Monday, May 06, 2019

Almanac: July 1980 Part Four

David Chappell's
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History


The third week of July in 1980 kicked off in exciting fashion on July 16th, when there were two championship matches on the taping of the World Wide Wrestling television show. Matt Borne and Buzz Sawyer successfully defended their Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles against the duo of Ben Alexander and Billy Starr during the program. But the more noteworthy title encounter during that TV taping was a battle of the masked men that many fans had been clamoring for.

Matt Borne and Buzz Sawyer
Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champions
The Masked Superstar defended his NWA Television Championship against Sweet Ebony Diamond on this edition of World Wide Wrestling, and the sparks flew! After some great early action, the Superstar locked Diamond in his devastating cobra hold and appeared to have the match in hand, but the "sweet man" somehow got to the ropes forcing a break and the tide of the bout turned.

Using a vicious head-butt followed by a cross body block that took the Superstar off his feet, Sweet Ebony seized control of the match. When both masked men then tumbled toward the ropes, their momentum took them over the top rope and then a major brawl occurred out on the floor to the delight of the fans! Diamond was able to break away from the fray and slip back into the ring just milliseconds before the referee's count hit 10, earning himself a hard fought countout victory. But unfortunately for Diamond, titles don't change hands on a count out decision.

Nevertheless, the Superstar was impressed with the skill of his opponent. At the end of the show announcer Rich Landrum commented to the Superstar, "You retained your belt over Sweet Ebony Diamond, but that was one heck of a match." The Superstar responded, "Listen, every time I come out here I'm very, very confident. I'm still very, very confident. But this is the first time, I hope the only time, I'm going to come out here and tell you and tell the people viewing, that I feel very, very fortunate to have this belt at the present time. Now Sweet Ebony Diamond, I gotta give you a lot of credit."

Masked Superstar
Incredibly, the Superstar continued on in his effusive praise of his masked rival admitting, "Wherever you're at right now, I wanna tell you one thing that I haven't told anybody, and I mean anybody! You're a very, very good tough competitor. You're a very, very competent wrestler. Now don't get overconfident because I'm blowing some smoke. Don't get overconfident...but I've gotta give you credit where credit's due. But I'm holding on to this belt, I'm defending this belt, and I don't care who gets in the ring with me. If it's you Diamond again, or Blackjack Mulligan or his cousin, or the big man Andre the Giant, or Ric Flair or anybody. If you want this belt, you're gonna have to fight me for it!"

Arena action the following two evenings saw the same main events, but at the geographical extremes of the Mid-Atlantic area. At the Norfolk Scope on July 17th and the following night down at County Hall in Charleston, South Carolina, Ric Flair defeated Greg Valentine to retain his United States Heavyweight Championship and the Iron Sheik retained his Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship against top challenger Jim Brunzell.

Richmond, Virginia also hosted a super spectacular card on July 18th. In a follow-up from their classic TV match two days earlier, Sweet Ebony Diamond battled the Masked Superstar over the NWA Television Title, coming up with a DQ win but no title to take home. On July 22nd at the Raleigh Civic Center, Diamond secured a No DQ match with the Superstar but still could not nab the belt despite a technical victory.

Richmond also saw Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood attempting to regain the NWA World Tag Team Titles against Jimmy Snuka and Ray Stevens. In Richmond, the challengers won a countout decision but did not secure the belts. Later in the week in Roanoke, Virginia on the 20th and in Greenville, South Carolina on the 21st, Jay and Ricky were oh so close to recapturing the belts, but fell just short.

The end of the third week of July saw the beginning of the end for Enforcer Luciano in his feud with Blackjack Mulligan. In Roanoke on July 20th and in Fayetteville, North Carolina the next night, Blackjack laid out the Enforcer in Texas Street Fights where Luciana pulled out everything but the kitchen sink, but was still soundly whipped by the big man from Eagle Pass, Texas.

Finally, the third week of July in 1980 saw a title change and a World's Title bout! The title change occurred in of all places...Toronto, Canada! The Canadian Heavyweight Championship, which was referenced in the Mid-Atlantic area, switched from the Iron Sheik to Angelo Mosca on July 20th. And on July 22nd in Raleigh, Ric Flair got a rare opportunity to dethrone Harley Race for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. The Nature Boy gave it all he had, but got counted out of the ring enabling Race to emerge from the Raleigh Civic Center with his title belt intact.

Next time: We finish out the month of July!

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To read all about the month of July 1980, begin in PART 1