer, of course, is lazy booking!)
Angelo Mosca Jr.
accompanied by Angelo Mosca
1/25/84 Shelby NC TV Taping (TH)
Ivan Koloff (3)
3/18/84 Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte NC
Angelo Mosca Jr. (2)
4/22/84 Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte NC
The Masked Outlaw (Dory Funk
managed by Gary Hart
May 1984 Memorial Auditorium,
World Wide Wrestling TV Taping
Previously incorrectly listed as North
Rowan HS, Spencer NC
CLIPPINGClipping does not
confirm this match, but this is the only taping we've discoverd in May
1984. Thanks to Carroll Hall.
Angelo Mosca Jr. (3)
6/27/84* - Scope Arena, Norfolk VA
*Date not confirmed.
Thanks to Robert Reddick for information
tha confirms Norfolk as the location of this title change. Need
Defeated Sam Houston to fill the vacant
1/11/86 WTBS Television Studios
Techwood Drive, Atlanta
Black Bart (Ricky
3/18/86 Mooresville NC (TH)
May have also been a TV taping.
9/2/86 TV Taping
Memorial Auditorium, Spartanburg SC
12/27/86 WTBS Television Studios
Techwood Drive, Atlanta
Ron Garvin wins US Tag Titles with Barry
Windham and decides to give up the Mid-Atlantic title. He hands the belt to
Jim Crockett on World Championship Wrestling.
The belt is never seen again and the title
A SAD DAY FOR MID-ATLANTIC WRESTLING
This sequence of images from World
Championship Wrestling show Ronnie Garvin handing over the
Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight championship belt to Jim Crockett, Jr. on
12/27/86 in the studios of WTBS in Atlanta. Garvin was forfeiting
the title after he and Barry Windham had won the United States tag
team championships. He is wearing the US tag title.
While Jim Crockett told Tony Schiavone that he would
announce later what would be done with the title, the belt and the
championship were never seen or mentioned again.
The great era known
as "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" had quietly come to an end.