Sunday, January 31, 2021

Missing Shows: Mid-Atlantic Wrestling, February 19, 1983

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

The WWE network's line up of Mid-Atlantic shows on their OTT network is sometimes a double-edge sword: while I love having the shows they put up, it hurts when they leave out key episodes in important storylines. 

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling  February 19, 1983

Now it goes without saying (but I'll say it anyway) that I'd rather have the shows they do put up than not have any of them at all. But one of most frustrating things about the situation is that it seems the missing shows fall out at often the worst time in the Mid-Atlantic historical timeline.

Such is the case with three weeks worth of missing shows in late February and early March of 1983, in the weeks leading up to the huge so-called "Final conflict" show in Greensboro on March 12, 1983 where Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood defeated Sgt. Slaughter and Don Kernodle in a steel cage match to win the NWA World Tag Team titles, and avoided the dissolution of their tag team partnership in the process. 

Likewise, there are two key shows missing in the build-up to the Brisco's famous heel-turn some weeks later in early May.  

Thanks to David Chappell's audio cassette recordings of these shows, we will be able to fill in the blanks in the week to week timeline, and they will be chroniocled here in our "Missing Shows" series. Plus, we've offered the folks over at the Mid-Atlantic Championship Podcast the audio clips to include on their episodes covering shows not included on the WWE network. (This was first most successfully done on this special episode of the podcast covering week of 8/14/82.)

In this article below, I'll summarize some the key events that took place on the missing February 19, 1983 show in the lead-up to the "Final Conflict", including the big contract signing for the main event (those were relatively rare in those days) and a rare (and somewhat strange in retrospect) appearance by Ricky Morton in the WPCQ TV studio, shortly before the advent of the Rock and Roll Express.)

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
Original broadcast: 02/19/83
(taped 2/16/83 at WPCQ-TV studios in Charlotte)
This program does not appear on the WWE Network.

FILM: Jimmy Valiant pins Terry Funk
Booker Dory Funk, Jr. brings in his brother Terry Funk as a quasi bounty hunter to try and eliminate Jimmy Valiant, who was chasing Dick Slater and the other members of the House of Humperdink. After the commercial break, Humperdink and crew continue to rant and rave about Valiant beating Funk when suddenly Valiant comes out of nowhere to attack Slater and throw him into the ring. Greg Valentine and One Man Gang quickly come to Slater's aid, and Slater and Valentine hold Valiant while the One Man Gang cuts his hair! It's eventually broken up by the surprise appearance of Bugsy McGraw, who has come to his "street brother's" aid. It was such a surprise, in fact, that Bob Caudle had no idea who he was.

Special Segment: The 'Final Conflict' Contract Signing
Recorded earlier in a conference room, NWA official Sandy Scott hosts a contract signing between the NWA World Tag Team Champions Sgt. Slaughter and Don Kernodle and their challengers Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood. The date and location of the climactic title match is announced (Saturday March 12, Greensboro) and the stipulation is announced that the match will take place within the confines of a steel cage. But Sarge and Kernodle have another stipulation to announce if Steamboat and Youngblood want them to sign for the match. If Steamboat and Youngblood don't win, they can never tag as a team again. This causes Steamboat and Youngblood to pause for a moment, but then they resolve their apprehension and the contracts are signed by all parties. 

I'm pretty sure the big cage match in Greensboro was never actually official billed or dubbed as The Final Conflict (unless it happened on local promos), it's just a name that has become associated with the event over the years. 

Special Live Segment: Steamboat & Youngblood bring out Guests
Steamboat and Youngblood celebrate the contract signing by bringing out and thanking two special guests who helped them get to this point.

First was Johnny Weaver, who had helped them train and dvelope negiotiating tactics to finally get this big match signed. 

But more notably, the second guest would be the person who had helped them torment Slaughter and Kernodle behind the scenes over the previous weeks, including the theft of Slaughters' iconic drill-sergeant hat and the engineering of the destruction of Kernodle's expensive sport coat (seen way back on the January 8th episode). It was revealed to be none other than Pvt. Jim Nelson, who had quietly and covertly been helping Steamboat and Youngblood annoy Slaughter and Kernodle.  

Gary Hart Recruits Mike Rotundo
Gary Hart announces he is in the process of recruiting Mike Rotundo to join his stable with Kabuki and the Magic Dragon. Hart does commentary during Rotundo's match with Ricky Harris. Hart is peeved that Rotundo hasn't given him the common courtesy of a reply yet. he says he is sure that he can instill the killer instinct in Rotundo. (I'd just settle for some enthusiasm in Rotundo's interviews!)

Ricky Morton makes his short-lived Mid-Atlantic Debut
One of the most disappointing aspects of this show not being on the WWE Network is not being able to see the exciting debut of young superstar Rick Morton (as he's called at this time) in the Mid-Atlantic area, and in the WPCQ studio. 

Morton's first appearance is on the losing end with partner Frank Monte against the duo of Dory Funk, Jr. and Dick Slater, managed by Paul Jones. Morton shines in this match, to the point that it annoys Jones, who is doing color commentary with Bob Caudle. 

When the tag match is over (originally scheduled to be the last match of the show) Funk and Jones are still so annoyed at Morton that they offer a special challenge match to which Morton quickly agrees. He and Funk go at it in a fast paced match with Paul Jones ranting and raving at ringside with Bob Caudle. Morton gets the majority of the offense in with quick arm-drags, and flying head-scissors and dropkicks. The match is still going on as time runs out in the show and the credits roll.

It certainly appears there were plans to develop Morton into something given the show-closing angle with Funk and Jones. But two weeks later he is in Memphis, teaming in successive weeks with Jim Dalton, Terry Taylor, and finally Robert Gibson. The team of the Rock and Roll Express was apparently born that night. Morton would not return until July of 1985, when he and Robert Gibson defeated the Russians to win the NWA World Tag Team titles on their first night in. And the rest is history. 

Other Notables:

  • Jim Nelson represents himself well in his special segment where he is revealed as Slaughter and Kernodle's saboteur, especially given he hasn't had much promo time at that point. It was a nice angle that sets up tag matches to fill time in house show slots in the weeks leading up to 3/12 in Greensboro featuring Weaver and nelson teaming uop to go against Slaughter and Kernodle. Nelson delivers a funny line about while Sarge and Kernodle were out eating steak, they had him getting his supper at the 7-11.
  • In Jack Brisco's halftime interview, he mentions Terry Funk being in, and that he and Jerry would love to fight the Funk Brothers. Not sure if the Briscos vs. Funks match took place in the ensuing weeks here or not, but the Funk brothers and the Brisco brothers each challenged Slaughter and Kernodle for the World Tag Team titles in the weeks leading up to the March 12 Final Conflict show.  I would have loved to see those matches.
  • During the Funk/Slater tag team match, Paul asks can you imagine if the Funk brothers and the Brisco brother faced each other in a match? Almost as if he had thought of this concept all by himself. It was one of the little things that made Paul hilarious during this early stint as a manager and color commentator.  


Arena Film: Terry Funk vs. Jimmy Valiant
Mike Rotundo vs. Ricky Harris
Dory Funk, Jr. & Dick Slater vs. Frank Monte & Ricky Morton
Dory Funk, Jr. vs. Ricky Morton (as time expires)

Contract Signing: Sandy Scott signs a Cage Match for the NWA World Tag Team Titles
Recogocnition: Steamboat and Youngblood thank Weaver and Nelson

World Heavyweight Champion: Ric Flair
World Tag Team Champions: Sgt. Slaughter and Don Kernodle
United States Champion: Greg Valentine
Mid-Atlantic Champion: Dory Funk, Jr.
Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champions: Vacant
NWA TV Champion: Dick Slater

* * * * * * *

In the same general format as the summaries in our TV & Podcast Section.

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
Original broadcast: 02/19/83

(taped 2/16/83 at WPCQ-TV studios in Charlotte)
This program does not appear on the WWE Network.

FILM: Jimmy Valiant pins Terry Funk in Charlotte
Interview - Sir Oliver Humperdink, Dick Slater


Confrontation: Jimmy Valiant jumps Dick Slater, who is saved by Greg Valentine, One Man Gang. Slater and Valentine hold Boogie while One Man Gang cuts his hair. Valiant is saved by Bugsy McGraw (and Bob has no idea who he is at first.)


Local Promos


[VCR] Contract signing: Slaughter/Kernodle and Steamboat/Youngblood hosted by Sandy Scott

Interview - Steamboat & Youngblood they bring out Johnny Weaver and Pvt. Jim Nelson


Halftime Interviews: Mike Rotundo (TV Champion), Jack Brisco


Interview - Gary Hart

Match #1
Mike Rotundo pins Ricky Harris
guest commentary by Gary Hart


Local Promos


Paul Jones joins Bob Caudle on commentary.

Match #2
Dory Funk, Jr./Dick Slater defeat Frank Monte/Rick Morton 

Interview - Slaughter, Kernodle

Match #3
Special challenge match: Dory Funk, Jr. vs. Rick Morton (Show ends with match in progress.)