Sunday, March 04, 2018

Strange Goings on in Greensboro (Part 5 - The Finale)

The Conclusion
by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway 

Catch up on what you missed:
PART ONE: World Tag Team Title Match
PART TWO: The Baron appeals to NWA President Bob Geigel
PART THREE: Film Review
PART FOUR: The President's Decision

Valentine and the Baron: Back on Top!

After receiving the crushing news from NWA President Bob Geigel during the beginning segment of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show that was taped on September 6, 1978, Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat reappeared as the show closed to address their fans. Jones was still red in the face as announcer Bob Caudle engaged him. "I've never seen anybody as mad as you were, about having to give the belts back," Caudle commented.

While Steamboat stood silently, Jones fumed, "Bob, it's been quite an hour; a lot of things happened this last hour. I just want to say stand out here and have to give those belts back to 'em after knowing the way they won 'em right here on TV." Paul, becoming even more agitated closed out the show by adding, "I know I can't say on TV the way I feel about those two men but I know they're not the deserving champions and I know we can beat 'em because we proved one thing...they had to run to the NWA to get their belts back. They can't take their own medicine...they can't dish it out."

After being forced to relinquish the World Tag Team belts on television, Jones and Steamboat became more desperate as they sensed their chances to regain the titles were slipping away. This mindset was evident when Valentine and Raschke, along with Steamboat and Jones, were promoting a return title match in the Richmond Coliseum on September 17, 1978.

Valentine told promo announcer Rich Landrum, "All the fans out there obviously know how much these belts mean to Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat. They've been cryin' for the last four months; they've been drowning in their own tears because Raschke and myself ...they made the statement we would never hold onto the belts." Greg concluded, "Well take a look, we still got 'em! And in the Richmond Coliseum all the fans, and especially you Steamboat and you, Paul Jones, are gonna find out just how much these belts mean to us."

Referencing the recent Greensboro bout, the Baron then rhetorically asked the Richmond fans, "What do you think of two wrestlers that will do anything to win the championship belts, by hooks and by crooks?! They sneak, they are cowards. But I tell you this Steamboat and Jones, you will pay for your trickery, you will pay for your cowardice. We will not retreat one defend our belts!"

Steamboat responded and told Landrum, "You know for a couple of days Paul Jones and myself, we had thought that we had won back our World Tag Team Titles but I guess now everybody's seen it on film and they've played the thing over and over again and Valentine and Raschke have been cryin' to the NWA and so on and this and now they've got the belts back."

Ricky then added, "But we had one thing to prove to ourselves and I guess one thing to prove to the people that regardless of the circumstances either one of those two guys that Paul and I had the capability of pinning 'em, regardless of what the outcome may be." Steamboat then further explained the Greensboro controversy, "You know pandemonium broke out in the ring and it was like a four-way, it was like a small battle royal, and what had happened was I was the wrong man which was obvious and everybody saw it on the film, but at the time I didn't realize it. I pinned Valentine; that's one thing that Paul and I had to prove...we could pin one of 'em."

Jones was more blunt, admitting, "Well you know Ricky, we almost got away with it! We told the people that we would do anything, we're not above doing anything to win those belts and get the belts back because they belong to us. So let that be a lesson, anything we can get away with Raschke and Valentine, we're gonna do it because we want our belts!"

Even with the new win at any cost mentality, Paul and Ricky could not secure the Titles in Richmond, and likewise came up short in return World Title shots in Wilmington, North Carolina on October 1st, Raleigh on October 3rd and Spartanburg, South Carolina on October 14th. The last hurrah for Jones and Steamboat in their chase to upend the Baron and Valentine occurred in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on October 28th and a return championship match there on November 11th. Again, the Jones and Steamboat team would come up empty.

By mid November of 1978 the new duo of Paul Orndorff and Jimmy Snuka would replace Jones and Steamboat as the number one contenders for the World Tag Team Titles. And by early December, Paul and Ricky would shockingly split leaving their team and friendship in tatters. Looking back, the Greensboro battle on September 3rd turned out to be the last stand for the Jones/Steamboat tandem. Bob Geigel's pronouncement via a telegram defeated them more soundly than the Baron and Greg Valentine ever did in the ring. Strange goings-on in Greensboro, indeed.