Saturday, April 10, 2021

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling comes to Augusta GA to Challenge for Georgia Titles (1977)


by Dick Bourne & Mark Eastridge
Mid-Atlantic Gateway
Edited from our 2015 Series on the Mid-Atlantic/Georgia Talent Sharing Arrangements

When we think of springtime in Augusta, we typically think of the PGA Masters Championship taking place annually at Augusta National Golf Club.

But in 1977, Augusta was ground zero for a series of unofficial talent exchanges between Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling and Georgia Championship Wrestling that was a showcase for a master class of talent at that time. 

Augusta GA was located right at the Georgia/South Carolina border and in the television mix of both promotions. The May 2nd, 1977 card at the legendary Bell Auditorium had an unusual line-up where all of the challengers for the Georgia titles were current regulars from the Mid-Atlantic territory.

Paul Jones (c) vs. The Masked Superstar for the Georgia Heavyweight Championship

Paul Jones was the reigning Georgia Heavyweight champion. He had been a regular in the Mid-Atlantic territory for many years, but was campaigning in the state of Georgia for the spring and summer of 1977. His challenger for the Georgia championship was the Masked Superstar (Bill Eadie), who was currently one of the top heels in the Mid-Atlantic territory and in the middle of a red-hot feud with the Mighty Igor there. This Augusta match-up foreshadowed their heated and violent feud in the Mid-Atlantic territory that would blossom in the fall of 1977, even resulting in the Superstar cutting Paul Jones hair. The Masked Superstar would later become a regular in the Georgia territory in the early 1980s. But for this one night, he unsuccessfully challenged Jones for the Georgia title, losing on disqualification for outside interference by Boris Malenko. Malenko was the Superstar's manager in the Mid-Atlantic territory, but was also a challenger for a title on this special card.

Thunderbolt Patterson (c) vs. Boris Malenko for the Georgia TV Title
The second main event that night was "Professor" Boris Malenko challenging Thunderbolt Patterson for the Georgia TV championship. Malenko was a veteran of all the southern NWA territories and was a recognized name in Georgia. Thunderbolt had already been a big part of this talent-sharing period with the Mid-Atlantic territory, and had just days earlier been in Hampton, VA teaming with Wahoo McDaniel to challenge Ric Flair and Greg Valentine for the NWA world tag team championships in a Mid-Atlantic main event. The Wahoo/Thunderbolt pairing was a rare and special combination to challenge Flair and Valentine.

The Anderson Brothers (c) vs. Johnny Weaver and Tiger Conway, Jr. for the Georgia Tag Team Titles
The third main event that night featured the reigning Georgia Tag Team champions Gene and Ole Anderson being challenged for those belts by the Mid-Atlantic duo of Johnny Weaver and Tiger Conway, Jr. The Anderson Brothers were Georgia regulars during this time, but were still making regular Mid-Atlantic appearances in their old home territory trying to regain the NWA World Tag Team championship from Ric Flair and Greg Valentine. The Andersons brought the world tag team titles to Georgia in the fall of 1976 and planned to keep them there until Flair and Valentine had snatched them away right after Christmas of 1976.  In the meantime, the Andersons won the Georgia tag titles and were taking on all challengers, including the unusual Mid-Atlantic challenge of Weaver and Conway this night in Augusta.

Fans in Augusta had to be thrilled to see some of the top Mid-Atlantic stars making their town and challenging for the top titles in the Georgia territory. Not many towns in either territory got a mixed-roster line-up like this.

The Mid-Atlantic challengers appeared to be in for one-shot deals as the Masked Superstar, Boris Malenko (managing Superstar at that time), and Tiger Conway were back in the Mid-Atlantic territory the next night in Raleigh NC, and Johnny Weaver was in Columbia, SC the next night as well.

This Georgia card had a great Mid-Atlantic feel to it with all of the Mid-Atlantic challengers and former Mid-Atlantic regulars in the main events. But the undercard had a Mid-Atlantic feel to it as well with the opening two matches featuring all guys who had been regulars in the Mid-Atlantic territory in 1975-1976:

(1) Randy Savage (who had teamed under his real name Randy Poffo with his brother Randy Poffo in 1975)
(2) Roberto Soto (also teaming earlier in the Carolinas and Virginia with his brother Manuel Soto and battling the Anderson brothers)
(3) Charlie Fulton and Don Kernodle (who had been opening card talent for Jim Crockett Promotions for several years.)

The following week, however, the crossover of Mid-Atlantic/Georgia talent would present one of the most amazing breaks from kayfabe during an era where those breaks were very rare. Tune in for May 9 in Augusta, GA when we visit the Mid-Atlantic/Georgia talent exchange!


Originally posted September 28, 2015 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.
The article above was from our 2015 series spotlighting the talent exchange between Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling and Georgia Championship Wrestling in 1977.

In PART ONEwe looked at the Valentine's night show in Augusta. PART TWO featured a look at one of Georgia's top babyface Thunderbolt Patterson making special appearances in the Mid-Atlantic area challenging for the U.S. title and the world tag team titles. See links below for a guide to all the posts in this series.