Saturday, October 26, 2019

Dino Bravo's Memorable Mid-Atlantic TV Debut (Part 3)

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Be sure to check out PART ONE and PART TWO of this great story from 1976!

Newcomer Dino Bravo had already secured his NWA World's Tag Team Title match with Gene and Ole Anderson on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV taping set for May 12, 1976, but in his second television appearance in the Mid-Atlantic area, Bravo had to contend with rough and tough veteran Bill White. That challenge became immensely more difficult when the Andersons jumped in the ring, clearly trying to take out Dino so he would be in no condition to wrestle the following week. But to the chagrin of Gene and Ole, Tim Woods hit the ring and helped Bravo fend off the assault by the Anderson Brothers.

During the middle of the program, announcer Bob Caudle addressed Woods and said, "Tim, I tell ya, you got in there to help a young fellow out a little bit ago. The Andersons were really beating up on him." Woods answered, "Well I tell ya, I hate to see that. A fine young athlete Dino Bravo, he came here and laid it right on the line, he made no bones about it. He said what he wanted, I understand he got it. He came in there, he wrestled his opponent, he beat him, and then the Andersons with their old tricks come in with the old double of them came in and the other finally kneed him from the back."

Woods continued, "He nearly beat the two of them, honestly. He was really fighting. And the Andersons are known, not only for hurting opponents, injuring them, but after that slapping them around like they did to Rufus, and I wasn't about to let that happen to Dino Bravo." Caudle concluded this segment by saying, "Well, I tell you, it was a great gesture on your part."

As the program was about to end, Caudle started a conversation with Ole Anderson saying, "Ole, earlier we saw you in there fighting against a young fella Dino Bravo." Ole snarled, "This Bravo, he's been around, he's got in our hair. He's followed us to a couple of places before, and we thought we were through with him a year ago. I figure anytime we have a team in there and we break one of that member's arms, then the other guy ought to have enough brains to stay away. But Bravo doesn't have enough brains!"

Anderson continued, "He came out here last week and interfered in a match, he gets out here and he thinks he's so big, he thinks he's so tough, he wants to be a white knight, wear a white hat or whatever it happens to be...thinks he's Mr. Good Guy! He's gonna come out and he's gonna avenge all the wrongdoings that we've done. Anytime we've been in the ring, anytime we've hurt anybody, it was because they deserved it. Now this little pipsqueak loud mouth good lookin' boy, fair haired, everybody thinks he's the savior of the race. He's gonna come out here and he's gonna make everything right by getting rid of the Anderson Brothers."

Ole added, "Well let me tell you something, it's not gonna happen! You know as well as I do that these belts mean more to us than anything else, we've given up our family and friends and everything because of these belts." At this point, Bravo comes onto the set with Woods right behind him. A furious Ole screams, "You come out here again I'm gonna take this're gonna see this belt up close!" Woods interjects, "Shut your big yap Anderson!" Ole shouts back, "I'll shut my yap when I feel like it!"

Woods then reasoned to Ole, "All you know is how to hurt people. You call yourself the World Champion? You're supposed to be wrestlers, you're supposed to represent wrestling. You call that wrestling?" Ole then questioned Tim, "What do you have to do out here? What are you, Mr. Good Guy too? You guys think you're pretty tough."

A smiling Bravo then announced, "Thank you very much for finding a partner for me, Mr. Anderson. If I had to choose one, there's the man right here I would have chosen. And next week, you won't hurt me like all these young wrestlers throughout this country, and I'll make sure next week, Ole Anderson and Gene Anderson, it won't happen like a year ago in California...this time we'll beat you."

An infuriated Ole countered, "You're gonna get a partner and come back and try and beat us? The only way you guys are gonna see this belt is when I jam it right down your throats! And you better be ready because we're gonna break a lot of arms and they're gonna be your arms!" As the Andersons departed the set, a disgusted Wood said, "Go ahead, I tell you what, I've watched these Andersons slap people around, hurt people...I'm telling you I'm SOOO happy to see a man like Dino Bravo that gets up and says what's on his mind."

Tim went on to tell the fans, "He's got the match, he's picked me as his partner and believe you me, next week, right here for the world's heavyweight championship, we're talking about the championship of the world, Dino Bravo and I will wrestle these Anderson Brothers. Believe me, we're gonna have a little conference between now and then." Bravo added, "I got the match, and I'm not gonna blow it and I got the best man with me right here and we'll walk away with those belts next week believe me."

Caudle wound down this heated segment by noting, "Well Dino, I tell you, he came in there and he sort of helped you out against the Andersons earlier tonight...I guess you said to yourself then, here's the man I want, we can beat them." Bravo concurred, " That was quite a surprise, but believe me, if I had to choose a partner this would be the man right here, Tim Woods." Bob responded, " Well you're both great wrestlers and I think your styles are gonna compliment each other;  I think the Andersons are worried. I think Ole's upset, I really think he is!"

Woods reflected, "Dino Bravo had the two men going in here by here's a man who is not afraid of them, not afraid of their reputation, not afraid to get in there and fight 'em, wrestle 'em, do whatever it takes. And I guarantee you Dino, I'm not either." Bob then questioned Bravo, "And you've got a score to settle with them, right?" Dino answered, "I've seen them hurt a lot of people, and this is the end of it. Tim, we're gonna do it together baby!" Woods agreed saying, "Okay, I'll be with you all the way and that's a promise so help me God." Caudle concluded the show saying, "It's gonna be next week, and it's gonna be a great one!"

It absolutely turned out to be a great one, as Dino Bravo and "Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods upset the Andersons the following week to become the World's Tag Team Champions and ushered in a program that lasted throughout the summer of 1976. Dino Bravo's debut on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television was indeed memorable...and then some!