Friday, February 10, 2017

Charlotte's C. J. Underwood

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

I recently came across a nice memorial to Charlotte news personality C.J. Underwood on the BT Memories website (link at the bottom of this post), a website devoted to memories and memorabilia from WBTV-TV and WBT radio in Charlotte over the years. It got me to thinking about the one time I had a brush with C. J. as a teenager going to matches at the old Charlotte Coliseum

C.J. was the longtime ring announcer at the Charlotte Coliseum in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was very friendly with fans at the shows. Once between matches, I walked up to ringside and asked him for his autograph. He had just stepped back into the ring, but he took a moment and got down on one knee and signed the table of contents page of my copy of "Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Magazine."

"Are you having a good time tonight?" he asked as he signed his name.

He had a great smile and was a favorite local personality on the Charlotte TV airwaves. For many years he hosted a segment on WBTV news called "Carolina Camera" which was a human interest piece in the tradition of "On The Road" with Charles Kuralt.

In early September 1981, following a big labor day show at the Charlotte Coliseum, and only weeks before Ric Flair would win the NWA World Heavyweight championship, Underwood did a "Carolina Camera" profile on the "Nature Boy" that was one of his most popular segments ever. (Video embedded below.)

The segment is included below, and includes footage from a show at the Charlotte Coliseum earlier that summer featuring Flair against Roddy Piper is 'Texas street fight." Plus, you'll also get a glimpse of future wife Beth and his son David, who was only 2 years old at the time. 

Check out this fond farewell to C.J. from his good friend and fellow WBTV alumni Bill Ballard on the BT Memories website:  First Person | C. J.'s Last Days (BT Memories / Bill Ballard)

Republished February of 2023 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.