Friday, September 15, 2017

Action Figures Friday: Paul Jones & The Baron!

One of our favorite tag teams of all time here at the Mid-Atlantic Gateway, Paul Jones and Baron Von Raschke won the NWA World Tag team championships from Paul Orndorf and Jimmy Snuka in May of 1979. Not only were they a great tag team in the ring, they were one of the funniest heel teams of the era. But their humor did not run acorss the grain of the psychology of that era. Yes, they were funny, but in such an arrogant, egotistical way that they had real heat off of their antics.

Baron Von Raschke is one of the great heels of the 1970s. Jones, however, alternated as a heel and a babyface for all of his career. In the mid-1970s, he was a beloved babyface in the Mid-Atlantic territory, a regular challenger to the NWA world championship, and  helped establish the United States Championship as the area's top singles title. When he turned on partner Ricky Steamboat in late 1978, it made him one of the area's most hated wrestlers (although Jones has always contended with a straight face that it was Steamboat that actually turned on him.)  Jones was much better at being a heel, in my opinion, or at least much more enjoyable in that role.

The team's biggest feud that year was with Ric Flair and Blackjack Mulligan. After a long series of bouts in Greensboro, Flair and Mulligan were able to finally take the titles from Jones and Raschke, only to lose them back on television a few weeks later. Jones and Raschke would eventually lose the titles for good to the young and dynamic team of Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood. It was sweet revenge for Steamboat against his former partner.

Jones and Von Raschke had a rather unpleasant parting of the ways and as a testament to just how hated Paul Jones had become, fans sided with the Baron in their singles feud. Jones might have been the only heel on the planet that could turn Baron Von Raschke babyface!

These photos by collector Mike Simmerman recreate some of the fun images of 1979 in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling.  Click this link for all of the "Action Figures Friday" posts!