Friday, January 10, 2020

End of the Road for the Mid-Atlantic Championship

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

"We will let the fans know what the disposition of this title will be very soon."   - Jim Crockett, Jr., 12/27/86 
Those words still echo with me all these years later. I'm still waiting for someone to tell me what would become of my beloved Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight championship.

The sequence of images above from "World Championship Wrestling" on 12/27/86 show Ronnie Garvin handing over the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight championship belt to Jim Crockett, Jr. in the studios of WTBS in Atlanta.

Garvin forfeited the title after he and Barry Windham had won the United States Tag Team championships. He is wearing the US Tag Team title belt. Jim Crockett told Ronnie he couldn't hold both titles, and he had to decide which one to forfeit.

"Well you know, it's a big disappointment to me ... it's a lot of work behind this belt and it represents the Mid-Atlantic area. And I don't mean no disrespect for it, because parting with this means a whole lot to me. But I don't want to disappoint my partner Barry Windham"   - Ronnie Garvin, 12/27/86

While Jim Crockett told Tony Schiavone that he would announce later what would be done with the title (we assumed a tournament), the belt and the championship were never seen or mentioned again.

Click to enlarge.
It was a sad day for long time fans of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling who had witnessed such great wrestlers hold that title including Danny Miller, Ole Anderson, Jerry Brisco, Johnny Valentine, Wahoo McDaniel, Ric Flair, Paul Jones, Jack Brisco, Roddy Piper, Greg Valentine, Ricky Steamboat, Ray Stevens, and so many others. 

Earlier that same year, the name of the flagship syndicated program for Jim Crockett Promotions was changed from "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" to "NWA Pro Wrestling." With that name change and the disappearance of the championship, the great era known as "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" had quietly come to an end.

For more on the origin and history of the Mid-Atlantic championship, check out our book "Mid-Atlantic Championship," a detailed title history with over 50 photographs of the champions and the belts, as well as dozens of newspaper clippings.And the story of each and every title change, over 60 of them in a period of 13 years.

This story was originally published May 12, 2018 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.