Sunday, September 30, 2018

No Gimmicks Here (Johnny Weaver 1982)

"Sunday Notes" by Steve Mann
Hillsborough NC newspaper
March 30, 1982

Professional rassler Johnny Weaver has his answers down pat after 19 years in the business.

Weaver, who admitted to being "over 40" but would agree to no more, was in Hillsborough earlier this week as part of a pro rasslin' card at Orange High School.

And when asked about some of the gimmicks fellow grapplers employed during his sterling career that has included tag-team championships with partner George Becker, Weaver said he couldn't think of any.

"That's not true" (that pro rasslers have gimmicks), said Weaver, who became known for his sleeper hold and figure-four toehold. "The only one I could think of would be Gorgeous George," who was pro rasslin's original prima donna.

When reminded of such performers as the masked Bolos or Homer O'Dell, the infamous manager who cracked people over the head with his cane, or the Moondogs who howl and are reputed to know less English than a new-born babe in China, Weaver said those weren't gimmicks.

"That's just part of the rassler," said Weaver, raised in Indianapolis, but who now calls Charlotte home. "That's no gimmick. That's just them."

Wonder what Weaver would call the get-up of Ninja, who rassled the match previous to Weaver's?  Ninja wore Japanese flip-flops and a pillow case over his head and fooled around with those martial arts chopsticks called nunchaks.

The oriental's opponent refused to tango until the pillow case was removed. It was, only to reveal a white-painted face with red lines extending from his eyes, purple lips and purple tongue. Ninja then wowed the crowd by blowing a stream of green smoke.

Glad to hear it's not a gimmick. For a moment there, I started to think that stuff was fake.

Saying as much rankles Weaver, in fact.

"Anybody who thinks pro rassling is fake is showing their ignorance," he snarled. "If they look at my scars," he said, pointing to his forehead, "and think catsup comes out of there, then they are really ignorant."

By the way, Weaver's popularity doesn't seem to be on the wane at all. His appearance drew hundreds of youngsters to him, each clamoring for an autograph.

And the hero, who has a daughter graduating from N. C. State University next month, obliged them all.

* * * * *
Thanks to Mark Eastridge for the original newspaper clipping, and to Peggy Lathan for transcribing this article.
Originally published on the Johnny Weaver Blog (part of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway), August 24, 2015.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

New Mid-Atlantic Wrestling 1976 Yearbook is Now Available 

The Mid-Atlantic Gateway is happy to announce the second volume in their Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Yearbook series is now available for purchase on

The large 8x10" 240 page collection of memorabilia and historical information includes newspaper clippings from cities across the territory throughout the year, event posters, talent rosters, match results, vintage photographs, and much more.

The book also includes reprints of four (4) issues of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Magazine, the program sold in the arenas, copies of which are highly sought after by collectors today.

Plus, there is a 40-page section of comprehensive results and match listings for wrestling events across the territory during the year, compiled by Mark James at (Mark features two huge collection of JCP wrestling results from the 1970s and 1980s on his website.)

Both the 1975 and 1976 Yearbooks are available on You can find links to all of our books and more information in the Gateway Book Store.

The product page for the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Yearbooks can be found here.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Spider Grip & Uncle Reba Joe: The Eagle Pass Biographies Revisited

One of the best memories I have of our friendship with Blackjack Mulligan in the last years before his passing was his emails about the characters he used to mention in his promos for the local matches. From the first time we were fortunate enough to get to know him, we told him how much we loved hearing those references in his local promos for matches we grew up attending - - David in Richmond, VA, or the few shows I got to see in those years in Asheville, NC, and Spartanburg, SC.

When working with him on his (now defunct) website, Blackjack's BBQ, I asked him to relate some of the background detail on some of these characters, many of whom were based on actual people Blackjack had known in his life. He had a great time doing it, and the result were these short passages that we include here as the "Eagle Pass Biographies."

The "Eagle Pass Biographies" take a humorous look at those legendary West Texas characters from the fertile mind and imagination of Blackjack Mulligan. All of these names appeared in his TV promos back in the 1970s and 1980s, some more than others.

Part fact, part fiction. True lies and alibis.  
 - D. Bourne

by Blackjack Mulligan
As told to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Uncle Reba Joe could best be described as wild as the west Texas wind! If one has ever seen the movie "Hud" with Paul Newman, then you know my Uncle Reba Joe.

He was raised on a ranch in Cross Plains, Texas in Callahan County Bright red hair, wore a flowery western shirt with the sleeves half rolled up, and a pair of the fanciest western boots you ever seen called Apache Flower. Had his pants tucked in the boots and a large silver buckle he won at the Concho County rodeo for bull ridin'. He was always driving an old Cadillac convertible with the top down come rain or shine. Always had 2 or 3 senoritas with him. He loved Jack Daniels, women, and fightin' - not sure in which order, didn't seem to matter!

Well Uncle Reba Joe was the coolest thing I had ever seen and he was (unfortunately) my hero. He took me to Mexico with him one weekend and there in Rosie's Cantina I fell in love with a 50 year old senorita and wanted to marry her. I was 13. Uncle Reba Joe had to drag me outta there. He assured me there would be others. Not that I knew what to do!

We had a large family and every year Uncle Reba Joe and Uncle Red would get in a fight at our family reunion. Uncle Reba Joe would promise every year no drinkin' or womanizing, and Uncle Red, Christian man he was, burly 6'5'' medal of honor winner in World War II,  didn't stand for no B.S.! Well every year Uncle Reba Joe would get to drinkin' and messin' round with all the women folk and call out Uncle Red. And every year Uncle Red would K.O. Uncle Reba Joe and we would have to carry him to his Cadillac! My Hero!!

Sara Jo Puckett was voted the Concho County Rodeo Queen and from that moment on, fame and fortune would lead the path to wealth and eventually back to running her own saloon in Eagle Pass, Texas. I actually found her there while working on a ranch in Concho County during summer break. She accompanied me back to Odessa and went to work at the Ace O' Clubs.  I had to return to school, but our lives crossed paths many times throughout the years.

She was a Dolly Parton look-alike, an unbelievable beauty.  Down through the years she would call me, and to the rescue Blackjack would come, rescuing her from gamblers, bums, sheriffs, and rift raft! As the years passed, her beauty started to fade and Blackjack decided to immortalize her in promos and interviews.  She took on a few pounds over the years, but the beauty was still there. I actually took her to Madison Square Garden and few other places so she could go home and have braggin' rights!

Never a prettier woman; she could ride a bull, chew tobacco, drink whiskey, back you up in a fight, and all the things a good woman does! WOW, what a woman!

Spider was raised somewhere in Concho County, Texas (county seat is Paint Rock, population 231, about 200 miles southwest of Dallas). He just showed up one day. He stood about 6'1" weighed about 135 lbs. and was the rangiest looking critter that I ever did see. Looked like it had been a while since Spider had had a bath.

Spider was working as a ranch hand and moon-lighted as a rodeo clown for the RCA (Rodeo Cowboys Association), keeping the bulls away from the thrown riders.

I had met Spider while working on a ranch as a youngster. He was the toughest man I ever saw. A water moccasin bit him one day at the crik. Spider just grabbed him and bit his head off, sucked the venom out of the bite, and kept on working...and then he told me to get back to work!

Spider got gored by a bull named Chilli Dog and died shortly afterwards.

See the complete set of the "Eagle Pass Biogrphies" by clicking here. 

More great memories of the legendary Blackjack Mulligan on the pages of 

now hosted on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

The Eagle Pass Biographies were passed along from Robert Windham to Dick Bourne in emails and phone conversations in October and November of 2006. 
Originally posted on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway in 2006.
Copyright © Robert Windham and The Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Sunday, September 16, 2018

"Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods' Last Stand (Part 3)

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway 

Catch up on this story in PART ONE and PART TWO

* * *


Two weeks after being injured by Jimmy Snuka on Wide World Wrestling, "Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods  returned to television sporting a neck brace and thankful to not have been permanently injured. On the September 19, 1979 taping of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling program, announcers Bob Caudle and David Crockett welcomed back the talented masked grappler.

Tim Woods
Bob Caudle opened, "David, it's mighty good to see this fellow here with us, Mr. Wrestling." Crockett replied, "It really is; I'm glad we see him but I'm sorry he's in that condition." Mr. Wrestling followed, "Well, I'm just happy to be standing here and for you people who don't know what happened we have a film that I'd like to show at this time, if that's possible."

Caudle answered, "That's right, we do Mr. Wrestling; it's a film of the match with Jimmy Snuka, and David this is courtesy of World Wide Wrestling." Crockett concurred, "That is correct, and right now here it is." Caudle then continued, "And Mr. Wrestling while this tape is going and while the action is in the ring you can tell us in some of your own words what's happening in there and what's going through your mind right now during this match."

Mr. Wrestling commented in response, "Well, this was a match that came out of a tag team match where I issued a challenge to either Buddy Rogers or Jimmy Snuka, and Snuka stepped in and said he would be happy to welcome me into the ring anytime. So I took him up, it was right here on television. You can see I came after the man; I was ready for the man. He at the time had JUST won the United States Championship. He was the new U.S. Heavyweight Champion right here. This was probably the first time he'd been in the ring since winning that title."

After the early part of the taped match played for the fans, Caudle opined to Woods, "It looks to me like, especially at this part of the match that you were really giving him more than he could handle." Mr. Wrestling agreed, "Well I came after him, that's for sure." As the bout wore on and the chicanery of Snuka and Rogers carried the day, the masked man was none too happy at what he witnessed again.

Caudle then queried Woods, "After seeing that, how are you feeling now?" Mr. Wrestling responded bluntly, "Well, I feel much better...I'm happy to be standing here. This happened several weeks ago as you know, but it makes me sick to my stomach every time I see it. Wrestling is a great sport..."

Before Woods could finish his thought, he was rudely interrupted by Buddy Rogers who flew onto the set yelling, "What's the idea?!?" Caudle shouted out, "Here is Buddy Rogers! And here is Jimmy Snuka as they both now attack Mr. Wrestling again! He's down on the floor...Rogers came out to hit him; Snuka came out to hit him from behind."

As the studio audience howled their disapproval of the events that were transpiring before them Caudle continued, "Rogers reaches down and takes that collar now off of the throat of Mr. Wrestling and here is Snuka way up onto the ring and onto the ropes WAY off and down onto the floor! And that's about eight or nine feet up in the air, as Snuka came down with that shoe hard again now across the throat of Mr. Wrestling as they continue to maul him!"

As the TV program went off the air it appeared without any doubt that Buddy Rogers and Jimmy Snuka this time had completed the act of putting Mr. Wrestling out of commission as they thought they had two weeks earlier. But once again Rogers and Snuka had underestimated the toughness of this talented grappler from Michigan. The graceful mat technician would soon throw all his amateur moves, along with his mask, out the window. Tim Woods, and a new "friend" of his, were about ready for a merciless fight!

Wanted Out Of Wrestling---Buddy Rogers & Jimmy Snuka!  
To be continued in Part 4!

Friday, September 14, 2018

Classic Poster Friday: All Star "Dream Teams" Match

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

It's hard to imagine a tag team match-up that would be more exciting, unpredictable, and out of control than the tag match headlining this June 20, 1976 card in Greensboro, NC.

Not only did this match feature three of the top stars in the territory in Blackjack Mulligan, Ric Flair, and Wahoo McDaniel, but it added a special appearance by an outside star in Dusty Rhodes.

The icing on the cake was that the match was a non-sanctioned "Lights Out" match and was fought with Texas Tornado rules - - all four men in the ring at the same time!

Flair and Mulligan were a regular tandem at this point, months before Greg Valentine would enter the area and become Ric's main partner. Both men held the area's top two singles titles: Mulligan was the United States champion and Flair held the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight title.

Wahoo McDaniel was in the middle of a year long feud with Flair over the Mid-Atlantic title, and Mulligan had been interfering in their matches to aid Flair in keeping his title. Wahoo enlisted the aid of the "American Dream" to give Mully and Flair a good thrashing.

And so they did. It was a wild affair by all accounts, with Wahoo and Rhodes coming out on top.

In the semi-main, Paul Jones defeated TV champion Angelo Mosca, but the title wasn't on the line. The victory earned Jones future title shots.

The undercard featured familiar names such as Danny Miller, Tony Atlas, Larry Zbyszko, Two Ton Harris, Klondike Bill, Burrhead Jones, and many others, including one of our favorite mid-card teams at that time: Mike "The Judge" Dubois and Sgt. Jacques Goulet.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

"Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods' Last Stand (Part Two)

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Catch up with everything you missed in PART ONE.
U.S Champion Jimmy Snuka


When Mr. Wrestling battled "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka on the World Wide Wrestling television show on September 5, 1979 it was the classic case of two against one. With Snuka's manager Buddy Rogers interjecting himself in the proceedings early and often, the masked man succumbed to Snuka, but unfortunately Mr. Wrestling lost more than a match...he lost his health in a scary series of events both during and after the bout.

Announcer Rich Landrum immediately after the match following a commercial break exclaimed, "Mr. Wrestling for all intents and purposes is not moving too well. Jimmy Snuka and Buddy Rogers while we were away for the commercial message really, literally attacked Mr. Wrestling again. So far as I have been able to determine he has not moved too well in the brief time that we were away."

At this juncture a number of other wrestlers came to the ring to check on the fallen masked man. Landrum observed, "Now perhaps some help is coming in to get Mr. Wrestling out. Ricky Steamboat, Ric Flair, Jim Brunzell, Blackjack Mulligan...and as you can see Snuka and Rogers didn't want to get down off the ring too much, not with these guys around. It looks like Mr. Wrestling's neck may be injured."

Things then began to break down between Rogers and Snuka and Mr. Wrestling's friends. Landrum blurted out, "Snuka's back in again and takes a stomp! Now it's Flair who's got Snuka, rams him into the turnbuckle." Rich continued, "Steamboat has Rogers backed into the corner...and it's a real donnybrook in the middle of the ring! We've got about six or seven wrestlers here; Rogers manages to get out and now Flair throws Snuka out of the ring!" The mayhem continued as Snuka then fell into the set knocking it partially over before grabbing his U.S. Championship belt and running backstage.

Mr. Wrestling
The focus then shifted to the injured Mr. Wrestling and the attempts to remove the masked man from the ring. Landrum noted, "Of course the important thing now if he does have a neck injury is not to move him around too much and let's keep him on an even plane...not move his neck and trunk around too much here." As the camera angle moved Rich observed, "There's Abe Jacobs, who is already in the ring, he's supposed to go up against the AWA champion Nick Bockwinkel and we have a delay in that match because obviously we don't want to have any further injury to Mr. Wrestling."

Landrum then opined on the recent episode, "Mr. Wrestling's a fine competitor; he was frankly taken advantage of. I don't like to say that but that is the case. He was out long before Snuka went after him with that guillotine hold that Rogers has taught him to use, and really he could have been pinned much sooner. This is really quite a serious thing to happen in professional wrestling, not just because of Mr. Wrestling because he is a fine competitor but I don't like to see any professional athlete injured. Whether you like them or not, it's still the way they participate and the way they make their living."

The concern over the condition of the fallen masked man was palpable in the ring, except from one quarter. Landrum explained, "Now they're still trying to move Mr. Wrestling out, very gently, very carefully...trying to get him over toward the ropes. Got to be very careful now men, don't want to create any more injury than what may have already been sustained. There's Nick Bockwinkel the AWA Champion looking on; I don't know if he's concerned or if that's just some type of look. No, apparently he's not too concerned about it. I think he just wants them to hurry up and get out of the ring so he can get his match started."

"World Wide Wrestling" announcer Rich Landrum

You could hear a pin drop as the hushed studio crowd saw a stretcher brought toward the ring. "They're still now attending to Mr. Wrestling; there you see Jim Brunzell, Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Blackjack Mulligan," the announcer stated. "They have called for a stretcher to carry Mr. Wrestling from the ring and that's a very wise move. They do have him now on the flat surface of the ring. He's outside of the ropes so no further injury could hopefully be incurred in moving him. And they're doing it very quickly, trying to move him out of the ring," Landrum added.

An exceedingly rare on-camera appearance by the President of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling Jim Crockett put in context how serious this injury situation was. Landrum noticed, "Coming now to ringside is NWA representative Jim Crockett, and they're trying to get the stretcher out now, get everything locked in place, got to open it up and get it locked in which is what they're doing." Rich continued his observations, "They will now then try to gently slide Mr. Wrestling over onto that stretcher and move him out. And of course as I say, the important thing is now not to move his neck or his back too much to keep him on an even plane so that he will not incur any more injury and this is what they're doing."

Landrum concluded this chilling segment by saying, "Now they have him on the stretcher and they are removing him from the ring and from the studio. And it does look like he has incurred some type of neck or back injury. I'm sure he'll be taken now to the hospital to be checked and if we do have any information on him from the hospital before the program's over we will pass it along."

Later, as the TV show neared its conclusion, Landrum confronted Rogers and Snuka about their dastardly acts. Rich told the fans, "Now joining me are Buddy Rogers, the U.S. Heavyweight Champion and his man Jimmy Snuka and Buddy I must say, that wasn't too respectable what you did to Mr. Wrestling." Rogers pointed at the Superfly and joked, "What I did to him? Here's the man that did it to him!" Landrum countered, "You say he only does what you say."

Buddy gleefully answered, "That's right, I told him what to do and he went out and did it...he did a better job than I thought he could do! When this man does a job, he does it to perfection. I told you that this man would be a champion; here he is, he has the title, he has everything I told him he would get. He listens to me; anybody that listens to me gets great results! You know, the proof is in the pudding. When you're around someone's that got ability, naturally it rubs off and this man's gonna be the next...not only is he the champion but a champion a long, long time!"

So when the September 5, 1979 edition of World Wide Wrestling went off the air it seemed the new U.S. Champion Jimmy Snuka and his manager Buddy Rogers had dispatched the challenge of Mr. Wrestling with ease, putting the masked man out of wrestling indefinitely, if not forever, in the process. But as the late summer of 1979 turned into fall, if Rogers and Snuka truly believed they had sent Mr. Wrestling to the dust-bin of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling history, they were in for a rude awakening in short order!

Mr. Wrestling returns without his mask and vows revenge on Buddy Rogers and Jimmy be continued in Part 3!

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

"Thunder and Lightning": Aldis vs. Rhodes for the Ten Pounds of Gold

Watching the moments before Aldis and Rhodes locked up, I had chills running up and down my back.

Beautifully produced video by Dave Lagana.

Congratulations to everyone involved for making this one of the true magic moments in the modern era, and a game changer for "independent" wrestling.
The book about the original 1973-1986 Belt

Saturday, September 01, 2018

TV Guide Memories: Wrestling in North Carolina in October 1975

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

We like to occasionally take a snapshot-look at a Saturday back in the day and see what wrestling was like on TV at the time.

Younger fans may not realize that before all of wrestling moved to cable TV channels, your local channel was where you found your weekly pro wrestling show, and usually always on a Saturday afternoon or evening.

In October of 1975 in the state of North Carolina, all the TV markets in the state aired the local promotion run by Jim Crockett Promotions out of Charlotte. But during this time the Florida show was syndicated broadly in the state as well. This was not an adversarial thing. It was actually another outlet for Jim Crockett Promotions to run spots for shows in that market. JCP ads would run where Florida ads would be seen in the Florida markets.  Stars from Florida would occasionally be booked into Charlotte and more often Greensboro. These included Dusty Rhodes, the Brisco brothers, the Funk brothers, Bill Watts, and others.

Here is a brief run down of all the wrestling on this particular Saturday in October of 1975:

3:00 PM

36 WRET Charlotte - Super Pro Wrestling with Charlie Babb
This independent didn't last long, only about 6 weeks according to our resident wrestling-on-TV expert Carroll Hall. They were using some of the local guys that had worked for Eddie Einhorn's IWA which had all but closed up shop at this point, and was transitioning to a more local group run by Johnny Powers. They taped TV Saturday mornings in the studio of WRET-36, which later became WPCQ and would host the TV taping for Jim Crockett Promotions for a couple of years in the early 1980s.

3:30 PM

11 WTVD Durham - IWA Wrestling
As mentioned above, the Eddie Einhorn's IWA was closing down and transitioning to a group by the same name run by Johnny Powers. The Einhorn show was still on here in Durham, and Carroll Hall remembers that many weeks they would show re-runs because they had no new TV programs taped.

13 WBTW - Florence (SC) - Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling with Bob Caudle
This South Carolina station was listed in the North Carolina Edition of TV Guide because a good portion of the southern part of North Carolina could receive its signal. This was the Mid-Atlantic "A" show taped at WRAL in Raleigh every Wednesday night.

4:00 PM

3 WBTV Charlotte - Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling with Bob Caudle
Mid-Atlantic Wrestling had replaced the long running "Championship Wrestling" show taped at WBTV and hosted by Big Bill Ward in 1974 when all the Crockett TV tapings were consolidated to WRAL in Raleigh.

8 WGHP High Point/Greensboro - Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling with Les Thatcher
The Mid-Atlantic Wrestling "B" show replaced the long running "Championship Wrestling" show taped at WGHP hosted by Charlie Harville in 1974. This alternate/additional version of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling was taped each Wednesday night at WRAL in Raleigh. All the Crockett TV tapings were consolidated to WRAL in Raleigh at that time.

7:00 PM

12 WCTI New Bern- Championship Wrestling from Florida with Gordon Solie
Bob Bailey reports to Carroll Hall that the Florida show aired on this station during this time period.

28 WRDU Durham - Championship Wrestling from Florida with Gordon Solie
This was outlet for Florida wrestling in Raleigh, Durham, and the Greensboro market as well as the WRDU signal was very strong and penetrated all through the Piedmont area of North Carolina. A few years later, WRDU would replace Florida wrestling with the syndicated version of Georgia Championship Wrestling out of WTCG (later WTBS) channel 17 in Atlanta.

36 WRET Charlotte - Championship Wrestling from Florida with Gordon Solie
As you can see, Florida Wrestling blanketed the Central and Eastern parts of the state of North Carolina during these years.

11:30 PM

13 WLOS Asheville - Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling with Les Thatcher
WLOS-13 was not included in the North Carolina Edition. It was in the Carolina/East Tennessee Edition of TV Guide and included East Tennessee, Western North Carolina, and the upstate region of South Carolina. I've included it here to further accurately reflect TV wrestling in the state of North Carolina.

The B show on WLOS with Les Thatcher dominated the rating as night in the Asheville/Greenville/Spartanburg market, sometime getting 60 and 70% shares. Just weeks later, the new Jim Crockett show "Wide World Wrestling" hosted by former Atlanta broadcaster Ed Capral would replace the Mid-Atlantic B show in all of the markets where it aired (including WGHP-8 listed above.) Should point out that the Asheville market got the Mid-Atlantic "A" show with Bob Caudle on WFBC-4 (now WYFF) out of Greenville, SC.


5 WRAL Raleigh - Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling with Bob Caudle
The battleship show on the flagship station. But once WRAL quit taping a local show for Raleigh only in 1973, wrestling got kicked to late at night.

12:45 AM

3 WWAY Wilmington - Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling with Bob Caudle

1:30 AM

10 WIS Columbia (SC) - Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling with Bob Caudle
Like the Florence station listed above, this South Carolina station was listed in the North Carolina Edition of TV Guide because a good portion of the southern central part of North Carolina could receive its signal. This was the Mid-Atlantic "A" show taped at WRAL in Raleigh every Wednesday night. Likely had been bumped this late this week because of a sports preemption earlier in the day.

* * *

Thanks to Carroll Hall at the All Star Championship Wrestling website for his assistance with this article.