Saturday, March 31, 2018

Claw vs. Claw! Mulligan vs. Raschke in 1978

by David Chappell 
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

By the late summer of 1978, two of the biggest names in professional wrestling, Blackjack Mulligan and Baron von Raschke, had been for the most part going their separate ways in the Mid-Atlantic area for about a year. That was all about to change during an eventful edition of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television program that was taped on September 6, 1978.

The beginning of that TV show started off with a figurative "bang," as Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat were shockingly forced to relinquish their World Tag Team Title belts to Raschke and Greg Valentine on the program's first segment via a pronouncement by NWA President Bob Geigel. But following that blockbuster announcement, Baron von Raschke hung around to give the show a literal "bang" immediately following. Unfortunately that loud bang was a blow to Blackjack Mulligan's noggin.

Announcer Bob Caudle summoned the big man from Eagle Pass, Texas saying, "I have Blackjack...come on out here Blackjack. All right fans, this is Blackjack Mulligan, Blackjack come on in because we've got a special presentation to you...David." Color commentator David Crockett  reappeared on the set with a large trophy and approached Mulligan saying, "On a much pleasanter note, Jack, it says from the fans of the Mid-Atlantic area, to Blackjack Mulligan, Outstanding Wrestler of 1977-78. Blackjack, from the wrestling fans of the Mid-Atlantic area."

Mulligan appeared to be very moved by the award and began to comment, "I tell you what, thank you very much David..." Then in a split second, Raschke and Greg Valentine appeared back on the set and attacked Mulligan viciously. The Baron was the primary aggressor, grabbing the trophy and breaking it squarely over Blackjack's head!  The crowd in the studio audience was almost in riot mode at this shocking turn of events!

Caudle exclaimed, "Hey, [the Baron] just went wild and is tearing it up! He hit Blackjack across the head with it David, and they're both on him, slammin' him around over there." Crockett yelled in response, "Raschke's just gone completely berserk!" Caudle continued, barely audible over the boisterous crowd, "He said what do you mean, [Mulligan's] not the outstanding that he is the outstanding and that he is the champion. And he continues to stomp and kick at Blackjack Mulligan!" A hysterical Raschke then interjected maniacally, "That will give me part of the $10,000.00 bounty, Blackjack Mulligan!"

As Mulligan attempted to gather himself, Caudle repeated, "He says that will give him part of the $10,000.00 bounty, David. And Blackjack, who is reeling...and I tell you, that is one of the lowest blows I have ever seen anybody get! What a blow, just to walk in and grab you that way!" Blackjack still woozy and staggering from the blows to the head managed to say, "Raschke, you're gonna pay for this like you've never paid before...I'll tell you right now." Caudle ended the segment, concluding, "David, you have to call that a sneak attack in any way you look at it...a sneak attack! Trophy in pieces!"

On the final segment of that September 6, 1978 Mid-Atlantic TV show, concerned fans were gratified that Mulligan returned to the set to address them. Bob Caudle began, "Fans with us right now at ringside and a fellow I'll tell you that has taken more than his share of punishment in the last hour or seems like everybody in the world wanted to stomp and kick and cut and rip at you, Blackjack Mulligan." Blackjack answered, "Let me tell you something Bob Caudle; I want to talk to the people right now."

Mully continued as he held up the pieces of his destroyed trophy noting, "Everybody in television-land looking at me right now, I know this is a very nice gesture and I certainly appreciate it and I know there was probably a lot more deserving people in the world of wrestling. But I appreciate what you tried to do; what you tried to give me. But I seem to be a marked man in the world of wrestling . Everything I do, everything I try to do, Ric Flair or Raschke or Superstar or some of their henchman are right in the way. I appreciate this trophy being given to me by the people of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling."

Blackjack concluded the segment with a dire warning for the big German threatening ,"And I wanna tell you something head, I've never had a rougher hour in my whole life. But I wanna tell you something right now...I'm still standing here. I need my head sewed up, but I haven't fell yet! And Baron von Raschke, believe what I say, if it takes Claw against Claw my friend...your day is coming! We're marking von Raschke as NEXT!"

During the remainder of September and during October of 1978, these two world renowned grapplers who both used the dreaded Claw hold as their respective finishing maneuvers, battled frequently around the territory in a spirited but short program. Some of the bouts were even billed as Claw vs. Claw matches. Mulligan emerged victorious in a majority of these fiercely contested battles, and was the clear winner in the Texas Death Matches and Bounty matches between the two. The Baron scored his wins mainly in straight up bouts without stipulations.

The confrontations between the masters of the Claw were cut short when Big John Studd entered the Mid-Atlantic area in October, and became Blackjack's primary adversary as John pushed hard to collect the long-standing $10,000.00 bounty on Mully. The Baron was also pulled away from the program with Mulligan when Paul Orndorff and Jimmy Snuka entered the Mid-Atlantic area at the end of October and made an immediate push for the Baron and Greg Valentine's World Tag Team Titles.

While Blackjack Mulligan got a measure of revenge for Baron von Raschke destroying his trophy upside his head on TV, I always wished that these two would have had a longer program against each other. While Claw versus Claw was red hot for a short time, these two developed other irons in the fire with Mid-Atlantic newcomers that would ultimately define the Claw versus Claw program as a transitional bridge on the roads to even bigger Mid-Atlantic feuds for these two Jim Crockett Promotions mega-stars.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Action Figures Friday: The Yellow Rose of Texas

In 1984, Kerry Von Erich defeated Ric Flair for the NWA World championship in Texas Stadium in a match he dedicated to his late brother David. One of David's nicknames was "the yellow Rose of Texas."

This action figure from the Gateway collection commemorates that event with the NWA title belt, Kerry's ring jacket that was a tribute to his brother, and a yellow rose.

See also material related to Kerry on our affiliated Domed Globe website.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

'Bring Your Mid-Altantic Belt to Work' Day

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

I love this photograph.

It's like Georgia Championship Wrestling decided to have a "Bring Your Mid-Atlantic Belt to Work" day.

This is a Gene Gordon photograph from 1977 or 1978 taken at the WTBS Techwood Drive studios. Ric Flair is seen here with the classic red crocodile leather U.S. belt. He was the reigning United States Champion for Jim Crockett Promotions, but was defending the title frequently in the Georgia territory during this time, most notably against Dick Slater and Thunderbolt Patterson.

Also seen in this photo appears to be the NWA Television championship belt (Crockett's TV title) lying on Gordon Solie's desk. I've never been sure what that was about, but still looking into it. (Have info? Contact us.)

Late Edit (4/24/18): That belt lying in front of U.S. Champ Ric Flair was the brand new Georgia T.V. Belt. It looked just like Crockett’s and was presented to champion Thunderbolt Patterson later in the program. That belt was worn by Austin Idol, Bob Armstrong, Blackjack Lanza, Terry Taylor, Terry Funk, and Tommy Rich just to name a few. The story goes that Terry Funk left the territory with it after losing the title to Steve Keirn and the two toned blue Georgia Jr. Heavyweight belt was used for the title until the beautiful one that Jake Roberts and Ronnie Garvin feuded over was introduced…one of my all-time favorites. Love your site!!! - Steve Hendrix, Marietta, GA

And as always, the Champ is "a vision of sartorial splendor", stylin' and profilin' in outstanding 1970s fashion!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Anderson and Hansen March Through Atlanta

The 1982 NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

More video below.

If you missed earlier posts in this series, check them out in the links below, especially the INTRODUCTION, which puts the whole tournament in a perspective that serves as a launching point for the following discussions.

PART ONE: Introduction
PART TWO: Greensboro
PART THREE: Charlotte
PART FOUR: Richmond 

Date: February 28, 1982
Venue: The Omni

Atlanta became the first city outside of the Mid-Atlantic territory to host tournament. As mentioned in earlier posts in this series, Ole Anderson was booking both the Mid-Atlantic and Georgia territories during this time, and the relationship between the two offices lent itself to Georgia Championship Wrestling hosting one of the city tournaments.

Atlanta rivaled Greensboro in the diversity and depth of the tournament field, including a team from All Japan Pro Wrestling.

Two teams had wrestled in the previous tournaments in Greensboro, Charlotte, and Richmond:
Line-Up Sheet included with the "Ringsider"
program sold at the Omni
  • Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen
  • Jack and Jerry Brisco

    Eight new teams entered in Atlanta:
    • Terry Funk and Dory Funk, Jr.
    • Buddy Rose and Rip Oliver
    • Jumbo Tsuruta and Genichiro Tenryu
    • Ron Bass and Kevin Sullivan
    • Ron Fuller and Leroy Brown
    • The Mongolian Stomper and Ricky Harris
    • Bob and Brad Armstrong*
    • Masked Superstar and The Super Destroyer

    • Jack and Jerry Brisco  - The Brisco Brothers were in from Championship Wrestling from Florida and were making their third appearance in the tournaments, having also competed in Richmond and won in Charlotte. 
    • Terry Funk and Dory Funk, Jr. - The famous Funk Brothers from Amarillo, Texas came in from Texas for the tournament, although it's fair to say they could also be counted as an entrant from Florida, since that is where they spent most of their time wrestling during these days (when they were not in Japan.) But they were considered an entry from Texas. They would make one further appearance in another tournament to come. It was cool to have the Funk Brothers involved in this series of shows.
    • Buddy Rose and Rip Oliver - Rose and Oliver were stalwarts in the Pacific Northwest territory (out of Portland promoted by Don Owen) and had held the Pacific Northwest Tag team championships on several occasions in 1981 and 1982. In commentary on Georgia TV, Gordon Solie referred to them as Pacific Northwest champions, but at the time of the Atlanta tournament Rip Oliver actually held those titles with Matt Borne.
    • Jumbo Tsuruta and Genichiro Tenyru - Two of the top stars for All Japan Pro Wrestling teamed up for the tournament in Atlanta. They were in as a contingent of Japanese stars along with Giant Baba and the Great Kabuki, the latter two appearing in singles matches on this huge Atlanta card.
    • Ron Fuller and Leroy Brown - Ron Fuller came in from Southeast Championship Wrestling in Alabama, while Leroy Brown was splitting time between both Georgia and the Mid-Atlantic area. Fuller was making several appearances during this time for Georgia.
    • The Mongolian Stomper and Ricky Harris  - The Stomper was also in from Southeast Championship Wrestling, while Ricky Harris was splitting time for both Georgia and Mid-Atlantic.


    Bob and Brad Armstrong promote the Feb. 28 tournament in Atlanta with Gordon Solie,
    host of "Georgia Championship Wrestling."
    Bob was not able to appear and was replaced by Tommy Rogers.

    • Bob and Brad Armstrong (Tommy Rogers) - The Armstrongs would have been the second father-and-son team entered in the broader tournaments (in addition to Blackjack Mulligan Sr. and Jr. in Charlotte) and were billed for this tournament, but Bob did not appear and was replaced by a young Tommy Rogers. It's too bad Bob couldn't be there; he and Brad were hot off a victory three months earlier in Atlanta's annual Thanksgiving Night Tag Team Tournament held in that very same building. Not sure if this tidbit is related or not, but Bob Armstrong appeared on a 3 PM matinee show in Asheville, NC that same Sunday, teaming with Ray Stevens against Roddy Piper and Austin Idol. Perhaps his no-show in Atlanta was related to travel or weather issues getting from Asheville to Atlanta.
    • The Masked Superstar and the Super Destroyer were reigning National Tag Team champions at the time of the Atlanta tournament, but were upset in the first round.
    • Ron Bass and Kevin Sullivan rounded out the tournament.

    The Atlanta leg of the tournament featured ten total teams, which doesn't lend itself well to balanced bracketing. Four teams were selected (either by seeding or more likely at random) to have two "play in" matches to get the field down to eight teams. (Bracketing information was gathered through an official bracket published in Gong Magazine in Japan, seen inset beside the brackets below.)

    The tournament came down to Stan Hansen and Ole Anderson vs. Jack and Jerry Brisco in the finals. Both teams had won prior tournaments - - Anderson/Hansen in Greensboro and the Briscos in Charlotte.

    The Briscos defeated Ron Bass and Kevin Sullivan by DQ in the quarter final round, and then topped their arch rivals the Funk Brothers (Terry and Dory) by pinfall in the semi-finals. 

    Ole and Stan defeated Brad Armstrong and Tommy Rogers (replacing Bob Armstrong) in the quarter-final round, and then topped the Japanese team of Tenryu and Tsuruta in the semi-finals, a team that had already wrestled two matches because of being selected for the early "play in" round.

    Video of that semi-final match was shown on television. The video originally aired on "Best of Championship Wrestling" on WTBS out of Atlanta with Steve Olsenoski narrating over the Japanese commentary.

    In the end it was Anderson and Hansen defeating the Brisco Brothers to win Atlanta and the $25,000 city prize, making them the first team to win two city tournaments, a fact that would have more significance two months down the road. 

    ATLANTA WINNERS: Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen
    With this Atlanta tournament, Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen continued their streak as the only team to appear in all four tournaments so far (Greensboro, Charlotte, Richmond, and Atlanta). They also become the first team to win two separate tournaments (Greensboro and Atlanta.)

    "Ringsider" program sold at the March 14 Omni show
    reporting on the tournament win by Anderson and Hansen


    Ric Flair was only five months into his first NWA title reign. Former six-time champion Harley Race was hot on his trail to regain the championship for a record breaking seventh time. This angle was played up strong on WTBS television, with Flair adamant that Race would not use him to break that record. (Ironically, Race would indeed break the record by beating Flair for the title in June of 1983 in St. Louis.) The match ended up a no-contest, and set up a return in the Omni on 3/14/82 in a 2-of-3 falls contest.

    Terry Gordy was on the verge of becoming a breakout star in Japan and his match with Giant Baba for the Pacific Wrestling Federation (PWF) title got him well on his way in the eyes of the Japanese fans and press. Baba retained the title, but Gordy's stock rose considerably in the Land of the Rising Sun.

    THE GREAT KABUKI (mgd by Gary Hart) vs. DUSTY RHODES


    Georgia promoter Paul Jones reports on the
    tournament winners.
    If the you've noticed a real Japanese-feel to this card in Atlanta, there is good reason. Giant Baba and his contingent were in the United States for a series of shows for several different NWA territories, including a big card in Charlotte one week later as well as Championship Wrestling from Florida and World Class Wrestling. The All Japan TV crew was with them, recording the matches at the Omni for broadcast in Japan.

    Baba defended the Pacific Wrestling Federation (PWF) title against Terry Gordy, who was beginning to make a name for himself in the Land of the Rising Sun. Baba's two top stars from All Japan, Jumbo Tsuruta and Genichiro Tenyru, teamed up in the tournament. Another star in Japan, the Great Kabuki, battled "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes in a special attraction match. Kabuki had become a star in the United States and would be a force to be reckoned with in Georgia, World Class Wrestling, and Mid-Atlantic Wrestling in the coming years.

    Having the Funks and Briscos on the card made the show attractive to Japanese audiences as well, as Jack, Terry, and Dory had all defended the NWA world title there for All Japan Pro Wrestling. The Funks in particular were legends there, and were responsible behind the scenes for booking U.S. talent to appear on All Japan cards.

    A good portion of this Atlanta Omni card was broadcast later in Japan, and clips of two matches were seen on WTBS.  The Anderson/Hansen vs. Tsuruta/Tenyru semi-finals were shown on "Best of Championship Wrestling" with Steve Olsenoski narrating over the Japanese commentary. The NWA World title match between Ric Flair and Harley Race aired on "Georgia Championship Wrestling."

    Coming up in PART SIX:
    We take a brief look at the city tournament held in Fayetteville, NC one day after Atlanta, a tournament we know very little about. Fayetteville is the home to Fort Bragg, and two Marine privates fared well in the backyard of the largest military installation in the world. Stay tuned for our next post about the very interesting 1982 NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament.

    Special thanks to Mark Eastridge for the newspaper clippings, and Brian Rogers for the Japanese magazine images.

    Saturday, March 24, 2018

    Johnny Carson by Day, Conan the Barbarian by Night

    Also Featuring Ole Anderson and a Trip to Von Erich Land
    by Dick Bourne
    Mid-Atlantic Gateway

    This is another one of my favorite Ric Flair interviews of all time. This is from Georgia Championship Wrestling's Saturday evening TV show "World Championship Wrestling" on June 16, 1984. For context, it was just three weeks after Flair regained the NWA World title from Kerry Von Erich, but also sadly only a month before "Black Saturday."

    You'll notice Ric's hair is still wet from the shower. He had wrestled on Georgia TV that day, but was now in his three-piece suit, and you'll hear someone whistle as he enters the shot. As only Ric can say it, with his trademark smile, he delivers this little jewel:

    Gordon Solie: "As usual sir, a vision of sartorial splendor..."

    Ric Flair: "Let's give 'em a chance, I like to be fair with everybody...the ladies wait week in and week out to see the man that looks like Johnny Carson by day and Conan the Barbarian by nighttime."

    For context, "The Tonight Show" host Johnny Carson had ruled the late night television landscape for decades and by 1984 was a cultural icon. He was known to be an impeccable dresser and Flair made many self-comparisons to Carson over the years.  

    "Conan the Barbarian" was a successful action film in 1982 during a time, unlike today, when comic book adaptations were not very successful. "Conan" made Arnold Schwarzenegger an overnight sensation as an action film star and sex symbol. Ric thought he fit that mold, too!

    Flair then told host Gordon Solie he was headed for "Von Erich land."

    "I'm going to Texas - - Amarillo, Lubbock, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio - - it makes no difference: the first Von Erich I see - BOOM! - you go down."

    I loved Ric's interviews on Superstation WTBS during his early years as NWA champion because he would often mention where he was going in the coming weeks to defend his title. He would namecheck wrestlers he would be facing in other territories, some of whom would never be seen on WTBS, but Flair would always put those guys over as he got ready to go to their area.

    This particular mention was very cool in a very Ric Flair sort of way. He mentions he's headed to Texas, and predicts it won't end well for any Von Erich he runs into. As mentioned above, he was only a few weeks removed from having regained the NWA World title for a third time from Kerry Von Erich, who had defeated Ric for "the ten pounds of gold" in Texas Stadium in May. So he took delight in mentioning he was headed back for a big tour of the Lone Star State.

    And interestingly enough, that Texas tour included the huge one-night 15-man tournament in San Antonio on 6/23/84 for the vacant Texas Heavyweight Championship. It was an emotional night because the title had been vacant since the death of David Von Erich, the last man to hold that championship. Incredibly, Ric Flair entered the tournament with intentions of proving he was better than any man in Texas, and vowed to retire the title after he won it. He declared he would take the belt with him and be the final Texas champion to ever hold the belt. It was a rare situation for the reigning NWA World Champion to contend for a regional or state title, but Flair entered nonetheless. He made it to the finals only to be defeated by Gino Hernandez. World Class Wrestling fans may have hated Gino, but they were happy to see a Texan win that title and not Ric Flair. 

    At the end of the segment, something happens that was particularly fun to see from a Mid-Atlantic perspective. Booker, producer, and co-host Ole Anderson is standing off-camera during all this and Ric asks him to come on camera and join him. Ric calls Ole his cousin, which was part of Anderson lore going back to 1975 in the Mid-Atlantic area, but had not been much of a storyline in recent years. That would change in a big way a year later when Arn Anderson would come to Jim Crockett Promotions and Ole Anderson would become an active competitor again.

    Ric mentions that he and Ole usually didn't want to be seen on camera together because they have had some of the "hardest, toughest matches ever wrestled anywhere." He is referring to the long running "family feud" between Flair and his "cousins" Ole and Gene Anderson that began in late 1976 when Flair and partner Greg Valentine feuded with the Anderson Brothers for over two years over the NWA World Tag Team championships. Furthermore, Flair's first challenger for the NWA title in 1981 in the Mid-Atlantic area was Ole Anderson. But Ole was no longer an active competitor at this time, and Flair told him he was proud to stand there and shake his hand. It was a cool moment, lost on most fans I'm sure, but brought back a flood of memories from my days as a teenage fan of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling. (For more on Flair's family history with the Andersons, every detail is outlined in the book "Minnesota Wrecking Crew.")

    Lots to love about this interview. Ric's interviews like this stood out as totally different and totally special in comparison to anyone else at that time. No one was better than the Nature Boy.

    See also: "Doggone, I'm The Greatest" (another classic Ric Flair interview!)

    Don't miss these recent posts on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway!

    Part One: Introduction
    Part Two: First Tournament in Greensboro
    Part Three: Charlotte
    Part Four: Richmond
    Part Five: Atlanta (Coming Sunday!) 

    Friday, March 23, 2018

    Action Figures Friday: WWWF vs. NWA

    In 1978, WWWF Champion Superstar Billy Graham and NWA World Champion Harley Race met in an historic title vs. title match at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida.

    Watch the press conference, interview and match highlights on Daily Motion.

    Thanks to Mike Simmerman for this photo from his custom figures collection.

    Don't miss these recent posts on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway!

    Part One: Introduction
    Part Two: First Tournament in Greensboro
    Part Three: Charlotte
    Part Four: Richmond
    Part Five: Atlanta (Coming Sunday!) 

    Wednesday, March 21, 2018

    Figure Four Leglock vs. The Indian Deathlock

    by Dick Bourne
    Mid-Atlantic Gateway

    Mid-Atlantic Champion Jack Brisco
    In 1982 Jack Brisco played a major role throughout the year in his battles for the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship. This was especially significant to me as a fan because Brisco was almost a mythical figure to me. He was the NWA World Champion when I first fell in love with wrestling. So to see him come into our area and play such a major role with our area championship was a big deal.

    Brisco's first of two major feuds over the title in 1982 was with Roddy Piper. It was an instant classic and resulted in, if not the best, at least one of the most memorable matches on Mid-Atlantic television that entire year.

    Brisco's second feud over the title reunited a rivalry that went back to his days in Championship Wrestling from Florida ten years earlier. Brisco was still several years away from winning his first NWA World championship when he and Paul Jones had their blistering feud over the Florida Heavyweight title in 1972 and 1973.

    Jack Brisco met Paul Jones in a series of "hold vs. hold" matches.

    One of the unique aspects of their Mid-Atlantic feud that played out in arenas in early October of 1982 were a series of "hold vs. hold" matches with Paul defending the Mid-Atlantic title against Jack. The stipulation was that in order to win the match, Jack had to win with his figure-four leglock or Paul had to win with his Indian deathlock.

    I would have loved to have seen one of those matches! Both holds were over like crazy with me. I grew up watching Paul Jones win matches with his famous Indian deathlock. Brisco was NWA World champion when I first got hooked on wrestling, and was the first person I ever saw use the figure-four. So this was a very cool stipulation to see all these years later.

    Mid-Atlantic Champion Paul Jones
    Jones and Brisco would trade the Mid-Atlantic title back and forth four times that fall. They were best of friends in real life, and so they were happy to be rekindling their memorable feud from Florida in the early 1970s, and appeared to be having great fun while doing so.

    Paul had turned heel (again) in the lead up to this feud, and had some great promos throughout. Paul was always way better as a heel to me, as his real personality came out when playing the role of the bad guy. I first learned this when he and Baron Von Raschke were NWA World Tag Team champions back in 1979. This run against Brisco reminded me of that time. Fans who only remember him from his managerial days in the mid-to-late 1980s should take the time to go back and watch video from his heel run in 1982-1983, the last months of his wrestling career.

    One of his more memorable interviews on TV during this time was a good example of Paul as the cocky heel. When talking about Brisco wanting "hold vs. hold" matches, he said the following:
    "He's going around trying to get these matches - - "hold vs. hold." Well, the embarrassment is going to be when I beat Brisco with the Indian Deathlock. Can you imagine beating an Indian with the Indian Deathlock? After all, you know that the Indian Deathlock was originated  by a Texan, not an Indian. Well, it's going to be a 'feather in my hat', Brisco, when I beat you with the Indian Deathlock."  - Paul Jones 10/9/82
    Leave it #1 Paul Jones to come up with the notion that it was really a Texan like himself that invented the Indian Deathlock. The icing on the cake was the "feather in my cap" closer.

    Here is an audio clip of the entire interview:


    The entire show where this takes place is on the WWE Network streaming service. It's in the "Vault" section under Mid-Atlantic Wrestling. The date of the show is October 9, 1982. The interview takes place at the end of the show. (Watch this show: Mid-Atlantic Wrestling 10/9/82)

    Brisco eventually won out in the feud, ending the renewal of their rivalry for good when he regained the Mid-Atlantic title in late November of 1982. Ironically, his next feud over the title would rekindle another famous rivalry, the classic NWA World title feud between Brisco and Dory Funk, Jr. Looking back, it is special that these two former legendary NWA champions would battle over the Mid-Atlantic Championship so many years later.

    And who knew Paul Jones was such a poet?

    "The sun has risen, the sun has set, and here I am, your champion yet."

    Sunday, March 18, 2018

    Slaughter and Nelson Shock the World and Win Richmond

    The 1982 NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament
    PART FOUR - Richmond VA (Revised and Corrected)
    by Dick Bourne
    Mid-Atlantic Gateway


    If you missed earlier posts in this series, check them out in the links below, especially the INTRODUCTION, which puts the whole tournament in a perspective that serves as a launching point for the following discussions.

    PART ONE: Introduction Overview and Background on the Tournament
    PART TWO: Greensboro Anderson and Hansen Win the First Night
    PART THREE: Charlotte The Briscos Win Big on Valentine's Night

    Date: February 26, 1982
    Venue: Richmond Coliseum

    Having concluded the first two city tournaments in Greensboro and Charlotte, North Carolina, the tournament moved to the Commonwealth of Virginia and the fabled Richmond Coliseum in the capitol city of Richmond, Virginia.

    The Richmond leg of the tournament featured three returning teams and promised four new teams, although one didn't appear.

    Returning teams that were also entered in Greensboro or Charlotte:
    • Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen
    • Jack and Jerry Brisco
    • Sgt. Slaughter and Pvt. Jim Nelson
      New teams entered in Richmond:
      • Ray Stevens and Leroy Brown*
      • Kelly Kiniski and Ron Ritchie
      • John Studd and Austin Idol
      • Tommy Rich and Bob Armstrong**

      *In TV promos, Leroy Brown was announced as Ray Steven's partner while the newspaper ad (at right) named Mike George. It was Brown that made it that night to team with Stevens.
      ** Neither Armstrong nor Rich appeared.


      • Jack and Jerry Brisco  - While Jack Brisco was now a full-time wrestler in the Mid-Atlantic area, he and brother Jerry Brisco had come in for the original two tournaments in Greensboro and Charlotte from Championship Wrestling from Florida. Jack wound up staying in the territory full time. Jerry would eventually join him as a full-time tag team partner in December of 1982. 
      • Tommy Rich and Bob Armstrong - One of the more exciting prospects of the Richmond tournament was the promise of Georgia Championship Wrestling stars Bob Armstrong and Tommy Rich, but the top babyface stars of the Peach State did not appear as advertised. Armstrong and Rich were two of the top stars for the Atlanta office. As mentioned in earlier posts, Ole Anderson was booking both territories at that time, and both Armstrong and Rich had made appearances for Jim Crockett Promotions around this time. Rich had appeared on the previous tournament show in Charlotte where he challenged NWA World champion Ric Flair in the singles main event. Armstrong had appeared on a number of Mid-Atlantic shows recently against Roddy Piper as part of their big feud in Georgia. Needless to say, Richmond fans, many of whom were very familiar with the two from the weekly show on Superstation WTBS, were highly disappointed that neither appeared.
      • Ray Stevens and Mike George - In the lead-up to the Richmond tournament on television, Ray Stevens explained that his regular partner Pat Patterson had been injured in a previous tournament by Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen. [AUDIO CLIP]  Ray Stevens picked a new partner for Richmond. The newspaper advertising promoted Mike George as his replacement partner for Patterson. Mike George was a veteran of the Central States (Kansas City) ring wars where he had been a multi-time Central States Heavyweight champion. In the localized promos for Richmond, Leroy Brown was interviewed as Steven's partner, and indeed it was Brown who teamed with Stevens. Brown was working both Mid-Atlantic and Georgia territories during this time, including challenging Ric Flair for the NWA World Championship in Atlanta's Omni in May.
      • Stan Hansen and Ole Anderson. As mentioned in previous posts, Anderson and Hansen were largely considered a team from Georgia Championship Wrestling, as Stan was a regular there, but was making limited appearances in the Mid-Atlantic area, mostly related to the tournament. (See earlier posts for further details.) [AUDIO CLIP]
      • Austin Idol teamed with Big John Studd as his new partner in the tournaments after Idol and Ivan Koloff failed to advance in the previous tournaments in Greensboro and Charlotte. They could be considered a Georgia/Knoxville hybrid team. While Studd was making appearances semi-regularly in the Mid-Atlantic area, he was the top heel in the Knoxville territory at the time, feuding with both Blackjack Mulligan and Blackjack Mulligan, Jr.  Austin Idol had also been working both Mid-Atlantic and Georgia territories in 1981 and early 1982.


      Sgt. Slaughter and his recruit Pvt. Jim Nelson

      • Sgt. Slaughter (reigning United States Champion) took his young protege Pvt. Jim Nelson as his partner in Charlotte, but the two came up short there. They would stun the wrestling world with a victory here in Richmond. Nelson had only recently come under the tutelage of Sgt. Slaughter.  [AUDIO CLIP]
      • Kelly Kiniski (son of former NWA World champion Gene Kiniski) teamed with Ron Ritchie, the "young lions" entry in the tournament.  

      With this Richmond tournament, Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen became the only team to appear in all three tournaments so far (Greensboro, Charlotte, and Richmond.) They received a bye in the Richmond tournament, as did the Briscos. It isn't clear who Armstrong and Rich would have faced had they appeared as advertised. (No insinuation made here that they irresponsibly no-showed. Booker Ole Anderson probably pulled them to appear on a Friday night house show in Georgia.)

      The Richmond tournament only featured six teams.


      The tournament came down to the Brisco Brothers and the team of Sgt. Slaughter and his young recruit Pvt. Jim Nelson in the championship round. In a big upset, the Marines got past the Briscos to take the honors in Richmond.  

      The Briscos defeated Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen in the semi-finals to advance to the tournament championship. It was their second win over Anderson and Hansen in these tournaments having defeated them in the finals of the Charlotte tournament on 2/14. Both teams received byes in Richmond.

      Slaughter and Nelson advanced to the championship round by defeating Kiniski and Ritchie in the first round, Stevens and Brown in the second round, and then defeated the Briscos for the Richmond tournament championship. They were the only team to work three matches in the tournament.

      Slaughter actually worked four times this night, also facing Blackjack Mulligan Jr. (Barry Windham) in Sarge's "$1000 Cobra Challenge." Sarge is reported to have gotten disqualified when Muligan Jr. was about to escape the hold.

      Sgt. Slaughter and Pvt. Jim Nelson



      Roddy Piper and Ricky Steamboat were involved in a big feud over the Mid-Atlantic title and this match was toward the end of their run together. In this match, the ring would be surrounded by wrestlers in what was known then as a "lumberjack match." It was designed to keep wrestlers from running. If a wrestler left the ring, the lumberjacks would toss him back in again. In previous encounters, Piper had left the ring and been counted out in order to save his title. Piper won by pinfall.

      Sgt. Slaughter should get a special iron man award for working this match in addition to the three tournament matches that night. Not only did he and Pvt. Nelson wrestle three times in the tournament, Slaughter met Blackjack Mulligan, Jr. in a special 5-minute challenge match to see if Junior could break Sarge's cobra hold and win $1,000. The angle that set this up went all the way back to December of 1981, when an episode of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" went off the air with credits rolling as Mulligan Jr. was caught in the hold but about to escape it. (In promos leading up to the tournament [AUDIO CLIP], Slaughter told Pvt. Nelson he would defeat Mulligan Jr. in the Cobra Challenge for the $1,000 and would reimburse Nelson for his $1,000 entry fee. Mighty nice of the Sarge!)





      Coming up in PART FIVE:

      On to the Omni! The first tournament taking place outside of the Mid-Atlantic territory would be two nights later in Atlanta, GA for Georgia Championship Wrestling. This one rivaled Greensboro for the most diverse line-up of teams, including a top team in from All Japan Pro Wrestling. In fact, some of the Atlanta tournament was televised in Japan (and we'll have video of one of those matches in the Atlanta post.) Some big singles matches on the card as well, a show that was loaded with international stars. Stay tuned for our next post about the very interesting 1982 NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament. (And as Freddy Miller would say, "Be there!")

      Special thanks as always to Mark Eastridge for the newspaper clippings. Eddie Maccon, in attendance that night in Richmond, provided some of the bracketing information. The vintage audio recordings are from the collection of David Chappell.

      Please note: This page was updated 3/23/2022 with new information and corrections related to the bracketing and tournament participation, particularly in relation to Bob Armstrong and Tommy Rich not being in Richmond. Thanks to Kyle Rosser and Mark James for additional information and resources.

      Friday, March 16, 2018

      Saturday Night Dance

      This should be played often. And loud.
      Spinning my favorite Sweet G.A. Brown 45rpm record this afternoon on the official gen-u-wine Mid-Atlantic Gateway traveling turntable.
       #ibrokewahoosleg #wahoohaditcoming #wordssmith #sweetgabrown

      Read more about this record and this song:

      If you're in the Ringgold, GA area Saturday March 17 stop by Wrath Brewery & Burgers and check out Sweet G.A. and Dave, live music, green beer, burgers, all ages, no cover. Yep. Dang that burger looks good. (Visit, Facebook:

      Don't miss these recent posts on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway!

      This made my day, didn't see it until a couple of days later.

      Action Figures Friday: More Make Believe Gardens

      Gene Kiniski figure
      Photo by Barry Hatchet, Maple Leaf Wrestling Blog
      Barry Hatchet has some very cool photos of his custom action figures over at Andrew Calvert's Maple Leaf Wrestling Blog. We featured a few earlier, and have included links below to many of the pages on the MLW blog that feature Barry's photos.

      Many of these feature wrestlers from Jim Crockett Promotions, as the Tunney's booked much of their talent from late 1978 through 1983 from JCP.

      Here is a cool look at the great Gene Kiniski (at right) who was NWA World Champion from 1966 through early 1969.

      Check out these pages from the MLW blog with lots of cool photos of not only the figures, but of the "Make Believe Gardens" venue as well.

      on the Maple Leaf Wrestling Blog

      Wednesday, March 14, 2018

      John Studd Concedes Defeat to Blackjack Mulligan

      by David Chappell
      Mid-Atlantic Gateway

      One of the fiercest feuds that ever occurred in the history of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling was between Blackjack Mulligan and big John Studd. The issues between these two behemoths started back in October of 1978 when Ric Flair brought Studd into the territory to put Blackjack out of wrestling, with a $10,000 bounty being dangled in front of Studd as incentive for him to accomplish the deed.

      Online World of Wrestling
      Big John went on to accomplish what no other bounty-hunter had been able to do, he collected the bounty on Blackjack at the beginning of 1979 and sent Mulligan back to Texas. Mully came back across the Red River and confronted Studd again in the summer of 1979, leading to some of the most brutal bouts ever in the fall of 1979. After a bruising series of Texas Street Fight brawls, the second installment of this feud reached its conclusion in the early days of 1980 when Blackjack bested Studd in several Loser Leaves Town matches around the area.

      Some chicanery ensued after Studd's defeat as John put a $10,000 bounty on Mulligan, and the Masked Superstars #1 and #2 entered the area with the express intention of collecting it. While Superstar # 1 had gone round-and-round with Blackjack previously and the fans were familiar with him, the giant Superstar #2 was a different story. In fact, Superstar #2 shared so many similar characteristics with Mr. Studd that there appeared no doubt that he was in fact John Studd under the hood!

      The charade of Studd masquerading as Superstar #2 ended in late April and early May of 1980 around the area when Mulligan defeated Superstar # 2 while Superstar # 1 was locked in a small cage at ringside, officially revealing # 2 as John Studd in several of the territory's major cities. This led to a stunning appearance by Big John on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television program that was taped on May 21, 1980.

      Fans may remember the May 21st show as the one where Blackjack actually brought his cousin Crazy Luke to the WRAL studios in Raleigh, North Carolina after months of teasing that he would bring some of his infamous family in to help him defend against the $10,000 bounty. Memorable segments on this TV show included Cousin Luke entering the ring during a bout and offering the wrestlers popcorn and then later in the program interfering in a match between Mully and Ox Baker, knocking out Baker with one of his shoes!

      But the most memorable segment of that TV show for me was an appearance by John Studd...and the comments he made to the fans of the Mid-Atlantic area. Announcer Bob Caudle was on the set with Studd, the Masked Superstar and an unknown character dressed all in black, wearing diamond rings with a patch over one eye. Caudle began, "Now two familiar faces and one of course that's not familiar to you, here is Superstar #1, big John Studd and Enforcer Luciano. This is a newcomer you guys have brought in John."

      Studd responded, "I got a message for you people out there, and I've got a message for Mulligan. I'm on my way out of town Mulligan. You succeeded in runnin' John Studd out of town." After that amazing admission Studd continued, "But I'm leaving behind Superstar #1 and the Enforcer Luciano. And I'm also leaving behind the price that's on your head Mulligan, the $10,000. Mulligan, I might be three or four thousand miles away, but every time you get into the ring with one of these two men they're gonna be after the $10,000 dollar bounty that's on your head Mulligan...I won't rest until it's collected!"

      Big John then proceeded to introduce his de facto successor to the Mid-Atlantic audience exclaiming, "Now, you take a good look at the Enforcer...his whole life, all he's done is collect bills, collect money, collect bounties. And he told me, and he'd guaranteed me, where I failed Mulligan...I didn't end your wrestling career. You beat John Studd! But you're not gonna beat the Enforcer...he has guaranteed me the money will be collected on your head and I guaranteed him that I will pay up."

      Studd concluded by saying, "And then, you still have the Superstar to worry about. One of the greatest wrestlers I ever had the honor to stand next to. You're in trouble Mulligan, these men are after you...the price is on your head. I don't care how long it takes, I don't care what they have to do. Just send me Mulligan in a crate, and the money will be yours!"

      After nearly two years of brutal back-and-forth battles between Mulligan and Studd, it was shocking to hear big John concede defeat to Blackjack in this surreal TV segment. But even while conceding defeat and in the process ending a mega-feud, Studd managed to bring Enforcer Luciano into the fray which in turned brought Crazy Luke Mulligan into the area to counter this new threat to Blackjack. Two new wacky characters who for at least a couple of months gave Mid-Atlantic fans a bit a comic relief as they adjusted to a wrestling life without the defeated John Studd.

      Sunday, March 11, 2018

      Briscos Win Charlotte Leg of NWA World Tag Team Tournament

      The 1982 NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament
      Part Three
      by Dick Bourne
      Mid-Atlantic Gateway

      If you missed earlier posts in this series, check them out in the links below, especially the INTRODUCTION, which puts the whole tournament in a perspective that serves as a launching point for the following discussions.

      PART ONE: Introduction
      PART TWO: Greensboro

      Date: February 14, 1982
      Venue: Charlotte Coliseum

      The 1982 NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament continued on Valentine's Day night with its second city tournament taking place in the hometown of Jim Crockett Promotions - - Charlotte, North Carolina.

      The Charlotte leg featured four returning teams and four new teams, including a team from Championship Wrestling from Florida that would win it all here in the Queen City.

      Returning teams from Greensboro that were also entered in Charlotte:
      • Ole Anderson & Stan Hansen
      • Jake "The Snake" Roberts & Jay Youngblood
      • Ray Stevens & Pat Patterson
      • Austin Idol & Ivan Koloff
      New teams entered in Charlotte:
      • Jack and Jerry Brisco
      • Sgt. Slaughter and Pvt. Nelson
      • Blackjack Mulligan Sr. and Jr.
      • Roddy Piper and Greg Valentine

      The Brisco Brothers from "Championship Wrestling from Florida" enter
      the NWA World Tag Team city tournament in Charlotte

      Four of these teams featured "outside talent" from other territories:
      • Jack and Jerry Brisco came in from Florida for the Charlotte tournament, and Jack wound up staying on full time in the territory, and would have memorable feuds in the year 1982 over the Mid-Atlantic title with Roddy Piper, Paul Jones, and Dory Funk, Jr. as well as challenging regularly for Ric Flair's NWA World Heavyweight Championship. Jerry would be in and out sporadically, working a part time schedule in Florida, Georgia, and the Mid-Atlantic, while also working in management in both Florida and Georgia at various times. He mostly did TV and weekend shots for JCP until coming in full time in 1983 to team with Jack and eventually to challenge for and win the NWA World Tag Team championship. But at this point, they were still a Florida team.
      • Blackjack Mulligan Sr. and Jr. joined forces to make a run at the tag team titles. Blackjack Mulligan was running the Knoxville territory (closely affiliated with JCP), and Mulligan Jr. (Barry Windham) was the top babyface there, but was also making regular shots in the Mid-Atlantic territory. The team was not in the Greensboro tournament a week earlier because Junior was challenging Sgt. Slaughter for the United States title on that big show.
      • As mentioned in the Greensboro write-up, Pat Patterson and Ray Stevens reunited their classic team of the 1970s from California and the AWA. It was mentioned many times on Mid-Atlantic TV leading up to the tournament that they were former world tag team champions. Stevens was a regular in the Mid-Atlantic area at this time, and brought in his old partner Patterson who was scheduled in for a few shots specifically related to the tournament. Patterson worked for the WWF at this time as TV host, part-time wrestler, and behind the scenes for the company as well. But given the nostalgic nature of this classic tag team pairing, I consider them an AWA entrant into this tournament.  
      • Stan Hansen teamed once again with Ole Anderson. As mentioned in the Greensboro post, they were largely considered a team from Georgia Championship Wrestling, as Stan was a regular there, and was making limited appearances in the area, mostly related to the tournament.

      The Mid-Atlantic teams were stronger overall in Charlotte than Greensboro. 
      • The tournament reunited Roddy Piper and Greg Valentine, who once formed the self-described "Dream Team" in the Mid-Atlantic area two years earlier.
      • U.S. Champion Sgt. Slaughter took his young protege Pvt. Jim Nelson as his partner. Nelson had only recently come under the tutelage of the Sarge. 
      • Two teams that had competed in the Greensboro tournament, Ivan Koloff/Austin Idol and Jake Roberts/Jay Youngblood, rounded out the Mid-Atlantic field. 

      Stan Hansen, Ole Anderson and Gene Anderson talk with Bob Caudle
      Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen came charging into Charlotte having just won the Greensboro tournament and were the odds-on favorite to take the Charlotte tournament, too. Gene Anderson accompanied the team in many of their appearances in the area. Gene was injured and unable to compete, which was the reason this whole tournament came about to begin with. Gene and Ole were stripped of the titles when Gene could no longer wrestle, and Ole had taken Georgia regular Stan Hansen as his partner. It was not unfamiliar to see Gene in this managerial role, as he had achieved great success as a manager guiding Ray Stevens and Jimmy Snuka to the NWA World Tag Team championship a few years earlier.

      As mentioned in the Greensboro post, one notable team not in the tournament was the duo of former World tag team champions Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood. The two were considered early favorites to win the tournament should they decide to enter. But Steamboat was in the middle of another chase of Ric Flair's NWA World Heavyweight title, and so Youngblood teamed up with Jake "The Snake" Roberts. Jake was one of the top singles babyfaces in the territory at this time, and the two would team in a couple of other city tournaments as well. Steamboat, who faced Flair for the NWA title a week earlier on the Greensboro card, met Killer Khan in a special attraction singles match in Charlotte.


      The tournament came down to Jack and Jerry Brisco vs. Ray Stevens and the visiting Pat Patterson in the finals, with the Brisco brothers eventually taking the honors and winning the Charlotte city tournament.

      Many times in pro wrestling tournaments, there are double disqualifications or double count outs that eliminate two teams and move another team ahead based on the resulting bye in the brackets. Thankfully, as in Greensboro, we did not see this in Charlotte.

      The Briscos defeated two tough Mid-Atlantic teams on their road to the Charlotte finals, topping Sgt. Slaughter and Pvt. Nelson in the opening round, and despite it being Valentine's Day, topped Greg Valentine and Roddy Piper in a wild semi-final bout.

      Stevens and Patterson defeated Ivan Koloff and Austin Idol in the opening round, which set up a rematch of the finals in Greensboro against Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen. This time, Stevens and Patterson avenged their Greensboro loss to advance to the Charlotte finals.

      Jack and Jerry Brisco


      The two singles main events rounding out the Charlotte card featured talent from outside the territory as well. 

      With Ole Anderson booking both the Mid-Atlantic and Georgia territories, there was a mix of talent crossing promotional borders during late 1981 and early 1982. Georgia star "Wildfire" Tommy Rich made several appearances in the Mid-Atlantic area over this time frame and was one of the hottest babyfaces in the country. He was just ten months off his upset win over Harley Race for a short 4 day reign as NWA World Heavyweight champion in 1981. Rich was now in hot pursuit of Flair for the title in the Peach State, and was bringing that chase to the Queen City to headline the Charlotte tournament card.

      Flair had just recently turned heel again, one of several turns in the Mid-Atlantic area during his first reign as NWA champion as promoters and fans had a difficult time deciding whether to love him or hate him when he was a heel in the rest of  the wrestling world.

      This title bout got out of hand quickly, and both Flair and Rich were disqualified, with Flair retaining the title. 

      There wasn't much build-up to the Steamboat/Khan match, it was simply a special attraction standing on its own. Killer Khan had a worldwide reputation and was featured heavily in newsstand wrestling magazines, and had been seen on Mid-Atlantic TV in a tape sent from the WWF. Khan dominated most of the match, but it was Steamboat who got the big win with a flying bodypress from the top turnbuckle.

      Special Note: Both Tommy Rich and Killer Khan, outsiders in these two singles events in Charlotte,  would return to the Mid-Atlantic area in subsequent weeks with tag team partners in tow to enter the ongoing NWA World Tag Team Tournament.

      Coming up in PART FOUR:
      The tournament moves to Commonwealth of Virginia, as Richmond hosts the third city tournament. Both winners of the first two city tournaments (Anderson and Hansen in Greensboro and the Briscos in Charlotte) are entered in the Richmond tournament with hopes of getting a second win under their belt. Richmond hosts a team comprised of the two top "good guys" in the Georgia territory as well. Be here for our next post about the very interesting 1982 NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament.

      Special thanks as always to Mark Eastridge for the newspaper clippings.