Friday, February 01, 2019

Classic Poster Friday: Tag Team Titles Change Hands and Bob Backlund Pays a Visit

Brack Beasley Collection
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

What a classic poster we feature this week from March 22, 1981 in Greensboro, North Carolina, featuring an NWA World Tag Team title change and a rare World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) title defense on an NWA show.

In the late summer of 1980, the Masked Superstar became a "good guy" in the Mid-Atlantic area, feuding with Gene Anderson's Army. He teamed up with former adversary "No. 1" Paul Jones and the two of them defeated Gene Anderson's team of Jimmy Snuka and Ray Stevens for the NWA World Tag Team titles on Thanksgiving night 1980 in Greensboro.

Jones and Superstar lost the titles to Stevens and his new partner Ivan Koloff in February of 1981 in Greensboro, but were determined to get them back. On this night they did just that, taking 2-out-of-3 falls to recapture the gold.

Jones and Superstar would hold the titles for about 6 weeks until losing them again to Gene and Ole, the Anderson Brothers. Gene had been a manager since December of 1979, but returned to the ring in April of 1981 to join his brother who was returning from Georgia to get the gold belts back.

In the semi-main event, WWWF Champion Bob Backlund defended his title against "Bad Boy" Bobby Duncum. The two renewed their rivalry from a year earlier where Duncum had been Backlund's number one contender for that title in the WWWF.

Interesting to see Backlund billed here as "Bobby" Backlund. I actually like that better.

Backlund didn't make too many title defenses outside the traditional WWWF territory, but over the years he took the title to several NWA territories, including Florida and a memorable WWWF vs. NWA battle with Ric Flair in Georgia.

It wasn't the first time Bob Backlund defended the WWWF title in Greensboro. Back in November of 1978, Backlund brought the title to the Greensboro Coliseum and successfully retained against the Mid-Atlantic Champion Ken Patera. The two of them had feuded over the WWWF title a year or so earlier.

- Jimmy Snuka and Ricky Steamboat were magic in the ring together, and had another match up here, battling over Steamboat's Mid-Atlantic Championship. Their matches could be brutal, but could also be textbook examples of beautiful scientific pro wrestling.
- Bruno Sammartino, Jr. is on this card, and it's interesting seeing the names Sammartino and Backlund on a Mid-Atlantic card.
- Don Kernodle and Jim Nelson are in opening bouts, but each would be getting ready for big career breaks just a year later as part of Sgt. Slaughter's Marine unit.
- Sweet Diamond, most people know, was Rocky Johnson.
- Mr. Fuji and Tenyru were Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champions at this time.