Sunday, March 10, 2019

Almanac History - July 1980 (Part One)

David Chappell's
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History

JULY 1980       (WEEK 1)
July 1980 - Part One
The Fourth of July holiday week of 1980 brought in the biggest star in professional wrestling, literally, in the person of Andre the Giant, to the Mid-Atlantic area. The first week of July also brought with it a series of action-packed battles where Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood attempted to regain the World Tag Team Tiles from the newly formed duo of Ray "The Crippler" Stevens and Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka.

A rare card in the Raleigh Civic Center on July 1st started out the first week of July, and the second half of the year of 1980, for the stars of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. The highlight of the event in Raleigh was a World Tag Team Title match where anger got the best of Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood, in their championship bout with Jimmy Snuka and Ray Stevens. Steamboat and Youngblood's venom directed against the bad guy's manager Gene Anderson turned a sure win into a disqualification loss.

Despite spirited attempts, Steamboat and Youngblood also came up short in their quest to unseat "Anderson's Army" for the World Tag Team Titles in the Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina on July 5th, in Asheville, North Carolina on July 6th, in Fayetteville, North Carolina on July 7th and at the Township Auditorium in Columbia, South Carolina on July 8th.

The Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show that was taped on Wednesday July 2nd featured the first appearance of the double-tough Texan "Bad Boy" Bobby Duncum, who dispatched Nick DeCarlo with little trouble. Duncum told announcer Bob Caudle at the end of the program, "I'm gonna tell you something, there's gonna be a lot people payin' some dues around here, you understand? You got Mulligan runnin' around here, big bad Mully made a legend of himself...he's gonna be beggin' and screamin' for mercy before I get through with him. You got Flair runnin' around with a nice robe, we're gonna take him down to his knees. He's holdin' the belt partner; I'm gonna leave 'em all layin', you understand?"

Andre the Giant returned to the area on July 3rd at the Scope Coliseum in Norfolk, Virginia. Andre was his dominating self in Norfolk, capturing a 13 man Battle Royal at the Scope. On the July 4th holiday, the Giant controlled another Battle Royal in Shelby, North Carolina before heading over to Winston-Salem , North Carolina later in the day to battle the Masked Superstar in a NWA Television Title contest. The Giant then appeared in Hampton, Virginia on July 5th and formed a dynamic trio with Ric Flair and Blackjack Mulligan to handily dispatch the combination of the Superstar, Greg Valentine and Enforcer Luciano.

Ray Stevens, Jimmy Snuka, and the Iron Sheik
Andre closed out the holiday weekend in Roanoke, Virginia on July 6th by teaming with "Jumping" Jim Brunzell and Ric Flair to dominate the trio of the Iron Sheik, Greg Valentine and Enforcer Luciano, before heading down the road to Greensboro, North Carolina later that same day to capture yet another Battle Royal, this time besting Jimmy Snuka at the end.

Former close friends and partners Ric Flair and Greg Valentine battled over Ric's United States Heavyweight Title in the Richmond Coliseum on the 4th of July, and followed that with title bouts in Greensboro on July 6th and Greenville, South Carolina on July 7th. While Flair won all these encounters, the matches were hyper competitive and could have gone either way.

July's inaugural week also saw Jim Brunzell capture two disqualification victories in title bouts with Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion the Iron Sheik in Richmond on July 4th and the next night in the Charlotte Coliseum, leaving the Sheik battered but still holding his belt. And finally, the first week in July saw the continuation of the bizarre program between Blackjack Mulligan and Enforcer Luciano with Mully scoring wins in Greensboro and Greenville, and also saw Blackjack's cousin Luke subbing for Mulligan in Richmond on the 4th and scoring a win over the Enforcer in Luciano's specialty match, the Detroit Street Brawl.

Next time: Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood review tape of their NWA World Tag Team title loss to Ray Stevens and Jimmy Snuka!

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More Mid-Atlantic History from July 1980 coming soon....or whenever!