Monday, November 29, 2021

U.S. Title Book Review: Jim Crockett's All-American Legacy

Edited from a post originally published in November of 2015 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Josh Watko over at JW's Wrestling Memorabilia web site wrote the nicest review for our  book "United States Championship."

In the review, titled "Jim Crockett's All-American Legacy" he also said some very nice things about the Mid-Atlantic Gateway website, which is always appreciated, and we're glad he enjoys spending time here.

Josh's website is actually a blog where he regularly spotlights items from his incredible collection of wrestling memorabilia. One of the things I particularly like about his site is that he will post memorabilia related to current events. An example is a recent post about the passing of wrestling legend Nick Bockwinkel that features magazine covers and an action figure from several decades ago, as well as Watko's thoughts and memories of one of wrestling all-time great champions. He also often links his posts to anniversaries of big events from yesteryear such as Starrcade, Wrestlemania, or the Great American Bash.

He also posts about recent books on wrestling, and I am pleased he wrote about "United States Championship."

His review begins:

November 27, 1975. Greensboro, North Carolina. A night of wrestling presented by Jim Crockett Promotions. Terry Funk. Paul Jones. All the ingredients needed for what we would now look upon as a classic night of professional wrestling. Traditional wrestling. Wrestling the way that many still remember as the greatest era in the history of the sport. The one element that I failed to mention? The Funker and Number One were battling over the United States Championship. Funk had just won a tournament for the vacant title while Jones, an icon of Carolina wrestling, was the other wrestler who had made it to the finals. Who won the epic Thanksgiving night rematch? You could go look it up and simply see the result, but I have a better idea. How about learning each nuance of the match. Why it happened, what happened during, and what the ramifications were. This is where a brand new book comes into the picture.
The complete article "Jim Crockett's All-American Legacy" takes a look at the special aspects of the book and serves as a sneak-peak inside the book as well.

Watko wrote this about the Gateway:

The Gateway is a site that I'm sometimes too scared to surf over to. The reason is that I know I'm about to lose an hour or two getting absorbed into the great content covering anything and everything that you ever would want to know about Jim Crockett Promotions and the rich Carolina wrestling history. ... The writing and photography pulls you in and actually almost transports you back to the era that's being described.

I love that. It's what David Chappell and I envisioned when we started the website back in 2000. We hope you just get lost in here.


The book on the U.S. title is available on as well as through the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. Click here for more details.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Wrestling Art: Blackjack Mulligan on the Cover of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Magazine

Art by Robby Bannister

Last week, we told you about a forthcoming series of artistic faux magazine covers based on 1970s and 1980s designs of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Magazine, published at the time by Jim Crockett Promotions and sold in arenas as the event program. The art is courtesy of Robby Bannister.

The first in that series celebrates one of the great U.S. Champions of that era, Blackjack Mulligan. It's based on one of the classic images of Mulligan wearing the famous Unites States Heavyweight championship belt that appeared in one of the 1976 magazines. The cover design, fonts, header, etc. are based on the original 1976 issue with Paul Jones on the cover (Vol. 2 No. 4.) 

Mulligan's only appearance on of the original art covers of that era was a 1978 issue where he shared the cover with Dick Murdoch. The two were the Texan tag team combination that called themselves the M&M Boys. I've always thought there should have been a cover with Mulligan as U.S. champ. He dominated the territory as the top heel in 1976 and 1977, feuding with Paul Jones, Dino Bravo, Bobo Brazil, and Ricky Steamboat over the title belt. 

With Robby's artistic vision, we can now imagine what such a cover would have looked like.

* * * * * *

Check out more of Robby Bannister's art on his Facebook page featuring wrestlers from various territories over different eras. 


Friday, November 26, 2021

Paul Jones Reflects on Thanksgiving Night 1975

U.S. Champion Paul Jones

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Paul Jones still gets angry when he looks at the poster promoting the annual Thanksgiving wrestling card in Greensboro for 1975.

"Terry Funk and I worked so hard the night of the [11/9/75] U.S. tournament in Greensboro," Jones told me in a phone conversation in November 2005. I called him to specifically ask him about htis night for a feature on the Gateway. "We both wrestled four times that night, none of them quick matches. That tournament drew a record house and a record gate, and we had this memorable match that had the whole territory talking."

Indeed they did. One only needs to listen to the audio tapes of the tournament matches that were broadcast on Mid-Atlantic television in the weeks following the tournament to know just how into that show Greensboro fans were. And make no mistake about it, fans were shocked that an outsider such as Terry Funk had won the tournament and the U.S. title. Fans had gotten comfortable with the U.S. title now being their title after Johnny Valentine won it from Harley Race earlier that summer. The U.S. title had been a Mid-Atlantic-based title ever since. Now this brash young Terry Funk was promising to take the title back to Texas, telling the Greensboro Record that future contenders would have to come to the panhandle of Texas to vie for the title.

But as the story played out, promoter Jim Crockett, Jr. and booker George Scott along with Paul Jones himself, lobbied NWA President Jack Adkisson for a rematch at the upcoming annual Thanksgiving wrestling extravaganza. Minutes before Funk cradled Jones for the tournament victory, Jones had covered Funk for an apparent three-count, only referee Greg Peterson was unable to make the count due to be knocked off his feet moments earlier. Adkisson himself, at ringside for the big event, was on his feet as Jones covered Funk. It was based on this fact that Adkisson forced Funk to return to Greensboro on Thanksgiving night for the rematch with Paul Jones.

The stage was set. Paul Jones and Terry Funk were set to draw another record gate in Greensboro. The advance was huge based on this match as the main draw alone.

It's here where Paul Jones still holds a small grudge against booker George Scott.

"George had Brisco booked in the territory the week of Thanksgiving and decided to have him defend the NWA title against Wahoo on the Thanksgiving night show. But this show didn't need that match. Terry and I were the draw and deserved to be on top of that card."

Paul is likely pointing to the fact that having Brisco on the show meant 10% of the house gate would automatically go to him,  as well as a fee back to the St. Louis office that booked him. This was was the norm for the NWA champion at that time. Having that match with Wahoo on top of the card also meant Wahoo would receive a high percentage of the gate, watering down what would have gone to Funk and Jones had they been on top of the card. Paul firmly stands by his assertion that the show would have sold out without the addition of the NWA title match on the card.  One would find it hard to credibly argue against that claim based on the interest in the U.S. title and his re-match with Funk, both set up by the memorable tournament three weeks earlier.

"When I see that poster, I get hot because it was Terry and I that drew that house, not Jack and Wahoo. That would be lost on someone today looking at that old poster and not knowing the history."

For the casual fan, that's likely so. For the die-hard Mid-Atlantic Wrestling fans that grew up in that era, the month of November 1975 and the two Greensboro cards held that month will always be remembered for the outstanding matches fans witnessed between Terry Funk and Paul Jones.

"I guess it's a small thing, really," Paul Jones told me as he laughed. "But I wanted to set the record straight!"

Edited from a post originally published in November of 2015 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

For more on the U.S. championship tournament that Paul mentioned, take a moment to check out the 5-part series we did commemorating the 40th anniversary of that big event in Greensboro. Lots of memorabilia and sound clips there from 40 years ago this month!

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Happy Thanksgiving from the Mid-Atlantic Gateway!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! 

We are particularly thankful for all of you who have supported the Mid-Atlantic Gateway these past twenty years. Join us as we reflect back on some of the Thanksgiving wrestling and Starrcade related posts from years gone by here on the Gateway.

Thanksgiving Wrestling Through The Years for Jim Crockett Promotions
Links to pages featuring info on annual Thanksgiving cards for Jim Crockett Promotions from 1966-1987.

The Forgotten Prelude to Starrcade '85 (Posted Nov. 23, 2018)
Thanksgiving: 1966 in Greensboro, Norfolk, and Charleston
A Thanksgiving Surprise: Starrcade Magic Returns to Greensboro
Thanksgiving Retro: Greensboro & Norfolk 1975
Dr. Joseph Estwanik: A Doctor Remembers
Remembering the Jim Crockett Sr. Scholarship Fund (1973)

Anniversary Flashbacks we posted in 2018:
Thanksgiving Flashback: Starrcade '83 (Posted Nov. 24, 2018)
Thanksgiving Flashback: Starrcade '84 (Posted Nov. 22, 2018)
Thanksgiving Flashback: Starrcade '85 (Posted Nov. 28, 2018)
Thanksgiving Flashback: Starrcade '86 (Posted Nov. 27, 2018)
Thanksgiving Flashback: Starrcade '87 (Posted Nov. 26, 2018)


Crown Jewel  |  The Mid-Atlantic Gateway Book Store

Monday, November 22, 2021

Tony Schiavone feature on WFXR TV (Roanoke VA)

Journalist/producer Thom Brewer is an occasional Mid-Atlantic Gateway contributor and esteemed member of the Mid-Atlantic Mafia!

A Briscos/Funks Showcase on Thanksgiving Night in Greensboro: A Night for the Jim Crockett Scholarship Fund (1973)

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Ticket stub from Thanksgiving Night in Greensboro 1973
Nov. 22, 1973  -  48 years ago!

The Territory's Biggest Night

When Jim Crockett passed away in 1973, the family decided to establish a scholarship in his name. According to a report in the Greensboro News & Record, the traditional Thanksgiving night event in the Greensboro Coliseum was the first in a series of scholarship events to be held in the coming weeks to honor the legacy and memory of James Allen Crockett, Sr. Proceeds from the event would go to that fund.

The Thanksgiving event in Greensboro, which was always a big affair and one of the biggest shows of the year in the entire territory, was particularly loaded that evening. The NWA World champion Jack Brisco was booked to defend the ten pounds of gold against former champion Dory Funk, Jr. in what was another in a series of classic battles between the two wrestlers who defined pro-wrestling in the 1970s. Jack had defeated Harley Race in July of that same year for the title, and the angle now was that Brisco had never defeated his arch-rival Funk, Jr. in a title match.  This was a huge deal at the time and billed as a special event selected for Greensboro. To add even more star power to that main event, former legendary champion Lou Thesz was brought in as special referee for the title contest.

A number of other big names were brought in from outside the area for the show, which wasn't that unusual for big shows in Greensboro. Terry Funk was in to challenge Eastern (by then renamed Mid-Atlantic) Heavyweight champion Jerry Brisco in a battle of the younger brothers who were in the main event that night. Indeed, Thanksgiving night in Greensboro was a Funk vs. Brisco showcase.

Also in for this huge show were the father and son combination of Eddie and Mike Graham. Eddie and Mike were top stars for Championship Wrestling from Florida, and Eddie was also the promoter of that territory. They squared off against one of the Mid-Atlantic territory's top legendary heel tag teams Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson. What a classic brawl that must have been.

Another top star in for the big card that didn't wrestle regularly in the territory was Cowboy Bill Watts. A regular in Georgia and Florida, Watts had made several special appearances in Greensboro that year, but was not a regular member of the Crockett roster.


Championships At Stake In Thanksgiving Wrestling  
Thanksgiving night in the Greensboro Coliseum will be wrestling championship night, the finest card ever presented to Piedmont sports fans. 
Jack Brisco, the new world heavyweight title-holder, will risk his crown against Dory Funk Jr. of Texas, the former champion. Funk lost his title some time ago to Harley Race, who in turn was beaten by Brisco ... and Jack Brisco has never beaten Funk in a title match. Lou Thesz, a former world champ, will be the special referee. 
Younger brothers of both champions clash In the Eastern Heavyweight title match. Jerry Brisco, who holds the crown, will take on Terry Funk. Both title features will be one hour time limit.  
This Thanksgiving special, which usually draws the season's largest wrestling crowd at the Greensboro Coliseum, will be the first in a series of Jim Crockett Scholarship Fund events throughout the area. Wrestlers and promoters alike are working to set up a series of college scholarships to honor the late Jim Crockett, regarded as the South's outstanding promoter at the time of his death last spring.  
Other matches include Cowboy Bill Watts versus Beauregard, Bob Bruggers versus El Gaucho and The Destroyer versus Rufus R. Jones. A special tag team match will have Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson against Eddie and Mike Graham. 

Wrestling Set Tonight  
The late Jim Crockett will be honored tonight during professional wrestling in the Greensboro Coliseum tonight involving world champions. 
Lou Thesz, who held the world crown for many years, will referee a match between current champ Jack Brisco and Dory Funk Jr.  Funk lost his title to Harley Race who was beaten by Brisco.
The Eastern Heavyweight title is also at stake with present titlist Jerry Brisco being challenged by Terry Funk. Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson will have a tag team battle against Eddie and Mike Graham and there will be several singles events. 

A Rare Thanksgiving Night Card in Charlotte

With so many big outside names taking the top spots on the Greensboro card, one could easily wonder where the rest of the Mid-Atlantic roster was that night. Typically, Norfolk, VA, also hosted a big card of wrestling on Thanksgiving night. But in 1973, Charlotte instead played host to a rare Thanksgiving night show that, like Greensboro, also featured some special guest stars.

The headline event for the Charlotte Coliseum featured the top two singles stars in the territory at the time, Johnny Valentine vs. Johnny Weaver. In the semi-main event, the Mid-Atlantic tag team titles were on the line as new champions Jay York and Brute Bernard defended against the area's most popular tag-team combination, former champs Sandy Scott and Nelson Royal. As an added bonus, former world boxing champion Joe Louis was in town and had been assigned as special referee for the title contest.

Two big outside names were brought in for the show as well. Area favorite Paul Jones had been campaigning in the state of Florida for the last couple of years and had won the Florida Heavyweight championship. He was in the midst of a red-hot feud with Buddy Colt. The two had traded the Florida title several times during the year of 1973 and now they brought their heated rivalry to Charlotte for Thanksgiving night. The Florida title was not on the line in Charlotte, but it was a bit of a homecoming for Jones who had wrestled on cards throughout the Mid-Atlantic territory for years before moving down to the sunshine state. Charlotte fans were well familiar with the feud because "Championship Wrestling from Florida" was seen on Charlotte area television in those years.

Charlotte's traditional night for wrestling was Monday night, and as a testament to the city's ability to support pro-wreslting, Jim Crockett Promotions returned to the city the very next Monday night 11/26, only four days following the big Thanksgiving night show. The main event back at the cozy confines of the Charlotte Park Center was Johnny Valentine vs. Rufus R. "Freight Train" Jones.

The death of Jim Crockett had saddened the entire Mid-Atlantic area earlier that year, but on this big night Jim Jr., David, Jackie, and Frances did their father proud with one huge night of wrestling in their showcase cities. It was the territory's biggest night of the year and was 1973's shining moment.

  Edited from a post originally published June 30, 2015 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Friday, November 19, 2021

Poster: Flair and Valentine Battle for the U.S. Title in Greensboro

What better way to end a long July 4th holiday weekend than a spectacular night of Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling in the Greensboro Coliseum? 

This poster promotes an event held on Sunday July 6, 1980 and it's beautiful red, white, and blue layout reflects the Independence Day theme. The blue print stands against a solid white background with the date and 4 main event participants in high impact red. 

In the main event U.S. Champion Ric Flair continued his bloody feud with former ally Greg Valentine. Although Valentine fell short in his title quest on this night, he would finally capture the U.S. belt from Flair three weeks later in Charlotte, NC, to commence his first reign as US champ.

The semi was a good ol' Texas Street Fight between Blackjack Mulligan and Enforcer Luciano while Ricky Steamboat tied up with Ray Stevens.

Andre the Giant headlined a 14 man $7,500 Battle Royal which also included Jimmy Snuka, the Iron Sheik, Sweet Ebony Diamond, Johnny Weaver, Ox Baker, and Pedro Morales, amongst others. As it says at the bottom of the poster there were seven big matches in all.

 Not surprisingly Andre would win the Battle Royal and while $7,500 doesn't really sound like a huge amount, it computes to roughly $25,000 in today's money, not too bad for a night's work. 


Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Coming Soon: Mid-Atlantic Magazine Covers We Wish We'd Seen

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

From 1974 through 1986, Jim Crockett Promotions published a program sold at the arenas they titled Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Magazine. From 1974-1977, these were written, edited, and produced by Les Thatcher, who worked in the office at that point for JCP. From 19u78 forward, the magazine was written and produced by photographer Woody Smith and Frances Crockett.

The magazine serving as program came out quarterly through 1981, sometimes relaced by a photo album rather than a magazine format. For unknown reasons, there were no official JCP publication from 1982  through late 1984 (except for the Starrcade 83 and 84 programs.)

The magazine resurrected in 1985 and there were several issues over the next few years until they started publishing magazines as programs under different titles. 

Art by Robby Bannister

The earliest issues used photographs on the cover, but starting with the final issue of 1975, art was featured on the cover of Mid-Atlantic Magazine for several years until early 1979. After that, photographs were consistently used on the covers.

We always loved those early art covers and wished there had been more of them. Longtime fan and digital artist Robby Bannister decided it would be fun to create some faux covers for different eras of JCP, some featuring wrestlers that never had a real cover of their own, but should have. He sent us a sample featuring Don Kernodle on a cover design similar to those published in the late 1970s and early 1980s. We loved the concept! We asked Robby to consider a series of faux covers that would be featured here, special to the Gateway. He happily agreed and we are looking forward to beginning that series over the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. 

The format of Robby's covers will be similar in design to the various familiar designs featured on the actual covers over the years. We are suggesting the photos for the digital art to be based off of, and Robby will do the rest. There won't be any regular publishing schedule for the series, but we hope to feature a new one every few weeks or so, starting after Thanksgiving.

In the meantime check out some of Robby's art on his Facebook page featuring many different wrestlers from different promotions from the 1980s through today. 

Be looking for the first cover in the Gateway series featuring one of the greatest U.S. Champions of all time!

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Sunday, November 14, 2021

Jerry Blackwell and the Concession Stand

Greenville SC Memories
by Don Holbrook
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

In the early to mid 1970’s, before he was known as Crusher Blackwell, Jerry Blackwell came in for a couple stretches to work for Jim Crockett Promotions. He was in Greenville one Monday night on the undercard. I think he was in the second match of the night. I walked into the back stage area in the hallway that leads to the stairway going downstairs to the dressing rooms. I was standing there talking with the police officer who worked the door entering the arena floor area. The fans were forbidden from entering that door.

So I’m standing there and I heard someone coming up the stairway. I looked and it was Jerry Blackwell in his street clothes. He sort of nodded at me and I spoke to him. He walked past me to the exit door, opened it and took a look out back of the building. He walked back over and said, “Is there someplace around here I can get a coke?” I said, yes, and as I began pointing out into the arena and giving him the directions to the nearby concession stand.

"Crusher" Jerry Blackwell (History of Wrestling)

Blackwell stepped away from the arena door and I saw him begin reaching in his left front pants pocket. He pulled out a wad of cash and as he was peeling off a five dollar bill he said to me, “Recon you can go get me a coke?” I said sure, do you want a regular or a large? Blackwell said, “Get me one of the big-uns.” I said Okay.

So I came back, handed him his change then his coke. He sort of looked at the cup and he said- “I thought I told you to get me a big-un.” I said, "That is a big-un!" Back then, the auditorium only had two cup sizes a 12 ounce cup and a 16 ounce.

So anyway, Blackwell turned the coke up and in about two quick gulps it was gone. He sat the cup on a small wooden table in the hallway and wiped his mouth with the back of his left hand. Then he said, “What all else they got?” I said, "Well they have popcorn, good popcorn. They have candy bars, like Hershey’s, Snickers, Almond Joy, Baby Ruth." Blackwell said, “They got food?” I said, "Yes, they have hot dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fries and stuff like that." 

So Blackwell stood there a minute, and as he handed me a ten dollar bill, said, “Get me two cheeseburgers, an order of fries and two Cokes. And ketchup too.”

So I went and got the food, placed it all in one of those fold out cardboard carrying trays with about ten packs of ketchup. When I got back and handed Blackwell his food he thanked me and wasted no time rushing back downstairs. I often wondered if he found an empty dressing room and gobbled down his food. Or, if he just ate all that in front of the rest of the guys.

* * *

More Memories from Don Holbrook
Don Holbrook is an occasional Gateway contributor as well as a history buff on late 1960s and 1970s wrestling in Greenville, SC. His mother worked for years in the Greenville Memorial Auditorium office and Don spent many afternoons hanging out there as a kid, as well as lurking around the entire place during those legendary Monday night cards every week in Greenville. He became known to all those in charge, which later gave him lots of great access and some great stories to tell.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

Mulligan & The Freight Train: Former Rivals Team Up in 1979

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling's Topsy-Turvy Autumn of 1979 - Part 1
by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Being in the middle of the fall season right now, it made me think about an autumn of yesteryear in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling where everything seemed to me to be turned upside down. The fall in question was in 1979, and back then I was amazed at how the Mid-Atlantic alliances of grapplers had been turned on their collective heads from when I first became fully immersed in Mid-Atlantic Wrestling in the years of 1975-76.

I will be highlighting in the coming weeks a number of highly unlikely combinations of Mid-Atlantic wrestlers that very unexpectedly came together briefly in the fall of 1979, being viewed through the lens of these same wrestlers being arch enemies in 1975-76!

The duo first up is the big Texan from Eagle Pass, Blackjack Mulligan and the perennial fan favorite from Dillon, South Carolina, Rufus R. “Freight Train” Jones! 

* * * * * * * * * * 


Blackjack Mulligan became the top “bad guy” in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling when he toppled Paul Jones for the United States Heavyweight Title in March of 1976. As much as the brutal and arrogant Mulligan was despised by the Mid-Atlantic fans, the love those same fans felt for the “King of Wrestling” Rufus R. Jones was on an equal footing at the other end of the love-hate spectrum. 

It was inevitable that this showdown between good and evil for the U.S. belt would play out in Mid-Atlantic rings for the rest of 1976 into early 1977. And boy did it ever! Blackjack injuring Rufus’ cousin Burrhead Jones only added more fuel to the fire. During much of 1976, Blackjack and Rufus battled in many specialty matches over the United States Heavyweight Championship, including Fence matches, Texas Death matches, No Disqualification matches and Cotton Field matches. 

While Rufus was never successful in capturing the U.S. Title, the bouts were so intense and the fans were so into the program between these two, that Blackjack told the Gateway years later that he lobbied Jim Crockett, Jr. to put the Title on Rufus during that time period. One thing was clear to me, Rufus and Blackjack were such bitter enemies and so different in every way that there was ZERO chance they would ever be tag team partners. Well, let’s fast forward to the fall of 1979 when the unthinkable happened!

Rufus R. Jones was always the consummate “good guy” in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling, but when he departed the territory in the spring of 1977 his future stints in Jim Crockett Promotions were more sporadic and of shorter duration and didn’t always line up with when Blackjack Mulligan was in the area. For instance, when Rufus returned to the territory early in 1979 Mulligan had just departed the area after being injured by John Studd. 

The biggest change involving Mulligan in the intervening years was that he had amazingly become a “good guy” himself in April of 1978, when he and Ric Flair started feuding. When Blackjack returned to the Mid-Atlantic area from his six-month hiatus in 1979, he and his former bitter adversary Rufus Jones were both on the fan favorite side of Jim Crockett’s talent ledger at the same time. And the unthinkable would soon happen!

On the World Wide Wrestling television show that aired on WRAL TV 5 in Raleigh, North Carolina on Saturday October 6, 1979, an amazing visual occurred when announcer Rich Landrum began a local promo for the card in  Dorton Arena in Raleigh on Tuesday night, October 9, 1979. Blackjack Mulligan and Rufus R. Jones came out on the interview set TOGETHER to speak to the fans about their match as tag team partners, against Buddy Rogers and Jimmy Snuka!

A smiling Mulligan told Landrum and the Raleigh fans, “It looks like it’s gonna take a pretty good combination to slow these two down, and I’ve got beside me right here, gonna be with me, Rufus R. Jones! I’d rather not have anybody else in the world with me! Rupert, you just hold that Snuka and let me get these big hands around that Rogers’ throat and choke those eyeballs out brother.”

Rufus added, “Let me tell you something Jack, I’m with you all the way Jack, right here in Raleigh Tuesday night. The people gonna watch Blackjack Mulligan and Rufus Jones together for the first time! And it’s for a reason too…it’s for Buddy Rogers and Jimmy Snuka. We gonna do it to you brother, we gonna do it to you Tuesday night! You gonna holler and squeal, but it’ll do you no good at all! The Freight Train and Blackjack Mulligan gonna do it to you baby!

While Blackjack and Rufus actually teamed up a few weeks earlier than the October 9th bout in Raleigh, defeating John Studd and Snuka in Fayetteville, NC on September 3, 1979, and beating Paul Jones and Baron von Raschke on September 14, 1979, in Charleston, SC, it was still surreal to hear them extolling each other’s virtues in advance of the Raleigh show! 

A week and a half later Mully and Rufus again teamed up and battled Jones and Raschke in Aiken, SC. Within the succeeding two weeks, the “Freight Train” and Mulligan were again partners as part of six-man teams against Buddy Rogers and his charges. And then, without warning, this unlikely teaming of Rufus and Blackjack ended nearly as quickly as it began. But after their vicious battles against each other in 1976, the autumn of 1979 brought us an ever so brief pairing of Blackjack Mulligan and Rufus R. Jones that to this day is still difficult to comprehend!

Arch rivals Ric Flair and Tim “Mr. Wrestling” Woods briefly team up in the fall of 1979!

Monday, November 08, 2021

Jack Brisco vs. Ric Flair (1982)


A great photograph sent to us and taken by George Pantas. It's a November 1982 battle in the Norfolk Scope in Norfolk, VA, featuring Jack Brisco vs. Ric Flair for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. 

Brisco has sent Flair flipping into the turnbuckle and now pounds away as referee Tommy Young warns Brisco to break the corner before the count of five.

The former champion Brisco was chasing the title again, which had been held by Flair since September of 1981.

Friday, November 05, 2021

Poster: Hawk/Hanson vs. the Andersons in a Battle of the Bullies

by Brack Beasley
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

The YMCA gymnasium in Lexington, NC was a regular host on Saturday nights to Jim Crockett Promotions from the mid 50s up until the early 70s. It had a capacity in excess of 4000 for wrestling events and from what I gather, the atmosphere in that gym could get quite raucous. 


This poster promotes a card held on May 3, 1969 with tag team action at the top of the bill. It was another "Battle Of The Bullies" with the Anderson Brothers, Ole and Gene, colliding with Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson. 

The semi was a matchup of brother teams George and Sandy Scott against Billy and Jimmy Hines with an undercard that included Rock Hunter, Greg Peterson, Billy Spears, and Bulldog Lee Henning. 

As with most Lexington posters, the layout is vertical and this one has all black print standing out against a pink background. It also has 3 great images of the headlining teams (although the Andersons photo is of Lars and Gene) and the words "YMCA presents" are at the very top above the bold WRESTLING banner. 

The Lexington YMCA still stands and is  operating to this day. My guess is that most all current members of this particular Y have no clue of the wild Saturday nights in this historic building some 50 plus years ago. 


Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Greg Valentine Comes to Atlanta for the Georgia Heavyweight Title Tournament (1981)

by Dick Bourne 
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

On May 17, 1981 at the Omni in Atlanta, there was a one-night tournament for the vacated Georgia Heavyweight Championship. Ten men were entered in the tournament, including a couple of guys advertised as coming in from outside the territory to compete including Bruiser Brody and Greg Valentine.

Brody no-showed (or perhaps was never really going to appear to begin with, who knows) but Valentine came in from the Mid-Atlantic area and went all the way to the finals, defeating Mr. Wrestling II in the quarter finals and Iron Mike Sharpe in the semi-finals before losing to "Wildfire" Tommy Rich in the finals.

Prior to the tournament, Greg Valentine sent in a taped interview from Raleigh to promote his appearance in the tournament. The interview was conducted by Rich Landrum (host of "World Wide Wrestling") in the studios of WRAL TV.

The video below, which is the final seven minutes of the Georgia TV show leading up to that big Omni card, contains the Greg Valentine promo plus another tape from the Mid-Atlantic area featuring the reigning NWA World Tag Team champions Gene and Ole Anderson.

(No idea why the person who posted this clip labeled it from "WGHP-TV High Point Fox 8..." because the clip has nothing to do with any of that.)

  • The match with the Anderson Brothers from WRAL is from the summer of 1981 and is from "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" with Bob Caudle and Lord Alfred Hayes calling the action.  
  • Tommy Rich was wrestling in that tournament with a $10,000 bounty on his head, allegedly placed there by NWA World Champion Harley Race, who was trying to avoid having to face Rich for the NWA title. Greg Valentine mentions being interested in collecting the bounty in his promo, but was apparently unable to do so as Rich defeated him in the tournament finals to win the Georgia title and then went on to challenge Race for the NWA title at the next show at the Omni on 5/31/81. Race would successfully defend against Rich on 5/31, but then lost the NWA world title to Dusty Rhodes on the following Omni show on 6/21/81. 
  • If you look closely, you will see part of the Georgia championship belt extending off the front of Gordon Solie's podium. 
  • In a Studio Wrestling note, the backdrop you see in the Valentine interview (as seen in the image at top) was the Mid-Atlantic set used from 1975-1977 and is my favorite of all the old sets, mainly because it was first one I really remember and was used during the years I first really loved wrestling. 
  • This Georgia Championship Wrestling show featured two other Mid-Atlantic clips not seen in the video above. The first featured a match between Greg Valentine and Steve Muslin from 1980 on "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling." The second was a promotional interview similar to Greg Valentine's with Rich Landrum interviewing "The Dream." (I hope to present those in a future post.)

  • Gordon Solie promoted the tournament as a round-robin tournament, although it was not competed in such a fashion. There were 10 men announced as appearing in the tournament: Dusty Rhodes, Iron Mike Sharpe, Mr. Wrestling II, Tommy Rich, Ray Candy, Bruiser Brody, Greg Valentine, Ken Patera, Mike Boyer, and Bill Irwin. Brody and Boyer diod not appear, but Nickolia Volkoff and Jim Duggan replaced them.
  • From the tournament results posted on The History of the WWE website, it appears that 2 of the 10 (Rhodes and Volkoff) received byes, but I've been unable to figure out the elimination brackets from these results. But they are listed as:
Quarter Finals: Tommy Rich defeated Bill Irwin
Quarter Finals: Ken Patera defeated Ray Candy
Quarter Finals: Greg Valentine defeated Mr. Wrestling #2
Quarter Finals: Iron Mike Sharpe defeated Jim Duggan
Semi Finals: Ken Patera fought Dusty Rhodes to a no contest
Semi Finals: Tommy Rich defeated Nikolai Volkoff
Semi Finals: Greg Valentine defeated Iron Mike Sharpe
Finals: Tommy Rich defeated Greg Valentine to win the title

Originally posted November 2016 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.