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.