Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Roanoke: The Mongolian Waterloo

The Roanoke Civic Center proves to be the Mongols' Last Stand
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Back in the spring of 1976, the NWA Tag Team champions the Anderson Brothers and the International Tag Team champions The Mongols had several collisions in what fans perceived (but was never actually billed) as NWA vs. IWA tag team unification matches. (See Worlds Collide: The Andersons Battle the Mongols in 1976.)

Their battles ended in early April with the Andersons in possession of both sets of belts. However, there was one more battle yet to come.

Behind the scenes, Geeto Mongol (Newton Tattrie) was getting ready to leave the territory and head home while Bolo Mongol (Bill Eadie) was getting ready to make the amazing transition to the Masked Superstar. (See "The Death of Bolo Mongol and the Birth of a Superstar.") Booker George Scott set in motion a series of events to send the team of the Mongols out in style.

The final phase of that would be the loser -leaves-town matches between Wahoo McDaniel and Bolo Mongol in late September. But before that could happen, the Mongols had to be split up as a team. And the team to do it would be the NWA World Tag Team champions Gene and Ole Anderson.

From the collection of Brack Beasley
One final battle between the two teams was set up and local promoter Pete Apostolou's Roanoke Sports Club was able to secure the big match for the Roanoke Civic Center. There were two special stipulations. First, the match would be fought with "Texas tornado" rules - - all four men in the ring at the same time. But the most intriguing special stipulation was this: if the Mongols didn't win, they would never be allowed to wrestle as a tag team again.

Both the Andersons and the Mongols were hated teams by the fans, but as usual in these "battle of the bullies" matches, fans will coalesce behind one team or the other, and the fans in Roanoke were solidly behind the Minnesota Wrecking Crew. It was a wild affair with Gene and Ole matching every dirty tactic the Mongols threw at them, and in the end the Anderson came out on top. The Mongols had met theri Waterloo in Roanoke, the final battle between the two teams and the final time Bolo and Geeto Mongol ever wrestled as a team.

The newspaper report the day after the matches confirmed that the team of the Mongols was no more. Geeto left the territory, and a few weeks later, Bolo Mongol would be forced to leave as well at the hands of Wahoo McDaniel.

Ironically, after their big victory over the Mongols, the Andersons themselves would soon leave the territory. Ole Anderson lost a series of loser-leaves-town matches, the final one being to Wahoo McDaniel, forcing the Anderson team to pack their bags and leave for Georgia, taking their NWA World Tag Team title belts with them. (And that's a story for another day.)

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Special thanks to Brack Beasley and Mark Eastridge.