Sunday, June 30, 2019

Japan Magazine Posters: NWA Champions with the Ten Pounds of Gold

An assortment of posters from Japanese wrestling magazines spotlighting some of the great NWA World Champions who wore the famed "Ten Pounds of Gold." 

Saturday, June 29, 2019

In the Tiger's Den: Terry Funk confronts Paul Jones

"In the Tiger's Den"

On the February 14, 1976 episode of Jim Crockett Promotions' "Wide World Wrestling", host Ed Capral interviews NWA world champion Terry Funk. Funk was frustrated with the fact that Paul Jones held a victory over him which took place only a few weeks before Funk won the NWA title from Jack Brisco.

Funk calls out Paul Jones and a brief confrontation occurs. Jones had indeed defeated Funk for the United States Championship less than three months earlier and was the top contender in the Mid-Atlantic area for Funk's title.

This is classic audio and a classic Terry Funk promo.

Originally published on the Domed Globe website on October 5, 2012. 
The Domed Globe is part of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Flashback: Ric Flair becomes the "Nature Boy" (and maybe not exactly when you thought.)

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

"Nature Boy" Ric Flair
Mid-Atlantic TV Champion (1975)
One of the big misconceptions out there is that Ric Flair first took on the "Nature Boy" moniker when he returned to action in early 1976 after the October 1975 plane crash in Wilmington, NC.

Not true.

You'd have to forgive anyone for thinking that. It's been written that way for awhile. Until years ago, I thought that as well and even Ric himself has said so on occasion.

The commonly held misconception is that during his four month lay-off in late 1975 and early 1976 recuperating from injuries suffered in the plane crash, George Scott came up with the idea of giving Ric the "Nature Boy" gimmick, an homage to "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers, the famous NWA and WWF World Champion in the 1960s.

However, it's been verified that Ric Flair had been calling himself the "Nature Boy" for nearly a year earlier.

By all accounts, it was indeed booker George Scott who came up with the idea, that part is apparently true. But Ric was referring to himself as the Nature Boy in local promos and on TV interviews as early as April of 1975 (perhaps even earlier), a full six months before the infamous plane crash.

May 2, 1975    Richmond, Virginia

That time frame was confirmed when David Chappell came across an audio recording (embedded below) of a local promo Ric did for a May 1975 match in Richmond, VA. Ric actually did the promo in late April for a match to take place on May 2. He was defending his Mid-Atlantic TV title in the Richmond Arena against the man he beat for that belt, "Number One" Paul Jones.

After Jones had called Flair a "drugstore wrestler" (an offhanded reference to an earlier promo where Flair had called Jones a "drugstore cowboy"), Ric responded in a promo of his own, referring to himself as the "Nature Boy" right at the end of his promo:

"Jones, I'm gonna take you like any wild animal would. I'm gonna break one of your arms and then maybe you'll be walkin' around the drugstore looking for someone else to beat up on, because it won't be the Nature Boy. Wooo!"    - Ric Flair, April 1975

All of the signature elements of the "Nature Boy" persona were taking shape before the plane crash. His trademark "Wooo!" was more of a quick high-pitched shout at that point. And his cocky strut was more subdued and less pronounced than in later years. (I actually liked the 70s and early 80s Flair strut much better than the exaggerated Fargoesque style of strut that he later morphed into.) He had a robe or two, but nothing like the number  of extravagantly styled robes he would acquire beginning in 1976. Within a year or so Flair had nearly a dozen of the Olivia Walker creations.

This is the earliest reference we've found. We'll keep digging to see how far back things go. Our main goal was to document that Flair's "Nature Boy" persona existed well before the plane crash and his subsequent recovery and return to the sport. The audio recording from April 1975 should put that to rest.

And now you know -- as the great Paul Harvey was famous for saying - - the rest of the story.

Originally Published on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway May 16, 2018.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Every Wrestling Crowd Had One: The Little Old Lady Ringside

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Archives 2006

Fans from the old days of wrestling, the 50s through 70s let's say, will always remember that little old lady at ringside who could really get the wrestlers going. Every arena had one. It was part of the wrestling experience and part of what made wrestling fun and special. Peggy Lathan's grandmother was just that type of person.

Peggy's grandmother Nannie
Nannie, as she was called, was a regular on the front row at the Charlotte Coliseum and other venues, raising cane with the wrestlers in the ring, giving as good as she took. Peggy sent me this photo, and although we may not know her personally, we all immediately recognize her. There was a Nannie in every wrestling arena.

Peggy wrote me about her grandmother:

"Everyone loved Nannie. And she enjoyed her wrestling, too. This photo was taken before she started having to use a cane - she really had a good time shaking that cane at the heels. 

"The wrestlers always played up to her.  Jimmy Snuka asked me one time if she was in good health. I told him yes. He said, "she gets so mad at me, I'm afraid she's going to have a heart attack, and if she wasn't in good health, I wasn't going to mess with her anymore." I told him that would just kill her if he didn't fuss with her and to keep it going.

"I loved taking her to wrestling. She was so much fun and so loved by everyone. She had a ton of friends. She loved Ricky Steamboat and Don Kernodle. Those were her two favorites. Once in Charlotte, Steamboat gave her one of his Hawaiian leis. It absolutely made her day.

To this day, Don Kernodle always tells me how much he misses Nannie. She was a special lady and I hope I'm going to be just like her as I get older. 

"When she was in the hospital 2-3 weeks before she died, Danny Miller, Johnny Weaver and Wahoo McDaniel called the hospital and talked to her and told her they missed her and hoped to see her back on the front row again soon. Sadly, she died a few weeks later. Danny attended her funeral, and we got a flower arrangement from Jim Crockett Promotions."

Nannie passed way in 1983. Thanks to Peggy for sharing the memories and photos of her grandmother with the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

* * * * *

Can you imagine any wrestling promotion today sending a floral arrangement to a fan's family after the death of a longtime fan? What an amazing time that was.

Edited from an original post on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway July 24, 2006.
Originally republished on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway July 28, 2015. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Mid-Atlantic TV: December 12, 1981
Mid-Atlantic Wrestling
on the WWE Network
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
TV Summaries & Reviews
by David Taub
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

This is a review of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling as it appeared on the WWE Network. Results are included for the week (Monday-Sunday of the given week) as available. Please email with any corrections, typos, results, other details at

For links to all available summaries and links to these TV shows on the WWE Netowrk, visit our TV Summary Index.

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
Original broadcast: 12/12/81
(taped 12/03/81 at WPCQ-TV studios in Charlotte)
WWE Network feed. 

Bob Caudle & David Crockett preview the hour.

— Int. w/Bob Caudle: Sgt. Slaughter and Pvt. Jim Nelson
Slaughter lays out the $1,000 Cobra Clutch challenge. Nelson performs some pushups.
Caudle goes to the magic blue screen to intro the next match.


A red romper wearing Sonny Fargo is the referee for the hour.

Match 1
Ricky Steamboat d. Charlie Fulton

Sandy Scott joins Caudle & Crockett to talk about Slaughter’s challenge and all the talent coming in. Steamboat wins with a move Caudle calls the “Surfboard” (think Steamboat/Flair from Clash

[Break] The old bumper music bleeds through.

Match 2
NWA TV title: Ivan Koloff [ch.] d. Jim Grey
No sweat for Koloff. Gray suffers a bloody nose. Koloff wins with a top-rope knee drop.


— Local promo w/Ken Conrad for 2/20/82 Roanoke
Must be the Beckley market tapes again. Conrad tells us in Roanoke, The Ninja, Austin Idol, Piper, Koloff, Porkchop Cash, Jay Youngblood, Ray Stevens and Jimmy Valiant. He also plugs a 2/16/82 Marion, VA card. It’s Stevens & Weaver vs. our next guests, Gene Anderson & Ninja. Gene does the talking, wanting revenge on Stevens. Then, we get Piper for his match vs. Steamboat. “I scare Flair” he says, running down all the people he’s run off. Another Piper classic, going nuts, voice cracking up and down.


Crockett & Caudle talk about Ray Stevens at the desk, about how Ole & Piper said they couldn’t trust him. Somehow, this must be a Network edit, because they didn’t talk about him on this show. We go to a clip from that week’s World Wide Wrestling, of Steamboat wrestling Mike Prater. Piper comes to ringside and attacks Steamboat right after the match. Steamboat fends off Piper, until Ole joins the attack. Then, Stevens makes the save.

Match 3
Ray Stevens d. Mike Prater
Fresh off the replay, Prater is the opponent again, and just gets annihilated. Stevens has the World tag team belt with him. Stevens in under a minute, with the piledriver.


— Int. w/Bob Caudle: Ray Stevens
Stevens, with the title belt, says he enjoys hurting people. His word is his bond. He doesn’t care who he tags with, name dropping both babyfaces and heels. But, he doesn’t like Ole sacrificing people, especially his own brother. But, he won’t do it to Ray Stevens.

Match 4
Jimmy Valliant d. Mike Miller
Network overdub of the piano-jazz music that drowns out the first part of the match. Crockett blushes about the message on Valiant’s tights “Kiss My” to the point he won’t even say it. Another short match, a Valiant win by elbow, and the Network overdub announces the call of the replay.

— Local promo w/Ken Conrad for 2/20/82 Roanoke
We get comments from Johnny Weaver on his tag match (Weaver & Stevens vs. Ninja & Gene Anderson). Then, Steamboat mocks Piper.


Match 5
Sgt. Slaughter & Pvt. Nelson d. Tony Anthony & Larry Hamilton
Jay Youngblood joins the announce desk, and challenges Slaughter to a Cobra Clutch challenge. Slaughter leaves the apron to chat with Youngblood, before rejoining. Youngblood still talking tough.
After the match, Slaughter and Youngblood jaw at each other. Slaughter is hemming and hawing over letting Youngblood accept the Cobra Clutch challenge. Slaughter would rather give someone more worthy a chance, like Davis or Larson. Sandy Scott comes out and forces Slaughter to accept Youngblood, by threatening to “strip him of everything.”
Ole joins the mic. But, Slaughter stalls out, and we are out of time.
“So long for now!”

Results for the week after the jump!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Best of: How Johnny Valentine's 1000 Silver Dollars Doubled

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

How Johnny Valentine's 1000 Silver Dollars Doubled

Early in the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling tenure of Johnny Valentine, the “Champ” truly came up with a gimmick match that would entertain fans around the territory for years. Valentine had a stranglehold on the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship belt during the year of 1974, but Johnny felt he needed more competition to keep him sharp beyond merely defending the Mid-Atlantic Title. This led to the birth of Johnny Valentine’s 1000 silver dollar challenge!

Around the middle of the year in 1974, Valentine began bringing a fish bowl full of silver dollars to ringside…1000 silver dollars to be exact. Johnny promised that he would give up the silver dollars to any wrestler that could pin him or make him submit in 10 minutes. These challenges occurred almost exclusively on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television, but as the months went on some of these challenges made it into the area’s arenas.

During the early months of these 1000 silver dollar challenges, Valentine defended his money against a host of challengers at least a couple of times a month. While Johnny said he would take on all comers, he generally defended the $1000 only against lower and mid card wrestlers, mainly on the “good guy” side of the area’s talent ledger. Interestingly, Valentine had very few easy matches defending his money, even against a slew of lesser opponents. Johnny often had to “pull rabbits out of his hat” to prevail close to the 10 minute time limit mark, and even had a few surprising draws sprinkled in.

Listen to Joe Murnick's ring introduction to Johnny Valentine vs. Bob Bruggers
for the 1000 Silver Dollars!

Despite all the close calls, Valentine continued his 1000 silver dollar challenge unbeaten streak against challenger Bob Bruggers on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV show that aired in many area markets on Saturday July 20, 1974. Immediately after the bout, Johnny was confronted by none other than “Mr. Number One” Paul Jones! Paul challenged Johnny, and “Mr. #1” said that Valentine was afraid to put his 1000 silver dollars on the line against him. Valentine scoffed at the notion of such a match, telling Paul, “Get in line boy! You’re not good enough to wrestle me!” Johnny went on to say that Paul Jones was at the bottom of the ladder, didn’t belong in the same ring with him and should be carrying his bags!

Valentine brushing off Jones’ challenge just made Paul more angry and determined. And Paul had a plan to move himself up to the top of Valentine’s list. Jones said to Johnny, “I’ll give you some incentive boy!” Jones told Valentine and the viewing audience that he would match Valentine’s 1000 silver dollars, and bring the money next week, making it a total of 2000 silver dollars. Paul then said to Johnny, “And I can beat you in 10 minutes, and I know I can! And if I can’t beat you in 10 minutes you can have the 2000 dollars! You just be here; I’ll be here! And I bet you move me right to the top of the list next week!” Johnny, who was on his way out of the ring, immediately turned around when he heard Paul say he would bring money to the ring next week!  Valentine said, “Wait a minute; wait a minute.” Jones responded, “DON’T YOU WAIT A MINUTE ME!!”

No. 1 Paul Jones battles Johnny "The Champ" Valentine

Valentine then shouted at Jones that he still thought that Paul didn’t belong in the same ring with him, but that he saw money now. The “Champ” again queried Jones if he was serious about bringing 1000 silver dollars of his own money to the ring next week. Valentine said, “You’re telling me that if you can’t beat me in 10 minutes your thousand dollars is MINE??” Jones said, “Yeah, that’s EXACTLY right! I knew I’d get you in the ring one way or the other!” Paul went on to say, “I’ll be here next week early with my 1000 silver dollars! I’ll put ‘em in there myself, and match your thousand silver dollars. And I can beat you in 10 minutes…I know I can!!”

After an instant of digesting what Jones had said, a big smile came over Valentine’s face and he exclaimed, “I ACCEPT!”

After Paul left the ring, Valentine continued to roam around the ring with a maniacal smile across his face, shouting at Jones to bring his money next week and yelling at ring announcer Joe Murnick, “I want SILVER DOLLARS…SILVER DOLLARS!!!” The “Champ” clearly had a quite odd fixation on silver coins, rather than paper money!

Listen to the final minute of the Bruggers match called by Bob Caudle and Johnny Weaver and then all of the the classic verbal confrontation between Paul Jones and Johnny "The Champ" Valentine!

The challenge has been accepted! Paul Jones battles Johnny Valentine with 2000 Silver Dollars on the Line in PART TWO!

Originally published on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway October 30, 2015

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Revisit: U.S. Wrestling Club - Ricky Steamboat

MAY- JUNE 1981

In 1981, Jim Crockett promotions developed a club for their fans and called it the "United States Wrestling Club." For a membership fee of $5.00 for one year, fans got the bi-monthly club newsletter "Ringside," a discounted subscription offer on "Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Magazine," discounts on tickets to local Mid-Atlantic Wrestling events, and discounts on concessions at those events. Despite being initially well received by fans, Jim Crockett Promotions folded the club after only one year.

The premier 4-page issue of the "Ringside" newsletter for the United States Wrestling Club arrived in the late spring of 1981. The first feature article was editor Steve Waid's interview with Ricky Steamboat about his interest in body-building. Steve photographed Ricky working out at the gym.

The issue also included "Club News" from Jim Crockett, Jr., an enrollment form, and letters to the editor.

Ricky Steamboat, Wrestler and Body Builder
by Steve Waid

One of the reasons professional wrestling superstar Ricky Steamboat has made it to the top of his sport is that he maintains a sleek, powerful physique.

Certainly Steamboat has one of the best-built bodies in wrestling, and the strength it generates has helped him win many matches he might otherwise have lost.

To become a professional wrestler takes hard work, but Steamboat had to work that much harder to perfect his body. Years of sweat and sacrifice are required to produce the kind of physique which ultimately helps make champions.

“I started body-building about seven years ago,” said Steamboat. “I do a lot of traveling in my job as a wrestler and I was fortunate enough to have a lot of friends who operate gyms in various cities. They let me slip in and have a few workouts.”

“But in my home, Charlotte, NC, I worked out regularly at a gym.”

Steamboat’s routine usually consists of steady workouts with weights and body-building machines six days a week. “I’m really involved in it when I’m getting ready for a body-building competition,” he added. “Right now, I’m competing in the regional level (Mid-Atlantic) and to prepare myself, I spend several hours each day working out.”

“But it’s a bit different in the off-season, when I have more time. I usually work out four days a week then.”

Body-building not only improves the look and tone of the physique, it also helps in the ring.

“Keeping your muscle tone and strength is like building a set of shock absorbers,” Steamboat said. “If your muscles are tight, you are less susceptible to injury. Getting slammed around in the ring and falling to the mat can seriously hurt you. But you will avoid most injuries if your muscles are tight.”

Steamboat added that ligaments and tendons are often twisted during a match, and injury can result if the wrestler’s muscle tone isn’t good.

“You have to remember that in my profession, a lot of the moves and holds applied goes against your joints,” Steamboat said. “You have to have the proper muscle tone to make sure you can absorb the pressure. I’m sure football players have to be the same way. They have developed the same basic reasoning.”

Steamboat’s workouts can be rigorous. Working with dumbbells, weights and Nautilus machines is a tedious process – and at times a painful one. When Steamboat undergoes several weightlifting repetitions, it’s not unusual to see him sweat, strain and groan.

He advises that no one who wants to become involved in body building undertake the exercise he does. It takes time to rise to his level of proficiency. And no one should attempt any sort of body building program without a doctor’s approval.

“To develop a good body takes a great deal of time,” Steamboat said. “You must first learn to be patient. Guys come up to me and ask if they lift weights for six months, will they look like me? There is no way.”

“I would recommend that a person start out very lightly. Don’t go and see how much you can lift right away – we calling that ‘maxing out’. Just lift what you can for 12 to 15 repetitions for six to eight weeks.”

“If you can increase your repetitions from 15 to 20, then add some more weight. Find your levels and work out at them. Then, maybe after six months, you can take a chance and see how much you can lift.”

Steamboat emphasized that the biggest thing for any body builder is to stay healthy.

“If you suffer an injury and can’t work out, you will quickly lose what you have gained,” he said. “Suppose you have added a half-inch to your arms. If you injure yourself, you’ll lose that in just two to three weeks, and it will have taken you six months to gain it.”

Diet plays an important role in body building and Steamboat pays careful attention to his. “When I am preparing for competition, I go on a low-fat, low-carbohydrate diet,” he said.

“This means I reduce the intake of carbohydrates and fats and take in more protein. I don’t eat bread, pasta or any sweets. I eat a lot of fish and chicken. Steak is a good provider of protein, but it also has fats.”

“You need the protein to repair and rebuild your muscles’ tissues, which you tear down during body building.”

When he is not preparing for competition, Steamboat relaxes his diet only a little. He eats fruits (which he also eats in his more strenuous program), steak, baked potato and sometimes, even dessert.

“Usually, I take one day in the week and just let go,” he said. “I eat pretty much what I want. It helps break up the monotony.”


Club News
by Jim Crockett, Jr.

Judging from the mail and phone calls received, the response to the United States Wrestling Club has been tremendous.

Hundreds of wrestling fans across the country have responded to our USWC membership drive and it looks like the club is going to be a big success.

To become a member of the USWC, Just send a $15 membership fee to the United States Wrestling Club, P. O. Box 3854, Charlotte, NC 28203. Don’t forget to include your name, address and zip code.

Being a member entitles you to discount tickets on a regular basis to wresting matches in your area. You will also receive the Club Newsletter, “Ringside” every two months. This will feature in-depth stories on your favorite wrestlers, along with photos, club news and other items of interest to wrestling fans.

You will also received a colorful membership card, which will entitle you to special 10 percent discounts on wrestling posters, t-shirts, wrestling jackets and other items.

And there’s a big bonus. As a member, you receive at a discount, Wrestling Magazine, a publication which highlights wrestling on the local and national level. It also features profiles and interviews with the wrestlers, as well as some first class photos of your favorites.

As a USWC member, you get Wrestling Magazine for just $10 for six issues, and it’s a regular $18 value.

Don’t wait – join the United States Wrestling Club today and get in on all the action.

(Note: This material is presented for historical purposes. Reprinted from 1981 newsletter. The club is no longer active. DO NOT send money to the P.O. Box above!)

Editor: Sid Morris
Managing Editor: Sid Morris
Associate Editor: Anita Gersch
Art Director: Frank Nemis
Membership: Donna Taylor

Originally published on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway December 15, 2016

Friday, June 21, 2019

Best of: Friday Night Wrestling in Richmond - A Lasting Legacy

Friday Night Wrestling in Richmond - A Lasting Legacy

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway 

(Originally written for the program for the Richmond Wrestle Expo event which was cancelled and never took place.) 

It is fitting that the inaugural Mid-Atlantic Wrestle Expo 2017 begins on a Friday evening, as Friday nights defined professional wrestling in Virginia’s capital city for several generations of grappling fans. It is impossible to quantify the level of excitement that the stars of Jim Crockett Promotions provided to wrestling fans in Richmond and vicinity over nearly a half century.

In the early days Bill Lewis and later Jim Crockett, Sr. promoted wrestling cards that ran at the Virginia State Fairgrounds at Strawberry Hill, which in its earliest years was called the Atlantic Rural Exposition Grounds. From the infancy of the television age until March of 1974, the Fairgrounds served as the principal host for wrestling in Richmond.

Richmond Arena

In the spring of 1974, the aging Richmond Arena and the brand spanking new Richmond Coliseum took over the hosting roles for professional wrestling in Richmond. By the spring of 1977, the dimly lit Arena with its 5,000 seat capacity ceased being used regularly and the cavernous Coliseum, with more than double the Arena’s seating capacity, would then almost exclusively host Richmond’s cards every other week for the rest of the Crockett era.

The Richmond Fairgrounds venue was a venerable “smoke filled room,” often stretched to the seams to house all the spectators that wanted to see the stars of All-Star Wrestling that they watched week-to-week on the South’s first television station, WTVR TV Channel 6.

For many of its early years, the Crockett territory featured some of the greatest tag team wrestling seen anywhere in the world and the Richmond Fairgrounds was a showcase for it. In the early 1950s George and Bobby Becker topped the cards, giving way later in the ‘50s to the “Flying Scotts,” George and Sandy Scott. But it was the 1960s into the early 1970s that saw the heyday for Crockett tag teams, where Fridays at the Fairgrounds featured such legendary performers as George Becker and Johnny Weaver, Paul Jones and Nelson Royal, Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson and Brute Bernard and Skull Murphy battling each other in two-out-of-three-falls bouts that whipped the crowds into a frenzy.

Those frenzied Friday night crowds regrettably gave the Richmond Fairgrounds a place in wrestling history that it would probably rather not claim. On Friday night February 11, 1966, Boris “The Great” Malenko and Bob Orton, Sr. were seriously injured after a riot broke out after the conclusion of a heated match against the beloved team of George and Sandy Scott. As bad as the incident was, it showed just how incredibly powerful the wrestlers played their respective good versus evil roles to engender such raw emotions in the spectators.

Richmond Coliseum
(Photo by Dick Bourne)

In the early 1970s, All-Star Wrestling became known as Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, and Jim Crockett, Jr. headed up operations of the family owned company. By this time, Joe Murnick along with his sons Carl and Elliot were the primary local promoters for Richmond and vicinity. During this same time frame, Richmond’s own Rich Landrum was doing the ring announcing at the Richmond venues, and would soon parlay that role into a position as lead announcer on Crockett’s popular Worldwide Wrestling television show during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling caught fire in the mid 1970s, and was arguably the top territory in professional wrestling over the next ten years until Jim Crockett Promotions gradually ceased operating as the Mid-Atlantic territory as it attempted to become more national in scope. During this period, the Richmond Coliseum ran mega cards with huge crowds and featured many historically significant matches.

During that red-hot time frame, the Richmond Coliseum was home to multiple switches of the Mid-Atlantic territory’s most important championship titles. Particularly noteworthy was Ric Flair dropping the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title to Wahoo McDaniel on December 27, 1976, effectively ending arguably the greatest feud in the history of the Mid-Atlantic area.

Fast forward ahead to July 29, 1977 in the Coliseum, where Flair aced his first United States Heavyweight Title, defeating the legendary Bobo Brazil in what was perhaps Richmond’s most historically significant match. And moving into the decade of the 1980s the Coliseum saw the triumphant return to the area of the “Minnesota Wrecking Crew,” Gene and Ole Anderson, as they defeated Paul Jones and the Masked Superstar for the NWA World Tag Team Titles, the same belts the Anderson Brothers had vigorously controlled several years earlier.

While Richmond, Virginia has continued to host professional wrestling events up to the present day, there was never a time where wrestling captured and held the public’s fascination like Friday nights during the Jim Crockett Promotions and Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling era. It was truly a golden age of wrestling that has now passed, but one that will never ever be forgotten in Richmond.

* * * * *

See also: A Brief History of Wrestling in the Mid-Atlantic Area

Originally published June 30, 2017 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Domed Globe: NWA Event Program 2010

In 2010, I was honored to have my photo of the NWA World championship title belt featured on the cover of a souvenir program for an NWA wrestling event in Charlotte, NC.

The photograph is of the original belt used in the late 1970s though mid-1980s, and not the belt that was currently in use at the time of this photograph held by Blue Demon, Jr.

It is the same photo that is featured on the cover of my book "Ten Pounds of Gold." You can always identify that particular photo because the "KVE" initials scratched into the plate can be clearly seen just above and to the left of the wrestlers on the belt. I've never seen other photos where this showed up as clearly.  -D. Bourne

(Originally published on the Domed Globe website April 28, 2019)

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

A Look Back: Wrestling on TV in North Carolina in October 1975

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.

Originally published on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway September 1, 2018

Monday, June 17, 2019

Truckin' Tom Miller

Tom Miller introduces Barry Windham and NWA World Champion Ric Flair
before their title match in Fayetteville, NC in January of 1987

For lots more about "Truckin' Tom Miller and his various roles in Jim Crockett Promotions, check out all of our related posts on the Studio Wrestling website.

Also see our post on the 1975 "Wide World Wrestling" theme music on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

(Originally published on the Studio Wrestling website March 23, 2017.)

Friday, June 14, 2019

Almanac: August 1980 (Part One)

David Chappell's
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History


The first week of August in 1980 saw the continuation of the summer's major feuds in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, two of which were in their final stages. Those two climactic programs being the battles between Blackjack Mulligan and Enforcer Luciano and the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship series between the Iron Sheik and Jim Brunzell.

Enforcer Luciano with Bob Caudle and David Crockett
The month of August began with a Texas Street Fight clash between Mulligan and the Enforcer at the Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia on August 1st. It was clear from the local Richmond promos that this bout could be one of the last between these two heated adversaries. Blackjack told the Richmond fans, "They're some pretty tough boys around Richmond. I want everybody to get up real close, because I want them to hear the screams of terror and pain, and there may be some from myself. I guarantee you one thing brother, Luciano, somebody's gonna be hurt very badly right there in the Richmond Coliseum."

The Enforcer had his own choice words for Blackjack, remarking, "This is your kind of match. Come dressed as you are, I'm gonna come dressed as I am right now. And I've got a slapjack for you Blackjack! And if that ain't enough, a hunk of chain to wrap around your throat! And if that doesn't get it, one of the most dangerous weapons in the world in the hands of a man like myself...and that Mr. Mulligan, with a hunk of steel across your head is about all it will take!"

Mulligan and Luciano also met in a Texas Street Fight in Raleigh, North Carolina on August 5th, and the Enforcer exclaimed to the Raleigh fans, "Every time I come out here I get people giving me a finger to speed up, not to say anything else, they push fences in front of me, they do all kinds of things that I really don't like! And there's something else I don't like and that's Mulligan, and I'll tell you something Mr. Mulligan..."

Luciano then continued excoriating Blackjack, "...You've been fooling with fire since you've started with me. I came in here, I pounded you, I've pummeled you, I've put you down and you're going to stay down Mister! I'm telling you something...I'm going to get you if it's the last thing I do! I'm coming equipped, this is a Street Fight. Suppose I handcuff you to the ring pole and beat your brains in with a blackjack?!?" In both Richmond and Raleigh that didn't come close to happening, as Blackjack thoroughly destroyed Luciano, leaving the Enforcer stretched out in the middle of the ring in both venues.

In the first week of August, Mulligan also hammered Luciano in Chain matches in Greenville, South Carolina on August 4th and then again at the Norfolk Scope Coliseum on August 7th. All in all, the first week in August could not have gone any worse for the Enforcer!

Mid-Atlantic Champion, the Iron Sheik, and Jim Brunzell also wound down their spirited program during the first week in August, 1980. Brunzell succinctly told the fans in Raleigh how important his No Disqualification match in the Raleigh Civic Center on August 5th against the Sheik was by stating, "Anything goes, and if somebody would have told me a year and three months ago that this was going to happen I wouldn't have believed them. You know, the loser of this match might as well pack up and leave. You know, I came here and I established something for myself and now I'm fighting, fighting for existence here. This is my new home prepared because anything goes! I know you don't like to be hurt, you've proved that. You're paranoid, you're better be ready in Raleigh!"

The Sheik and Brunzell also squared off in Spartanburg, South Carolina on August 2nd in a Texas Death match and again the next night in the Greensboro Coliseum. The Sheik prevailed in those bouts, in addition to the Raleigh match, so their appeared no doubt that the Iranian had bested "Jumping" Jim in this red-hot summer program.

The one major feud that was active and competitive during the first week of August was the battle over the NWA World's Tag Team Titles between champs Jimmy Snuka and Ray Stevens and former champs Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood. The teams split their two matches during the first week of August, with the champs taking a hard fought Fence match in Richmond on August 1st, but the challengers responded with an impressive count out win two days later in the Greensboro Coliseum. Unlike the other two feuds above, this one was far from over!

The Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show of the week that was taped on August 6th featured the in-ring return of Paul Jones, who was back wrestling for the people with a scientific style. The program began with a segment featuring Blackjack Mulligan, who explained to the fans that he had been spending too much time in Texas attending to issues, and not enough time attending to the new challenge presented by fellow Texan "Bad Boy" Bobby Duncum. Blackjack assured the Mid-Atlantic faithful that his full attention would be on Duncum going forward, exclaiming, "As far as I'm concerned Bobby Duncum, the case is open my friend...the banking days are over, the wrestling days are back, and you are a marked man my friend right now!"

The August 6th TV show also took a look back at the Ric Flair-Greg Valentine dust up from the previous week, where Ric tore most of the clothes off the new United States Heavyweight Champion Valentine. Greg told the fans that he wasn't prepared to wrestle the week before, and that the Nature Boy took advantage of him. Valentine went on to taunt Flair by bragging about the new version of the U.S. Title belt that he was holding. Greg crowed, "I've got the gold right here, and by the way, this is a new belt made up by the NWA who is the governing body of all wrestling, the biggest governing body, and they sent me a new belt because they know what a great champion I'm gonna be! I'm gonna make Ric Flair look sick!"

The final bout of the first Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV program in August saw Ric and Blackjack team up again for the first time in many months, and was a clear sign of their solidarity against the new threat of the duo of Greg Valentine and Bobby Duncum. Tag team matches between these four were imminent during the remainder of the month of August. Flair told announcer Bob Caudle, "We're not sparing the whip! If Valentine and Duncum want to play dirty, then they just tied into [two] of the dirtiest! Jack Mulligan can do anything he wants to, and Ric Flair I feel wrote the book!" It sure appeared that the hottest summer in many years was just about to get a lot hotter!

Join us for AUGUST 1980 PART 2

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Mid-Atlantic Photographs & Memories

Mid-Atlantic Photographs & Memories 
by Peggy Lathan
Special for the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Photo by Peggy Lathan
Back in the 1970s and 1980s, I went to wrestling almost every week in Spartanburg and Greenville, South Carolina. Over the years, I got to be good friends with many of the wrestlers, friendships I maintain to this day. We had lots of fun hanging out with Ric Flair and many of the other wrestlers out behind the Spartanburg Auditorium where the wrestlers entered the building, sometimes throwing frisbee and just killing time.

I was able to take lots of photos over the years, many of which I have shared on my facebook page. The Mid-Atlantic Gateway has presented many of them, too, and Dick Bourne has even featured several of my photos in his books.

Here are links to two online photo albums the Gateway has presented of my photos. I hope you enjoy them. These are such great memories of a special time in my life with such special people.

Photos include:
Roddy Piper, Ole and Gene Anderson, Greg Valentine, Tommy Young, Tully Blanchard, Ric Flair, Scott McGhee, Ricky Steamboat, Jimmy Snuka, Paul Orndorf, The Hollywood Blondes (Buddy Roberts and Jerry Brown), Ray Stevens, Dick Murdoch, Don Kernodle, Bill White, Doug Somers, Lanny Poffo, and Blackjack Mulligan.

Originally published January 19, 2016 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Mid-Atlantic TV: December 5, 1981
Mid-Atlantic Wrestling
on the WWE Network
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
TV Summaries & Reviews
by David Taub
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

This is a review of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling as it appeared on the WWE Network. Results are included for the week (Monday-Sunday of the given week) as available. Please email with any corrections, typos, results, other details at

For links to all available summaries and links to these TV shows on the WWE Netowrk, visit our TV Summary Index.

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
Original broadcast: 12/05/81
(taped 12/02/81 at WPCQ-TV studios in Charlotte)
WWE Network feed. 

Bob Caudle & David Crockett preview the hour.

— Int. w/Bob Caudle: Sandy Scott
The NWA representative says Ole Anderson has taken Ray Stevens as a partner, and they will defend the World tag team title. He continues to talk about the Cadillac tournament. He keeps saying there will be one winner, even though all the cities on the tour are holding the tournament.

Tommy Young, in his green pullover, is the referee for the hour.

Match 1
Jake Roberts & Blackjack Mulligan Jr. d. Jerry Frator & Tony Russo.  
Mulligan Jr. pins Frator after a jumping knee drop.


— Int. w/Bob Caudle: Big John Studd
Studd is holding the Canadian championship. We get a replay of the incident between Studd and Mulligan, Jr. where Studd hits him in the head, from an earlier taping at Charlotte Park Center. Caudle nearly calls him Blackjack, which angers Studd.

Match 2
Big John Studd d. not Tim Horner
The wrestler is identified as Horner, but it’s clearly not. He is wearing blue tights with three stars in front. Anyone know who this guy is? Mystery man. Studd wins with the over the shoulder backbreaker. I believe that mystery guy is Jim (Jerry) Gray. Possibly Mike Prater. Hope someone can confirm.

— Int. w/Bob Caudle: Sandy Scott
Scott presides over a contract signing between Mid-Atlantic champion Roddy Piper and Ricky Steamboat. An obnoxious Piper reluctantly signs. Steamboat, who brings out a big bag of fan mail, signs as well after Piper leaves the set.

Match 3
Pvt. Jim Nelson (w/Sgt. Slaughter) d. Tim Horner
Slaughter joins the announcing desk. Sandy Scott comes out, and so does Mulligan, which quiets Slaughter. Nelson wins with a clothesline

— Local promos w/Bob Caudle: Sgt. Slaughter (live in WPCQ studio)
Caudle reminds us wrestling is on next week Sunday at midnight on WBTV in Charlotte. So, at least we know where this tape is from. He runs down the card for tonight in Charlotte, with a battle royal to determine the pairings of the Cadillac tournament, plus Slaughter vs. Mulligan Jr. for the U.S. title. Slaughter runs down both Mulligans. Ole and Piper are out, with Piper taking slight digs at Ole over the Cadillac.

Match 4
Jay Youngblood d. Jeff Sword
This is Sword’s, sporting the blonde flowing hair, first appearance. Youngblood wins with a leaping chop on a prone Sword.

— Int. w/Bob Caudle: Blackjack Mulligan Jr. & Jake Roberts
Mulligan wants the U.S. title and Slaughter. Roberts wants Ole. Black Jack Mulligan joins in. He says he had a friend who served with Slaughter in the Marines, and told him all Slaughter did was serve as a mess cook in Okinawa.

Caudle introduces the next match via magic blue screen.


Match 5
Ole Anderson & Ray Stevens (w/Gene Anderson) d. Paul Jones & Buddy Landel
No mention if this is a World tag team title match. Gene joins Caudle and says he and his brother are still champs. Caudle needles him about not defending the championship. The finish sees Ole ram Landel’s head into Ray Stevens’s head. Stevens is hot and starts going after Ole. Stevens then finishes off Landel with a back elbow for the pin. As Ole celebrates ringside holding both tag title belts, Stevens grabs one and takes into the ring with him. Stevens and Ole start yelling at each other, but Ole isn’t willing to go into the ring to retrieve the belt.

— Local promos w/Bob Caudle
More from tonight’s card in Charlotte. Paul Jones, Ricky Steamboat and Jake Roberts take turns talking about the Cadillac tournament. Mulligan Jr. joins in talking about his match against Slaughter.

Match 6
Carl Fergie d. Larry Hamilton
Caudle & Crockett remind fans about “Supreme Sacrifice” and the Andersons (famous angle from 1975), and how Stevens isn’t an Anderson. Fergie gets the win with a leaping elbow, followed by a neckbreaker.

— Int. w/Bob Caudle: Ray Stevens

Stevens runs down the Andersons. He isn’t Ole’s brother, he doesn’t want to be. No one is going to sacrifice him. Wow, classic fired up Stevens. Way better than most of his 1980s stuff in Mid-Atlantic, WWF or AWA.

“So long for now!”

Arena Results for the week after the jump.

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Andre The Giant's First Tour Through the Mid-Atlantic Area (1974) - Part Three

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Andre in Joe Murnick's Office

Some of the interesting things that crossed my mind when putting this feature together from Les Thatcher's memorabilia were the other things happening both on the day of Andre's trip with Les as well as the day following.

Preserved documentation of events back in those days is hard enough to come by at all, much less several events within 48 hours of each other. But along with Les's story and photographs of his trip with Andre on June 4, 1974, there exists video footage of two other bits of Mid-Atlantic history that took place at the exact same time. That these recordings and photographs all exist from those two days when very little else does, is almost a matter of divine grappling kismet!

Here are the three bits of documented history from June 4 and 5, in 1974:

(1) Andre the Giant's first visit to the Mid-Atlantic area
The story and photographs of June 4, 1974 that you've already read, written and preserved by Les Thatcher, now published all these years alter.

Andre, Bill Ward, and Frank Valois
(2) Andre's interview with Big Bill Ward at WBTV
In the late 1980s when Jim Crockett Promotions was moving their offices from Charlotte to Dallas, dozens of reels of 16mm film footage were to be thrown away as they were cleaning out storage. Jim Cornette rescued and saved a majority of this footage, which he currently sells on DVD sets through his web business and personal appearances. One of the clips is an interview that Andre did with Charlotte's "Championship Wrestling" host Big Bill Ward on Wednesday, June 5, 1974 before the taping of the wrestling show at the WBTV studio that night. This was the day after Andre's trip with Les Thatcher as recounted in Les's story in Part Two. That interview with Bill Ward can be found searching YouTube.

(3) Wahoo McDaniel and Johnny Valentine fight on WGHP TV
As Les wrote about in his story, and as we observed in a rare photograph that he took that day, Andre did a prerecorded interview in High Point, NC, with channel 8 sports director Charlie Harville on the afternoon of Tuesday, June 4 in the parking lot outside the studio. After that interview concluded, Andre then traveled to Raleigh to do a similar prerecorded interview with Joe Murnick at WRAL-TV and then on for a wrestling match at Raleigh's Dorton Arena.

But while Andre was in Raleigh that Tuesday night, the regular weekly TV taping of "Championship Wrestling" took place that same evening in the studio of WGHP-TV, which Charlie Harville hosted. That show aired every Saturday on WGHP channel 8, as well as on a delayed basis in a few other select markets. (This was at the very end of the era where Jim Crockett Promotions taped three different TV wrestling shows in High Point, Charlotte, and Raleigh.) On that taping that night at WGHP, legendary wrestler Wahoo McDaniel made a special appearance in our area, a couple of months before beginning his long 13-year run as a Mid-Atlantic regular in August of 1974.

Wahoo defeated Gene Lewis in a typical TV match that night, but sitting at ringside doing commentary with Harville was Wahoo's longtime nemesis Johnny Valentine. The two were bitter rivals from their days in Florida and Texas going back to 1968.

Wahoo McDaniel and Johnny Valentine square off
moments before one of the most brutal TV brawls
ever witnessed.
Wahoo took exception to Valentine being at ringside during his match and challenged him to climb in the ring with him on the spot. Valentine obliged and what resulted is to this day one of the most brutal slugfests ever seen on Mid-Atlantic TV. They exchanged blows and chops for the better part of the next five minutes with poor referee Angelo Martinelli trying to break it up to no avail. The matches between these two over the years, especially in Texas, were notorious for their brutality as both men enjoyed working very stiff. It was no different here, and in front of the small WGHP TV studio audience, they weren't going to let any light shine between them.

A tape of this altercation was shown six years later on a 1980 "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" highlights show. It has been seen only one other time, presented at a tribute to Wahoo McDaniel at a show in Mooresville NC in October of 2005 promoted by George South. The entire confrontation was shown on a large projection screen to the lucky folks in attendance that night. While there are highly edited (and poor quality) versions of this that still float around online, the full complete unedited confrontation hasn't been seen since.

It's fun to think that while Andre was in the ring making his first appearance in Raleigh, and only his second appearance at all for Jim Crockett Promotions, this lost classic between Wahoo McDaniel and Johnny Valentine was happening the very same night. And amazing that a record from both of these days exist.

* * * * * * *

I'd like to share one other photo taken by Les during his day with Andre the Giant. It was taken outside in the parking lot of WGHP TV in High Point while Andre was waiting to do his interview with Charlie Harville. Scott Casey had accompanied Les and Andre that day.

Andre the Giant and Scott Casey

Once again, we want to thank Les Thatcher for sending his story and photographs to us, and allowing us to publish them all these many years later on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. It brought back great memories, as well as resulting in the look at some other things happening at that time.