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