Thursday, May 31, 2018

Wahoo McDaniel Career Results Available in New Book

If you haven't heard about this already, be sure to check out the new wrestling results compilation on the career of the legendary Wahoo McDaniel put together by Greg Mosorjak and Mark James. The book is published by and sold on

The book collects results from all around the world from the years 1962 through 1996 and is a wonderful review of Wahoo's opponents, feuds, and title wins and losses over an incredible career that spanned four decades.

Mosorjak also collects quotes from various books and articles about Wahoo, as well memories from fans and folks within the business, too. These include both funny stories, tributes, and sentimental memories, all paying tribute to the Chief.

The book also includes a small collection of newspaper articles, ads for wrestling events, photographs, and a foreword by wrestling journalist Mike Mooneyham. It all adds up to a nice collection of information and memories on one of the great figures in Mid-Atlantic Wrestling and a giant in the industry as a whole.

The book is 250 pages, in large 8x10" softcover format and retails for $22.99. It is available on

Own Your Own Piece of a Crockett Ring Canvas

Ever wanted to own a special piece of Jim Crockett Promotions history? You can now order a piece of an actual Jim Crockett Promotions ring canvass used in the 1980s.

From the Crockett Foundation Website:
Own a real piece of wrestling history. The Crockett Foundation has a limited number of 2″ x 2″ pieces of a wrestling mat used by Jim Crockett Promotions. The pieces come on a card certifying their authenticity signed by Jim Crockett Sr.’s granddaughter and the president of the Crockett Foundation. Who knows which legend’s blood might be on your piece of history.
For more information, or to order your piece of JCP wrestling history, visit the online store of the Crockett Foundation website.

A portion of the proceeds from each sale at the Crockett Foundation store support the charitable work of the Crockett Foundation.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Magazine Memories: Paul Jones Battles Terry Funk

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

This was always one of my favorite photos in the old Weston magazines, it ran in many issues over the years in stories or mentions about Paul Jones and/or Terry Funk.

What I like is the way Funk is selling. It was a familiar look for him when selling during the 70s and early 80s.

Jones is working over Funk's leg, perhaps setting him up for his trademark Indian deathlock. Funk has his arms wrapped around his head - - his right over his eyes, his left over his ear. I used to joke this was the "see no evil" method of selling. If I can't see you and and I can't hear you, then you can't hurt me.

One of the best matches on tape to see Funk sell in this way is the famous Toronto match in 1977 where he loses the NWA title to Harley Race.

It's a small thing, really, but it always stood out to me, and it did in this great photo as well.

Republished on 5/30/2020

Monday, May 28, 2018

Anderson and Hansen Win the East

The 1982 NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament
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 and serves as a launching point for the following discussions. 

PART ONE: Introduction
PART TWO: Greensboro
PART THREE: Charlotte
PART FOUR: Richmond
PART FIVE: Atlanta
PART SIX: Fayetteville 
PART SEVEN: St. Petersburg
PART EIGHT: The Lost Tournaments
PART NINE: Wahoo & Muraco Win the West 

Angelo Mosca and Killer Khan confront Ole Anderson
in advance of the Eastern Finals on 5/9/82
With the city tournaments (sometimes referred to as regional tournaments) concluded and Western Division winners named, the Eastern Finals were announced and scheduled for Charlotte, North Carolina.

Sadly, the tournament which had been such huge part of the discussion on TV and the big shows in the territory over the past months, began to fall apart behind the scenes. I've always thought that sometimes bookers just lost interest sometimes in stories they were telling, for no apparent reason. It would just happen. Such was the case with this infamous NWA World Tag team tournament over the following weeks.

Behind the scenes, the Crocketts and booker Ole Anderson were having disagreements. The dual-booking arrangement that had begun in the fall of 1981 where Ole Anderson was booking both Mid-Atlantic and Georgia territories, apparently wasn't working out to the satisfaction of the Crocketts. Ole Anderson confirmed as much to me in a discussion we had about the tournament at the Atlanta wrestling fanfest weekend back in 2011.

Its the little details that make for good wrestling angles and stories. Likewise it's the lack of details, or not paying attention to details, that ruin otherwise good wrestling angles and stories.

On the 4/10/82 episode of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling," Sandy Scott informed us that there were several teams still in the running in the Eastern division:

"Other teams that are in the East now, that are still in it, are Greg Gagne/Jim Brunzell, Angelo Mosca/Killer Khan, Jack and Jerry Brisco, Adonis and Ventura, and Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen. The finals will be held in a city yet to be announced." - NWA Representative Sandy Scott

What was particularly annoying about this was that only three of these five teams had actually competed in any of the city tournaments, and only two had actually won a city tournament. Perhaps the teams of Gagne/Brunzell and Mosca/Kahn were originally planned to be booked on one of the city tournaments. It is notable that the Gagne/Brunzell team was mentioned more than once over the many weeks hyping the city tournaments. More likely, though, it was all part of fictitious wrestling-story telling to add luster to the tournament. But again, the lack of attention to the little details distracted from the feel of legitimacy that the tournament had up until this point.

Several problems stood out. First off, a tape from Florida had just been shown where tournament director Eddie Graham announced that his son Mike and partner Steve Keirn had won the tournament in Florida, but Sandy doesn't even mention them in his list of teams still alive in the East. Graham had also mentioned that Funks were still in the tournament, but Sandy didn't mention them either.

Secondly, the original premise of the tournament structure was that you had to win a city tournament to advance to the Eastern finals, and yet three of the teams announced had not won any of the city tournaments.

Also, one of these final-four teams, the Samoans, were not the famous Afa and Sika from the WWF. They were Tapu and Tio that had previously worked for Angelo Poffo's ICW promotion. This team was nothing more than enhancement talent for JCP in the months following, including two losses on television. (More than any other factor, especially in hindsight, this ruins the credibility of the final days of this tournament.)

Lastly, there were other teams that had won city tournaments, in particular Sgt. Slaughter and Jim Nelson as well as Jim Nelson and Don Kernodle (along with the aforementioned Mike Graham and Steve Keirn) but weren't mentioned as still being alive in the East. No explanation was given.

The Eastern Final Four
On the 4/24/82 episode, Sandy Scott announced that the Queen City of Charlotte had been selected to host the Eastern Division finals and it would be held on May 9th. Angelo Mosca and Killer Khan appeared on the program and Mosca mentioned that he and Khan had won a tournament in Montreal, Quebec. This was a fictitious tournament.

A week later on the 5/1/82 episode, Scott officially announces the final four teams in the East:

  • Jack and Jerry Brisco - won the tournament in Charlotte on 2/14
  • Angelo Mosca & Killer Khan - announced earlier as having won a tournament in Montreal, but in actuality never were entered or wrestled in any of the city tournaments
  • The Samoans - This was not the famous team of Afa and Sika from the WWF. Similar to Mosca/Khan, never were entered or wrestled in any of the city tournaments
  • Ole Anderson & Stan Hansen - won Greensboro on 2/7 and Atlanta on 2/28, and wrestled in every city tournament that actually took place

Let me just say this right here and now. Pvt. Jim Nelson was robbed! Nelson won two different tournaments with two different partners (Sgt. Slaughter in Richmond and Don Kernodle in Fayetteville), yet still wasn't included in the Eastern finals.

In fact, there was no explanation given as to how these particular four teams qualified for the finals. Anderson/Hansen and the Brisco brothers were fair enough as they had won city tournaments. Mosca/Khan at least "won"a fictitious tournament in Montreal. But the Samoans had not even wrestled in a city tournament, real or fictitious, much less won one. Meanwhile, several other teams had won city tournaments, but were left out of the finals.

Eastern Results

Stan Hansen and Ole Anderson defeated Jack and Jerry Brisco in the finals to win the Eastern Division. It was appropriate that Anderson and Hansen won the East given they legitimately won two city tournaments (the only team to do so) and equally appropriate that the Briscos made it to the finals with the one city tournament win and  appearances in many others.

Anderson and Hansen advanced to the final match by defeating the Samoans, while the Briscos topped Mosca and Khan.

In other matches on this big Charlotte show:
  • U.S. Title match: Don Muraco defeated Sgt. Slaughter by DQ but failed to win the title
  • Tommy Rich defeated Roddy Piper (bringing their Georgia feud to Charlotte)
  • Mike Rotundo defeated Jim Dalton
  • Ron Ritchie and Carl Fergie battled to a draw

Further Developments / Best of Seven Series Announced
On the 5/15 show, David Crockett announces that Eastern Division champions Ole Anderson and Stan Hansen will face Western Division champions Wahoo McDaniel and Don Muraco in a best-of-seven series. The cities that will host the series will be announced soon, he says.

Behind the scenes, whatever falling out the Crocketts had with booker Ole Anderson finally reached a boiling point and Anderson leaves the territory to work full time booking and wrestling in Georgia. The dual-booking arrangement is over. It isn't clear if he was fired or if he quit. His last date for JCP is June 5th in Charlotte teaming with Roddy Piper against Jack Brisco and Don Muraco. Hansen's last match for JCP appears to have been the night of the Eastern finals.  He then left for a six-week month tour of Japan, returning to team with Ole again in late June.

But with Ole and Stan leaving, the big development which affected the storyline of the tournament shifted to Wahoo McDaniel winning the United States Heavyweight Championship from Sgt. Slaughter on 5/21/82 in Richmond, Virginia. Muraco wasn't real happy about it.

We take a look at how Ole Anderson's departure and Wahoo McDaniel's U.S. title victory were equal catalysts in the anti-climatic end to the 1982 NWA World Tag Team Tournament.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Mooneyham: Mid-Atlantic Legends Return to Charleston

It was one of the early fan conventions in the Mid-Atlantic area, before Fanfest or Legend Reunion. And the names there were some from the foundation of the classic era in Mid-Atlantic Wrestling:

Johnny Valentine, Rip Hawk, Swede Hansen, Sandy Scott, Tim Woods, Thunderbolt Patterson, Ole Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Burrhead Jones, and many others.

Mike Mooneyham looks back this week at "The Legends Return to County Hall", a "Low Country Wrestling" reunion for the ages.

The Night The Legends Returned to County Hall
by Mike Mooneyham
Charleston Post & Courier

For years it was a gathering place for locals to enjoy entertainment acts ranging from Tommy Dorsey and Elvis Presley to James Brown, Bob Dylan and Herman’s Hermits. The Charleston landmark also served as host to dances, graduations, sporting events, and even welcomed such American icons as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Oprah Winfrey and the Harlem Globetrotters.

For wrestling fans, however, it was the place to be on Friday nights when longtime promoter Henry Marcus would bring some of the biggest names in the business to town.....

---> Read the entire article on the Post & Courier Website

Order your copy of "Reunion at County Hall" by Andy McDaniel on
Black & White Version   |   Color Version

Read the review by Mike Mooneyham of the Charleston Post & Courier
Wrestling Book Takes a Look at County Hall

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The SuperStar Grapevine

The SuperStar Grapevine column in "Wrestling Superstars" was always one of our favorite sections of that newsstand magazine.

And of course we believed every word of it. Who were we to question the journalistic standards of Stanley Weston and his fine group of editors?

So hear are a few classic entries worth hanging onto that appeared in that literary tome in late 1977. The titles are ours.

Nobody Does it Better
Ric Flair claims the song "Nobody Does It Better" was not inspired by James Bond, but by him. "The songwriter, Carol Sager, obviously has seen me wrestle. Who can blame the woman for becoming overcome by my brilliance?" Don't you wish you had Flair's imagination?

Move Over Mother Teresa
Wahoo McDaniel doesn't want any publicity for his many charitable works, but someone should publicly congratulate him. Wahoo is a tireless worker for the downtrodden and helpless. We're lucky to have Wahoo living in our world.

A Dish Best Served Cold
Terry Funk, back on the road to success, declares, "Harley Race cheated when he took my title. That doesn't bother me anymore. I don't want revenge. I just want to break him in two for the fun of hearing him scream."

Breaking Legs
Feeling no remorse whatsoever for breaking Wahoo McDaniel's leg, Greg Valentine has gone on to break the leg of young rookie "Irish" Pat McKillan. "I hope to break at least two legs a week," says Valentine. "Maybe four, if I get lucky."

Republished in May 2022 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Pressure Mounts: Will Aldis Bring the Ten Pounds of Gold to ALL IN?

Action Figures Friday: Jones and Raschke

Another look at one of our favorite tag teams ever in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling: Paul Jones and Baron Von Raschke.

Another great photo from the collection of Mike Simmerman.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

It's All in the Family for "Nature Boy" Ric Flair

We've joked over the years that if Flair was Rip Hawk's nephew and he was also Gene and Ole Anderson's cousin, then that must have meant that Rip Hawk and the Anderson Brothers were somehow related.

by Dick Bourne

Mid-Atlantic Gateway

It's probably fair to say that in the storybook world of pro-wrestling, especially back in the territory days, worked family connections were just as common as bonafide family relationships.

For all the Funks, Briscos, and Von Erichs there were just as many Valiants, Fargos, and Andersons.

Ric Flair and Rip Hawk
Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champions

Sometimes wrestling would even take an actual truthful family relationship (like father and son Johnny and Greg Valentine) and create a worked relationship (Johnny and Greg Valentine as brothers in the mid-1970s when Greg first arrived in the Mid-Atlantic.)

But then there is the special case of the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. Flair would, for a very short time, be a member of two different wrestling families soon after arriving to Jim Crockett Promotions.

Flair arrived in Charlotte in May of 1974, debuting for Jim Crockett Promotions against Abe Jacobs at the Charlotte Coliseum on Monday night, May 13.

Within two weeks, booker George Scott was toying around with different ways to align Flair to begin his slow push. There were two family relationships that sprung up almost at the same time.

Ric was first said to be the nephew of Rip Hawk, the "blond bomber" who had a notorious reputation in the area going back more than a decade. George Scott teamed Hawk and Flair up early, only a few weeks after Flair arrived, and the two would soon win the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team championship from Paul Jones and Bob Bruggers on the Fourth of July in Greensboro. Flair's star was quickly on the rise.

But during this same time, the story was also floated on TV and in newspaper event ads that Flair was a cousin of Gene and Ole Anderson, playing off the fact they were all three from Minnesota.

A newspaper article written in advance of a 5/24/74 show in Burlington, NC, listed the matches for the upcoming card, and included this little new factoid:

"Singles action has Ric Flair, a relative of the Anderson Brothers, facing Billy Ashe."

Three days later on 5/27 in Greenville, SC -- exactly two weeks after his debut - - Flair and Rip Hawk teamed for the first time, getting an upset win of sorts over area veterans Nelson Royal and Danny Miller. Flair's push was on.  Less than seven weeks later, they won the Mid-Atlantic tag team titles.

We've joked over the years that if Flair was Rip Hawk's nephew and he was also Gene and Ole Anderson's cousin, then that must have meant that Rip Hawk and the Anderson Brothers were somehow related. Maybe Flair wasn't a member of two different wrestling families - - maybe both were all one big happy family.

Now, go ahead and try to figure out that family tree. I dare you.

Extensive research (really) has unearthed the following genealogical information. This is our story and we are stickin' to it:

  1. There was a family of Andersons that immigrated to Minnesota from Sweden in the late 1800s. The patriarch was Noah Anderson. He and his wife Alma had four children, two boys and two girls.
  2. Their first son, Nils Anderson, married and had four sons of his own: Gene, Lars, Nils Jr., and Ole. All became pro wrestlers.
  3. Their first daughter, Alma Anderson, married a Minnesota physician named Morgan Flair. They had a son named Richard "Ric" Flair who also became a pro-wrestler. (This makes Ric a first cousin to the four Anderson brothers by blood.)
  4. The second daughter, Catherine Anderson, married a pro wrestler named Harvey "Rip" Hawk. (This makes Rip an uncle by marriage to Ric Flair and, as an aside, an uncle by marriage to the four Anderson brothers, too. Apparently Rip never wanted to publicly acknowledge them.)
  5. Unrelated to this article, but to finish out the family tree, Noah and Alma's second son, Liam Anderson, had a son named Arn, which makes Arn blood cousin to the four Anderson brothers and Ric Flair, and as it works out, also a nephew by marriage to Rip Hawk. Liam and his wife Lesa, moved to Georgia when Arn was just a baby, which would explain Arn's south-Georgia accent (as well his penchant for uttering classic southern phrases like "If I tell you a grasshopper can pull a freight train, hook him up!")
Mythical Anderson Family Tree (Click image to enlarge.)

Confused? Don't worry. As Ole Anderson would say, this is all horsesh*t. And it may go quite the way of making the argument that I had way too much free time on my hands when writing this.

This article was republished in May 2021 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

All In on the NWA Championship

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

It's been amazing to watch: the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, the single most prestigious title in all of pro-wrestling in the years I grew up as a wrestling fan, becoming a serious touring world championship once again.

There is a real sense of renewal through its connections with its past. From the renewed emphasis on the term "ten pounds of gold", to an old-school heel champion, to the title being defended in places where it never had been before, most recently in China. Mix in nods to the organizaton's heritage, the champions that came before like Race, Brisco, and Flair, and it all just works.

I've only recently become aware of this rebirth of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. It is nice to see the title being treated with respect again. I don't know much about NWA owner Billy Corrigan but I've developed a great deal of respect for him based on how he has been working to bring the NWA title back to world wide prominence.

It is, of course, likely going to be a long journey. Keep in mind, he is doing this without television. There are local TV shows that promote it hard, "Championship Wrestling from Hollywood" being the best example. The folks there, most visibly David Marquez, have been involved with the NWA for many years.

The way they are getting this done right now is almost exclusively through social media. Producer Dave Lagana has done a great job in producing short-form videos that appear on multiple social media platforms. These range from promotional interviews, to behind the scenes features, to highlights of angles and title matches. I love these shorter features, almost like vignettes. They've become habit forming, and I eagerly look forward to the next video to pop up.

NWA World Champion Nick Aldis
(Photo from
It's fun to follow champion Nick Aldis travel to different independent promotions all over the country and all around the world, some large, some small, defending the title against that indy's top guy. It's reminiscent of the old territory days in a way. The traveling world champion defending the ten pounds of gold. 

I had a friend recently ask me rhetorically, "Why do they even bother? No one is going to ever challenge the WWE." My response is, "Why does that have to be the goal?" The most enjoyable wrestling to me by far is that niche product that is trying to do their own thing, and not resemble the WWE. Check out fan enthusiasm for small groups like MLW, Wrestle Circus, or Lucha Underground. How about a 30-minute sellout of over 10,000 seats for the upcoming "All In" show? (More on that in a minute.) Watching the NWA make its champion and its title actually mean something, focusing only on champion and the belt via the great short-form videos, is what is making the NWA story work right now.

Which brings us to "All In 2018", the huge independent wrestling show in Chicago later this summer. NWA World Champion Nick Aldis will defend the NWA title against challenger Cody Rhodes, son of former 3-time NWA World champion "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes. It is very likely to be the main event. Regardless of the outcome, that exposure will do wonders for the renewed credibility of the title. There is a great opportunity for a great story to be written there.

Aldis is a great heel. And with a Rhodes challenging for the NWA title in front of over 10,000 fans in Chicago - - breathing new life into this storied championship - - well, I'm definitely ALL IN on that.

* * * *
NWA YouTube Channel:
NWA Twitter (@NWA):
All In 2018 Twitter:

Sunday, May 20, 2018

The Anderson Brothers' Greatest Year


by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Gene and Ole Anderson had many fabulous years while wrestling under the Jim Crockett Promotions banner, but for my money 1975 was their greatest of all. Upon returning to the Mid-Atlantic area on New Year's Day 1975, the Andersons became the NWA World Tag Team Champions in a month's time and dominated the territory's tag team division for the entire calendar year.

This domination was so noteworthy that when the promotion did their 1975 Year-In-Review show, Gene and Ole were featured in that program's initial segment. Showing three separate film clips from the year that Ole and announcers Bob Caudle and David Crockett discussed, 1975 was succinctly dissected and put in perspective as it pertained to the Anderson Brothers.

The initial clip depicted perfectly the brutally effective ring style that truly became Gene and Ole's calling card in 1975. Bob Caudle opened with, "Let's call in a pair right now, as we say it was a great year for Gene and Ole Anderson, the Anderson Brothers...and Ole, you and Gene competed in the big tournament in California and you won the World's Tag Team Championship belts in the year 1975."

Ole responded, "Well, 1975 was without a doubt our greatest year. It was a year that our greatness was finally realized when we won that tournament and became the World's Tag Team Champions." Bob went to break saying, "We're gonna be seeing some of the great matches the Anderson Brothers were in during the year, and we'll be back with that action right after this message."

Caudle then continued, "Fans as we mentioned earlier it was a great year for Gene and Ole Anderson, 1975, and a year I think the Andersons tried to strike a little fear in the hearts of some of the opponents, Ole. We have a match here where you were against Tony Atlas and Rick Kelly, and it was a match where you hurt Rick Kelly's arm." Ole answered, "Well, there were a lot of matches like that and like you say, we were trying to show everybody what it means to be a professional wrestler and especially what it means to be in the ring against the Anderson Brothers."

As the tape began to play of a televised match from the fall, Caudle said, "All right Ole, let's look at that match and as we look at it we're going to be telling the fans just what was happening and what you and Gene were doing." Ole retorted, "Well, as usual what we're doing is winning. But in order to win, you've got to be able to wear your opponent've got to be able to control him. And that's something we do better than anybody else. We take one man, in this case whatever his name is..." Caudle immediately responded that the opponent was named, "Rick Kelly."

Unimpressed, Ole then barked out the Andersons' basic wrestling philosophy to the fans at home, "What difference... it doesn't make any difference who the guy is, we do it every match. We grab one man, and we continually work on him."  Bob then picked up on another part of the tape that highlighted another of the Andersons' ring maneuvers that helped define their dominant run in 1975 noting, "All right, right there Gene was slamming him right down to the mat, and he had his arm behind him...pinned behind him."

Ole elaborated, "Well, we've made it even more devastating, a lot of people just slam. In this case we've been working on the arm, so we make sure we jack that arm up around behind his back, and then we slam him on that arm." Bob then commented on another section of the tape where Ole pulverized Rick Kelly's arm and shoulder with a knee from the top rope. "Watch're off the top rope," Caudle exclaimed!

"The idea here is to give him a good shot in that shoulder...a lot of times we set him up; the guy has been weakened from things we've done previously and we get him in a position where we can set him up to hopefully either dislocate that shoulder or even to  break it if we can. We're not too concerned about which one happens, just so long as the man knows he's been in a match with us," Ole elucidated.

Caudle then challenged Ole, "So what you're saying then Ole is that you and Gene really don't mind hurting your opponent or breaking his arm or breaking his leg?" Clearly annoyed, Ole shot back with, "Don't mind?! That's what we're there for! That's what we intend to do every time we get into the ring."

A bit taken aback at Ole's last response, Caudle would shift gears. "All right fans, that's the way the Anderson Brothers were going in 1975 and of course you were the winners in that match as you hurt Rick Kelly," Caudle stated. Still irritated, Ole fired back, "We were the winners in EVERY match as a matter of fact."

But at this point, Bob Caudle had irrefutable evidence to the contrary and was ready to hit Ole with it! Bob quipped, "Well I was gonna say, all of them were not that way Ole..."

To be continued in Part 2:
Gene and Ole's Low Point in 1975

Friday, May 18, 2018

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Tour Itenerary on a Bojangle's Cup

This Bo'Town Roasters coffee cup from Bojangle's looks like a tour itinerary for 1970s Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling.

Greenville, Asheville, Raliegh, Charlotte, Richmond, Rick Hill, Florence, and everywhere in between. Jim Crockett Promotions on the road. All aboard!

Action Figures Friday: U.S. Champion Harley Race

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Photograph by Mike Simmerman

Harley Race wasn't recognized as U.S. Champion very long and only wore that classic red-strap U.S. title belt for one night - - July 3, 1975.

Race was chosen by booker George Scott to be the first recognized U.S. champion to establish that title in our area. He would enter the territory recognized as champion and defend it against the top contender Johnny Valentine.

Race had name credibility with fans. He was a former NWA World champion and was well known from the various wrestling magazines, despite having never worked the territory before. Valentine defeated Race that night in Greensboro, and the win over Race gave the new title instant credibility.

It was a brilliant way to introduce the belt to the area. Throughout the month of June 1975, TV hosts Bob Caudle and Les Thatcher starting talking up Race as U.S. champion on their respective programs, letting fans know Race would be in the area soon to defend the title.
But because Race only wore that belt that one night, there are no known photographs of him with it. He came to the ring with the belt under his ring jacket. According to Dave Routh, who was at ringside that night, he removed the belt from under the jacket and handed it to the referee before the introductions. It was a real missed opportunity, and seems crazy to me now that a posed photo of him with the belt wasn't taken before the match, even in the back, if not in the ring.

When writing the book "United States Championship" several years ago, I commissioned artist John Pagan to render an image of what Race might have looked like holding that belt. The pencil sketch is featured in the book. It was the only way I knew to create an image as a throwback to that one night with Race and the famous belt.

That is, until now, with Mike Simmerman's very cool photo of his Harley Race figure holding a tiny replica of the title belt in the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling TV studio. The only thing missing is Harley's bleached blond hair, which he had at that time.

Thanks as always for Mike's great action figure photos for "Action Figures Friday" on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

For more on the origin and history of Jim Crockett's United States championship, as well as a look at the five different belts that represented it from 1975-1988, check out our book with every little detail and over 100 photographs. It's available in the Gateway Bookstore or on

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Ric Flair Becomes the "Nature Boy"

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

"Nature Boy" Ric Flair
Mid-Atlantic TV Champion (1975)
One of the big misconceptions out there is that Ric Flair first took on the "Nature Boy" moniker when he returned to action in early 1976 after the October 1975 plane crash in Wilmington, NC.

Not true.

You'd have to forgive anyone for thinking that. It's been written that way for awhile. Until years ago, I thought that as well and even Ric himself has said so on occasion.

The commonly held misconception is that during his four month lay-off in late 1975 and early 1976 recuperating from injuries suffered in the plane crash, George Scott came up with the idea of giving Ric the "Nature Boy" gimmick, an homage to "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers, the famous NWA and WWF World Champion in the 1960s.

However, it's been verified that Ric Flair had been calling himself the "Nature Boy" for nearly a year earlier.

By all accounts, it was indeed booker George Scott who came up with the idea, that part is apparently true. But Ric was referring to himself as the Nature Boy in local promos and on TV interviews as early as April of 1975 (perhaps even earlier), a full six months before the infamous plane crash.

May 2, 1975    Richmond, Virginia

That time frame was confirmed when David Chappell came across an audio recording (embedded below) of a local promo Ric did for a May 1975 match in Richmond, VA. Ric actually did the promo in late April for a match to take place on May 2. He was defending his Mid-Atlantic TV title in the Richmond Arena against the man he beat for that belt, "Number One" Paul Jones.

After Jones had called Flair a "drugstore wrestler" (an offhanded reference to an earlier promo where Flair had called Jones a "drugstore cowboy"), Ric responded in a promo of his own, referring to himself as the "Nature Boy" right at the end of his promo:

"Jones, I'm gonna take you like any wild animal would. I'm gonna break one of your arms and then maybe you'll be walkin' around the drugstore looking for someone else to beat up on, because it won't be the Nature Boy. Wooo!"    - Ric Flair, April 1975

All of the signature elements of the "Nature Boy" persona were taking shape before the plane crash. His trademark "Wooo!" was more of a quick high-pitched shout at that point. And his cocky strut was more subdued and less pronounced than in later years. (I actually liked the 70s and early 80s Flair strut much better than the exaggerated Fargoesque style of strut that he later morphed into.) He had a robe or two, but nothing like the number  of extravagantly styled robes he would acquire beginning in 1976. Within a year or so Flair had nearly a dozen of the Olivia Walker creations.

This is the earliest reference we've found. We'll keep digging to see how far back things go. Our main goal was to document that Flair's "Nature Boy" persona existed well before the plane crash and his subsequent recovery and return to the sport. The audio recording from April 1975 should put that to rest.

And now you know -- as the great Paul Harvey was famous for saying - - the rest of the story.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Wahoo McDaniel and Don Muraco Win the West

The 1982 NWA World Tag Team Championship Tournament
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 and serves as a launching point for the following discussions. 

PART ONE: Introduction
PART TWO: Greensboro
PART THREE: Charlotte
PART FOUR: Richmond
PART FIVE: Atlanta
PART SIX: Fayetteville 
PART SEVEN: St. Petersburg
PART EIGHT: The Lost Tournaments


The Eastern Division city tournaments (sometimes referred to as the regionals) had been going on since early February, but up until now there had been no mention of the Western Division. That changed in early April.

Sandy Scott announced on the 4/10/82 episode of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" that we now had Western Division winners:

"I talked to Eddie Graham late this afternoon and he has informed us that there is a winner of the Western Regional. They took place in Hawaii, and the winners are Wahoo McDaniel and Don Muraco."    - NWA Representative Sandy Scott

Bob Caudle smiled big on the announcement and pointed out that Wahoo McDaniel was familiar to all the fans. It would be Wahoo's full-time return to the area after nearly a 5-month absence where he had been wrestling in Florida, Georgia, and a month long tour of Japan.

Don Muraco would be making his first appearance in the Mid-Atlantic area. Fans who had Superstation WTBS on their cable systems and could watch "Georgia Championship Wrestling" each week were somewhat alarmed by the announcement that Wahoo and Muraco had teamed up because they knew Muraco was a "bad guy" in Georgia, feuding with Tommy Rich and forming an alliance with the hated Roddy Piper.

But two weeks later, Bob Caudle introduced in person the Western Division winners on the 4/24/82 episode of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling, and the pair looked great together and looked ready for the finals.

"Well you know, Muraco and I used to wrestle together when we were in the AWA, and I was on the way to Japan, he was too, we got together, met, got in the tournament and we won a little money and an opportunity to go on in the tournament. We are the Western Division champions in this tag team tournament and we are looking forward to whoever the Eastern winners are in the tournament. We are ready."  - Wahoo McDaniel

Wahoo had woven some truth into this tale, as he had indeed been on a month long tour with New Japan Pro Wrestling in January and February of that year, teaming with old AWA foe Superstar Billy Graham and wrestling such legends as Antonio Inoki and future legend Riki Choshu.

The Western Division was entirely a fictitious part of this storyline. Booker Ole Anderson created the story that Wahoo and Don Muraco had won the western division finals in Hawaii, which was Muraco's home, and would play into the story as it went along.

Muraco, for his part, gave his first interview in the area, and immediately foreshadowed how this story would eventually play out for this team.

"Let me tell you something, it looks like it's starting to get nuts around here. Looks like everybody is starting to go crazy. And when it starts getting nuts, and it starts getting crazy, when it starts getting mean, the Indian came looking for someone because I'm a man that never turned his back on a friend, number one. And number two, I never backed down from anybody. This man over here is a legend, all over these parts. And he wanted somebody crazy, he wanted somebody who could stand by his side."    - Don Muraco

Muraco's comment that he had "never turned his back on a friend" planted the seed for what was to come in May, as the Eastern Division still had to play itself out in the ring.

It didn't take the two long to show off why they "won the west." Wahoo and Muraco teamed up on TV for the first time, defeating David Patterson and Ken Timbs in a stiff match, both of them wrestling very aggressively, but cleanly. Jack Brisco was on color commentary with Bob Caudle, and mentioned that he was there to scout this team as he and his brother Jerry were hopeful to win the Eastern Division, and if so would be facing this team.

One of Jack's roles in his commentary was to put Muraco over to fans in the Mid-Atlantic area who may have never seen him before. Brisco described Muraco as one of the most brutal wrestlers he had ever seen. Brisco spoke from experience, having feuded with Muraco years ago in the Florida area.

Brisco also pointed out that Muraco was a former World Champion surfer, having won the world surfing championship in the over-200 pound class, and described him as quite an athlete.

At the end of the 4/24 show, both Wahoo and Muraco were amped up and seemed more than ready to head to the tournament finals.

"Everybody's here to tune up. But we're here to play!"  - Don Muraco
"I know you all are going home and trying to revamp, try to get ya a little bigger partner, go to that gym in the morning and try to work out a little harder, but it might be just a little late. We're here! The tournament's on top of you! You can't get in too good a shape in ten or fifteen days.  We've been layin' in the bushes waitin'. Two good tans; we didn't get 'em layin' in the sun, we got 'em runnin' down the beach! We've been workin' out together every day. We're ready."   - Wahoo McDaniel

Wahoo and Muraco would have to wait a short while for their trip to the finals. The Eastern Finals hadn't taken place yet. Sandy Scott would also show a video from Florida with tournament director Eddie Graham giving an update, and Sandy would announce the teams that were still alive as we headed to the Eastern finals. All of that and more next time! So as Bob Caudle would say, so long for now.

PS - We love the t-shirt Muraco was wearing when he was introduced with Wahoo: "Patience my ass. I'm gonna kill somebody."

Saturday, May 12, 2018

A Sad Day for the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

"We will let the fans know what the disposition of this title will be very soon."   - Jim Crockett, Jr., 12/27/86 
Those words still echo with me all these years later. I'm still waiting for someone to tell me what would become of my beloved Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight championship.

The sequence of images above from "World Championship Wrestling" on 12/27/86 show Ronnie Garvin handing over the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight championship belt to Jim Crockett, Jr. in the studios of WTBS in Atlanta.

Garvin forfeited the title after he and Barry Windham had won the United States Tag Team championships. He is wearing the US Tag Team title belt. Jim Crockett told Ronnie he couldn't hold both titles, and he had to decide which one to forfeit.

"Well you know, it's a big disappointment to me ... it's a lot of work behind this belt and it represents the Mid-Atlantic area. And I don't mean no disrespect for it, because parting with this means a whole lot to me. But I don't want to disappoint my partner Barry Windham"   - Ronnie Garvin, 12/27/86

While Jim Crockett told Tony Schiavone that he would announce later what would be done with the title (we assumed a tournament), the belt and the championship were never seen or mentioned again.

It was a sad day for long time fans of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling who had witnessed such great wrestlers hold that title including Danny Miller, Ole Anderson, Jerry Brisco, Johnny Valentine, Wahoo McDaniel, Ric Flair, Paul Jones, Jack Brisco, Roddy Piper, Greg Valentine, Ricky Steamboat, Ray Stevens, and so many others. 

Earlier that same year, the name of the flagship syndicated program for Jim Crockett Promotions was changed from "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" to "NWA Pro Wrestling." With that name change and the disappearance of the championship, the great era known as "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" had quietly come to an end.

For more on the origin and history of the Mid-Atlantic championship, visit this page:

The Origin and Evolution of the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship

Republished January 10, 2020 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Action Figures Friday: U.S. Champion Paul Jones

Mike Simmerman did an amazing job creating this action figure, given that there has never been an official Paul Jones figure. He based the figure off of a Bruno Sammartino figure. (Ironically, both men recently died on the same day.) But what makes the figure work (and fools the eye into seeing Paul Jones) is the custom ring jacket and U.S. title belt. Great work.

Paul first won the U.S title in 1975 on the big annual Thanksgiving night card held every year in Greensboro. He defeated Terry Funk for the honors. Jones lost the title to Blackjack Mulligan in March of 1976 and the two began a year long feud over the title. Jones would hold the U.S. title on three separate occasions.

Edit: We received word late this morning from Peggy Lathan that Paul's son Paul Jr. loved seeing the photo of the custom action figure of his dad. That's a pretty special thing. 

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Race snares Flair in the Indian Deathlock at Toronto's "Night of Champions"

NWA Champion Harley Race applies the Indian Deathlock to Ric Flair in Toronto.

Exhibition Stadium - - Toronto, Ontario - - July 10, 1983
Attendance 20,000 (Toronto attendance record at that time)

As you watch the summer of 1983 episodes of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" on the WWE Network, it is easy to forget how hot this brand of wrestling was far north of the traditional Mid-Atlantic territory. Wrestling was on fire (as it often was) in Toronto, Ontario and the Tunney's working relationship with Jim Crockett Promotions led to a huge card at Toronto's Exhibition Stadium in July of 1983. Details of the card are below.

The photo above is interesting to me because it shows Harley Race applying the Indian Deathlock to Ric Flair. Race was currently in his seventh reign as NWA world champion, which was a record at that point in time. But when he began his second title reign six years earlier, he used this very same hold in this very same city to defeat Terry Funk.

As a young fan in the mid-1970s, the only wrestler I had ever seen use that hold was "Number One" Paul Jones. It was his signature finisher. Seeing Race win with it was surprising, but what would be even more surprising to me was that I don't think I ever saw him use it again! And then this photo shows up with Race using the same hold in the same city where Race beat Funk with it in 1977. To quote Yogi Berra, it was like a deja vu all over again.

Maybe it only works for him North of the border.

Race would lose the NWA title back to Ric Flair later that same year at Starrcade '83 in Greensboro, North Carolina. The exciting working relationship between Tunney and Crockett would end around the same time as well, as Jack Tunney made a deal with Vince McMahon Jr. to book only WWF talent into Toronto late that same year.

Results from the Toronto Night of Champions
  • NWA World Championship: Harley Race defeated Ric Flair by DQ to retain title
  • Canadian Championship: Angelo Mosca defeated One Man Gang
  • U.S. Championship: Greg Valentine and Wahoo McDaniel double count-out
  • TV Championship: Great Kabuki defeated Jimmy Valiant
  • World Tag Championship: Steamboat/Youngblood defeated  Funk Jr./Jake Roberts
  • Women's World Championship: Fabulous Moolah defeated Princess Victoria
  • Johnny Weaver/Mike Rotundo defeated Alec Girard/Tim Gerrard
  • Sgt. Jacques Goulet/Kelly Kiniski defeated Bob Marcus/Joe Marcus
  • Nick DeCarlo/Billy Ryan defeated The Executioner/Mike Armstrong 

(Thanks to Andrew Calvert of the Maple Leaf Wrestling website.)

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Remembering Paul Jones and His Picture Contest

by Andy McDaniel
Special to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

The recent passing of Paul Jones was indeed sad news. But for long-time Mid-Atlantic wrestling fans, it was another part of our youth, now gone.

Over the years the names have added up, Wahoo McDaniel, Rufus R. Jones, Johnny Valentine, Tim Woods, Burrhead Jones, etc.…. and each one hurts, but there is something deeper when there is some type of personal connection.

Andy McDaniel and Paul Jones
Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fanfest (2016)
During my youth, of course, Paul was a staple part of Mid-Atlantic programs. I loved his time with Wahoo, his team with Steamboat, (which sadly ended when Ricky turned on Paul, at least according to Paul) but his time with Masked Superstar, the Baron, working with Sir Oliver Humperdink, Jimmy Valiant, all of these bring great memories as well. In fact, there are so many stories and memories it would be hard to write them all down.

One memory in particular brings me laughs and smiles and will always be special: The Picture contest. The recent addition of Mid-Atlantic programming to the WWE Network has been a treasure trove of wonderful memories and I was so excited to see this great memory be included in the episodes that was added. The interaction between Paul and Rufus R. Jones was classic pro wrestling. It was hilarious and drew you in all at the same time. Paul with his standard “let me tell you something” addresses the young lady who won the gigantic picture of Paul. As he dressed her down for attempting to touch him, things elevated and here comes Rufus. “Paul Jones, we don’t treat a lady like that where I come from” Rufus quickly stated. Paul, with a slap to the face, tells Rufus he can go back to where he came from and the fight ensued from that point ending with Rufus having his clothes torn and being beat up in the ring. I have watched this several times since it was placed on the network and every time brings a smile to my face.

These classic characters simply cannot be duplicated. The guys and gals of today are great at what they do, but for me, I will take the heroes from my past.

Ole Anderson and Paul Jones
Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fanfest (2016)
It was a couple of years ago, I was in Charlotte to see my friends from the Mid-Atlantic Gateway be inducted into the Hall of Heroes. It was a great time catching up with old friends like, Jimmy Valiant, George South and others, but while there I got a special treat. I was in one of the back rooms and I found myself sitting with Ole Anderson and Paul Jones. I had spent time with Ole before, but never had had that chance with Paul. Sitting and listening to these two tell stories was an old-time fans dream. It was something else indeed.

It would not be too long after this moment that Ole would be called away for photo obligations and I was left sitting with Paul. We talked about County Hall memories and it was like we knew each other forever. I enjoyed every minute of that time. I was terribly saddened to hear of his passing.

We had remained in contact since our time together in Charlotte. He had asked for a copy of my County Hall memories book and I was more than happy to send him one. We exchanged emails and such from time to time. I am thankful for the years of memories and grateful for the day I got to spend with Number 1 Paul Jones. He will be missed.

* * * * * *

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Mid-Atlantic Vault
Mid-Atlantic Wrestling 7/2/83 Episode

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