Monday, April 23, 2018

The Anderson Brothers Pay the Price in 1975

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

During the height of the epic feud between Gene and Ole Anderson and Wahoo McDaniel and Paul Jones during the summer of 1975, the Andersons’ went out of their way to make examples of their hapless opponents on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television programming. Several times after winning their TV contests Gene and Ole persisted in torturing their prey after the bouts were over, causing injury to their opponent’s brutalized arms. In response, the powers-that-be took the highly unusual step of taking the NWA World Tag Team Champions off of television as punishment for their actions, along with assessing fines.

On the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV program that was taped on August 20, 1975, Gene and Ole were seemingly on their best behavior as they dispatched the tandem of big Swede Hanson and Don Serrano. The champs forced Serrano to submit to win the match, but the submission arm bar maneuver was broken cleanly when the match was declared as being over by the referee.

In the show’s final segment, legendary announcer Bob Caudle commented, “Well fans, you just saw ‘em in the ring, of course the World Tag Team Champions Gene and Ole Anderson, the finest tag team in the world right now and the belts prove that. But again, you fellas were suspended from television for a couple of weeks Ole; you were fined $500 apiece for injuring an opponent after the bell. I saw you broke on Serrano, when he said he submitted you let him up, you didn’t try to hurt him.”

Ole was as blunt as usual and responded pointedly, “Well, you know, of all the places that we’ve wrestled and we’ve wrestled all over the world…I have never seen anything like it. How in the world, in this one place, even though it might be the best wrestling in the whole world right now. I don’t see what authority they could possibly have to suspend the World Champions, and yet that’s what they did.”

Becoming more indignant, Ole continued, “They not only suspended us, but they fined each one of us $500 apiece. It’s never happened anywhere before in the world. Wrestling is a man’s sport, and I feel that if you can’t take the punishment that you shouldn’t be in it. All right, right now they think they’ve got us calmed down a little bit. They put the fine on us, they’ve suspended us for two weeks…Gene doesn’t like it; I don’t like it! We like to be in front of our fans; we like to have people see us.”

As Ole continued to pontificate, you could sense he had plotted his future course. “Okay, when we get on TV we’re gonna break right away…you saw me do it tonight,” Ole stated. Caudle confirmed, “Yeah, I saw you.” Ole then chuckled, “Ha, but don’t get too overjoyed because you people sitting at home, when you go to the wrestling matches in an arena or a coliseum, or wherever it might be, we’re gonna be entirely different. Because there’s nothing, there’s no jurisdiction in an arena or a coliseum, there’s nothing that says that once a man gives up, I have to let go or Gene has to let go.”

Caudle then challenged Ole claiming, “Sportsmanship says that!” Ole immediately shot back, “Sportsmanship doesn’t mean anything.” Bob answered, “Sure it does.” Ole then explained, “If you let a man go, he comes back a week later and tells everybody with a couple of days training he could beat you. Now, that’s where our mistake has been.”

Ole concluded the show noting all the area’s good guys were in his crosshairs, including Tim Woods who had a bounty recently placed on his head by United States Heavyweight Champion Johnny Valentine. Ole bellicosely snarled, “Guys like Paul Jones or Wahoo, or Rufus R. Jones or Ken Patera…or this upstart, the guy that came back after a broken leg, Timmy Woods. And when I think about that, I don’t know what John Valentine has in mind about in terms of money, but Gene and I never turned down a buck yet. If Valentine comes up with the right price we’ll even go after Woods, but there won’t be anybody to stop us then, and we’ll go ahead and break the arm, or the leg or whatever it happens to be.”

As Bob Caudle closed the program, I couldn’t help but think that while the Andersons’ had to pay the price in August of 1975, both monetarily and by being booted off of TV, Gene and Ole clearly hadn’t learned their lesson on the value of sportsmanship in professional wrestling…and probably never would.