Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Mick Mixon has to be a Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Fan

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Driving home after a big family gathering in western North Carolina the Sunday before Christmas, I was listening to the Carolina Panthers vs. New York Giants NFL football game on the radio. The Panthers' excellent play-by-play broadcaster is a fellow by the name of Mick Mixon.

Mick Mixon

I have enjoyed Mick Mixon as a broadcaster going back to his days calling ACC basketball tournament games on the radio for the Tar Heel Sports Network. During the regular season, Mixon was the color commentator along side legendary play-by-play broadcaster Woody Durham, but during the ACC tournament he would alternate play-by-play duties with Durham to help share the burden of calling as many as 11 games over the four day period. To my ear, Mixon was even better than Durham (yes, I know, sacrilege to UNC fans.)

In 2005, Mick left the Tar Heels to become the radio play-by-play voice for the NFL's Carolina Panthers.

I've always loved listening to sports on the radio going back to my childhood, and appreciate the great calls and voices on the radio. Mick Mixon is one of those great voices. I'd almost rather listen to Mick and sidekick Eugene Robinson call the game on radio than watch it on TV, such a great picture they paint with their words and enthusiasm. But my appreciation of Mick Mixon reached new heights when I heard him make a special call of the game-long brawl that broke out between Giants' receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. and Panthers' cornerback Josh Norman during that December 20th Giants/Panthers game.

During one of the crazy body-slamming first-quarter skirmishes between the two players, Mixon said uttered these words:
"My goodness, it's like Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling out there!"
I nearly drove off I-40 into a ditch!

You can listen to the audio clip from the radio broadcast here (2 min):

The phrase "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" hasn't been used or heard much since it disappeared from the general public airwaves in 1986, except for places like this website, of course. There are a lot of mainstream broadcasters who use wrestling metaphors, or reference pro-wrestling by name, but they usually invoke the name of the WWF.

The fact that Mixon actually said "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" meant that he personally remembered back to the glory days of Jim Crockett Promotions in the Carolinas and Virginia.

That was confirmed when Mixon followed up his Mid-Atlantic wrestling reference moments later by saying that if it kept up, they would just move Beckham and Norman's battle to the Cumberland County Memorial Arena and sell tickets!

That last reference clinched it for me: Mick Mixon just has to be an old Mid-Atlantic Wrestling fan. The famed Cumberland County Memorial Arena in Fayetteville, NC was a regular Monday night venue for Jim Crockett Promotions during the glory days of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling. The fact Mixon mentioned it directly in association with Mid-Atlantic Wrestling told me that he remembered those familiar weekly promos inserted into the "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" and "World Wide Wrestling" TV shows that promoted the upcoming matches -

"Let's take time for the this commercial message about the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling events coming up in your area."

Mick having gone to college in Chapel Hill in the late 1970s, I'm guessing he watched "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" at 11:30 PM on WRAL-5 TV out of Raleigh on many a Saturday night.

So as the New Year rolls around, we raise a glass to toast broadcaster Mick Mixon for doing his part in keeping the memories of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling alive.

Salute, Mick!

Listen to Mick Mixon and Eugene Robinson call the the NFL Carolina Panthers broadcasts along with extensive game day programming, Panthers Updates, Panther Talk and much more on the Carolina Panthers Radio Network.