The Mid-Atlantic Gateway remembers . . .

Ole Anderson Stabbed by Fan

in Greenville, SC

by Dick Bourne



The Newspaper Ad for the May 24 Card in Greenville, SC

Click for larger image.


See related material below, including information on:

  •  Audio Clips

  • Ole's Return

  • Ole's Cast

  • The Venue

  • The Opponents

  • The Replacements

  • The Weapon!

and more!


Special thanks to those who provided input and material for this feature:

Don Holbrook, Peggy Lathan, Mark Eastridge, Carroll Hall, and Sam Finley.


 

 

MAY 24, 1976                  GREENVILLE, S.C.

On May 24, 1976, an angry fan at ringside in the Greenville Memorial Auditorium stabbed wrestler Ole Anderson as he left the ring. Wrestlers like Ole Anderson were adept at raising the ire of wrestling fans, but Ole Anderson had turned it into an art form. Rarely, however, did that type of heat result in an actual assault by one of those fans. The incident illustrated how quickly things can get out of hand in the heat of a pro-wrestling event.

Ole and partner Gene Anderson were on their way back to their dressing room following an unsuccessful attempt to regain the NWA world tag team titles from Tim Woods and Dino Bravo, when Oscar Ramsey (reported to be either 79 or 82 years old in various news reports), a regular at the Greenville matches, stabbed Ole in the chest and arm with a hawkbill knife.

Anderson was taken to a local hospital and underwent a reported four hour surgery to repair tendons in his arm that were severed in the attack. Dozens of stitches were required to close wounds on his chest and arm.

The stabbing made news reports across the southeast, and was the talk within wrestling circles for years. It's still talked about by hardcore Mid-Atlantic Wrestling fans today.

The injury and aftermath also showed what a tough guy Ole Anderson really was. By all accounts, he was lucky to come out of it alive. Yet, in less than 48 hours, he was back on the job, appearing at the TV tapings at WRAL in Raleigh. When Mid-Atlantic Wrestling opened and Ole Anderson addressed the fans, Bob Caudle remarked "Nothing is going to slow Ole down." He was right. And the whole incident has become part of the Anderson legend.

Lots of details below, including audio clips, newspaper reports, and details on the week that followed.

NEWSPAPER REPORTS

ole news edit.jpg (91334 bytes)

5/25 Greenville: Wrestler Ole Anderson Stabbed

5/26 Greenville: Ole Anderson Case Suspect Sought

5/25 Danville VA: Ole Anderson Stabbed After Bout


An Eye Witness Account

by Don Holbrook

 

Almanac Account

Read about the stabbing in David Chappell's Mid-Atlantic Wrestling History. 


Ole Anderson's Return to Mid-Atlantic Television

It didn't take Ole long to make his come back after the injury. In fact, only 48 hours later, he was at the television tapings at the WRAL studios in Raleigh (Wednesday, May 26, 1976), doing an interview on the show that would air that Saturday, Memorial Day weekend. Ole interrupted Bob Caudle and Tom Miller as they opened the show and told the fans:

"You didn't think Ole Anderson was just going to walk away, did you? Somebody down in one of those states put a couple of cuts on me, I guess somebody is really unhappy with me."

It was a classic interview, and one had a sense of just what kind of a tough individual Ole Anderson really was.

Check out these classic audio clips from Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling in May of 1976 which feature Bob Caudle and Tom Miller opening the program when Ole Anderson interrupts. You think a knife wound to the chest and a couple dozen stitches are going to slow this man down?

Ole Anderson talks about the stabbing on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television only two days after the stabbing (5/26/76).

  Classic Ole Anderson Promo (vs. Tim Woods). You can't keep an Anderson down for long. You think he's been selling eggs all his life, selling snow cones on the beach?  An all-time classic promo.


The Week After:

Sgt. Goulet and Bolo Mongol Step Up to Team with Gene

Ole Anderson missed exactly one week of action due to the injuries sustained in the stabbing. The Tuesday night after Greenville, Sgt. Jacque Goulet replaced Ole teaming with Gene Anderson against Woods and Bravo in Raleigh at the Dorton Arena. On Wednesday night, Ole appeared at the TV tapings at WRAL television studios in Raleigh. On Thursday it was Sgt. Goulet teaming with Gene again in Norfolk at the Scope Exhibition Hall,  while Bolo Mongol (Bill Eadie) teamed with Gene in Charleston at County Hall on Friday night. Gene wrestled Tim Woods in a singles match Saturday night in Spartanburg at the Memorial Auditorium. Ole then missed his his scheduled battle royal appearance in Wilmington NC at Legion Stadium on Saturday.

Just seven days after the stabbing that nearly took his life, Ole Anderson returned to the ring on Monday May 31st, in the Park Center in Charlotte teaming with Gene Anderson to challenge Woods and Bravo once again for the world tag team titles. They were unsuccessful that night.

Ole would return to the Greenville Memorial Auditorium one week later (exactly two weeks after the stabbing), on Monday, June 7, as he and Gene made another unsuccessful bid to regain the tag team titles. They wouldn't have to wait too much longer to get the belts back, however, as they defeated Woods and Bravo three weeks later on June 28 in Greenville to regain the NWA world tag team championship.


Not All Was Bad News For the Anderson Family:

Flair Regains the Mid-Atlantic Title in Charlotte The Same Night as the Stabbing

On the same night that Ole Anderson was stabbed and found himself in a hospital fighting for his life, Wahoo McDaniel found himself in a hospital in Charlotte fighting to save an eye following his match with another member of the "Anderson family."

Just 100 miles up I-85 in Charlotte NC, Ric Flair regained the Mid-Atlantic heavyweight championship on May 24, defeating Wahoo McDaniel in one of the most famous matches in their year long, bloody feud. Flair and Wahoo brawled through a table at ringside, and when Flair hit McDaniel with the broken table leg, a protruding nail cut McDaniel in the eye, requiring over 40 stitches to close the wound and nearly costing McDaniel his vision in that eye.

These were a bizarre set of circumstances that led to two major stars in the promotion being injured and out of action on the same night at separate shows, but only for a short period of time. The toughness of Wahoo McDaniel and Ole Anderson is the stuff of legend and both men showed why as Wahoo returned to action that Saturday, and Ole the following Monday.


Ole Anderson's Cast

When Ole Anderson was attacked in Greenville, he was stabbed in the chest and in the arm. Booker George Scott and Anderson decided to use part of Ole's injuries to further the angle with Woods and Bravo over the World Tag Team title belts, which Woods and Bravo had recently won in a match on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show.

The story told was that it was Woods and Bravo that injured Ole's arm. (Ole mentions this in the audio promo, linked above. If they could have figured out how to do it, they would have tried to say that Dino or Tim cut him in the chest, too!) Ole was wearing a cast following a four-hour surgery on his arm to reconnect tendons that were severed by the knife wound. In this way, Ole could use the cast as part of the storyline with Woods and Bravo, which was a major part of the angle for the rest of the summer.

 Ole even used the cast as a major part of a short series of matches with Wahoo McDaniel, after Ole had hit Wahoo in the head with the cast, causing him to lose the Mid-Atlantic title to Ric Flair during their bitter 1976 war. To even the odds, Wahoo had a cast put on his arm for Indian Strap matches battles with Ole around the circuit.


The Greenville Memorial Auditorium

The Greenville Memorial Auditorium, the site of the stabbing, was one of the most historic old venues on the Mid-Atlantic circuit in the 1960s-1980s. Sadly, it was torn down in the mid 1990s.

More information on this grand old facility can be found in the Greenville Memorial Auditorium chapter of the Classic Venues section of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

 


The Opponents in Greenville:

NWA World Tag Team Champions

Dino Bravo & "Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods

Dino Bravo made a quick name for himself in early May of 1976 when, after only two weeks in the territory, he teamed with "Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods and defeated the Anderson Brothers on television to win the NWA World Tag Team championship.

The night Ole was stabbed in Greenville, he and Gene Anderson were challenging Bravo and Woods in an attempt to get the world titles back. They were unsuccessful that night, but put a hurting on the champs after the match and left them laying in the ring. It was all that and more that led to a fan attacking Ole on the way back to the dressing rooms.

The Andersons vs. Woods & Bravo feud was a hot one in the spring and summer of 1976. Read about this feud in David Chappell's Mid-Atlantic Wrestling History.

 


The Weapon

A hawkbill knife, similar to the knife Oscar Ramsey used to cut Ole Anderson in Greenville, SC.

The wounds to Anderson's chest and arm nearly cost him his life.

 


Feature by Dick Bourne

with contributions by Don Holbrook, Peggy Lathan, Mark Eastridge, Carroll Hall, and Sam Finley.

 

2000, 2008 Mid-Atlantic Gateway