Sunday, December 27, 2020

See you in 2021!

 The Mid-Atlantic Gateway is on a holiday hiatus.

We look forward to seeing you again on January 4, 2021!

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas!

The Mid-Atlantic Gateway is on a holiday hiatus, but we'll be back again early in 2021! So Happy Holidays, Season's Greetings, Peace on Earth, Happy New Year, and Merry Christmas to everyone from the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, 
which is Christ the Lord. 
- Luke 2:11

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Les Thatcher's Burning Issues Come to a Head on Christmas Night (1967)

As you know if you have followed the Mid-Atlantic Gateway over the years, Les Thatcher is one of our favorites, both as a broadcaster and a wrestler. The following article was written by Mike Cline at the "Mid-Atlantic Grapplin' Greats" website, one of our favorite blogs here at the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. The article was originally published there as a 4-part series. It is republished here with Mike's kind permission, and all in one single post. It documents one of the most memorable angles from 1967 for Jim Crockett Promotions, a huge Christmas night for the promotion, and one of Thatcher's biggest matches ever in the area.

* * * * * * * * * * * *


By Mike Cline
Mid-Atlantic Grapplin' Greats


GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER were the top 'babyface' team in JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS for most of the 1960s.

J.C. DYKES and THE INFERNOS, on the flipside, were one of the top 'heel' teams during the late1960s.

"It was one of the highlights
of my entire career."

And, somehow, not by sheer happenings or fate, a twenty-seven year-old wrestler, who had recently been named the ROOKIE OF THE YEAR while working in the NWA Florida territory, found himself in the middle of a top JCP wrestling program that stretched over a nearly four month time frame.

This young man was LES THATCHER.

The year was 1967. It was the annual LABOR DAY WRESTLING card in CHARLOTTE, N.C., one of but a handful of shows held each year at the original CHARLOTTE COLISEUM on Independence Boulevard.

The main event that night featured BECKER and WEAVER going against THE INFERNOS, managed by J.C. DYKES. These two teams had a violent history, so the fans expected this match to be something special.

Folks who remember this bitter rivalry will recall that a central issue with THE INFERNOS was the 'loaded boot' that one of them wore. Time after time, the boot would come into play in their matches with the end result often being their opponents being kicked into oblivion, giving the masked men many victories.



BECKER and WEAVER had vowed to remedy this problem, themselves being previous victims of the boot. And, indeed, they did take action. On the night of July 1, 1967, in WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (and maybe in other towns as well), GEORGE and JOHNNY were successful in removing the boot from the foot of THE INFERNO who wore it. Each subsequent time the heroes had faced DYKES and his men, BECKER had worn the boot himself as an equalizer.

The Charlotte Coliseum, Charlotte NC

The CHARLOTTE match started out as the fans had expected, which each team taking it to the other. Near the end of the first fall, referee ANGELO MARTINELLI was knocked down and shaken up, but able to make the count on the 'good guys', giving THE INFERNOS a one fall advantage.

ANGELO called for assistance. He couldn't continue. JCP employee GEORGE HARBEN went to the ring and rendered assistance to the injured MARTINELLI. After calling to the back for a replacement official, HARBEN learned that the other referees who had worked the card had already left the building.

LES THATCHER had already wrestled his match earlier and had already showered and changed to his street clothes. Seeing LES standing near the back of the arena, HARBEN signaled for THATCHER to come to the ring. After a brief discussion, LES removed his suit jacket and took over as the official for the remainder of the match.

Les Thatcher raises the hands of
George Becker and Johnny Weaver
Naturally, DYKES and THE INFERNOS protested, "He's a friend of BECKER and WEAVER. There's no way we will get a fair shake." The rantings and ravings fell on unsympathetic ears. THATCHER signaled for the bell, and the second fall began.

GEORGE and JOHNNY took fall number two, squaring the match.

The deciding fall immediately became hot and heavy. The end came quickly when one of the hooded heavies gave LES a shove. THATCHER got in the masked man's face, reminding him he was an official and was not to be touched. At this point, WEAVER 'schoolboyed' THE INFERNO, LES counted to three, and the match was over.

LES raised BECKER and WEAVER's hands in victory. GEORGE and JOHNNY left the ring, with LES closely behind them. But THATCHER was stopped by the sore losers who were claiming LES stole the match from them. A bit of a rhubard started, then suddenly THE INFERNOS grabbed the substitute referee, and J.C. DYKES incinerated THATCHER's face with a fireball.

LES hit the mat, rolling around, screaming in anguish. GEORGE and JOHNNY ran back into the ring, DYKES and THE INFERNOS ran out of the ring (their damage had been done). WEAVER wrapped a towel around THATCHER's face, and he and BECKER got LES back to the dressing room.

Weaver and Becker check on Les Thatcher after J.C. Dykes burned Les with a fireball.

Only time would tell how badly LES was injured and how long he would be out of action.

* * * * * * * * * * * * 


LES THATCHER related to me that those participating in the CHARLOTTE COLISEUM main event of September 4, 1967 met at the CROCKETT office on Morehead Street that same morning.

Those present included LES, GEORGE BECKER (also the booker at the time), JOHNNY WEAVER, J.C. DYKES, both of THE INFERNOS (FRANKIE CAIN and ROCKY SMITH), GEORGE HARBEN, and 'BIG' JIM CROCKETT himself.

'BIG' JIM instructed HARBEN to make sure that by the time the main event started that evening, that all referees working the show (except ANGELO MARTINELLI, who was assigned the main event) were to be out of the building. This way no one would spot any other refs hanging around, thus spoiling credibility to HARBEN's ringside plea for LES to come to the ring to officiate the remainder of the match.

CROCKETT told LES to wear his very best suit and to be visible at the back of the COLISEUM arena, so word would reach LES to come to the ring when HARBEN called for him. "If your clothes get damaged or ruined during the match, I'll pay to replace them", CROCKETT would say.

Near the end of the first fall, referee MARTINELLI would be knocked down, injured, but able to count to three in favor of THE INFERNOS.

HARBEN would go to ANGELO's aid. Determining that the official could not continue, MARTINELLI would be helped to the dressing room. With no other ref available, HARBEN (without the use of a microphone) would call out for LES to come to the ring. The fans would actually become involved in the proceedings by relaying the message back to THATCHER, who then went to the ring and received instructions from HARBEN.

THATCHER would referee the second and third falls of the match, amidst the protests of DYKES and his two men. GEORGE and JOHNNY would even the match, winning the second fall. WEAVER would 'schoolboy' one of THE INFERNOS for the third fall victory. LES would raise GEORGE and JOHNNY's hands, who would then leave the ring and start for the dressing room.


LES was to drop back a bit, so before he could leave the ring, he would be accosted by the sore losers. A little scuffle would ensue climaxing with DYKES igniting THATCHER's face with a fireball. LES would hit the mat, screaming in pain, and BECKER and WEAVER would jump back into the ring. GEORGE was to run off the 'heels' (their dastardly deed fulfilled), and WEAVER (who had conveniently worn a towel around his neck for the match) would wrap it around the burnt younster's face and help him back to the dressing room.

Once inside the dressing room, LES wouldn't even take the time to change his clothes. He would cover his head and slip out the back of the COLISEUM, where RUDY KAY would be waiting in his automobile. LES would slouch down on the floorboard of the back seat, and RUDY was to quickly drive LES home to the THATCHER apartment.

One more detail to cover---the hired ambulance drivers who would be at the COLISEUM in case they would really be needed during the evening. WEAVER was assigned the task of telling the ambulance guys that THATCHER had a 'phobia' with ambulances, and that GEORGE and JOHNNY would take LES to the hospital themselves, thus relieving the medics of participating. The medical personnel could not be involved, in order to 'protect the business'.

"That's how meticulous the program was laid out...every detail was taken care of," LES said.

* * * * * * * * * * * *


Safely back in his apartment, LES THATCHER kept a low profile for several days.

He did his own facial make-up to show the effects of the 'burning'. LES shaved off his left eyebrow, then used a coarse Turkish towel to rub up the skin around his eye to give it an irritated look. He applied what is known as 'New Skin' to the area to give his injured area a wrinkled effect, then painted the area with merbromin (household name: mercurochrome) and tinted Vicks Vapor Rub which gave an oozing appearance.

Then it was on to his bookings. For the time being, most would be in the general CHARLOTTE TV area as this was the target area for the 'burn' program. LES didn't wrestle for a couple of weeks, but instead appeared in all of his scheduled cities going into the ring, showing his burned face and explaining how the injury had occurred. (Before each appearance, 'BIG' JIM CROCKETT personally instructed LES to what degree he was to reduce the size of the 'burn', giving the illusion that the injury was heeling.)

After a week or two, every wrestling fan in the area was aware of the heated battle that had been touched off.

LES then appeared on the WBTV-CHARLOTTE CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING program hosted by BIG BILL WARD. During his interview with WARD (the interviews were always conducted in front of the ring apron), THE INFERNOS and DYKES were in the ring awaiting their match. At some point, while he was being questioned, LES was assaulted by one of the masked men (LES believes FRANKIE CAIN), who ripped at his injured face, causing THATCHER extreme pain and discomfort, thus (and pardon the pun) adding fuel to the fire. GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER came rushing to LES' aid, preventing even more damage.

During their tenure with JCP, J.C. DYKES often wrote a column in the weekly CHARLOTTE wrestling program which was handed out (or sold--- I can't recall which) entitled LIKES AND DISLIKES BY J.C. DYKES. During the time frame after LES was burned, a number of the DYKES articles were directed at young THATCHER for concocting such a ridiculous "lie" that J.C. had hit him with a fireball.

Later in the mid-70s, LES wrote an editorial in each issue of MID-ATLANTIC WRESTLING MAGAZINE entitled WRESTLER'S EYE VIEW. LES still uses that trademark to this day. But even before his editorials of the 1970s, LES originated that banner during this INFERNOS program. In a later-to-come 60 MINUTES POINT / COUNTERPOINT style, LES was given a rebuttal column in the programs giving his side of the 'burning" incident. (One will appear in tomorrow's wrap-up entry of this story.)

LES chases one of THE INFERNOS
during a CHARLOTTE PARK CENTER encounter.


* * * * * * * * * * *


There was no wrestling in CHARLOTTE, N.C. on December 18th, 1967 as JIM CROCKETT PROMOTIONS was on its CHRISTMAS break.

Therefore, the WBTV-CHARLOTTE CHAMPIONSHIP WRESTLING TV program which aired on Saturday, December 16th included the announcement of the annual WRESTLING card which would be held at the CHARLOTTE COLISEUM on CHRISTMAS night. This holiday card was always one of the top shows of the year and brought attention to the CHARLOTTE NEWS EMPTY STOCKING FUND, a charity to provide for the needy during the holidays. (The CHARLOTTE NEWS was, at the time, the evening newspaper of the Queen City, the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER was and still is the morning paper.)

Headlining the big holiday card was the match many had been hoping for...and none more than young LES THATCHER. The match would feature LES teaming with GEORGE BECKER and JOHNNY WEAVER opposing THE INFERNOS and, in the ring as a participant, manager J.C. DYKES in SIX MAN action.

LES went home to Ohio for a few days during his holiday break. Returning back to CHARLOTTE the day of the match, he was picked up at the airport by his good friend and wrestling 'cousin', ROGER KIRBY.

Roger Kirby
During the drive to his apartment, LES confided to KIRBY that he was nervous about the upcoming match, now just hours away. Nervous not because of his participation in the match, but rather because he feared if the crowd wasn't a good one, he would be blamed for the lower-than-expected attendance. THATCHER had worked main events while in Florida, but never in a building as large as the CHARLOTTE COLISEUM. And not on a wrestling card of this magnitude.

As it turned out, he need not have worried. Before the show started, while in the dressing room, JCP employee GEORGE HARBEN came in and said, "They're really pouring in."

At the end of the evening, the card had drawn the largest CHRISTMAS house for WRESTLING in CHARLOTTE to that time.

THE INFERNOS and DYKES await BECKER, WEAVER and THATCHER's ring entrance.

Finally, a chance for LES to even the score with the men who had injured him so badly. And here he was...teaming with the company's top twosome against a 'heel' team that drew big money wherever they worked.

Things went well for the 'good guys' that CHRISTMAS night. After splitting the first two falls, BECKER, WEAVER and THATCHER had DYKES a bloody mess when his men decided it was way too hot, even for INFERNOS. They grabbed their bludgeoned leader and headed for their dressing room, but before their getaway, one of the hooded 'heels' lost a most precious possession...his mask. Although his identity was concealed, this was the only instance I am aware that one of THE INFERNOS was unmasked while in the MID-ATLANTIC territory.

Referee SAM 'LUCKY' ROBERTS raises the hands of BECKER, WEAVER and THATCHER after DYKES and THE INFERNOS deserted the ring. Look closely at THATCHER's right hand and you'll see a just-removed INFERNO mask, quite a holiday stocking stuffer.


The LIKE AND DISLIKES column which appeared in the CHARLOTTE PARK CENTER wrestling program the week after the CHRISTMAS night match...

....and LES THATCHER's response in the same program.

A four-month program came to a close CHRISTMAS night of 1967. This 'feud' was a great example of how to create, build and sell a program to the fans that was both believable as well as entertaining (something sorely lacking in today's product).

And as LES has said, "It was one of the highlights of my entire career."

- Mike Cline
Mid-Atlantic Grapplin' Greats

* * * * * * *  

Credits at the end of Mike Cline's Original article:
●  My thanks to my very good friends DICK BOURNE of the MID-ATLANTIC GATEWAY and CARROLL HALL for their research assistance and to a true gentleman, LES THATCHER, for sharing his personal reflections on this wonderful look back to some great days of the wrestling business. 
●  Illustrations from wrestling programs courtesy of DICK BOURNE.  
● Photographs of LES THATCHER from his personal collection and used with his permission.

* * * * * * * 
Gateway Notes: Our special thanks to Mike Cline for allowing us to publish this story in its entirety here on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. It's one of our favorites. 

Originally published on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway September 17, 2017.
Article is copyright Mike Cline/Mid-Atlantic Grapplin' Greats, and published here with permission.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Christmas Bonus: Ricky Steamboat defends Crockett's U.S. Title in Florida

Flair and Steamboat Travel to Florida for an Extra Payday
During Crockett's Christmas Break

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Special Thanks to Mark Eastridge

Mark Eastridge Collection
As I've written about before here on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway, I always loved when wrestlers with Crockett-area titles defended those belts in other territories. Specifically, the United States heavyweight championship and the NWA world tag team championships were occasionally defended outside the Mid-Atlantic territory in other areas such as Georgia, Florida, and Texas to name a few.

In December of 1977, just a few days before Christmas, Ricky Steamboat took the U.S. title to Championship Wrestling from Florida and successfully defended it in Miami Beach.

He didn't go alone. His top rival for the championship, "Nature Boy" Ric Flair, was also booked for Eddie Graham's promotion the same night, but not as the challenger for Steamboat.

It was a bonus payday for both Flair and Steamboat, who were in the middle of what was Jim Crockett Promotions' annual Christmas break. Each year in those days, the Crockett promotion would shut down for two full weeks right before Christmas, returning to action for big shows on Christmas night.

Barry Rose Collection
In 1977, the last Crockett shows before the Christmas break were on Tuesday, December 13 at their regular Tuesday stops in Columbia, SC and Raleigh, NC. The next night, they taped multiple episodes of "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" and "Wide World Wrestling" at WRAL in Raleigh, including the annual year-end highlights shows, to get them through the next several weeks of TV while the company was down.

During the Crockett break, Steamboat and Flair took the opportunity to get themselves booked in Florida exactly one week later, on 12/21/77 at the Miami Beach Convention Hall.

Steamboat was the reigning U.S. champion at this time, having defeated Flair for the prestigious belt  in Greensboro, NC in October. He defended the title that night in Miami against another Mid-Atlantic regular Bill White. It was an interesting match-up and was likely White's only shot ever at the U.S. championship. Steamboat was successful in that title defense.

Flair wrestled Rocky Johnson in the semi-main event of this card, which was headlined by a WWWF title match between reigning champion "Superstar" Billy Graham and "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes.

Also on the big card were Jack and Jerry Brisco, Bob Roop, Bob Orton, Jr., Buddy Roberts, Dutch Mantell and many others.

U.S. Champion Ricky Steamboat
in Miami Beach before his U.S. title defense
It was a homecoming of sorts for Steamboat. When he arrived in Florida in the spring of 1976 with only a few months experience under his belt, promoter Eddie Graham thought Richard Blood (his real name) looked so much like perennial Florida favorite Sam Steamboat, he gave him the name Ricky Steamboat. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Before returning to Miami as United States Champion, Steamboat's last match there had been a win over Jim Lancaster in the preliminaries on a card in July of 1976. 

With Superstar Graham on the card in Miami to defend the WWWF title against Rhodes, and two of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling's top stars supporting that card, it was one of the more unique cards to take place in Florida in those years.

Photographer and photo-collector Pete Lederberg owns the rights to photographs taken this very night in Miami Beach.  The photos were originally shot by area photographer Brian Berkowitz. The title defense and those photographs are a cool little bit of history for Jim Crockett Promotions' U.S. championship.

Berkowitz's photo above of Steamboat with the U.S. title belt was featured full page in color in the book "Jim Crockett Promotions' United States Championship", along with a few other photos licensed from Lederberg. See many other photos from this night (including match photos of Steamboat vs. White and Flair vs. Johnson) in Pete Lederberg's Facebook photo album: Miami 12/21/77.

Thanks to Mark Eastridge, Pete Lederberg, Carroll Hall, and Barry Rose for their contributions to this article.

Previously published September 26, 2016, and July 5, 2020 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Sunday, December 20, 2020

A Busy Christmas Night in 1976: Charlotte, Greenville, and Hampton

The newspaper ad for Mid-Atlantic Wrestling on Christmas Night
in Charlotte in 1976

by Dick Bourne

Mid-Atlantic Gateway

That's quite the loaded line-up for Christmas night 1976 in the Charlotte Coliseum. It was a busy day as Mid-Atlantic wrestling stars got back to work across the territory.

For decades, Jim Crockett Promotions always took a 10-day break right before Christmas. It was the only break during the entire year. The rest of the year they ran multiple shows a night, seven nights a week, with double-shots on Saturdays and Sundays for the entire year. Guys rarely had a night off.

This "two week break" (usually 10-12 calendar days) always ended on Christmas day, which was traditionally always a big business day on the JCP calendar.

Since almost all wrestlers working the territory lived in Charlotte, it made sense to return to action in that city so guys could be with their families Christmas morning and then head out for the area shows later that day.

But that wasn't the case for everyone; a few unfortunate souls this year had to make a 340-mile trip all the way out to Hampton, VA for a show there, too.

And to complicate things further, there were other shows on that Christmas night in a couple cities close to Charlotte where guys were double-booked and had to work two shows on the same night. It is incredible that they were able to pull it all off.

On Christmas night in 1976, the big loaded show was in Charlotte that night. Just take a look at the talent on this one card: Mulligan, Jones, Flair, Ole Anderson, Wahoo, Valentine, Blackwell, Patera, Bravo, Brute Bernard, Danny Miller, and others.

Nearby Greenville, SC (about 90 miles away) ran a show with several of these same stars. The key was that bell time for the Greenville show was an hour and fifteen minutes earlier. Greenville started at 7 PM, while Charlotte bell time was the traditional 8:15 PM. Plus Greenville was only a 4-match show. This somehow allowed the Andersons, Flair, Valentine, and Wahoo to pull the magician's trick wrestling in Greenville and Charlotte on the same Christmas night.

Double shots often happened in the territory days where guys would work a matinee afternoon show in one city and another city that night. But rarely could they pull off guys working two towns at the same time on the same night. They pulled it off a time or two during the promotional wars with the IWA. And so they did again on Christmas night in 1976.

Greenville actually had the match I would have been most interested in that day. It featured one of the first matches in the "family feud" between Ric Flair and his "cousins" Gene and Ole Anderson. On top of that, Wahoo McDaniel, who had personal issues with all four men, had been assigned by the NWA as special referee! Ric Flair and new partner Greg Valentine, who had just arrived in the territory three months earlier, made an unsuccessful challenge for  the Anderson's NWA World Tag Team titles that night at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium. But Flair and Valentine were close to the gold; they captured the World tag belts from the Andersons the very next night in Greensboro, NC.

There was at least one other show in the area that same night that would have featured some of the other talent on that Charlotte show like Mulligan, Jones, and others.

The other night-show as mentioned earlier was in Hampton, VA.  The poor guys who had to make that 340-mile Christmas day trip from their homes in Charlotte were Masked Superstar (Bill Eadie), Rufus Jones, Tim Woods, Boris Malenko, Red Bastien, the Poffo brothers (Lanny and the future Randy "Macho Man" Savage), and others.

But Charlotte was the big show. Paul Jones was trying to re-claim the United States title from Blackjack Mulligan. The two had been feuding for the entire year of 1976. Jones had won the title 15 days earlier, but NWA President Eddie Graham returned the title to Mulligan on a technicality. Jones was hot after the title again this night.

Ric Flair faced his cousin Ole Anderson on the semi-main Christmas night. It was the first time the two had met in a singles match. Ole and Gene were actually regularly working the Georgia territory at the time (Ole had the book there), but they made semi-regular appearances back in the Mid-Atlantic area, mostly on weekends, usually as part of their new feud with Flair and Valentine over the NWA World Tag Team titles.

In the third main event, Wahoo McDaniel battled Greg Valentine. It was several months before their  feud would erupt in 1977 over the Mid-Atlantic title (where Greg Valentine would break Wahoo's leg), but this match was still of great interest, playing off Wahoo's long history fighting Greg's father Johnny Valentine, whose career had ended 15 months earlier in the infamous Wilmington plane crash.

The tradition of Christmas night wrestling in the territory days was deep and rich, but no longer exists today, and I miss that. After all the family hoopla around the Christmas tree and the dining room table, during a an era where EVERYTHING was closed on Christmas day, it was nice to get out of the house and let off some steam at the matches on Christmas night.

Merry Christmas from the Mid-Atlantic Gateway!

Originally posted December 20, 2019 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Click the Christmas Day banner above for details on Christmas shows
in the Mid-Atlantic are from 1968-1979

Friday, December 18, 2020

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling on the Hampton Coliseum Schedule for December 1985

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

I always marvel looking back at some of the old mainstay venues for Mid-Atlantic Wrestling in the 1970s and 1980s and how busy those venues were at the time. It sure isn't the same today for many of those that remain, as the larger multi-use facilities have strangled many of the mid-size buildings that once thrived.

 Take a look at this venue event schedule for the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, VA for December 1985. It is loaded with a wide array of diverse programs, including of course a card of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling on Friday night, December 6. Friday was usually Richmond's night if promoter Joe Murnick had his druthers, but with the Church of Christ holding a big dinner there on Saturday night (12/7) and perhaps something else booked in Richmond for 12/6, Hampton took the Friday slot. 


The card that night primarily consisted of the "B" circuit at that time, which had been anchored around Jim Cronette and the Midnight Express for most of 1985. Crockett had organized a "second circuit" to run all of the old Georgia towns now that they ran the old Georgia territory. (You will remember they got the WTBS TV slots from the WWF in in April of 1985 and absorbed all of the towns that Ole Anderson and Georgia promoter Fred Ward had been running up until that point.) That second circuit also hit a lot of regular or semi-regular smaller Crockett towns in the Carolinas and Virginia, too, and such was the case this night with Hampton. The "A" team, which consisted of Rhodes, Flair, Magnum, Steamboat (still around), Road Warriros, Andersons, etc., was likely in Charleston, SC perhaps even split over two locations. 

The Crockett crew would undergo some unexpected personnel changes during December involving two people who were no-shows on this particular card in Hampton. Billy Jack Haynes quit the promotion shortly after Starrcade '85, reportedly unhappy with his Starrcade pay-off and his positioning on post-Starrcade cards. More famously (or infamously perhaps) was the situation with Buddy Landel, who had just won the the National Heavyweight title from Terry Taylor at Starrcade and missed an important TV taping where he was reportedly scheduled to get a big push in a big angle, and was fired by Dusty Rhodes soon after. That hadn't happened yet by the night of this 12/6 show in Hampton, but Landel's no-show this night might have been indicative of his growing performance and reliability issues during this time. 

Thanks to George Pantas for forwarding this Hampton venue schedule to us. We love seeing stuff like this!

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Mid-Atlantic TV Report: April 16, 1983

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 Follow @TaubGVWire

For links to all available summaries as well as links to the Mid-Atlantic Championship Podcast, visit our TV Summary Index.

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
Original broadcast: 04/16/83
(taped 04/13/83 at WPCQ-TV studios in Charlotte)
WWE Network Direct Link to this show Mid-Atlantic 04/16/83
WWE Network feed.   [How to watch this show on the WWE Network.] 

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
Original broadcast: April 16, 1983 (taped 4/13/83 at WPCQ-TV studios in Charlotte)
WWE Network feed

Match 1
Mike Rotundo d. Masa Fuchi

Ron West is the referee for the hour. We start the show with the action started in the ring. Jerry Brisco joins Bob Caudle on the mic. Lots of mat work to start. Brisco continually praises Rotundo. He also talks about the Briscos challenging champion Steamboat & Youngblood in a series of matches without worry of outside interference. Rotundo wins with the airplane spin.


-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Gary Hart & Kabuki
Gary Hart says other wrestlers don’t want a part of Kabuki. The WWE Network edit music brings out Jimmy Valiant and drowns everything out. It appears Valiant is accepting the challenge. He grabs Hart and slugs him, then retreats to the ring. Kabuki follows, and it looks like we have an impromptu match.

Match 2
Jimmy Valiant d. The Great Kabuki (w/Gary Hart)

In a quick match, Valiant rolls up Kabuki for the win. Hart jumps in after, and Kabuki spits the red mist in Valiant’s face. Valiant blindly runs into the crowd. 


Match 3
Jos LeDuc d. Ricky Harris

Sir Oliver Humperdink joins Caudle for commentary. He runs down LeDuc for the most part. LeDuc wins with the running clothesline, which Humperdink calls The Freight Train. 

Match 4
One Man Gang d. Wayne Jones

We go directly to the next match. Humperdink sticks around, and the talk turns to OMG vs. Andre the Giant. Gang wins with a splash.

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Greg Valentine
This is in lieu of local promos. Valentine wants Flair, but says they are still friends. He refers to his match a few weeks ago that ended in a draw. A somewhat babyface type interview with Valentine.


-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Greg Valentine
Returning to the main body of the show, Valentine is back in heel mode. Trash talks Piper for the most part.

Match 5
Greg Valentine & Dick Slater d. Sweet Brown Sugar & Keith Larson

Larson looks like Ric Flair. Physically, certainly not in the ring. Caudle isn’t having his best day. Referring to the prior segment, he calls Jimmy Valiant as “Valentine” several times. Slater finishes Larsen off with a Samoan drop (even though it wasn’t called that).

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Sgt. Slaughter & Don Kernodle; Gary Hart
Kernodle says they are not done with Steamboat & Youngblood. Slaughter wants an ultimate match where only one man survives. Gary Hart is upset that his sportscoat made in Rome was ripped up by Valiant. He says next week, Magic Dragon is here.


Match 6
Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco d. Ben Alexander & Bill White

Paul Jones joins Caudle. They talk about who is the top contender for the tag championship. Jones thinks its Dory Funk, Jr. & Jake Roberts.  A longer match than expected. Jack makes Alexander submit to the figure four.

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco
Jack thinks they are the top tag team contenders. Jerry agrees.


Match 7
Non-Title: Rick Steamboat & Jay Youngblood [World Tag Team ch.] -no match- Sgt. Jacques Goulet & Red Dog Lane

As soon as the champs get in the ring, Slaughter & Kernodle attack. Caudle called Goulet “Cousteau” twice. It’s a four-on-two attack. Slaughter and Kernodle are literally trying to rip the belts out of their hands. They do and exit the ring. 

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Rick Steamboat & Jay Youngblood
Steamboat is naturally upset. Youngblood is tired of it. He’ll give Slaughter & Kernodle anything they want. Steamboat says they are trying to represent the championship as they should. They will do what it takes to get their belts back. “Enough is enough.” 

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Bugsy McGraw & Jimmy Valiant
McGraw has his red Pro Wrestling Illustrated shirt. Valiant is draped with a red mist stained towel. McGraw takes the mic away from Caudle. He vows revenge on Hart, Kabuki and Magic Dragon. Valiant reveals his red-stained face, screaming. Caudle says off quietly in the background.

“So long for now!”


Results for the week, 4/11/83-4/17/83
(source: Clawmaster’s Archive via Sports and Wrestling blog posted by David Baker; “Wrestling” newsletter by Joe Shedlock)

Mon., 4/11/83 Greenville, SC; Township Auditorium
Keith Larson beat Ken Timbs
Gene Anderson beat Vinnie Valentino
Great Kabuki beat Mike Davis
Roddy Piper beat Greg Valentine
Dick Slater beat Jos LeDuc in a taped fist match
Sgt. Slaughter & Don Kernodle beat Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood by DQ

Tue., 4/12/83 Raleigh, NC; Civic Center
Mike Davis d. Gene Anderson
Sgt. Slaughter & Don Kernodle d. Pvt. Nelson & Johnny Weaver
Jos LeDuc d. Dick Slater [scheduled: Jos LeDuc & Roddy Piper vs. Dick Slater & Greg Valentine]
World tag team title: Rick Steamboat & Jay Youngblood [ch.] d. Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco

4/13/83 Charlotte, NC(TV)
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling:
Mike Rotundo beat Masa Fuchi
Jimmy Valiant beat Great Kabuki
Jos LeDuc beat Ricky Harris
One Man Gang beat Wayne Jones
Dick Slater & Greg Valentine beat Keith Larson & Sweet Brown Sugar
Jack & Jerry Brisco beat Bill White & Ben Alexander
World Wide Wrestling:
Jos LeDuc beat Ken Timbs
One Man Gang beat Mike Davis
Bugsy McGraw beat Bill White
Mike Rotundo beat Larry Lane
Jake Roberts beat Wayne Jones
Dick Slater & Greg Valentine beat Vinnie Valentino & Sweet Brown Sugar

Fri., 4/15/83 Charleston SC; County Hall
Sgt. Slaughter & Don Kernodle beat Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood
Liz Chase beat Leilani Kai
Johnny Weaver beat Ricky Harris
Jim Nelson beat Bill White
Ken Timbs beat Wayne Jones
Mike Davis beat Vinnie Valentino

Fri., 4/15/83 Richmond, VA; Richmond Coliseum
Sweet Brown Sugar vs. Red Dog Lane
Mike Rotundo vs. Gene Anderson
$5,000 tug-o-war: One Man Gang vs. Bugsy McGraw
Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco vs. Paul Jones & Jake Roberts
Taped fist match: Dick Slater vs. Jos LeDuc
Kendo Stick match: Jimmy Valiant vs. Kabuki (w/Gary Hart)

Sat., 4/16/83 Spartanburg, SC
Bugsy McGraw beat One Man Gang in a tug of war match
Jos LeDuc beat Dick Slater
Mike Rotundo beat Jake Roberts by DQ
Johnny Weaver & Sweet Brown Sugar beat Ricky Harris & Ben Alexander
Keith Larsen beat Vinnie Valentino

Sat., 4/16/83 Greensboro, NC
Bill White beat Wayne Jones
Jim Nelson beat Ken Timbs
Gene Anderson beat Mike Davis
Jack & Jerry Brisco beat Larry Lane & Masa Fuchi
Jimmy Valiant beat Great Kabuki
Roddy Piper beat Greg Valentine to win NWA(Mid Atlantic) United States Title
Sgt. Slaughter & Don Kernodle beat Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood by DQ

Sun., 4/17/83 Columbia, SC; Township Auditorium
Bill White d. Vinnie Valentino
Red Dog Lane & Gene Anderson d. Mark Fleming & Keith Larsen
Jake Roberts d. Sweet Brown Sugar
Don Kernodle. D. Jim Nelson
World tag team title: Rick Steamboat & Jay Youngblood [ch.] d. Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

When the WLW TV Title Belt was worn as the NWA World Heavyweight Championship

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

In a follow-up question regarding an upcoming review of my book Crown Jewel for the SLAM! Wrestling website, Jamie Hemmings (book editor for asked about a reference in the book to the old WLW TV title belt that NWA World Champion Dick Hutton occasionally wore as the world title belt during his championship reign 1957-1959.

"Greg [Mosojak] mentioned in his review that Dick Hutton wore the WLW TV title [belt]," Jamie wrote me. "I just wanted to check with you what WLW stood for? It's not a promotion I was familiar with."

For those reading this and not familiar with why an NWA World champion would be wearing a regional TV title belt as champion, I go into that in detail in the book. It's part of the story of the strange two- year period where the NWA had no title belt at all, which eventually led to the creation of the crown belt. That belt and its title history are the subject of the book.

WLW wasn’t a wrestling promotion. The initials were the call sign of a TV station in Columbus, OH that aired live wrestling in the early 1950s for Ohio promoter Al Haft.

Haft created the title in 1951 to be defended on his TV show and in his larger cities such as Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati. The title was only around for about three years (1951-1954) but Haft kept the old belt in his office for years afterward. When Thesz kept possession of his NWA title belt after losing to Hutton in November of 1957 in Toronto, Hutton (and the NWA) were without a championship strap. Left to his own devices, Hutton borrowed the WLW TV belt from Haft just to have a title belt to carry to the ring with him. It isn’t clear if he asked for it or Haft suggested it. Regardless, it was a pretty sad situation of the barely 10-year old Alliance.

WLW-700 was the AM radio station in Columbus, and the first TV station there was WLW-C channel 3 in 1949 (later just WLWC, now WCMH.) Promoter Al Haft aired live wrestling from the WLW studios, and the WLW TV title was one of his main attractions, both on TV and at arenas.

Crown Jewel covers all of this and more in the fascinating story of the crown belt and the six NWA World Heavyweight Champions that wore it and defended it from 1959 to 1973. From Pat O'Connor, Buddy Rogers, and Lou Thesz to Gene Kiniski, Dory Funk, Jr., and Harley Race - - some of the biggest names in the history of the sport held that belt. 

Crown Jewel is available now on More information can be found in the Mid-Atlantic Gateway Book Store.  


Sunday, December 13, 2020

Crockett Cup '85 Round Three Begins: Rock & Roll vs. The Russians

ONLY SIXTEEN TEAMS REMAIN! See the Scouting Report on the remaining teams.

Updated brackets coming into tonight's matches.
[Links to all previous matches at the bottom of this post.]

Third Round Match #1
(Tournament Match #33)
Rock & Roll Express vs. The Russians

The 1985 Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Tag Team Tournament is underway. Wait, did you just say 1985? It’s time to take a look at one of wrestling’s biggest events from the mid-80s and see what it might have been like with a few historical alterations. What if Jim Crockett Promotions hosted its tag team tournament the Crockett Cup in 1985 and included teams from promotions outside the National Wrestling Alliance (“NWA”) including the World Wrestling Federation (WWF), the American Wrestling Association (AWA), New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), All Japan Pro Wrestling, and more? In this case, you’d have 48 of the greatest tag teams in the world battling in a winner take all tournament for $1,000,000 and the prestigious Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Trophy. 

The first round saw 32 teams competing to advance to round two with 16 teams making it in. Round two followed as these 16 teams battled the 16 top-seeded tag teams that received a first-round bye. Now, round two has finished and just sixteen teams remain as round three begins. 

Here are the rules for the round two of our tournament. A pool of referees from the NWA, AWA, and WWF have been appointed for the tournament and randomly selected for each match. The third-round matches have a sixty-minute time limit and are sanctioned under NWA rules (throwing an opponent over the top rope is an automatic disqualification). The matches are one fall with a win obtained by a pinfall, submission, count-out, or disqualification. 

The third-round matches are being held over two nights at the Omni in Atlanta, Georgia. The first four matches will take place on Friday April 19 while the remaining four will take place on Saturday April 20. Your commentators for the matches will be Bob Caudle and David Crockett, but as always, you never know when a special guest will show up.

Tony Schiavone is outside the babyface locker room interviewing Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson (aka the Rock-n-Roll Express), one of the top teams from Mid-South Wrestling and one that’s now in the third round. Tony asks Robert how he feels. Robert tells Tony he’s excited to be in the area and he loves the Mid-Atlantic fans. He hopes someday he and Ricky can compete here more often but for tonight, they have one thing on their minds, getting past the Russians. Ricky says that’s right, Tony, they’re facing one of the biggest challenges not only in the tournament, but in their career. Ricky says he knows the Russians are strong and he knows they’re mean, but if you want that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, you’ve got to stand in the rain. Tonight, the Russians are going to find out why Rock and Roll is here to stay!

Elsewhere, Johnny Weaver has the inestimable task of interviewing the Russian team near the heel dressing room. Johnny asks Ivan what he thinks about their opponents tonight. Uncle Ivan tells Johnny that the Rock-n-Roll Express are two young American pretty boys. Ivan doesn’t like rock-and-roll music and he doesn’t like the Rock-n-Roll Express. Johnny says he doesn’t have to like them, but they’ve made it to the third round which means they’re a formidable team. Ivan shakes his head and says that his team will show why the Soviet Union is the only world’s superpower, including in professional wrestling. Krusher Krushchev stands in the back with the Soviet flag while Nikita poses for the cameraman, flexing and looking as impressive as ever. 


The Rock-n-Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson)
vs. the Russians
Third Round Match #1  (Tournament Match #33)
Referee Tommy Young will be officiating tonight. The Russians are in the ring waiting with Krusher Krushchev holding the Soviet flag, Ivan Koloff holding a coal shovel, and Nikita Koloff wearing a long chain around his shoulders. David Crockett can’t believe the referee is letting them bring in those potential weapons to the match. The crowd erupts as Electric Light Orchestra’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll is King” plays through the Omni. Robert Gibson and Ricky Morton run down to the ring but stop at ringside to high-five fans and hug the many starstruck ladies. Ivan Koloff points to the Rock-n-Roll Express and is shouting something to Tommy Young.

The Rock-n-Roll Express enter the ring as the cheers continue. Bob Caudle asks David Crockett which Russians does he think will work this match. David answers that the Russians can pick any two of the three team members so he wouldn’t be surprised if Krusher Krushchev wrestles since he didn’t wrestle in the first bout. Tommy Young talks to the Russian team and Krusher Krushchev leaves the ring, which means it will be Ivan and Nikita Koloff facing Ricky and Robert. 

The Rock-n-Roll Express (Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson) vs. the Russians (Ivan and Nikita Koloff) with Krusher Krushchev: Robert starts the match off against “The Russian Bear” Ivan Koloff. Collar and elbow tie-up that sees Ivan shove Robert into the ropes. Robert locks back up, only for Ivan to shove him again. The two lock up a third time, but Robert catches Uncle Ivan in a side headlock. Ivan whips Robert into the ropes and catches him with a shoulderblock, knocking him down to the ground. Ivan picks up Robert and pushes him into the neutral corner, punching him before whipping him into the ropes. However, Gibson reverses, catching Ivan with a hip toss. Relying on his quickness, Gibson catches Ivan with a flying head scissors just as the veteran Russian gets to his feet. A dropkick knocks Ivan down and Robert puts Ivan in a headlock, dragging him over to the R-n-R’s corner. Tag to Ricky as Robert grabs Ivan’s arm and Ricky comes off the second rope, striking Koloff’s arm. Another quick tag as Robert repeats the maneuver. Nikita and Krusher are shouting at Gibson and Morton. David Crockett says that the Rock-n-Roll Express are utilizing fast and legal tags. Another tag as Gibson and Morton pick Ivan up for a double suplex. Morton covers Ivan, getting just a two count. Reverse chinlock on Ivan as Morton keeps Ivan on the ground. Bob Caudle says that Morton and Gibson must realize they can’t go head-to-head with the Russians and their game plan is solid so far. 

The fans are chanting “Rock and Roll, Rock and Roll” as Morton maintains his grip. Ivan struggles to get to his feet before the chinlock can sap any more of his strength. Ivan gets to his feet and elbows Morton in the gut. The first elbow doesn’t free him but the second does and Ivan escapes. Nikita enters the ring as Tommy Young takes him back to his corner. As this happens, Ivan whips Ricky into the ropes and Morton falls out of the ring, thanks to Krusher Krushchev pulling down the top rope. The arena erupts in boos but Tommy Young didn’t see a thing. David Crockett says the Russians should have been disqualified. Bob Caudle notes it’s difficult enough facing Ivan and Nikita, but the presence of Krusher Krushchev makes this an unofficial handicap match. Krusher throws Ricky back into the ring before Tommy Young turns around or Robert Gibson can help his partner. 

Tag to Nikita who begins showing off his immense power, starting with forearm smashes to Morton’s back that pummel him down to the mat. Nikita bodyslams Ricky then bounces off the ropes, dropping an elbow. Cover by Nikita but Bob Caudle notes it’s a sloppy one and Morton kicks out. Koloff stomps on Morton’s back then lifts him up for an over-the-knee backbreaker. Lateral press by Nikita but Ricky kicks out at two. Nikita lifts Ricky up and drops his neck across the top rope. Tommy Young shouts at Nikita, but Koloff seems to ignore him and whips him into the Russians’ corner. Tag to Ivan who drops a forearm on Morton’s back while Nikita has Ricky trapped in an armbar. 

Robert Gibson is clapping his hands and trying to rally the fans. He doesn’t have to try hard as the fans are cheering for the babyfaces, chanting “Ricky, Ricky.” Ivan whips Ricky into the ropes and applies a bearhug. Ricky is in trouble as Ivan has the move nearly in the center of the ring. Morton starts to fade fast as Tommy Young checks on him. Bob Caudle reminds the fans that a bearhug can quickly sap an opponent’s strength. Young raises Morton’s arm and it falls. Young raises Morton’s arm a second time and it falls again. One more time and the match is over. Morton’s arm starts to sag, but he holds it high, and the fans’ shouts are deafening. Ricky slugs Ivan in the head. Ivan squeezes Morton, but Morton fires off another punch. Tommy Young warns Morton about the punches as Ivan seems to be losing his grip. Ricky rakes Ivan’s eyes, with Koloff finally releasing him. Morton falls to the mat apron, but Ivan isn’t done. He picks Ricky up and whips him into the ropes again. Ivan goes for a back-body drop but Ricky counters with a Sunset Flip. 1-2, no, Nikita has come in to break up the pin. Ricky is moving slow and Ivan charges him, only to get caught with a shot to the breadbasket. Bob notes there doesn’t seem to be a lot of power behind Ricky’s punches. Tommy Young warns Nikita to get back to his corner. As he does, Ivan whips Ricky into the Russians’ corner, accidentally (or is it?) sending Ricky into Tommy Young as the referee goes down.

Krusher Krushchev tries to pull Robert Gibson off the mat apron. Gibson isn’t having it and stomps Krusher in the head. Gibson jumps off the mat apron and starts slugging away at the American turned Soviet sympathizer. Gibson peppers Krushchev with punches then rams his head into the mat apron.

However, Ivan and Nikita are taking advantage of this opportunity and start kicking and stomping at Ricky. Things are looking bleak for Ricky as Ivan grabs Morton’s arms while Nikita climbs to the top rope with the chain. However, Robert Gibson sees what’s going on and rolls into the ring.  Gibson dropkicks Ivan, who releases Ricky and the momentum sends Morton into Nikita, knocking him off the turnbuckle and outside the ring where he takes a nasty bump. Ricky gets up and the Rock-n-Roll Express hit a double dropkick on Uncle Ivan as Krusher tries getting into the ring, only for Gibson and Morton to double dropkick him out of the ring. Robert revives a groggy Tommy Young who makes the 1-2-3 as Ricky covers Ivan. David Crockett yells the Rock-n-Roll Express have beat the Russians and proclaims this is the biggest sports event since the 1980 Winter Olympics’ Miracle on Ice. 

Winners: The Rock-n-Roll Express. 

The Rock and Roll Express celebrate as Tommy Young raises their hands in victory. Ivan is furious and can’t believe what’s happened.

Join us next time as Ole and Arn Anderson battle Antonio Inoki and Seiji Sakaguchi! Who will advance to round four in the quest for tag team glory and some serious cash!

* * * * * * * * * * * *


Original Tournament Announcement (May 2020)

Seedings and First Round Pairings Announced

THIRD ROUND MATCHES  (Scouting Report)
Third Round: Match 1 (Tournament Match #33)
     The Rock & Roll Express vs. The Russians

Second Round: Matches 1 & 2 (Tournament 17 & 18)

     Mulligan/McDaniel vs. The Russians
    Rock & Roll Express vs. Maharishi/Nagasaki
Second Round: Matches 3 & 4 (Tournament 19 & 20)
    Brown/Jannetty vs. Inoki & Sakaguchi
    Ole & Arn Anderson vs. Windham/Rotunda)
Second Round: Matches 5 & 6 (Tournament 21 & 22)

    Midnight Express vs. Hart Foundation
    PYT Express vs. High Flyers
Second Round: Matches 7 & 8 (Tournament 23 & 24) 
    Rude/Barr (with Percy Pringle III) vs. Kevin and Mike Von Erich
    Fujinami/Kimura vs. British Bulldogs
Second Round: Matches 9 & 10 (Tournament 25 & 26)
    Brody/Hansen vs. Williams/DiBiase
    Road Warriros vs. Lawler/Dundee
Second Round: Matches 11 & 12 (Tournament 27 & 28)
    Piper & Orton vs. The Oklahoma Cowboys
    The Funk Brothers vs. The Younglood Brothers
Second Round: Matches 13 & 14 (Tournament 29 & 30)
    Rhodes/Murdoch vs. Adams/Hernandez
    Sheik/Volkoff vs. Steamboat/Snuka
Second Round: Matches 15 & 16 (Tournament 31 & 32)
    Fantastics vs. Fabulous Ones
    Sheepherders vs. Freebirds


First Round: Matches 1 & 2
    Hennig/Blackwell vs. Mulligan/McDaniel
    Tyler/Whatley vs. Maharishi/Nagasaki
First Round: Matches 3 & 4
    Windham/Rotunda vs. Bockwinkel/Saito
    Rougeaus vs. Inoki/Sakaguchi
First Round: Matches 5 &6
    Barbarian/Graham vs. Hart Foundation (Hart/Neidhart)
    High Flyers (Brunzell/Gagne) vs. Savage/Poffo
First Round: Matches 7 & 8:
    The Von Erich vs. Blanchard/Abdullah the Butcher
    Tenryu/Tsuruta vs. The British Bulldogs
First Round: Matches 9 & 10:
    Graham/Blair vs. DiBiase/Williams
    Valiant/McGraw vs. Lawler/Dundee
First Round: Matches 11 & 12:
    Piper/Orton vs. Patterson/Fernandez
    Rock & Roll RPMs vs. Youngblood Brothers
First Round: Matches 13 and 14:
    Dynamic Duo (Gino & Chris) vs. American Starship
    Sawyer Bros. vs. Steamboat/Snuka
First Round: Matches 15 and 16
    Batten Twins vs. Fabulous Ones
    Weaver/Houston vs. Sheepherders

Friday, December 11, 2020

Arn Anderson and the Significance of the Anderson Boots

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

"I was an Anderson before I was a Horseman."
- Arn Anderson

Anyone who has hung around this website for any length of time knows what a fan I am of the Anderson family in wrestling. It was Gene and Ole, the Anderson Brothers, who captured my fascination as a 13-year old fan in their epic feud with Paul Jones and Wahoo McDaniel back in 1975. And it was the match where Ole sacrificed his brother Gene to win the tag titles on television that hooked me as a fan for life.

One of the trademarks of the Anderson team was their unique maroon-and-gold striped boots they always wore in the ring. Gene and Lars Anderson (the third Anderson brother, before Ole came along) wore those boots back to the mid-1960s in Georgia. Once Ole became a member of the family in 1968, I don't think he ever wore any other style of boots in his entire career, a career that stretched across four decades.

When Ole made up-and-comer Marty Lunde an official member of the Anderson family in April of 1983 and gave him the name Arn Anderson, Lunde's career was seemingly made at that point, although I'm sure he had no idea then how significantly that name would impact his entire career, a career now entering its fifth decade.   

Arn Anderson understood the significance of the gift Ole had given him, having been a fan of the Anderson brothers himself as a teenager. When Ole took Arn as his partner in April of 1985, Arn ordered dered his own pair of "Anderson boots" and the transformation to a full blown member of the Minnesota Wrecking Crew was complete. 

Arn has talked about the boots before and their significance to him, and recently did so again on his Westwood One podcast ARN. Executive producer and co-host Conrad Thompson asked him about boots in general, and wondered if any particular color combination was a particular favorite to him.  

I love hearing Arn talk about the Anderson boots. Here is that one-minute audio clip, with a transcript below.




CONRAD THOMPSON: Tell me about the boots. You had quite a few different color combinations - - the red and the black, black and silver, the white and the red. Is there a favorite pair or a favorite color combination, that you were really feelin' yourself, like aw sh*t, these are my best ones?

ARN ANDERSON: I felt like when the Horsemen were in their infancy . . . first of all, I have a pair of Anderson boots that will always be special, which means when Ole Anderson made me a member of his family, which made me a member of Gene's family, that's about as strong as it can get for a kid with my aspirations at that time. And the fact that I was allowed to copy his boots and for us to match was a big deal for me.


ARN: And that's the boots that I hold nearest and dearest to my heart because that's when I was given my career. I was an Anderson before I was a Horseman. And for them to accept me as equals at the point of my career I was at, they'll always mean the most.

(from the episode Ask Arn Anything #29 of ARN podcast on Westwood One.)