Friday, June 30, 2017

Friday Night Wrestling in Richmond: A Lasting Legacy

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway 

(Originally written for the program for the Richmond Wrestle Expo event which was cancelled and never took place.) 

It is fitting that the inaugural Mid-Atlantic Wrestle Expo 2017 begins on a Friday evening, as Friday nights defined professional wrestling in Virginia’s capital city for several generations of grappling fans. It is impossible to quantify the level of excitement that the stars of Jim Crockett Promotions provided to wrestling fans in Richmond and vicinity over nearly a half century.

In the early days Bill Lewis and later Jim Crockett, Sr. promoted wrestling cards that ran at the Virginia State Fairgrounds at Strawberry Hill, which in its earliest years was called the Atlantic Rural Exposition Grounds. From the infancy of the television age until March of 1974, the Fairgrounds served as the principal host for wrestling in Richmond.

Richmond Arena

In the spring of 1974, the aging Richmond Arena and the brand spanking new Richmond Coliseum took over the hosting roles for professional wrestling in Richmond. By the spring of 1977, the dimly lit Arena with its 5,000 seat capacity ceased being used regularly and the cavernous Coliseum, with more than double the Arena’s seating capacity, would then almost exclusively host Richmond’s cards every other week for the rest of the Crockett era.

The Richmond Fairgrounds venue was a venerable “smoke filled room,” often stretched to the seams to house all the spectators that wanted to see the stars of All-Star Wrestling that they watched week-to-week on the South’s first television station, WTVR TV Channel 6.

For many of its early years, the Crockett territory featured some of the greatest tag team wrestling seen anywhere in the world and the Richmond Fairgrounds was a showcase for it. In the early 1950s George and Bobby Becker topped the cards, giving way later in the ‘50s to the “Flying Scotts,” George and Sandy Scott. But it was the 1960s into the early 1970s that saw the heyday for Crockett tag teams, where Fridays at the Fairgrounds featured such legendary performers as George Becker and Johnny Weaver, Paul Jones and Nelson Royal, Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson and Brute Bernard and Skull Murphy battling each other in two-out-of-three-falls bouts that whipped the crowds into a frenzy.

Those frenzied Friday night crowds regrettably gave the Richmond Fairgrounds a place in wrestling history that it would probably rather not claim. On Friday night February 11, 1966, Boris “The Great” Malenko and Bob Orton, Sr. were seriously injured after a riot broke out after the conclusion of a heated match against the beloved team of George and Sandy Scott. As bad as the incident was, it showed just how incredibly powerful the wrestlers played their respective good versus evil roles to engender such raw emotions in the spectators.

Richmond Coliseum
(Photo by Dick Bourne)

In the early 1970s, All-Star Wrestling became known as Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, and Jim Crockett, Jr. headed up operations of the family owned company. By this time, Joe Murnick along with his sons Carl and Elliot were the primary local promoters for Richmond and vicinity. During this same time frame, Richmond’s own Rich Landrum was doing the ring announcing at the Richmond venues, and would soon parlay that role into a position as lead announcer on Crockett’s popular Worldwide Wrestling television show during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling caught fire in the mid 1970s, and was arguably the top territory in professional wrestling over the next ten years until Jim Crockett Promotions gradually ceased operating as the Mid-Atlantic territory as it attempted to become more national in scope. During this period, the Richmond Coliseum ran mega cards with huge crowds and featured many historically significant matches.

During that red-hot time frame, the Richmond Coliseum was home to multiple switches of the Mid-Atlantic territory’s most important championship titles. Particularly noteworthy was Ric Flair dropping the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title to Wahoo McDaniel on December 27, 1976, effectively ending arguably the greatest feud in the history of the Mid-Atlantic area.

Fast forward ahead to July 29, 1977 in the Coliseum, where Flair aced his first United States Heavyweight Title, defeating the legendary Bobo Brazil in what was perhaps Richmond’s most historically significant match. And moving into the decade of the 1980s the Coliseum saw the triumphant return to the area of the “Minnesota Wrecking Crew,” Gene and Ole Anderson, as they defeated Paul Jones and the Masked Superstar for the NWA World Tag Team Titles, the same belts the Anderson Brothers had vigorously controlled several years earlier.

While Richmond, Virginia has continued to host professional wrestling events up to the present day, there was never a time where wrestling captured and held the public’s fascination like Friday nights during the Jim Crockett Promotions and Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling era. It was truly a golden age of wrestling that has now passed, but one that will never ever be forgotten in Richmond.

* * * * *

See also: A Brief History of Wrestling in the Mid-Atlantic Area

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

A Brief History of Wrestling in the Mid-Atlantic Area

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

(Originally written for the program for the Richmond Wrestle Expo event which was cancelled and never took place.)

Professional wrestling has been one of the most popular live events in Virginia and the Carolinas since the mid-1900s. Several key players were responsible for making pro wrestling an institution here, some familiar to fans, others perhaps not so familiar.

The company known for promoting wrestling in Richmond and across Virginia and the Carolinas for decades was Jim Crockett Promotions. Jim Crockett, Sr. started promoting wrestling in our area when he bought an old warehouse in Greensboro, NC, in December of 1933, named it the “Sportrena”, and held his first matches there. With that first card, the company that later grew to be known as Jim Crockett Promotions was born.

Crockett established his base of operations in Charlotte a year later in 1934, moving in on a chaotic promotional scene at that time. In 1939 he and successful Richmond promoter Bill Lewis bought out the interests of promoter Pete Moore who had been in partnership with Crockett for nearly 10 years going back to their days headquartered out of Bristol, VA. Moore’s promotional interests spanned the width and breadth of the area that we think of now as the Mid-Atlantic territory.  After buying Moore out, Lewis based his operations out of Richmond, and Crockett based his out of Charlotte. Together they brought top pro-wrestlers from around the country to the halls, armories, and small arenas throughout the Carolinas and Virginia.

Lewis passed away in 1961. Around that same time, Joe Murnick of Raleigh stepped in as Crockett’s main partner, forming C&M (Crockett and Murnick) Promotions. Over the years, Jim Crockett had many local promoters working for him within the various regions of the main territory including such men as Henry Marcus, Paul Winkhaus, and Pete Apostolou. These promoters coordinated the local promotion of Crockett’s wrestling events. However, it was Murnick who became Crockett’s largest partner and, along with his sons Elliot and Carl, were the men on the ground in Raleigh, eastern North Carolina and eastern Virginia. Richmond, Hampton and Norfolk became some of C&M Promotion’s biggest towns.

In April of 1973, Jim Crockett, Sr. passed away and his children took over the operations of the company, headed up by Jim Crockett, Jr.

The territory was always known within the business as the “Charlotte territory” because that is where the Crocketts were based. Fans simply knew it as “All-Star Wrestling” or “Championship Wrestling”. Around the time of Jim Sr.’s passing, the promotion began to brand its wrestling business as “Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling”, which also became the name of their television program. Prior to this time, television wrestling had been taped out of multiple locations each week including Charlotte, High Point, Roanoke, and Raleigh. In 1973, the company consolidated its weekly television production to one location - - the studios of WRAL in Raleigh, NC.

It was from that studio that the magic we saw unfold each week on our TV screens took place. In 1975, Crockett Promotions added a second program eventually known as “World Wide Wrestling” which was at one point hosted by Richmond’s own Rich Landrum, who also served as ring announcer for the live events in the Richmond area in the 1970s and early 1980s. Those two hours of television (which aired on WTVR channel 6 in Richmond) drove thousands of fans to the arenas each week and made the Mid-Atlantic territory one of the largest and most successful wrestling promotions in the country.

Richmond was thought of as one of the linchpins in the territory’s business. Friday night wrestling became a tradition there. Alongside Charlotte and Greensboro, it was one of the most important cities for Jim Crockett Promotions.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Mooneyham: Wrestling Promoter Elliott Murnick Carried On Rich Family Legacy

Wrestling promoter Elliott Murnick carried on rich family legacy
by Mike Mooneyham, Charleston Post & Courier
June 24, 2017

Excerpts from an article that memorializes the life of Elliot Murnick and also serves as a first class education in pro wrestling history in the Mid-Atlantic area:

Elliott Murnick, whose Mid-Atlantic Wrestling promotional roots dated back to the 1950s, passed away in his sleep Monday morning at his home in Raleigh. His age was listed as 75, but to those who knew him, Elliott seemed timeless.
. . . . . . 
David Crockett, 71, was a second-generation bookend to Elliott Murnick. Sons of powerful promoters who were business partners and friends going back to the ‘50s, the two continued their fathers’ legacy in the wrestling business. The team consisted of David, with brothers Jim Jr. and Jackie Crockett, and sister Frances Crockett Ringley, who was the first woman general manager of a professional baseball team (Charlotte Orioles). And Elliott and Carl Murnick, who took over after their father’s death and continued to be heavily involved with Crockett Promotions and some of that company’s biggest events.

>>>  Read the full article on the Charleston Post & Courier

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Win this great prize package from the guys at the "GO GET OVER" podcast.
GO GET OVER Prize Package Post
The "Go Get Over" Podcast is one of our personal favorites here at the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

You can win this special prize package over at the "Go Get Over" Facebook page. Simply click the link or image above to take you to their page and post. Then:

(1) LIKE their facebook page, and
(2) SHARE their post about the contest on your Facebook page.

That's all you have to do, and then you're automatically entered in the drawing for this prize package.

Chris and Joey host a fun podcast at each week with a look back at classic pro wrestling as well as wrestling today. Great guys, and a great podcast. Check them out!

And as Dusty Rhodes once told Arn Anderson when he first came to Jim Crockett Promotions in 1985 - - go get over!

Friday, June 23, 2017

"What Happened When" Four Horsemen Podcast Part 2 This Monday


This coming Monday, June 26, Tony Schiavone and Conrad Thompson will present PART 2 of their  FOUR HORSEMEN series on their popular "What Happened When" podcast on the MLW Radio Network.

The series also celebrates the new book "Four Horsemen: A Timeline History", which has been an Amazon #1 bestseller in wrestling books most of the time since it's launch back on June 5th.

Part 1 that debuted on 6/19 (available for streaming or download now) covered the origins of the Four Horsemen, the original version with Ole Anderson, and the Lex Luger version of 1987. They left off with Lex being kicked out of the Horsemen, which sets the stage for Barry Windham joining the group in 1988. This is the version of the Horsemen that most fans pick as technically the best, but that will be an interesting point of discussion. Tony has already declared he thought the Ole Anderson version was the best. James J. Dillon has echoed those sentiments. At various times Ric Flair and Arn Anderson have also said the same. Conrad hasn't declared yet, so that particular topic will be fun this Monday.

Join Tony and Conrad as they continue to explore the early years of the Four Horsemen from their inception in 1985 through the bitter end of the Horsemen in 1999. Conrad will use the book as a road map for all the important events and happenings along the way, and Tony will fill us all in on everything that was happening behind the scenes

The special Four Horsemen podcast series with Tony and Conrad continues this Monday, June 26 on the MLW Radio Network, iTunes, and from wherever you download your podcasts.

Tune in Monday to "What Happened When"!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Champ and The Chief Wrap Up 1974

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Johnny “The Champ” Valentine and “The Chief” Wahoo McDaniel had many memorable battles inside the ring while in Jim Crockett Promotions, but one of their most memorable exchanges for me didn’t involve fisticuffs, but was of the verbal variety. The two squared off during the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling 1974 year-end highlights show hosted by Sam Menacker, and the verbal sparks would fly!

With Wahoo and Valentine together in the empty TV studio in December of 1974, Menacker showed a clip of Valentine brutalizing the preliminary wrestler Tapu on TV several months earlier with Wahoo coming in the ring to aid the fallen Samoan grappler. The Chief caught the Champ with a suplex and left Valentine in an exceedingly rare posture…on his back, looking up at the television studio lights.

Wahoo couldn’t help but gloat a bit at the clip saying, “There’s your champion right there. Now that’s a championship position for Johnny Valentine…prone lookin’ at the lights. Now, does that look like a champion?” When Johnny didn’t immediately respond, the Chief continued to push the point. Wahoo asked, “What do you have to say about that Valentine, you see it? You’re not on the winning end now, what’s the matter…you lost for words?” Menacker joined in, “Yeah, you’re out cold there Valentine!”

A visibly upset Valentine fired back exclaiming, “You had no reason to come in that ring, you had no right in that ring and you attacked me from behind!” Wahoo countered, “I only came in the ring to save the boy and you hit me, and I just retaliated.” The Champ followed, “Well, it will be a different story when you’re face to face with me.”

Menaker, now trying to keep order noted, “Look, I’m not taking sides. Listen, the fact remains John, you saw what happened there. He came in there to try and help.” Johnny would have none of it saying, “Well, it wasn’t his concern. I wasn’t expecting anything and he was able to accomplish something that he wouldn’t have accomplished if I had been watching him, which I wasn’t. I wasn’t expecting to be suplexed by the man with my own suplex.”

The Chief dismissively answered, “You know, they should start calling Johnny Valentine ‘Alibi Jones.’ That’s when you can’t get it done. And all the time when he’s on the top he has wonderful things to say about himself, but when you’re laying down lookin’ up Valentine, it’s hard for you to find anything nice to say about yourself.” Johnny retorted, “Anyone can be hurt and upset when they’re not expecting something. I wasn’t expecting the suplex I will admit, and that suplex hurt because it was my favorite hold so it’s bound to hurt me too.” Wahoo countered, “That’s right, you should know that somebody else is gonna use it and if it does that much for you and somebody else should know the same hold and you should be able to guard against it.”

Wahoo McDaniel and Johnny Valentine had a feud for the ages.

The Champ was getting increasingly exasperated and fired back, “You can make sure that I’ll have guards up whenever I get in the ring with you; you’ll never suplex me again, that’s for sure!” McDaniel shot back, “I’ll tell you one thing, I know about three or four different type suplexes…little different from yours. But they’re all the same…you land right on your head!” A seething Valentine replied, “You just have no idea how deep I run; how deep my bag of tricks are! You don’t know how many tricks I have at the bottom of that bag; I’ll dig way to the bottom and I’ll have tricks you’ve never heard of!”

“I know you, and I’ve probably wrestled you more than anybody. You’ve beaten me and I’ve beaten you; you’ve hurt me and I’ve hurt you,” Wahoo commented. Valentine replied, “Yeah, but I’ve got stronger for it and you’re weaker…look at you! You look terrible!” Wahoo beginning to lose his composure shouted, “I’m in the greatest shape of my career!”

Trying to end the segment without the two grapplers coming to blows, Menacker implored the two legends, “Just try to relax a little bit gentlemen…we are showing some highlights of 1974 and I realize there’s a lot of animosity.” Johnny then gleefully poked at the Indian, “I want you to see some of the scars on his head…I put ‘em there!” Wahoo pounced on that and responded in kind, “Well, ask him about the broken fingers he got and look at them scars he got there…he wouldn’t win any beauty contests in Atlantic City either, I can tell you that!” Valentine edged closer to Wahoo smirking, “Well, you got some more comin’!” The Chief then pressed his nose to Valentine’s snarling, “I can hardly wait!”

As Menacker bid the fans goodbye and the segment went to commercial, I couldn’t help but wonder if the verbal sparring between the Champ and the Chief would lead to immediate blows during the break, or rather if they would save the physicality for inside the squared circle in the New Year of 1975. For two all-time greats that weren’t necessarily blessed with the gift of gab, this entertaining verbal exchange put a nice bow on the year of 1974. And you just knew that each would follow up these heated words with scorching action against the other in 1975!

Published again in "The Best of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway" January 6, 2020

Monday, June 19, 2017

Elliot Murnick Passes Away

Elliot Murnick (Facebook)
We are saddened to learn the news that Elliot Murnick, local promoter for Jim Crockett Promotions in the 1970s and 1980s, has passed away. He was 75 years old.

Elliot was one of two sons of the legendary Raleigh promoter Joe Murnick who had a long affiliation with the Crockett family and Jim Crockett Promotions. Elliot was an integral part of the family business, including promoting wrestling events in Raleigh, as well as Norfolk, Hampton, and Richmond, VA, and all points in between.

He was scheduled to appear recently at the Wrestle Expo event in Richmond, VA, but that event was cancelled. He had visited the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fanfest event in Charlotte, NC over the last several years.

In the late 1970s, he and his brother Carl were regular ring announcers at the Mid-Atlantic and World Wide Wrestling tapings at WRAL TV studios in Raleigh.

He is survived by his daughters, Anna Price and Abigail Jones.

A graveside service will be held 10:30am Friday, June 23, 2017 at the Raleigh Hebrew Cemetery, State Street, Raleigh, NC 27601. 

Our condolences go out to the family and friends of Elliot Murnick. Rest in peace.

Obituary / Information

Sunday, June 18, 2017

"What Happened When" Special Four Horsemen Podcast Drops This Monday

This coming Monday, June 19, Tony Schiavone and Conrad Thompson will present a special FOUR HORSEMEN episode of their popular "What Happened When" podcast on the MLW Radio Network.

The episode also celebrates the new book "Four Horsemen: A Timeline History", which has been an Amazon #1 bestseller in wrestling books most of the time since it's launch back on June 5th.

Join Tony and Conrad as they begin to explore the early years of the Four Horsemen from their inception in 1985. Conrad will use the book as a road map for all the important events and happenings along the way, and Tony will fill us all in on everything that was happening behind the scenes. Rumor has it we may be just getting started! 

The special Four Horsemen podcast with Tony and Conrad drops this Monday, June 19 on the MLW Radio Network, iTunes, and from wherever you download your podcasts.

Tune in Monday to "What Happened When"!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

First Annual Crockett Foundation Cup Tag Team Tournament Coming in July

Classic Pro Wrestling and the Crockett Foundation are teaming up to present the first annual Crockett Foundation Cup Tag Team Tournament in July.

The one-night tournament will take place on July 15 at the New Kent High School in New Kent, VA, and will feature some of the legendary tag teams from the days of Jim Crockett Promotions as well as some of the young talent of today.

Wrestling legends schedule to appear on the show (including a few who will be involved in the tournament) include Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson of the Rock & Roll Express, former NWA World champion Ronnie Garvin, Jimmy "The Boogie Man" Valiant, the "Powers of Pain" Warlord and Barbarian, the "New Fantastics" with Bobby Fulton, noted ring announcer Garry Michael Cappetta, and legendary referees Tommy Young, and Dave and Earl, the Hebner brothers.

Like the Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup tag team tournament in the 1980s, the Crockett Foundation Cup will honor the late Jim Crockett, Sr., the long time promoter of pro-wrestling in the Carolinas and Virginia going back to 1937. Crockett, Sr. passed away in April of 1973, and his four children took over the company at that point, led by Jim Crockett, Jr. and David Crockett. Both Jackie Crockett and Frances Crockett were also involved with the company, and Frances headed up the family's baseball business as well.

The tournament is being presented with the endorsement of the Crockett Foundation in Charlotte, the charitable organization headed up by Crockett's granddaughter Debbie Ringley. Debbie is the daughter of Frances Crockett Ringley.

The big show will include a meet and greet session with all the stars, scheduled to start at 6:00 PM, followed by the tag team tournament with a bell-time scheduled for 7:00 PM.


Also that afternoon, the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling podcast will present a Q&A Meet and Greet with former NWA World Heavyweight champion Ron Garvin from 4:30-5:30 PM, which will conclude before the Crockett Foundation Cup meet and greet at 6 PM. A separate ticket is required for this exclusive Q&A Meet and Greet event.

For more info, including advance ticket information, visit the following sites:

Crockett Foundation Cup:
Two Man Power trip Ron Garvin Q&A:

For more information on the Crockett Foundation visit
An Amazon #1 Best-Seller in Wrestling!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Interview with Conrad Thompson, Dick Bourne on "The Flagship"

Check out this two part interview with Conrad Thompson, host of two of the most popular wrestling podcasts "Something to Wrestle" with Bruce Prichard and "What Happened When" with Tony Schiavone. The interview appears both in print and online in "The Flagship", a military newspaper based in Norfolk, VA.

Part two of the interview also includes a brief interview with Dick Bourne about his new book "Four Horsemen", currently Amazon's #1 bestseller in wrestling books on that website.

Bruce Prichard and Conrad Thompson: podcast tag-team champs!!
Interview with Conrad Thompson 

Wrestling podcasts, websites and a four horsemen book 
Interview with Conrad Thompson and Dick Bourne

The Bruce Prichard and Tony Schiavone podcasts are part of the MLW Radio Network family of podcasts and can be heard through the MLW website, on iTunes, or anywhere you get your podcasts.

This Monday, June 19, Conrad and Tony will present the first of several episodes devoted exclusively to the Four Horsemen on "What Happened When." Be sure not to miss it! 

"Four Horsemen: A Timeline History" is available for purchase using your credit card or PayPal account right here on the Gateway in our online Book Store or on

Four Horsemen Book Updates


This coming Monday, June 19, Tony Schiavone and Conrad Thompson will present a special FOUR HORSEMEN episode of their popular "What Happened When" podcast on the MLW Radio Network.

The episode also celebrates the new book "Four Horsemen: A Timeline History", which has been an Amazon #1 bestseller in wrestling books since it's launch back on June 5th.

Join Tony and Conrad as they begin to explore the early years of the Four Horsemen from their inception in 1985. Conrad will use the book as a road map for all the important events and happenings along the way, and Tony will fill us all in on everything that was happening behind the scenes.

The Horsemen podcast drops this Monday, June 19 on the MLW Radio Network, iTunes, and wherever you get your podcasts. Tune in to "What Happened When"!


"Four Horsemen: A Timeline History" author Dick Bourne recently spoke with Mike Rickard at Canadian Bulldog's World about the Four Horsemen and wrestling factions in general. Topics also include the Minnesota Wrecking Crew, James J. Dillon and the manager's role in a faction, favorite Horsemen moments and interviews, great opponents, comparisons with the nWo, and who would make good versions of the Horsemen today.

Check out the interview with the Mid-Atlantic Gateway's Dick Bourne on Canadian Bulldog World's website.


Thanks to everyone who helped make "Four Horsemen" a number one bestseller in the wrestling category on for nearly two weeks. Not bad for an independently published book without a marketing department!

We just got knocked to #2 this morning by the WWE's NXT book, but might bounce back before the day is out, you never know.

Thanks to everyone who has bought the book and to those who have been so supportive of the book on their podcasts recently, especially Conrad Thompson and Tony Schiavone at "What Happened When" and Chad and John at the "Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling."

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Cyclone Negro Faces The Fury

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

One of the stranger segments ever on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television occurred in the WRAL TV studios in Raleigh on June 28, 1978. As announcers Bob Caudle and David Crockett were running down the show’s card, a person in street clothes wedged his way onto the set.

Cyclone Negro (Pinterest)
The unknown gentleman nervously said, “Excuse me Mr. Crockett, my name is Ed Fury, I’m new around here. I’ve been watching this Cyclone Negro. I’ve been trying to get in the NWA for a long time and I think I can beat this Cyclone Negro if I’m just given a chance. I mean, I don’t like this guy at all; I can beat this guy. If I’m just given a chance, I’ll get rid of him for you!”

Incredulously, Crockett responded, “Well Ed, I’ve heard about you…have not seen you wrestle. You have a very good reputation as a professional wrestler and if you want a match I’m sure we can arrange a match.” The awkward exchanged continued with Fury exclaiming, “I’ll take him anywhere, it doesn’t matter…on TV, anywhere. I want him; I want the guy…I’ll get rid of the guy for you. I want him; I want Cyclone Negro.”

Crockett countered, “Well, if you want him bad enough, why don’t you wrestle him here next week?” With his voice cracking, Fury answered, “Anywhere, it doesn’t matter; I want the guy. It doesn’t matter where I get him…I can’t stand this guy!”

While not following up on why Fury despised Negro so much, Crockett did say, “I know the fans would like to see how good you are, and you picked a tough customer in Cyclone Negro.” Fury acknowledged, “He’s tough, I know he’s tough…he’s one of the best in the world but I still want this guy. I’ve got to make my reputation some kind of way and why not start with Cyclone Negro, I don’t like him anyway.”

When Caudle applauded that this bout would be on TV for all to see Fury agreed and said with his voice rising, “Let everybody see it; I’m gonna beat the guy. I don’t care, I want the guy no matter where I get him…I want him!” Crockett then moved to shut down the uncomfortable segment saying, “All right Ed, next week right here on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, you’ll have your chance.” Fury responded, “Thank you, I appreciate it.”

Caudle then seemed to almost joke, “Okay, he’s gonna get rid of him for us David! I’m ready and I know the fans are ready and you’re ready.” Crockett answered, “I hope he does.” Caudle then said, “I do too.”

The normally stoic Caudle again seemed to poke at Fury’s surprising TV challenge when Negro and Patera were in the interview area later in the show. Caudle quipped, “All right Ken, and I think we might just quickly make a comment…a young man Ed Fury came by and said he was gonna get rid of this one for us!” Patera laughed it off by countering, “Yeah, he’s an idiot just like the rest of these goofs making these silly challenges; he’ll wind up in the garbage heap like the rest of ‘em.”

In many respects, Patera turned out to be a prophet of sorts as the next week on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV would be remembered for Blackjack Mulligan divulging the contents of Ric Flair’s personal items in the van the two previously owned and not the Cyclone Negro/Ed Fury challenge match. Negro, the U.S. Brass Knucks Champion with manager the Missouri Mauler in tow, who was tabbed the “Brown Bomber” by his crafty mentor, demolished Fury in the televised bout and thoroughly exposed the youngster from Greenville, North Carolina as a pretender rather than a contender.

Fury wrestled throughout the remainder of 1978 in the Mid-Atlantic area as a preliminary wrestler, often appearing on opening matches of cards, and let’s be charitable and say his wins were few and far between. Negro had a short but effective run in Jim Crockett Promotions during part of 1978, occasionally wrestling in main event matches. Negro’s piledriver and knockout punch were truly weapons to be feared. It still remains a mystery why Ed Fury was brought out on TV to publically challenge the “Brown Bomber,” as it was abundantly clear that the only one unleashing the fury between these two would be Cyclone Negro.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

"What Happened When" Four Horsemen Episode Monday 6/19

This coming Monday, June 19, Tony Schiavone and Conrad Thompson will present a special FOUR HORSEMEN episode of their popular "What Happened When" podcast on the MLW Radio Network.

The episode also celebrates the new book "Four Horsemen: A Timeline History", which has been an Amazon #1 bestseller in wrestling books since it's launch back on June 5th.

http://WHW.midatlanticgateway.comJoin Tony and Conrad as they discuss all things related to the Four Horsemen from their inception as a group in 1985 in Jim Crockett Promotions to their demise in WCW in 1999. Conrad will use the book as a road map for all the important events and happenings along the way, and Tony will fill us all in on everything that was happening behind the scenes.

Tony Schiavone was there holding the microphone on Briarbend Drive in Charlotte, NC, when Arn Anderson coined the phrase "four horsemen" as it related to the group. And he was heading up the broadcast team on Monday Nitro on TNT when the Horsemen fell apart. He saw it all in the 13-plus years in between and he will share it all with the loyal listeners of one of the most popular and successful pro wrestling podcasts today.

The Horsemen podcast drops this Monday, June 19 on the MLW Radio Network, iTunes, and wherever you get your podcasts. Tune in to "What Happened When"!

And buy your copy of the book now at

Monday, June 12, 2017


Sonny King sets to Battle The Super Destroyer in Richmond

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

As short as the word “if” is, it can carry meaning and significance in a very large way. “If” was used in such a meaningful way by the masked Super Destroyer in a memorable local promo leading up to a match at the Richmond Arena on May 23, 1975 against top challenger Sonny King.

By this juncture, the Destroyer and King were entering the climactic stages of their feud that had been going off and on for nearly a year after the Destroyer collected a $7,500 bounty on King’s brother, Bearcat Wright.

The imposing masked man told announcer Les Thatcher, “Mr. Sonny King, all you can think about is going in the ring and at the opportune time when you think myself the Super Destroyer, or some other opponent, you have him beaten or he’s half beaten, then you put the so called finishing touches on. Well Mr. Sonny King, it proves one thing, that in Richmond I have given you a chance in the past. And now it’s the future and it’s too late for you Sonny King because you’ve already missed your chance Sonny King and I really feel sorry for you. Very soon now…very, very soon after next week in the Richmond Arena you will be joining your brother. Because you’ve got to remember one thing Sonny, the bounty hunter is still here, the Super Destroyer!”

The Destroyer continued, “Through the generosity of the Super Destroyer, I’m going to give you another chance, and that is IF you can go in the ring, IF you can beat the Super Destroyer and IF you can take the mask off…but you don’t have to do it because IF, the big possibility that you won’t do it Sonny King. But nevertheless, IF you do it I will stand in the center of the ring as the gentleman I am, and with my head down with the mask in one hand, but that’s a big IF for you Sonny King, because you are on a losing streak.”

Sonny King responded to the masked Destroyer when he got his turn at the mic telling Thatcher, “Yes Les, like I heard the guy out here and I heard exactly what he said about all these ‘ifs’ you know, but then Les I want to tell you something…there’s no IF in Sonny King’s mind. He’s not gonna stand in the center of the ring and take the mask off, I’m not gonna take it off, but when the people come to put him on the stretcher to take him to the hospital in order to get the oxygen mask on, they’re gonna have to take the mask off! Can you dig it? So Les, I wanna say this to the people in Richmond…like you’ve seen Sonny King before, and you’ve seen me, I’ve come to Richmond pretty mad. Well Les, like I’m gonna do just the opposite because this is precisely what the Destroyer wants. He figures if he gets to me mentally he’s gonna do it physically. Les, I proved to him on TV, he hurt me Les…I got up and trained and I’m coming back and I’m healthy and I want to say to the Destroyer that I’m ready for you daddy!”

In this Richmond Arena battle of the ‘ifs,’ the Super D. would defeat Sonny King in a fiery bout that helped ignite the fire for another month of intense contests between these two in fence matches, boxing matches, lumberjack matches and no disqualification matches. As soon as this brutal series of clashes ended, King immediately left the Mid-Atlantic area with the Destroyer leaving right behind him several weeks later. Neither ever returned to Jim Crockett Promotions. One has to wonder IF one had anything to do with the other? Alas, that tiny little word “if” doesn’t always supply us with readily apparent answers.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Mooneyham: Pro Wrestling Great Harley Race Facing Uphill Battle

Pro wrestling great Harley Race facing uphill battle
by Mike Mooneyham, Charleston Post & Courier
June 10, 2017

He is widely known as “The Greatest Wrestler on God’s Green Earth.” While that point might elicit some debate among pro wrestling scholars, there’s little argument that Harley Race truly is one of the toughest men to ever grace the squared circle.

And he’ll need every ounce of that legendary toughness to overcome his latest setback.

The 74-year-old Race recently broke both legs in a fall at his home in Troy, Missouri. His left leg was shattered in several places, including the fibula and tibia along with a spiral break of the left ankle, and he needed four blood transfusions during emergency surgery. Not so surprisingly, Race had to be convinced to go to a local hospital.

After all, the eight-time NWA world champion has survived his share of injuries over the years, including hip and knee replacements, multiple abdominal surgeries and vertebrae fused together, and a metal rod for a forearm.     .....

>> Read entire article on the Charleston Post & Courier website. A Behind the Scenes Look at the Wrestling Magazines We Loved

Don't miss this outstanding behind the scenes article on those wonderful newsstand magazines we all read as kids. It covers the demise of the wrestling magazine business, but ignores the role of the "sheets" in that process. Despite that one drawback, it's one of the most fascinating articles written about the magazines.

* * * * * * 

It's All True!
Weston Magazines and Wrestling's "Creative Journalism"

by Jon Langmead on

Why Interview a Fake Person?

As long as they stayed within the current storyline that the wrestler was involved in and didn’t invent anything that the wrestler might not really say, anything went. “I’ve been asked that question about making up quotes,” says Rosenbaum, “and people say it’s horrible and I say, no, it’s not. I’m interviewing Ric Flair the character, not Ric Flair the person, okay? So if I know who Ric Flair the character is and the way he speaks and what [promoters] might be doing with Ric Flair the character, what’s the difference between me making up the quote and speaking to Ric Flair the character directly? Why would I want to interview a fake person? It would be like saying, ‘Go interview some character on a TV show.’ What does that mean?”  ....

>> Read the full article on the website.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Saturday TV: World Championship Wrestling 1-4-86

This is one of my all-time favorite episodes of "World Championship Wrestling" from 1/4/86 and features the Four Horsemen reeling after Dusty Rhodes and the Road Warriors break the leg of Ole Anderson on New Year's Night in Atlanta's Omni. The Horsemen, who were really just coming to be known under that moniker, would be without Ole until his dramatic return later that June.

The program features some outstanding promos, including the famous (and hilarious) interview where Ric Flair winds up in the floor of the studio demonstrating what it would be like for Baby Doll if she ever rode Space Mountain.

The show also spotlights a major development for the Horsemen, as James J. Dillon becomes the Executive Director of Tully Blanchard Enterprises and soon after the de facto leader of the Four Horsemen.

The show also features a rare appearance by former NWA World champion and reigning Missouri State Champion Harley Race.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Ric Flair at Pinnacle of Career (Wilson Times, 1979)

Ric Flair at Pinnacle of Career 
The Wilson Daily Times – September 25, 1979
by Stan Ridgley

“What do you want?”

The gruff voice belonged to a heavy-set, dark-skinned fellow sitting on a bench in the dressing room. He laced up his boots as he called across the room.

“Hey Ric, the newsman’s here to see you.”

A push of the door revealed three more muscular types sitting around – all lacing up boots, all of them scarred. There was Ric in the corner.

U.S. Champion Ric Flair
(Photograph by Peggy Lathan)
His hair is white, just like the publicity posters that show him dressed in shimmering white robe with his head uplifted. But his face is pitted and creased, not smoothed by the makeup used for television lights.

“Hey,” he said in a throaty voice “Catch me at intermission. You’ll have about 15 minutes.”

The place was Fleming Stadium, September 20. The dressing room is the one used by Atlantic Christian College and high school baseball teams.  This night it held such wrestling notables as Johnny Weaver, Don Kernodle, Special Delivery Jones and Ricky Steamboat.

And Ric Flair.

Flair, widely known as the “Nature Boy” is perhaps the hottest wrestling attraction anywhere now. His long, white hair and boastful manner are not uncommon among pro wrestlers, so it’s unusual that this particular wrestler should attract so large a following.

That he has a following there is no doubt. The people who turned out for the Wilson Athletic sponsored event last Thursday didn’t come to see the preliminaries, though they applauded politely for them.

Flair stood in the corridor under the stands just before his main event tag-team bout with Ricky Steamboat against Paul Jones and Baron von Raschke. He stood with his hands on his hips, his biceps bulging out of a black t-shirt.

The 6-1, 237 lb. Flair is a mammoth of a man and perhaps even more flamboyant than Muhammad Ali.  But out of the ring, away from the adoring crowd, he’s much different.  He talked about his sudden rise in popularity over the last several years, a rise even more phenomenal since Flair was one of the “Bad Guys”.

“I’ve never changed my style of wrestling,” Flair said.

“Some people look at my personality and some don’t like it. I’m proud of my accomplishments and perhaps I come across with a little more braggadocio than most, but I’m at the pinnacle of my career right now.”

Flair has held virtually every major wrestling title in his seven year career. Everything but the world championship.  The 28 year old has been earning a six figure salary since age 22.

He started in pro wrestling in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he attended the University of Minnesota and played middle guard on the football team two years. He quit football and concentrated on wrestling.

Promoter Verne Gagne, a former wrestler himself, got Flair two preliminary bouts; then he moved to North Carolina in 1974 where he’s wrestled main events ever since.

“I wrestle four to five times a week,” said Flair. “We travel over the whole United States, Japan and New Zealand. But this is my favorite area right here – it’s a hotbed of wrestling and there’s no sports competition except from auto racing and ACC basketball.”

As for the “Good Guy-Bad Guy” appearance of many of the wrestlers, Flair says, “I haven’t changed anything except the people I wrestle.”

Ricky Steamboat was a fierce enemy of Flair’s a while back, but now Flair finds himself teamed with Steamboat in his quest to regain the World Tag Team Title from Raschke and Jones.

“I just wrestle the individual,” said Flair. “That individual is stepping on my toes, trying to keep me from making money. I look at that as a personal affront. I have an open contract to wrestle anybody as long as the money’s right.”

Many think pro wrestling is a phony show put on for the sport’s aficionados; but wrestlers, as exhibited by the excellent condition of Flair and Steamboat, are good athletes and are out to reach the top in their sport.

“I’m out to beat my man,” Flair said. “All sports have showmanship these days. The Players have nicknames; there are gimmicks. We were just the first sport to add the element of showmanship to our sport.”

And Flair, if not the best of the showmen, is certainly the most beloved. In a scene almost straight out of Rocky II, Flair stepped out of Fleming Stadium’s dugout between a funnel of churning, worshipping fans – not all of them children.

While in the ring, the “Nature Boy” elicited responses from the crowd just by stroking his long, white locks that have become his trademark.

 And, of course, Flair won – with a little help from Steamboat.

* * * * * * *

Thanks to Peggy Lathan for her transcription of this newspaper article.

Monday, June 05, 2017

"FOUR HORSEMEN" On Sale now!

"The book serves as a journal of my years with the Four Horsemen."
- James J. Dillon
" authoritative volume on the history of The Four Horsemen."
- Mike Mooneyham, Charleston Post & Courier
 "... a nice slice of the apple pie that was Jim Crockett Promotions in the 1980s." 
- Mike Johnson,
"Four fingers up!"
- Bruce Mitchell,

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Live and in Person

You Never Forget Your First Live Wrestling Event
by Wayne Brower
Special to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Getting to see a wrestling show in person became a priority thing for me to accomplish.  As most kids would naturally do, I started with the parents.  Dad was no wrestling fan, although he always let me watch it on television. 

Charlie Harville
Host of "Championship Wrestling" on
WGHP Channel 8 in High Point, NC
Nevertheless, my desire to experience the spectacle grew.  There were occasional matches in Winston-Salem and Greensboro, but almost always there was a card on Saturday nights in Lexington at the YMCA.  Lexington matches at the time were advertised on the Charlotte broadcasts but primarily promoted on High Point’s Channel 8 wrestling by Charlie Harville.  Charlie was outstanding in his role as announcer as he could describe the maneuvers and holds of the matches, and then further advance storylines with the wrestlers during interviews.  Lexington matches were sold as major events you must see.

The turning point occurred in the fall of 1964 when I was visiting an aunt and uncle who lived near us in Trinity.  Somehow the conversation turned to my enjoyment of wrestling.  My aunt said that they watch it, and also went to the matches in Lexington.  I didn’t have to say anything since I’m sure my facial expression spoke volumes.  She then asked me to go with them.

Wow.  It was the opportunity of a lifetime.  The chance of going to wrestling while hanging out with an aunt, uncle and cousin that I really liked.  I asked her to call the next time they planned to go.

The call came the following Saturday afternoon.  I was expecting it and had obtained prior approval to go from my Dad.  He made sure that I was taking enough money as not to be a financial burden to my hosts.  He also reminded me to “behave myself.”  I privately wondered how a person could do that at wrestling.

Shortly thereafter we were on the way.  My cousin and I rode in the back seat of her parents’ Ford Galaxie as I listened intently to her stories of previous matches.  Normally a 13 year old boy would ignore a younger girl, but I thought that she was cool and besides, she was already a Lexington veteran. 

Arriving at the YMCA was quite an experience.  The building was much larger than I had imagined, and so was the crowd.  We stood in line for a short time to buy our tickets.  My uncle told me to get one for general admission as it was cheaper than ringside and you could actually see better from the elevated stands.  He was right.

The experience began as quite a humanity lesson for me.  As the arena filled before bell time a great cross section of the community came in and began to take their seats.  All socio-economic classes appeared to be represented.  A well dressed older couple walked to the ringside chairs, taking their seats as they shook hands with fans nearby.  Sitting throughout that section and most of the general admission area were various families and groups.  Their general appearance and conduct was just like that of the majority of patrons.  Two other factions in attendance also had distinctive representation.  One could be best described as belonging to the crimson collar category.  They were very friendly, loud, full of excitement, and seemed to be really enjoying the action – even though the matches had not even started.  Then there were the others, a small but distinct clan that would now be best described as the depraved hillbilly characters in the movie Deliverance.  But no matter, everyone in the arena was a wrestling fan.

To prepare ourselves for the festivities, my cousin and I visited the concession stand.  The selections available were hotdogs, popcorn, and a choice of three drinks – Nehi Grape, Nehi Orange or Coca-Cola.  I got popcorn and a Coke and was set for the evening.

Returning to our seats we found that several people around us had also gotten refreshments and were supplementing their drinks with liquids from odd shaped bottles brought in under their coats.  Throughout the evening these fans appeared to be very thirsty and made several return trips to the concession stand for as long as their supplemental beverages held up.

Minutes before the 8:15 pm starting time the crowd had already become restless.  Boos, yells and various catcalls echoed throughout the gymnasium.  Many people began to clap and stomp their feet in unison.

The audience began to cheer as Wally Dusek came out of a side door, walked to the ring and rang the bell loudly.  Several people, mostly children, ran to the end of the building where there were two separate entrance ways for the wrestlers.  More cheers came from the crowd as Nick Kozak walked out to a rousing approval. He strolled to the ring acknowledging the fans while signing autographs for those in step with him.

The opposite scene was played out when Mike Paidousis came out of the heels’ locker room.  He motioned for fans to get away while shouting towards them and kept up the tirade all the way into the ring, eliciting much disapproval from the audience.  Mike was not to be denied as he continued to taunt individual fans at ringside during the introductions. 

The match was a tremendous spectacle.  Kozak and Paidousis really put on a show.  The noise from the grapplers’ kicks, chops and slams, especially as compared to wrestling on TV was astounding.  The fans, including my cousin and me, reacted to almost every twist and turn of the match, although not as much as some at ringside who appeared as wanting to physically involve themselves in the action.  A massive roar erupted when Kozak rolled up Paidousis for the pin.  The good guy had won my first attended match, and all was well in the world.

The next bout of the evening involved two gladiators that I had seen often on television.  Similar crowd reactions as before greeted the hero, Mike Clancy.  He was really over, and worked it during his entrance.  His opponent received the worst so far.  It was George “Two Ton” Harris.  Two Ton was a real heel at this time, not the comedy figure he became later in his career.  There was no smile on his face, especially during his ring introduction as he brushed back his hair and yelled “Shut up!”  Harris was in control for the much of the match and was eventually disqualified, giving the win to Clancy.

A fifteen minute intermission was a welcome break in the action.  We got to talk about the matches so far, while the thirsty group beside of us got up and pronounced loudly that they had to go to the restrooms.  Announcements were made to the audience thanking us for our attendance, and outlining the card for next week’s matches.  North Carolina’s agricultural economy was in full strength as the entire upper portion of the building was now full of smoke.

The semi-final pitted the popular Doug Gilbert against Mike Valentino.  Another good back and forth match of action kept the audience interest going.  Neither held a clear advantage for any length of time.  The ring announcer reported “10 minutes – 10 minutes to go in the match!”  The crowd reactions, including my cousin’s and mine, picked up.  Wanting Doug to win, we decided that if we ran down to ringside and yelled a reminder for him to use his “Victory Roll” maneuver, he could overcome Valentino.  My aunt found this idea to be rather humorous and suggested to us that Mr. Gilbert was fully capable of winning without our advice.  “5 minutes – 5 minutes remaining in the time limit!” stated the announcer forcefully.  The grapplers picked up the pace in a final flurry.  But alas, the match ended in a draw.  As typical adolescents, we decided that we were probably right all along.

The main event was figured by all to be a classic for the ages.  As hyped repeatedly on the Saturday afternoon wrestling shows, it was a return bout where Bronco Lubich, Aldo Bogni and Homer O’Dell couldn’t run from sure defeat as they did last week in Lexington.  Their opponents, tonight in a Lumberjack Match, were again George Becker and the Kentuckians – Big Boy Brown and Tiny Anderson.   

The lumberjacks were all of the combatants from the prior matches: Nozak, Paidousis, Clancy, Harris, Gilbert and Valentino.  Even before the match started these guys were arguing and shoving to the point that the referee had to restrain some of them.   

Lubich, Bogni and O’Dell were the first out from their entrance and were greeted by a monumental heel response, and it was not all vocal.  Many fans chose to share items purchased at the concession stand with them, only not in the way which one would prefer to receive those refreshments.  Quick response by the Lexington Police officers in attendance slowed down much of the aerial bombardment being given to the trio.

The Kentuckians
(Mid-Atlantic Grapplin' Greats)
Becker and the Kentuckians were hailed as the conquering heroes as they came out to a gigantic pop.  Becker was the consummate wrestler loved by fans, and the Kentuckians were huge mountain men who looked and performed the part.  They even brought along a large cow horn which they hung on the ring post during their matches.

Introductions were not even completed when the contest began as wrestlers from both teams were tossed out to the lumberjacks, and vice versa.  Once the referee got things somewhat in order Tiny Anderson won the first fall with a “bear hug” over Bogni.  The crowd reaction almost shook the building.  This was no comparison to the emotions seen on TV from a studio audience, along with this live crowd’s reaction to every punch “ooh, ooh, ooh” when the good guy was pummeling the heel.

A restart of the match for the second fall saw continued action, both in and out of the ring.  O’Dell played his cowardly persona by only tagging in when his team had a complete beat down on an opponent.  To massive heat from the crowd, he would leap in, deal out a few stomps and quickly tag out. Lubich won the second fall over Becker to even the match.  This set the crowd off to the point that some within our hearing distance were questioning the heels’ ancestry, while others had even more distinct descriptions of Lubich, Bogni and O’Dell’s mothers.

Bronco Lubich and Aldo Bogni
with manager Homer O'Dell

( via WCCW Memories)
The deciding fall came in a most bizarre way.  Wrestling in the ring had the usual give and take, along with both sides getting time tossing opponents to the lumberjacks.  Only this time when tossed out, Bronco Lubich defended himself by slugging Nick Kozak, and then got back into the ring on his own.  Kozak took exception and went over to the ringpost, grabbed the Kentuckian’s cow horn, leapt up on the ring apron and proceeded to clobber Lubich over the head with it while the referee’s back was turned.  Becker covered him for the victory, followed by massive celebrating throughout the arena.  Good had triumphed over evil.

There was no doubt that this spectacle was everything, plus many times more than anything I had expected.  The pomp and pageantry, seeing those in person that I had admired on television, the size and behaviors of the crowd, along with my ability to conduct myself the same way and feel normal about it were just a few of the many reasons that I had to return.

As we filed out of the YMCA with several thousand other spectators, people were commenting on the matches, about the good time they had, but most of all about the outcome of the main event.  “O’Dell’s bunch got theirs!”; “It served ‘em right!”; “I liked what Kozak did with that horn!” etc.  

Yet another wrestling lesson for my youthful mind – it must be OK to cheat, as long as those doing it are popular.