Sunday, November 05, 2017

Prof. Malenko on newcomer Kim Duk: "1977, Here We Come!"

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

On the first Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television program that aired in 1977, New Year’s Day to be exact, the Masked Superstar and his manager “Professor” Boris Malenko unveiled a new addition to their “family.” Kim Duk, nicknamed the Korean Assassin, had been teased as coming soon to the Mid-Atlantic area for several weeks leading up to this show. I remember thinking how large Kim Duk looked in his first live television appearance, appearing nearly as big as the Superstar who weighed in at about 285 pounds. Normally, grapplers from the Far East were much smaller. Duk looked the part of a wrecking ball who could do real damage.

Kim Duk (right) with tag team partner Masked
Superstar and manager Prof. Boris Malenko

(Photograph by Bill Janosik)
Legendary announcer Bob Caudle opened the segment saying, “Fans with us at ringside right now…Boris Malenko, Kim Duk and the Superstar. And Superstar, your partner is here with you now.” The masked man responded, “My partner’s here after a long awaited time and investment on our part…Boris’ and my part. And I think it’s gonna be a very prosperous and Happy New Year for our family, and I call it the family because we’re so close.”

Superstar brought a beautiful sparkling new watch into view and continued, “I wanna make note of the gift that I gave Boris over the holidays, I want you to make note of this. I gave it to Boris because he’s a 24 carat first class…” Malenko then chimed in loudly, “HUMAN BEING! Now, I’d like to say something also. Being a human being, being what you’d call a person who has humane feelings…I’ve brought in here, along with the Superstar, the greatest karate, judo, any kind of martial arts person that has ever been seen here in the United States!”

The Professor went on to say, “And we are teaching him a little English. He is from Korea, he is a Korean ASSASSIN! And he will get whatever we tell him to do. Isn’t that right?” Duk then responded in extreme broken English, “That’s right, I come to state, America. I love it, I’m happy I’m here.”

A proud Malenko then exclaimed, “What else can you say, he’s happy to be here! And he will make us happy that he’s here, because with him and with what we have to tell him and what he will do when we tell him to do it, he will be the BEST, the MOST, the colossal individual that there is in the wrestling world today! There is no way that he will go wrong with our advice. Because we have plans for him!”

Boris concluded, “We will take championship after championship for the year of 1977! It’s a one way street, and he’s going right up there in the right direction along with the guidance of Superstar and myself. Because we own him, we own his contract and we will not let him down and he promises to us he will not let us down. Need I say more, we’re on our way for 1977…HERE WE COME!”

After such a buildup, it seemed that Kim Duk would be a major force in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. And during the first several months of 1977, Duk and Superstar were a top tag team in the area. Duk also broke boards on TV with his bare hands in a memorable demonstration and when Wahoo McDaniel said he could break just as many boards with his famous chops Duk suckered Wahoo, rupturing a blood vessel in Wahoo’s throat. This set up a brief program between Duk and Wahoo over McDaniel’s Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship, with Wahoo dominating those bouts.

As the spring of 1977 wore on Duk and Superstar stopped teaming frequently and Duk’s association with the Malenko family was no longer mentioned on TV. The Superstar concentrated on an epic feud with the Mighty Igor while Kim Duk slipped to mid-card status before departing Jim Crockett Promotions during the fall of 1977.

The ringing in my ears of Boris Malenko, with Kim Duk by his side, yelling “HERE WE COME” 1977 on New Year’s Day had me completely convinced that his Korean Assassin would wreck havoc in the Mid-Atlantic area. But Duk had already peaked by March of 1977 and much like it’s said about the windy month of March…Duk came in ferociously like a lion but left out more like a lamb.