Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Mr. Wrestling Tim Woods' Last Stand (Part 10)

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Catch up on this entire story in:

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Nov. 11, 1979    Columbia SC
Immediately after Tim Woods returned to the ring on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television programming on October 31, 2019, he finally met Jimmy Snuka and Buddy Rogers in the squared circle! In fact, the first such bout occurred the very next night at the Scope Coliseum in Norfolk, Virginia. But like nearly all of Woods' bouts in November of 1979, this was a tag team bout where Tim would have to wait a little while longer to confront Snuka and Rogers one-on-one.

The wild bout in Norfolk was one of the final 8-man tag team matches that were showcased throughout the area in October of 1979. The Scope match saw Ric Flair, Blackjack Mulligan, Jay Youngblood and Woods defeat Ken Patera, John Studd, Rogers and Snuka. The next night, November 2nd, at County Hall in Charleston, South Carolina saw Tim in a 6-man tag match with Rogers and Snuka included in the opposing corner. The following night in Charlotte, the last of the 8-man tag team matches pitted Flair, Mulligan, Jim Brunzell and Woods against the same foursome from Norfolk. Again in the “Queen City,” the "good guys" prevailed and just like at the Scope, Snuka and Rogers went to great lengths to avoid being in the ring at the same time as Woods, but there were short stints where these arch-rivals squared off to boisterous reactions from the fans in both towns!

Another twist to these early matches with Woods returning to the ring: he wasn't billed on those first few shows! Woods' return on TV was taped on Wednesday 10/31/79, but didn't air on TV until Saturday 11/3/79. In both the Norfolk (Thursday 11/1) and Charleston (Friday 11/2) matches, the teams facing Rogers' crew had a "mystery partner" which wound up being Tim Woods and his baseball bat to the delight of fans in those towns. In Charlotte (Saturday 11/3), the day Woods' TV appearance aired, Woods actually replaced an "injured" Ricky Steamboat in the billed main event. While fans surely were disappointed that Steamboat didn't appear, they were surprised and thrilled to see Woods finally get a chance to get in the ring with Buddy Rogers and his crew.

On November 8, 1979 in Petersburg, Virginia, Woods would tag with Blackjack Mulligan to battle Snuka and John Studd with Rogers in their corner in a chaotic encounter. In the pre-match promos, Rogers told announcer Rich Landrum, "Really, I don't want to talk too much about this for the mere reason big John wants to say it all!" Studd then chimed in, "Right there we're gonna put an end to this...Woods and Mulligan you've both had it!" Tim later commented to Landrum about the Petersburg bout, "Well, I couldn't have a better partner than Blackjack Mulligan, a man fully equal to John Studd in every way, and a little bit more as far as I'm concerned...and you know how I feel about the other man involved."

Tim Woods (with his "Ding Bat") and
partner Ric Flair battled Rogers and Snuka
The first conventional tag team match involving Woods against Snuka and Rogers occurred in Columbia, South Carolina on November 11th when Tim teamed with old foe Ric Flair to battle Woods' antagonists. The normally even-tempered Woods could not control himself at all, letting his anger get the best of him and was disqualified costing his team the match. A similar script followed the next night in Greenville, South Carolina where Woods' temper cost himself and partner Blackjack Mulligan, another old foe, allowing Snuka and Rogers to again leave the ring with their hands raised.

The Greenville outburst appeared to resonate with Tim, and Woods seemed to hold his temper in check a bit better going forward...and the results soon thereafter reflected the change. The next night, November 13th in Raleigh, Woods and Blackjack Mulligan got their hands raised in victory over Snuka and Rogers and this time it was the "bad guys" who couldn't keep their cool and were disqualified.

 The weekend of Thanksgiving 1979 saw Woods exact some revenge against Snuka and Rogers in a tag team setting in Richmond and Hampton, Virginia. On the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling program that was taped on November 21st and shown the Saturday after Thanksgiving, announcers Bob Caudle and David Crockett queried Buddy Rogers about Tim Woods' return to the ring. Rogers confidently replied, "He might have come back, but I'll tell ya I'm gonna settle him once and for all. I'm here to let everybody know we're not running away from Tim Woods, we want Tim Woods!"

November 20, 1979   Raleigh NC
Rogers continued his diatribe ranting, "And when that time comes when I step in the ring with him he's gonna know the ol' Nature Boy was right back! When it comes to Mulligan, Flair and Tim Woods, we want 'em every night in the week, in fact just due to the fact that it's around 'Turkey Day' we want all three of them turkeys anytime we can get 'em! Any time at all!"

Crockett then cut Rogers off snidely, "You're gonna get more than you want to eat!" Rogers retorted, "Listen, let me tell you what...I've never seen the day that I took a bite out of anything that I couldn't devour it. And that goes for Mulligan, Flair or Tim Woods so you can tell 'em for me once and for all."

Later in that same November 21st TV program Woods told the fans, "Rogers is yellow, Snuka isn't much better...whether he's hypnotized or not it will take more than hypnotism to save their necks, and I mean necks, because I've got a score to settle around the neck." Bob Caudle commented, “Well, I tell you, you know they injured you in the neck and you came back about that, are you gonna repay him Tim?" Woods answered, “I'm back [and] I've great partners and I AM gonna repay one way or another Snuka, one way or another Rogers. You are gonna pay, neck for neck, eye for eye."

The bout in Richmond on the day after Thanksgiving pitted Woods and Flair against Rogers and Snuka. A confident and hyped-up Buddy Rogers told the fans in Richmond in a pre-match promo, “This will be the day after ‘Turkey Day’ but we’re still gonna have plenty of white meat left! I guarantee you that when Flair and Woods get in the ring with Jimmy Snuka and myself we’re gonna do a job on them that they’ll never forget Thanksgiving of 1979! Once and for all, we’re gonna be the victors!”

Tim and Ric had other ideas as they discussed the Richmond tag team bout with promo announcer Rich Landrum. Ric began, “Well, what a night it’s gonna be! I’m not only honored, I’m privileged that Tim Woods would ask me to be his partner. Rogers, I don’t think you’ve got it, and I’m not the only one. A lot of people around here have waited to see you pull those tights over those skinny little legs of yours. We’re ready for you my friend. Look at Tim Woods…payback brother, remember!”

Woods then took the mic, “You’re right, Rogers hasn’t got it, but Rogers is gonna get it! And so is Jimmy Snuka, when you and I team against them. I’m gonna settle that score Ric.” Flair then shouted, “Richmond’s the place baby! WOOO!”

After winning the Richmond bout in dramatic fashion, Woods made the short trip to Hampton, Virginia the next night to team with Mulligan against the duo of Rogers and Studd. Woods while holding up one of his “Wanted” posters in a pre-match TV promo told the fans in Hampton prior to the contest, “Well, this ‘Wanted’ poster is no news to anybody. I’ve told everybody about it and they’ve seen a lot of ‘em. I’m very happy to be teamed up with you Mulligan, the biggest man in wrestling, and I know there’s gonna be a score settled. You know, Buddy Rogers came out here with a little patch on his head…he’s gonna look like checkerboard square after this match!”

The Woods and Mulligan win by disqualification in Hampton on November 24th was a demarcation line of sorts in Tim Wood’s ‘Last Stand’ in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. Tim’s ‘revenge tour’ would henceforth become almost exclusively singles matches against Jimmy Snuka for the United States Heavyweight Title during the last month of the decade of the 1970s. And shockingly, because of events on November 28th, those matches with Tim and the ‘Superfly’ would thereafter be without Snuka’s legendary co-conspirator during this epic feud.

Buddy Rogers is unceremoniously excised from Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling and the Tim Woods/Jimmy Snuka feud…to be continued in Part 11!

Thanks to Brack Beasley for the photos and Mark Eastridge for the newspaper clippings.