Monday, October 28, 2019

Hot Main Event in Raleigh in 1976

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

The top "good guy" tag team of 1976 was the pairing of the scientific Texan "Number One" Paul Jones with Oklahoma's "Chief" Wahoo McDaniel. The two were the top two singles babyfaces at the time, both top challengers for the NWA World Heavyweight title when champion Terry Funk brought the ten pounds of gold into the territory.

As a team, they had one of the most classic, memorable tag team feuds of the era with the top heel team in the territory in 1975, perennial world tag champs Gene and Ole Anderson, known as the Minnesota Wrecking Crew.

A great card in the summer of 1976 featuring the top singles "good guys" vs.
the top singles "bad guys" in a tag war against each other.

Individually, however, each man had a big singles feud going at the same time with the top two singles heels at that time, and both feuds contested the top two signles titles in the area.

Wahoo McDaniel was in the middle of a brutal year-long feud in 1976 with young "Nature Boy" Ric Flair over the Mid-Atlantic title. The two traded the title back and forth all year, including the infamous match where Flair almost cost Wahoo one of his eyes accidentally when a planned angle in the match went badly wrong.

Paul Jones was battling the big tough Texan from Eagle Pass Blackjack Mulligan over the United States title, and their feud lasted the entire year of 1976 as well.

So it was no surprise when the two top single "good guys" met the top "bad guys" in a tag team match-up guaranteed to thrill fans who were following their individual wars over the singles titles.

This type of match-up, however, was generally saved for the mid-size regular stops on the Crockett tour (Raleigh, Asheville, or Charleston for example.) For the big shows on the major towns on the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling circuit (Greensboro, Charlotte, or Richmond as examples), Paul and Wahoo would generally be in singles matches either defending or challenging for these singles championships. When Paul and Wahoo teamed, they would almost always tangle with the Anderson brothers, with the NWA World Tag Team titles at stake. (The Anderson's top challengers in 1976, though, were "Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods and Dino Bravo.)

Paul and Wahoo vs. Flair and Mullgian be perfect for the main event in the mid-size regualr stops, and would allow the booker/promoter to match-up the singles stars against each other in a tag team main event.  It would serve as a change of pace and not require title matches to always serve as main events. No titles at stake, just some of the wildest, most heated action you can imagine.

And just look at the undercard on this show, amazing talent right down to the opening match - Johnny Weaver, Geto Mongol, Bolo Mongol (Bill Eadie, later Masked Superstar), Larry Zybszko, Boris Malenko, Dr. (Tatsumi) Fujinami, the amazing Johnny Eagle, and Doug Sommers. Incredible!