Sunday, August 30, 2015

Andersons Don't Wear Fedoras

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Arn Anderson (1985)

As you might have already guessed, I'm a huge fan of the Anderson family in wrestling as is demonstrated by the large number of posts on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway related to them. There is also this little book project titled "Minnesota Wrecking Crew" which details the entire Anderson story. (If you haven't picked up your copy, you should!)

So it was with great pleasure that I and some friends had the chance to visit recently with the legendary Arn Anderson. We chatted about a few bits of Anderson trivia that I had not known before.


One of the things that interested me was how Martin Lunde became an Anderson to begin with. I had always assumed, as I suppose did the rest of the world, that Ole had given him the name when the team of Arn Anderson and Matt Borne, managed by Paul Ellering, debuted in Georgia Championship Wrestling in April of 1983. At that point, Arn was billed as the nephew of Ole Anderson. He had an uncanny likeness to Ole and so the whole story was immediately and easily accepted by fans.

Arn had grown up in Rome, GA as a fan of Gene and Ole Anderson, and even remembered watching as a young child in the 1960s when the original version of the Anderson Brothers, Gene and Lars, battled the Torres brothers over the Southern tag team championship.

So when I asked Arn about the origin of his membership in the Anderson family, I expected the answer to be tied to Ole. But Arn was quiet for a moment and took on a very reflective tone.

"You know, it's funny how one brief moment can change your entire life," he said. "I was working under my real name for Bill Watts (in 1983) and he had this meeting with the talent, and he told the group he needed someone to go with Matt Borne to Georgia as a tag team to be managed by Paul Ellering." Arn shifted in his chair as he spoke. "Junkyard Dog was sitting over in the corner; he had never spoken five words to me while I was there. He pointed at me from across the room and said, 'Lunde's ready, send him. He looks like Ole Anderson anyway. Make him an Anderson.'"

"That's how it happened," Arn said. "In that one brief moment, my whole life changed, although I didn't really know it yet."

Arn had written in his book about JYD's suggestion that Arn be the one to go with Matt Borne to Georgia, but until now, it had not been known that JYD also suggested he be an Anderson.

When Arn arrived in Atlanta in April of 1983 and had his first meeting with Georgia booker Ole Anderson, Ole reluctantly agreed with JYD's earlier assessment.

"Ole just looked at me and said, 'Well I have to admit it, you do look like me.'"

So Ole made Arn his nephew, although he was later billed as both a brother and a cousin.

The rest, as they say, is history.


The origin of the "Four Horsemen" name in wrestling has always been attributed to Arn Anderson, but how it actually came about has frequently been misrepresented.

In a late-fall 1985 promotional interview, Arn said these words:

"Not since the four horsemen of the apocalypse have so few wreaked so much havoc on so many."

One of the common stories was that Arn said this at the end of a WTBS broadcast when he and partner Ole Anderson were in the same interview segment as Ric Flair and Tully Blanchard with his manager James J. Dillon.

But it didn't happen there, and in fact no promo has ever surfaced on all the WWE documentaries about the Four Horsemen where that original phrase was uttered. The WWE owns the Crockett video tape library, so if it was said on WTBS, they would have it.

The original Four Horsemen: Ole Anderson, Tully Blanchard, manager J.J. Dillon, Arn Anderson, and Ric Flair

I have long thought that Arn made that fortunate reference to the biblical Four Horsemen in a local promotional spot, and not within the main body of one of their national or syndicated broadcasts. And during our conversation, Arn confirmed that.

"Yes, it was on a local promo," Arn said. "And in fact, I just said it off the cuff, not really intending to be coming up with a name for us or anything like that. It was Tony Schiavone who actually validated the whole thing. He looked at me after the promo was over and said, 'I think you just named yourself.' And that led to us starting to refer to ourselves as the Four Horsemen."

And again - - the rest, as they say, is history.


When Arn arrived in Georgia in 1983 and began his tag team with Matt Borne, he began to wear a fedora to the ring. It was a trademark he kept through his time in Georgia, and later in Southeastern Wrestling in Alabama, and on through his early days for Jim Crockett Promotions.

I asked Arn about the origin of the fedora.

"That was all Matt Borne," he said. "He wore it when he was part of the "Rat Pack" in Mid-South Wrestling teaming with Ted DiBiase. I liked it and so we started wearing them as a team." Their manager, Paul Ellering, would occasionally wear one, too.

Right away, Ole didn't like it.

"What the hell are you wearing?" Ole asked Arn.

"It's a fedora," Arn replied.

"Well I hate it," Ole shot back.

"Ole just shook his head and walked away," Arn told me. "I'm not sure I completely fit the Anderson mold yet."

When Matt Borne was fired from the Georgia promotion a few months later, Arn also lost his spot with the company. Bob Armstrong was leaving the territory too, headed to work for the Pensacola, FL booking office known as Southeastern Championship Wrestling. Bob got Arn booked there and the fedora went with him.

Arn formed a very successful tag team with Jerry Stubbs. Stubbs wore a mask working as "Mr. Olympia" and Arn came in also under a mask as "Super Olympia." Eventually they both worked without their masks and held the Southeastern tag team championships many times. Just as Matt Borne had passed on the fedora tradition to Arn, Arn now passed it on to Stubbs, and the two wore the trademark hats during their championship run there.

Southeastern Tag Team Champions Jerry Stubbs and Arn Anderson in 1984

When Arn went to work for Jim Crockett Promotions in the spring of 1985, he occasionally wore the fedora there, too. This time, when paired with Ole Anderson as the new Minnesota Wrecking Crew, Ole put his foot down.

"Ole told me, 'Andersons don't wear fedoras.' And that was that."

Ole made Arn ditch the fedora (although it popped up a time or two after that) and order the trademark maroon and gold striped boots that had been worn by Andersons going back to 1966 when Gene and Lars first wore them in Georgia. Those boots became the Anderson trademark, and had been worn by Gene and Ole ever since. While Arn didn't wear them all the time, he did often wear them teaming with Ole in 1985 and 1986.

Personally, I always loved Arn in the fedora. It just suited him well and was a common thread through his early career in his first three territories.

So at least one Anderson did wear a fedora. And in the great tradition of the Anderson family, that Anderson had one of the great tag-team careers in the history of wrestling.

Check out the complete timeline history of the Andersons in the book "Minnesota Wrecking Crew" available on

For more information visit the Minnesota Wrecking Crew page on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Two of the Greatest Ever

Former NWA world champions Ric Flair and Harley Race
What a great shot of two of the greatest champions to ever lace up the boots: Ric Flair and Harley Race.

The photo was taken today (Saturday 8/29) in advance of World League Wrestling's "Night of Champions" event in tonight in Troy, MO.

That's Harley's replica of the domed-globe version of the NWA world title belt, better known as the "Ten Pounds of Gold."

Weaver Cup Poster for 2015

Main Event Memory: A Local Boy Gets His Shot

"Headlining the schedule will be a tag team match pitting Burlington's Don Kernodle and Ric Flair against Greg Valentine and Roddy Piper."

A quick glance at the newspaper ad above and one might not think anything unusual about Don Kernodle teaming with Ric Flair in the early 1980s. Flair was the Mid-Atlantic territory's beloved top star at that time, on his way to be coming NWA world champion for the first time later that year.

However, Don Kernodle was still wrestling the circuit as a mid-card babyface, having been in that role for over seven years, and struggling to break out to the next level. That break would indeed come in early 1982 when Sgt. Slaughter selected him and Jim Nelson to become his Marine privates. Pvts. Nelson and Kernodle became one of the top tag teams in the territory with Sgt. Slaughter as their mentor, winning the Mid-Atlantic tag team championships. Kernodle later became the partner of Sarge himself, and the two had one of the biggest box-office feuds of the early 1980s with Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood.

But in March of 1981, Kernodle was still toiling away as a mid-carder, one of the top workers in the ring, but never getting the chance to get over at the next level. But on this one night in March in his hometown of Burlington, NC, Don got an opportunity to shine.

Jim Crockett Promotions ran semi-regular spot shows at Cummings High School in Burlington.  Kernodle had grown up in Burlington and was a four-year standout high school wrestler before going on to success as a wrestler for Elon College in the same town. He lettered in wrestling all four years at Elon, and also dabbled in Judo and arm wrestling where he was a 2-time national champion. So he was a well known local name in the area, plus he had been seen on Mid-Atlantic Wrestling television shows for years.

In March of 1981, Ric Flair was in the middle of a tag team feud with his two arch-rivals that had dubbed themselves "the dream team" - - Roddy Piper and Greg Valentine. Flair's regular partner during this run was Ricky Steamboat. So the normal main event for Burlington could have easily been Flair and Steamboat vs. Piper and Valentine, which was headlining major venues all over the territory.  But on this Thursday in March of 1981, booker Ole Anderson had the idea to take advantage of Don Kernodle's local name in the Burlington area and team him with Flair for one special night at the local high school spot show.

Needless to say, that angle worked well, drawing not only the hardcore fans, but also many in the community who knew the Kernodle family and turned out to support Don in what was surely the biggest match of his career by this point. Kernodle and Flair tore the house down and scored a big victory over the "dream team" of Piper and Valentine.

Less than a year later, in early 1982, Kernodle would finally get the push he longed for (and well deserved) when he turned heel and became part of Sgt. Slaughter's marine unit.

Republished on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway September 7, 2020.

* * * * * * * *
Newspaper clippings from the collection of Mark Eastridge.
Check out all the Main Event Memories on the Gateway.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Jim Crockett: Pioneer of Wrestling

The Crockett Foundation (


Throughout its history, beginning in 1948, Jim Crockett Promotions operated under brand names such as Championship Wrestling, Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling and World Wide Wrestling. Jim Crockett Promotions joined the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) in 1952 with a territory that covered the Carolinas and Virginia. By the late ‘70s, this small territory grew to include Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia, Ohio, New York and Canada. Jim Crockett Promotions eventually became better known as Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling which became their primary brand name.

One of the most successful early forms of television broadcasting in the 1940’s was professional wrestling..... >>>

(Read the entire article at The Crockett Foundation website.)

Heroes and Villains: Crockett TV Taping in 1986

Pro Wrestling's Heroes and Villains May Change But Show Remains Same 
by Steve Phillips, Salisbury Post
June 11, 1986

One hundred degrees and rising. The overhead television lights beam down from the rafters and render the air circulation system at Goodman Gymnasium virtually worthless.

At ringside, things are getting hotter. Referee Tommy Young has turned his back to admonish Robert Gibson of the Rock and Roll Express for attempting to enter the rang without mating a legal tag. 

Ric Flair and Arn Anderson know this is their chance. They've got an illegal doable-team going on Ricky Morton and they're having a field day. 

The crowd responds with an angry collective roar. 

Why doesn't Young turn around? How can any referee worth his salt allow two thugs like Flair and 
Anderson to flout wrestling's code of ethics?

By the time Young finally gets back to the business at hand, Flair and Anderson have brought Morton to his knees. But Flair has re turned to his corner, a picture of wide-eyed innocence. He answers Young's glare of suspicion with an exaggerated shrug.

* * * * *

NWA World Champion Ric Flair
Mid-Atlantic Championshsip Wrestling returned to Salisbury Tuesday night with the creme de la creme of the profession in attendance. Dusty Rhodes made the scene, Baby Doll in tow. Jim Cornette waved his tennis racket and screamed at the TV cameras. Magnum T.A. made the ladies swoon.  The Rock at Roll Express, clearly the crowd favorite, wrestled no less than three matches.

I had seats at ringside in Section B, courtesy of a friend who went after advance tickets the day they went on sale. He wasn't the only one. The Salisbury Jaycees reported that all 400 ringside seats ($10 apiece ) were gobbled up three weeks ago.

General admission seats ($8.00) went on sale at 5 o'clock Tuesday afternoon, 2 1/2 hours hours before the start of the first match. A line already stretched from the ticket window down the steps and onto an adjoining sidewalk.

"I must have gotten 100 calls at work and 30 more at home about this thing," said WSTP radio announcer and Jaycee Doug Rice. The Catawba Sports Information office also fielded a number of calls even though the college had no official connection with the event.

Pro wrestling keeps packing 'em in, and will continue to do so as long as the forces of good and evil tug at one another. The names eventually change (although many of the assorted heroes and villains hang around for eternity) but the show remains the same.

And as long as pro wrestling endures, so will the Great Debate. But the lines are clearly drawn on each side and one is better off arguing ACC basketball, politics, or the relative merits of liquor by the drink.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Asking For More

by Wayne Brower

Another opportunity to attend wrestling matches in Lexington occurred during the spring of 1965.  Since my school grades and steadily worsening teenage behavior were not yet to a level that would prohibit extra-curricular entertainment, my cousin and I had plotted various ways for her parents to take us to a return engagement at the YMCA arena.  We found them willing to do so since they continued to be fans, and Channel 3 and Channel 8 television wrestling shows kept everyone up to date on storylines and matches in the viewing area.  This was a great time for the region as a rotation of top grapplers worked interesting feuds that continued until a definite conclusion.  You could actually miss a week and still know what was going on.

George "Two Ton" Harris
Before we departed to attend the Blue Collar Ballet, I confided to my cousin that I now preferred the heel characters over the increasingly wimpy babyfaces.  To my pleasure she admitted liking Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson, and also thought Two Ton Harris was funny.  Rip and Swede were my favorites, so we had a lengthy conversation about how enlightened we were in comparison to the typical wrestling fans.

Upon our arrival at the YMCA a large crowd was gathering at the entrance.  As creatures of habit we bought general admission tickets and sat in the same area as before.  I even recognized some people in the section that had been at previous events.  There were also new fans, especially one nearby group that I was sure were the Darlins from the Andy Griffith Show.  The overall action and activities were similar to those at other wrestling cards:  people in outlandish costumes, performing bizarre acts that were highlighted with boisterous behaviors – and all this was before any of the wrestlers appeared.

The crowd broke into sustained applause and cheers as Charlie Harville walked to the ring.  In addition to hosting WGHP-TV sports and wrestling shows, Charlie was often the ring announcer at wrestling events throughout the area.   As he picked up the microphone, on cue rang the bell…DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING. “Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Lexington YMCA for the best in professional wrestling from Jim Crockett Promotions…our first event of the evening… one fall with a twenty minute time limit…entering the ring…from Concord, North Carolina…Ken Yates.”  Yates got a good pop from the audience which he acknowledged with a nice wave and nod of the head.  “And his opponent, from…” BOOOOOOO!  The fans’ displeasure was so loud you could barely hear the remaining portion of the introduction - “Jack ‘The Neck’ Vansky…Jack Vansky, ladies and gentlemen.”

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Schiavone: "There Was No One Like Bob Caudle"

A fan asked Tony on Twitter if Lance Russell or Gordon Solie were some of his favorite wrestling announcers. Tony set the record straight.

"Stone Cold" Steve Austin on WOOOOO! Nation

Ric Flair and Conrad Thompson on WOOOOO! Nation

Fellow Hall-of-Famer the one and only "Stone Cold" Steve Austin is the guest this week on the 17th episode of WOOOO! Nation!

This one is a "MUST HEAR" for old Mid-Atlantic Wrestling fans. Great stories about the 1970s and 1980s.

From the WOOOO! Nation website:
Ric and Conrad caught up with Steve Austin in New York City. Two of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time tell amazing stories that you can't miss. Put this instant classic in the Hall Of Fame!

Add a little Flair to your life by joining the Nature Boy every week as he talks pro wrestling, sports, tells stories like only he can, and interviews his celebrity friends. No topic is off limits for Flair during his weekly CBS podcast. Come join WOOOOO! Nation!

Ric Flair and Conrad Thompson are on "WOOOOO! Nation" right now! Check it out via iTunes or directly download from the WOOOOO! Nation page at the PLAY.IT website.

Would You Buy a Used Car from This Man?

"Pride of the Carolinas" Don Kernodle
One half of the NWA World Tag Team Champions in 1982-1983 

In 1981, Don Kernodle was selling used cars in addition to a full schedule working for Jim Crockett Promotions. One of the cars he listed in this ad in the Burlington (NC) Times-News was a 1973 Cadillac coupe owned by Blackjack Mulligan!

The first vehicle in the ad reads: "CADILLAC COUPE, 1973. Excellent condition. Owned by Blackjack Mulligan. $1695."

1981 Newspaper Ad - Burlington Times-News

Don was still about a year away from his big push that began as a tag team with Jim Nelson as Sgt. Slaughter's Marine privates, and then as Sarge's partner in a huge box office program with Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood over the NWA world tag team championships.

Thanks as always to Mark Eastridge for the great vintage newspaper clippings from his vast collection.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Old Ballgame

David Crockett

"Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack..."

Mike Cline posted some photos from a charity softball game between Jim Crockett Promotions and WSOC radio in 1987.

They include shots of The Rock and Roll Express, the Garvins, and others.

Check out his post "Back to the Ballpark" on his "Mid-Atlantic Grapplin' Greats" blog.

A Star is Born

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling (June 18, 1977)

A star is born. And with it, wrestling's greatest rivalry takes flight.

by David Chappell

On an episode of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling that aired around the area on June 11, 1977, Flair once again confronted Steamboat while he was being interviewed. This time Steamboat reacted physically, hitting Ric with a thrust to the head. Flair hit the floor, and according to those at ringside, was "knocked out cold." Flair returned at the end of the program, incensed, demanding a television match with Steamboat and putting up his Mid-Atlantic TV Title. Steamboat immediately accepted, and the match that forever changed the wrestling world was set for the next week, airing around the area on June 18, 1977. 

The match between Flair and Steamboat, while historic looking back, was not one that many people gave Steamboat much of a chance of winning. Greg Valentine provided commentary for the match, and told all that were watching that Steamboat was hopelessly overmatched. But as the match wore on, it became clear that this was not going to be a cakewalk for Ric Flair. Ultimately, Steamboat caught Flair with a double thrust off of the top rope and caught Ric for a quick pin! The crowd in the WRAL studios was delirious, and even a post match attack on Steamboat by Flair and Valentine could not diminish what the youngster from Hawaii had accomplished. He was a champion after only a couple of months in the area, and had knocked off the biggest star in the promotion. But this would merely be the first battle in a VERY long war between these two combatants!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Main Event Memories: The Briscos Challenge Flair & Valentine

Greensboro Coliseum, Greensboro, North Carolina
February 26, 1978

There is no debating that Greensboro was the premier city in the Mid-Atlantic territory in the 1960s-1980s. One of the great things about Greensboro was that on a majority of the cards there, Jim Crockett Promotions brought in "outside talent" - that is, stars from other territories. While this occasionally took place in other big towns in the territory, too, it was the rule rather than the exception in Greensboro. One of the teams that would visit Greensboro on occasion was the brother combination of Jack and Jerry Brisco, who were primarily based in Florida.

In February 1978, Ric Flair and Greg Valentine were running roughshod over the territory as NWA world tag team champions. They primarily feuded with the Mid-Atlantic tag team champions Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat, many of those matches being "title-vs.-title" matches.

They also had some violent encounters with the unusual combination of Wahoo McDaniel and Ole Anderson. The Anderson Brothers had taken the world tag titles to Georgia in 1977, but the family feud between Ric Flair and his cousins had continued to boil. Flair and Valentine defeated Gene and Ole Anderson in October of 1977 to bring the world titles back to the Mid-Atlantic area.  In doing so, they also put Gene Anderson out of action for several months, and as a result, Ole Anderson had turned to a former foe that held mutual disdain for Flair and Valentine, that being the big Chief Wahoo McDaniel. The unlikely duo were huge fan favorites battling Flair and Valentine.

Jack and Jerry Brisco were a championship combination in the state of Florida and were the number one contenders for Flair and Valentine's world title in the Sunshine State. Jim Crockett was able to sign the huge title match between the two teams for Greensboro, forcing the Briscos to leave their home area for the title shot, on February 26 at the Coliseum.

As was the standard practice at the time, the outside talent sent in a video-taped interview promoting their upcoming match. In this case, it was Championship Wrestling from Florida host Gordon Solie interviewing the Brisco brothers from the Sportatorium in Tampa, FL. The promo is introduced by Rich Landrum.

Jack and Jerry Brisco from Florida

"I'd like to thank Jimmy Crockett for this contract right here. If it hadn't been for the Crocketts, we wouldn't have this match. Flair and Valentine, you've done everything that you can to avoid us. We've chased you through Florida, St. Louis, California, everywhere - - just for a match. And finally, in Greensboro, North Caolina, we've got it, and we're going to walk out the champions." - Jerry Brisco

Flair and Valentine retained the championships with an impressive win over the Briscos that only further solidified their reputation as the top tag team in the world.

While the Briscos were not successful in this 1978 outing, they would eventually achieve their goal of winning the world tag team titles when they topped Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood for the honors in 1983. That feud led to one of the top main events at the first Starrcade later that November.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Blooper! Carl Jones?

Columbia, SC
February 5, 1980

We present another in our series of newspaper bloopers, but this one is from the results in the paper, and not the ad for the show.

This results clipping happily reports that Rufus R. Jones and CARL Jones were both disqualified for fighting outside the ring. Wait ..... Carl Jones?? Who the heck is Carl Jones? That semi-main event featured PAUL Jones vs. Rufus R. Jones, so when did CARL Jones show up? How do these mistakes happen?

And we've got another one in the same result:

In the tag team event just before intermission, WWF regulars Tony Garea and Pedro Morales defeated Dewey Robertson and Swede HAMPTON. Swede Hampton? Did the results writer have that coastal Virginia town on their mind when they wrote this? That, of course, should be longtime Mid-Atlantic Wrestling veteran Swede Hanson.

Plus, the usual mis-spellings that you can find in almost every newspaper ad or result from that era; this time it's Pedro MORLES for Morales. That one can be forgiven. You can understand how the copy guy in the news room late at night might not know how to spell Morales. But Carl Jones and Swede Hampton? That's nuts!

You also have RICK Flair which continues to occasionally pop up even today.

My new favorite wrestler: Carl Jones.

Remember the Norfolk VA blooper from a couple weeks ago for OLD Anderson? Check out the additional photo we added to that blooper page.

Check out all of our Newspaper Bloopers so far: The Blooper Directory. More to come!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Jimmy Snuka Remembers the U.S. Championship Belt

An Iconic Image from 1970s 
Mid-Atlantic Wrestling sends Jimmy Snuka down Memory Lane
by Dick Bourne

It is always a special moment when a connection is made with one of the “old timers," seeing them warmly react to something that was special from a time long ago when I loved wrestling so much.

Such was the case in Charlotte at a legends convention in 2010 when I asked "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka to have his photo made with my replica of the United States heavyweight championship belt he once held for Jim Crockett Promotions. Snuka was working his way through a long Saturday afternoon, signing autographs and taking photos with fans. He didn’t seem too particularly engaged by it. 

I walked around the table and handed him the belt and told him I didn’t want to be in the photo, I just wanted him to hold the belt.

When he looked down at it, his eyes lit up and a huge smile spread across his face.

“Bruddah!” he exclaimed, and looked at me, almost as if to wonder if this could somehow possibly be the actual belt he held all those many years ago. This replica did look that good. 

“Bruddah, this is old days! Good times!” he said with a huge grin on his face. He actually started holding the belt out for other fans to see it. “Me and the Nature Boy!” he exclaimed with a smile.

U.S. Champion Jimmy Snuka, 1980
“Yes," I said, "and you with Gene Anderson in 1980.” I was marking out at how excited he seemed.

“Yes! Yes!” he replied, looking back at the belt. “Mr. Gene Anderson, bruddah! Good times!

He posed for a photo, holding the belt in his left hand, making his trademark “superfly” sign with his right, a genuinely happy smile on his face.

It seemed for just a few moments he was taken back to a period of time that he had not thought about in many years. I’m guessing that most fans want to talk about the WWF with him, his feuds he had with Bob Backlund, Don Muraco, or Roddy Piper. But the sight of that distinctive looking center plate on the replica U.S. belt definitely connected with him and he seemed to be reflecting nostalgically back to his earlier days nearly three decades ago in “Anderson’s Army” and his red-hot feud with Ric Flair over this title in the Mid-Atlantic territory. 

After the photo was taken, he looked briefly at the belt again, smiled, and then handed it back to me.

“Very nice, bruddah," he said. "Very nice.”

From the book on Jim Crockett's United States Championship
Story originally published August 10, 2010
on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

The 2010 photo of Jimmy Snuka with the replica U.S. belt was taken by Peggy Lathan.
Want your own replica of this famous belt? Contact Dave Millican at

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Mid-Atlantic Footage in WWE Library from 1976

Bob Caudle with Gene and Ole Anderson on Mid-Atlantic Wrestling in 1976

Before seeing the image above on a WWE Roundtable show, we had believed that WWE's Crockett library only went back to fall of 1981. That's the time frame of the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling shows that the now-defunct WWE 24-7 Classics On Demand service began showing when the service launched over a decade ago.

I do not recall this exact show. It originally aired years ago. I believe it was one of the roundtable discussion shows on tag teams. But all of a sudden there was a brief (3-4 seconds) b-roll clip of Gene and Ole Anderson on the set of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" with host Bob Caudle that was clearly pre-1981.

There were two or three small indicators of this but the main one was the cast on Ole Anderson's left arm. That cast was the result of the May 1976 stabbing of Ole Anderson by a fan in Greenville, SC. Even after Ole's wounds on his arm and hand had healed, he continued to wear a cast in matches on into the early fall of 1976 before leaving the territory for Georgia. The cast is the definitive tell that this was from 1976.

The other less obvious indicators that this was years earlier than 1981 were: (a) Bob Caudle not wearing glasses, (b) the Andersons with the world tag team title belts which they held here in 1975 and 1976, and (c) the backdrop for  the TV show, which was changed in 1978.

So how do they have this clip if the Crockett library only goes back to 1981? Well, there is always the chance that the library contained some material pre-1981 that the Crocketts didn't record over, such as year end highlight shows, etc. But another possibility, and one perhaps more likely, is that this clip is from another territory's show, perhaps Florida. The Andersons would occasionally defend the titles outside of the Mid-Atlantic area, and promo tapes would be made and sent to the territories where they would appear. Perhaps this is one of those promos sent to Florida, where the library exists going back into the late 1960s or early 1970s.

Regardless, we were delighted to come across it because it was a great video image, short though it was, and it is one of our favorite Mid-Atlantic Wrestling years of them all. And it makes us wonder what else might be tucked away.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Almanac History - April 1980

David Chappell's
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History
April 1980

Stevens & Snuka Destroy Official NWA Film

The first Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show of the month of April, taped in Raleigh, North Carolina at the WRAL TV studios on April 2, 1980, had one of the most memorable segments in many years to lead off the program. The brand new NWA World Tag Team Champions, Greg Valentine and Ray Stevens, were introduced to the viewing audience. Then, former champs Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood came on the scene, and that’s when things got really interesting!

Steamboat and Youngblood possessed a film of the match where Stevens and Valentine defeated them for the World Tag Team belts, and asked announcers Bob Caudle and David Crockett to play the film for the fans during the TV show. Valentine and Stevens both went off on the prospect of the film being showed on television. Valentine said showing the film would “be an easy way out” for Steamboat and Youngblood, while Stevens called the tape “a Mickey mouse piece of film,” and that there was “no way that you’re going to show that to anybody.”

Announcer David Crockett made the mistake of trying to keep the film away from Greg Valentine, who proceeded to snatch it away from David and knock Crockett over the head with it! Then Stevens could be heard muttering, “Let me get my knife out of here.” Ray then sliced up the film with his knife until it was in a shredded heap, and clearly it was completely and utterly ruined.

At the end of the show, Steamboat and Youngblood said the tape would have shown “dirty” tactics by Valentine and Stevens, but they may not have even asked the NWA powers that be to review the film. David Crockett also apologized to Ricky and Jay for the fiasco, and promised to do what he could to help them get the belts back. Everyone agreed that it wasn’t Crockett’s fault, and that nobody could have anticipated Valentine yanking the film from him and knocking him to the floor!

Andre the Giant Visits the Area

The April 2nd Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling program and the World Wide Wrestling TV show of the same date also had a lengthy interview with none other than the “Eighth Wonder of The World,” Andre the Giant. Vincent K. McMahon conducted the remote interview. Andre would appear in the Mid-Atlantic area during the early part of the month, and big Blackjack Mulligan was the principal beneficiary of the Giant’s arrival, particularly in Mulligan’s feud with the Masked Superstars # 1 and #2.

On April 6th at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina, Andre and Blackjack Mulligan dominated the Superstars in route to a satisfying victory. The same outcome repeated itself in Greenville, South Carolina on April 7th and Columbia, South Carolina on April 8th, with Superstars #1 and #2 unable to handle the size and power of Blackjack and the Giant.

“Nature Boy” Ric Flair joined the festivities with Andre on April 6th at the Roanoke Civic Center in Roanoke, Virginia, teaming with the Giant and Mulligan to topple the formidable trio of the Superstars I and II along with “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka.  Andre’s stint in early April ended on April 11th at the Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia, where he toyed with the “Wildman” Jimmy Snuka.

Blackjack Mulligan's Issues with the Masked Superstars I & II

The Masked Superstars #1 and #2 thought they were pulling a fast one on big Blackjack Mulligan, but the masked men were the ones who ended up in big trouble! On the taping date of April 9th for the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV show, the Superstars came out taunting Mulligan and his injured hand, saying Blackjack couldn’t even crush the marshmallows they brought out with his hurt hand. The Superstars even got Blackjack to sign contracts against Superstar # 2, and if Mulligan lost those bouts he would agree to never wrestle again in those cities. Superstar #2 happily signed those contracts as well!

Blackjack shocked the Superstars by banging the cast off of his supposedly injured wrist on the TV desk, proclaiming he was 100% fit and ready to unmask Superstar #2 and expose his identity! The Superstars tried to pull back the signed contracts saying they had been suckered by Mulligan, but the masked men were stuck and the showdowns between Mulligan and Superstar # 2 were set.

Mulligan began getting his revenge against the Superstars later in the month, where he had contracts signed against Superstar #2, but with the added stipulation where Superstar # 1 would be locked in a small cage at ringside! While he could not interfere, Superstar # 1 got to see up close and firsthand the carnage Blackjack was heaping on his partner. On April 20th in Greensboro, April 25th in Richmond and on April 27th in Charlotte, Superstar #1 had to watch in horror from his cage as Blackjack Mulligan defeated Superstar #2 decisively in each of those bouts.

Almanac - Roster April 1980

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Roster - April 1980
Compiled by David Chappell for the Mid-Atlantic Gateway
(N) = newcomer to area  (D) = departure from area  (R) = returnee to area



Jim Brunzell
Ric Flair
Rufus R. Jones
Blackjack Mulligan
Ricky Steamboat
Jay Youngblood

Iron Sheik (N)
Jimmy Snuka
Ray Stevens
Superstar #1
Superstar #2
Greg Valentine



Matt Borne
Tony Garea
S.D. Jones
Rick McGraw
Pedro Morales (D)
Buzz Sawyer (N)
Johnny Weaver
Ox Baker
Brute Bernard
Swede Hanson
Gene Lewis
Dewey Robertson



Joe Furr
Abe Jacobs
Don Kernodle
Bob Marcus
Scott McGee (D)
Coco Samoa
Ronnie Sexton
Ron Ritchie (N)
John Condroy (N)
“Cowboy” Frankie Lane
Tony Russo 
Doug Somers
Billy Starr 

Andre the Giant
Paul Jones
Baron Von Raschke
Gene Anderson
Joyce Grable
Leilani Kai
Winona Littleheart
Judy Martin
Fabulous Moolah
Wendi Richter

Sonny Fargo
Stu Schwartz
Tommy Young

Bob Caudle
David Crockett
Rich Landrum

David Crockett
Rich Landrum


*Starting in February of 1979, wrestler introductions were no longer made from the ring, but instead were made from the announcer’s desk by hosts Bob Caudle and Rich Landrum.

1. Ric Flair (4)
2. Jim Brunzell (2)
3. Jimmy Snuka (1)
4. Blackjack Mulligan (3)
5. Superstar # 1 (5)
6. Iron Sheik (NR)
7. Ricky Steamboat (8)
8. Jay Youngblood (NR)
9. Greg Valentine (6)
10. Rufus R. Jones (7)

1. Ray Stevens and Greg Valentine (1)
2. Ricky Steamboat Jay Youngblood (2)
3. Superstars #1 and #2 (3)
4. Jimmy Snuka and the Iron Sheik (NR)
5. Matt Borne and Buzz Sawyer (NR)

Copyright © 2015 David Chappell • Mid-Atlantic Gateway

WLW Night of Champions: Race & Flair

Troy, MO - World League Wrestling, owned by professional wrestling legend and WWE Hall-of-Famer Harley Race, is pleased to announce one of the biggest events in the history of this company. On Saturday, August 29th, WLW and Harley Race are both pleased to present "Night Of Champions" to be held at the Troy Buchanan High School Gymnasium in Troy, Missouri. 

This event will feature talent from World League Wrestling, as well as around the world as this event will cap off the annual week-long training camp held at the Harley Race Wrestling Academy. This training opportunity has over 60 people attending from across the globe to learn from some of the best wrestlers and trainers today. Trainers include wrestlers from New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Naomichi Marufuji from Pro-Wrestling NOAH (sister company of WLW), Dr. Tom Prichard (former head-trainer of WWE developmental territory), and special guest Ric Flair. 

Night Of Champions will take place on Saturday, August 29th at the Troy Buchanan High School Gymnasium and will be featuring special guests Ric Flair together with Harley Race. On Thanksgiving night of 1983, these 2 superstars of professional wrestling headlined the first ever mega-event that was named Starrcade in Greensboro, NC. This legendary bout is revered as one of the greatest matches of all time. Now, these 2 re-unite in what will be a spectacular evening for the professional wrestling world. 

In addition to the legendary superstars attending this event, there will be 7 matches that will taking place. The main event will feature WLW Heavyweight Champion and son of Harley Race - Leland Race - taking on current NWA World's Jr. Heavyweight Champion Steve Anthony. These two wrestlers are at the peak of their condition, and both have promised a match that the fans will talk about for a long time.

In the semi-main event, the WLW Tag-Team Champions Elite Aggression - Superstar Steve and Dangerous Derek - will defend their titles against the Black Hand Warriors - Dave Delorean and Jayden Fenix. These 2 teams started their battle at the WLW event on June 30th when Superstar Steve cashed in his 2014 Harley Race Invitational Tournament trophy to under-handedly win the tag-team championships after the Black Hand Warriors had just battled to win them. Now, these 2 teams will meet in a re-match at WLW Night Of Champions. 

Another match that has been signed is for the WLW Ladies Championship. Current champion, Stacey O'Brien, has been on a lengthy reign as champion for some time now. However, former champion Miss Natural wants her title back and recently issued a challenge to see who the better Ladies Champion is by wrestling in a 2 of 3 falls match. This is a first here in WLW, and both ladies are gearing up for this upcoming match. 

Other wrestlers to appear are former WWE Tag-Team Champion Trevor Murdoch, Brian Breaker, Jon Webb, Kyle Roberts, and more! Tickets are on sale at for both the wrestling event, and the meet and greet with Harley Race and Ric Flair and start out as low as $15 for general admission. Information can be found at and on our social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. 

Sponsors for this event include Ultimate Fitness Plus, the Troy Chamber of Commerce, Tan Envy, Garden Gate Party Rentals, and Mike's Tech Spot.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

U.S. Champ Roddy Piper Returns to Portland (1983)

This is a very cool promo by Roddy Piper from 1983, taped in Charlotte and sent to Portland TV. Piper's home area before coming to the Mid-Atlantic territory was the Portland territory (Pacific Northwest) promoted by Don Owen.

When I was a kid, I always loved it when a wrestler would send in a video taped interview from another territory. It was like a brief peek into another area's TV show. You would see their set, their backdrop, etc. The best example for me was when Harley Race was NWA champion all those years. Whenever Race would come in, he would usually send in a video taped promo in advance. Sometimes a generic promo would air during the program itself, sometimes a promo specific to a certain town and date would be inserted into that town's local promo. Regardless, it was always cool to see where Harley was at that moment - sometimes it was Florida, other times it was Georgia or Dallas, or St. Louis. 

So I enjoyed seeing this video because this was a promo shot in the Mid-Atlantic studio at WPCQ-36 in Charlotte and sent to Portland. You can see part of the familiar Mid-Atlantic Wrestling set behind Piper as he promotes an upcoming shot at Ric Flair's NWA world championship back in his home area of Portland. Fans watching Portland TV got a chance to peek inside Mid-Atlantic Wrestling's TV. It was little things like this that made territory wrestling so much fun back in  the day.

You will notice Piper is holding the United States heavyweight title belt. It's a rare shot of Piper with that particular version of the U.S. belt because he only held it for two short weeks in April of 1983, during his almost year long feud with Greg Valentine that culminated Thanksgiving night at the very first Starrcade. 

The description on the YouTube video page says "This vintage footage comes from Portland Wrestling's April 9th, 1983 event in Portland, Oregon." That date doesn't line up with Piper's short run with this version of the belt which was from 4/16/83 - 5/1/83. More likely, the title event was in May, as Piper and Flair toured there together for a full week in May of 1983. Piper had two title shots during that Portland tour, in Portland and Seattle. Flair also defended the title that week against "Playboy" Buddy Rose and Billy Jack Haynes. 
I'm guessing the promo was taped during  one of two weekly promo taping sessions for JCP, either April 19-20 or April 26-27, and was sent to Don Owen for his TV show airing April 30 or May 7. If this promo did indeed air in Portland on 4/9/83, then Piper had the U.S. belt for this promo before actually winning it a week later in Greensboro, which is highly unlikely.

Here are the the Portland dates from results compiled by David Baker:

NWA Pacific Northwest:
05/08 Centralia, WA Rip Oliver & The Assassin beat Roddy Piper & Curt Hennig
05/09 Longview, WA Roddy Piper & Billy Jack Haynes beat Rip Oliver & The Assassin
05/10 Portland, OR Roddy Piper beat Ric Flair
05/11 Seattle, WA Ric Flair beat Roddy Piper by reversed decision
05/12 Salem, OR Roddy Piper beat Buddy Rose in a cage match
05/13 Eugene, OR Roddy Piper beat Buddy Rose
05/14 Portland, OR Roddy Piper & Billy Jack Haynes beat Ric Flair & Rip Oliver

Piper then left the Pacific Northwest for a three-week tour of Japan, and did not return to the Mid-Atlantic area until 6/18. While he was away, Ric Flair lost the NWA world title back to Harley Race in St. Louis on 6/10. Piper was actually on that St. Louis card, too, on his first wrestling stop back in the U.S. after the Japan tour.

Piper's absence from the Mid-Atlantic area was explained as a recuperation period from a serious ear injury at the hands of Greg Valentine when Valentine regained the U.S. title from Piper on 5/1 in Greensboro. Valentine had brutally pounded the ear and Piper was a bloody mess, and the absence was used to sell the injury. Valentine even dubbed it "The Year of the Ear", poking fun at Piper for months before their climatic feud ended with the famous dog-collar match at Starrcade 83 on Thanksgiving night.

On Piper's first night back in the territory, he teamed in Greenville, SC with none other than Ric Flair, who had just become a "good guy" again in his home area after losing the NWA title to Race.

- Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

PS - The Portland Wrestling YouTube channel has some awesome video, not only from their TV, in the 1980s but some great history features as well. The 5/14 TV match listed above featuring Flair and Rip Oliver vs. Piper and Billy Jack Haynes can be found on that channel.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

U.S. Wrestling Club: Roddy Piper


In 1981, Jim Crockett promotions developed a club for their fans and called it the "United States Wrestling Club." For a membership fee of $5.00 for one year, fans got the bi-monthly club newsletter "Ringside," a discounted subscription offer on "Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Magazine," discounts on tickets to local Mid-Atlantic Wrestling events, and discounts on concessions at those events. Despite being initially well received by fans, Crockett Promotions folded the club after only one year.

The 3rd 4-page issue of the short-lived "Ringside" newsletter arrived in the fall of 1981. The feature article was editor Steve Waid's interview with Roddy Piper about Piper's diverse hobbies. Roddy enjoys dirt biking, quick-draw, and (of course) the bagpipes!

The issue also included Club News, and enrollment form, and letters to the editor (included following the article on Roddy) and a word-jumble puzzle.

Roddy Piper – All Around Competitor

by Steve Waid

When Roddy Piper isn’t sweating and straining as a professional wrestler in any one of thousands of rings throughout the country, chances are you will find him alone, deep in the woods, making music.

It isn’t ordinary music, by the way.  None of this “lilting flute” or “harmonious guitar” stuff. As befits his Scottish heritage, Piper plays the bagpipes – and suffice it to say, he is very, very good.

“I’ve been playing the pipes since I was six years old and living in Glasgow, Scotland,” said Piper. “Right now, I like to go into the woods and play them without being disturbed. That’s when they sound nicest.”

“But I’ve been involved in some serious bagpipe competition and I’ve played in championship pipe bands. I was a member of the World Champion pipe band which won a competition on Toronto, Canada. The band was in the ‘Pro Class’, which is the highest classification.”

It’s not unusual that Piper would take up the pipes, since he is Scottish, but it seems unlikely he would stick with them throughout his many travels.

“I am a professional gypsy, or so it seems,” Piper said with a laugh.   “It’s hard to remember all the places I’ve been.”

To start, there’s Glasgow, Piper’s home. He left there when he was six years old and moved to Melbourne, Australia.  When he was nine, his family made the move to Canada.

“And I’ve lived in every Canadian province but one, and that’s Alberta,” Piper pointed out. “But I never lost my interest in the pipes, even when I started wrestling.”

Piper began his pro wrestling career on the West Coast, where he got a chance to win the America’s Heavyweight Championship several years ago.  “I won, too,” he said.

Before that, Piper’s interest in wrestling was kindled by his father, who was an accomplished amateur in Scotland.

“Back in Scotland, we had the Highland Games, with such events as the hammer toss, the caber pole (that long, heavy wooden pole) toss and wrestling,” Piper said. “We kids would get out there and tussle and later we’d wrestle catch-as-catch-can.”

“My father was a burly man and he did a lot of wrestling. He was always involved in the local championships and he won a lot of them, but he didn’t wrestle much beyond home. He set me in the right direction as far as wrestling goes.”

Today, Piper rules as one of the top wrestlers around and has even earned the United State Heavyweight Championship title. True to his gypsy image, he still travels a great deal.

“But I’ve got another hobby I like when I’m not traveling,” he said.  “And that’s fast-draw. Not art, but gun-slinging, like in the movies.  I had an old wrestling partner out in L.A. who was very much into it and he got me interested.”

“He was so good, he could draw his gun and fire before someone else holding a gun on him could get the cocked hammer down. I’m not that fast, but I enjoy it.”

Piper explained he uses a light-weight, balanced Colt .45 when he does his gun-slinging.  “I keep my eyes open for some good models and I’ve got a few nice ones.”

Piper also enjoys dirt-biking, which he learned from a Hollywood stuntman who would do tricks on a motorcycle.  “It’s fun to get out there and run all over the place, taking lumps and bumps”, Piper said.

Piper’s got quite an interesting set of hobbies – bagpipes, fast-draw and dirt biking.  “Well, I never said I did ordinary things,” he explained.

“Still, it is so hard to find the time to do any of them. I travel so much that I’m seldom at home. There are times when I’d like nothing better than to be able to go into the woods and play my pipes, but it’s hard.”

“It seems like I’m always fighting in the rings. So when I get a chance to  enjoy one of my hobbies, I do it to the fullest.”


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Ric Flair answers your questions on WOOOOO! Nation

Ric Flair and Conrad Thompson on WOOOOO! Nation
It's the 14th episode of WOOOO! Nation!

From the WOOOO! Nation website:
Ric is in Oregon for Roddy Piper's funeral but he was able to take a little time to call in and answer your questions! As usual, great stories and amazing memories from the Nature Boy.

Add a little Flair to your life by joining the Nature Boy every week as he talks pro wrestling, sports, tells stories like only he can, and interviews his celebrity friends. No topic is off limits for Flair during his weekly CBS podcast. Come join WOOOOO! Nation!

Ric Flair and Conrad Thompson are on "WOOOOO! Nation" right now! Check it out via iTunes or directly download from the WOOOOO! Nation page at the PLAY.IT website.

The Four Faces of Eadie


This was a pretty cool idea. It was an image sold at wrestling conventions a few years back. My best memory is that it was designed by the folks at "Pro-Wrestling Mid-Atlantic" in eastern Virginia. Bill signed it as each of his four personas.

Bill Eadie is one of the classiest guys you'll ever meet, in or out of the wrestling business. Over his long career wrestling all over the world, he wrestled as the four characters you see above.

Our favorite, of course, is the Masked Superstar, with an honorable mention to Bolo Mongol.

A salute to one of the all-time greats - - Bill Eadie!

(Thanks to Andy McDaniel for the scanned image.)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Studio Wrestling Updates

Here are links to some recent features on our Studio Wrestling blog:

Sound Bytes: Les Thatcher (1975)
Les runs down the list of current champions in the NWA, as well as issuing the weekly NWA sanctioning statement.

Championship Studio Wrestling (Chattanooga's Mid-America Wrestling)
A look with video and audio at some rare footage from "Championship Studio Wrestling", the Nick Gulas TV show that was taped in Chattanooga, TN. The clips feature announcer Harry Thornton, the voice of Mid-America Wrestling, as well as the closing theme music.

Sound Bytes: Ring Introduction by Elliot Murnick
Elliot Murnick introduces this tag team match: Paul Jones and Wahoo McDaniel vs. Doug Somers and Bill White. Includes the voice of Bob Caudle.

The Studio Wrestling blog is a part of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway and primarily looks at the studios and broadcasting talent from the Mid-Atlantic area, but we occasionally cover other areas as well.

Mooneyham: Roddy Piper

Rowdy Roddy Piper always knew how to make an exit
by Mike Mooneyham
Charleston Post & Courrier

Henry Marcus was pacing nervously through the dressing room at County Hall.

“Anyone seen Roddy Piper yet?” the veteran promoter asked a group of wrestlers huddled in the corner.

Glen Lane of Charleston was one of those grapplers on the show that night in 1983. He vividly recalls the sense of desperation that was mounting as bell time neared and one of his two main-event combatants was nowhere to be found.

Although Marcus was simply displaying the angst of a promoter who dreaded finding a last-minute replacement for his star attraction, the other wrestlers in the dressing room were confident that Piper would never let down a promoter or his audience.

But time was nearing for his “New York Street Fight” with Greg Valentine, recalls Lane, and the 15-minute intermission between semifinal and main event had already begun.

U.S. Champion Roddy Piper

United States Champion Roddy Piper

Still hurting over the news of the passing of Roddy Piper, I thought I would post a photo sent to us of Roddy with the United States championship belt.

Roddy turned the Mid-Atlantic territory on its head when he came here in 1980. He was a heel like we had never quite seen here. Of course, I think Piper had that effect everywhere he went.

His feud with Ric Flair over the title was white hot at the time, and the victory over Flair for the U.S. title would basically end Flair's run with the many regional and national championships over the previous 8 years in the Mid-Atlantic territory. Flair would go on to win the NWA world heavyweight title later that year and hold different versions of the world title over the next 18 years.

Piper was truly one of a kind, and is one of the most remembered legendary figures in the history of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling.

Rest in peace, Hot Rod.

"Showdown? You bet. And I ain't even saddled my pony yet."  -  Roddy Piper

Photo submitted by Chris Owens / Photo attribution pending.
According to information we received from Steve Davies via Facebook, this photo of Roddy was taken at Hopewell High School before a match with Ricky Steamboat. 

More: Remembering Roddy Piper

Look for the United States Wrestling Club's feature on Roddy Piper coming Thursday.