Saturday, January 29, 2022

Poster: Piper and Steamboat Headline a Spot Show in Concord NC

by Brack Beasley
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

Here is an interesting spot show poster promoting a card held at the Barber Scotia College Gym in Concord, NC on Thursday, February 4th, 1982.

Billed as a triple main event, Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight champ Roddy Piper took on Ricky Steamboat (although the poster does not mention if this was a title defense), Big John Studd collided with young Jack Mulligan Jr. (Barry Windham), and Johnny Weaver took the challenge of Lord Alfred Hayes.

The lone tag team match was Karl Fergie and Eddie Mansfield versus Pork Chop Cash and Terry Taylor while Don Kernodle met Mike Miller in the opener. 

Designed with a vertical layout, all black print on a pastel orange background, and the western style "Wrestling" across the top, it has attributes common to spot show posters such as the local businesses where advance tickets could be purchased and "Sponsored by the Concord Jaycees".

Along with the image of Steamboat, there are great pics of Studd and Taylor, two faces seldom seen on Mid Atlantic posters. 

* * * * * *

Mid-Atlantic Gateway Notes
This was a pretty nice card for a small spot show. The Barber Scotia College Gym was a regular spot venue for JCP in the general Charlotte area, one of many!

Interesting to see 'Jack' Mulligan Jr. on the poster, as Windham would normally always be referred to in a promotional setting as 'Blackjack' Mulligan Jr. It might be the only time I recall seeing or hearing either Mulligan Sr. or Jr. referred to as "Jack" in an official way, although other wrestlers would call them that on promos frequently. Just seems odd on a poster to bill him that way, although it might have simply been a matter of typesetter at the poster company Souther Posters not having enough room to include his whole name given the font size. Studd and Mulligan Jr. were the top program for Flair and Mulligan Sr.'s Knoxville promotion which was closely affiliated with JCP. Knoxville didn't have enough towns running successfully at the time to appropriately pay Studd or Windham, so they brought that match to JCP shows frequently.

Terry Taylor sure was getting a push, on TV anyway, during this time. Bob Caudle and David Crockett would mention he was NWA rookie of the year every chance they got. But nothing really came of it here, he was never given an angle or a breakthrough win on TV or pushed in a semi-main program, despite the fact that he was technically proficient in the ring and fans, and girls in particular, seemed to love him. There was thought to giving him a babyface push on top for Flair and Mulligan's Knoxville promotion in late 1981, Flair put him over big in promos on Knoxville TV, but that didn't pan out either. I always hated that because I liked his stlye, he was one of the great "young lions" as David Crockett was always fond of saying. His big break came a couple of years later for Bill Watts in Mid-South Wrestling where he was North American Champion (their top title) and a top contender for Ric Flair's NWA World title.

Check out more of Brack's great poster collection by clicking our POSTER link and scrolling down through all of the poster-related posts. 


Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Flair and Valentine Talk Rhodes and Slater

For the complete story on what should have been an epic NWA World Tag Team title match - - but wasn't, check out the following story on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway:

Dusty Rhodes and Dick Slater Defend the World Tag Team Titles
in the Mid-Atlantic Area - - Almost (1977)

And thanks to Mike Sempervive and the Mid-Atlantic Championship Podcast for their support of the "Mighty" (we love that) Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Mid-Atlantic Championship Podcast Website
Mid-Atlantic Championship Podcast Twitter
Mid-Atlantic Championship Podcast on YouTube

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Podcast: MACW October 2, 1982

Mid-Atlantic Championship Podcast Website
Mid-Atlantic Championship Podcast Twitter
Mid-Atlantic Championship Podcast on YouTube

Mid-Atlantic TV Report: December 3, 1983


Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
TV Summaries & Reviews
by David Taub
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

This is a review of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling as it once appeared on the WWE Network (now on Peacock). 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.

Please note
: The WWE Network ceased operation in the United States on April 4, 2021 and programming transitioned to NBC's Peacock streaming service. The Mid-Atlantic shows returned in July of 2021. Links are provided where available.

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
Original broadcast: 11/26/83
Taped 12/03/83 in Greenville, SC - Memorial Auditorium
Review is from WWE Network/NBC Peacock feed.

Note: Results history for this time period is somewhat muddled post-Starrcade. I can’t get a date on when this was taped, but my educated guess it was in Greenville. If you have definitive answers (newspaper clippings are the best), let me know at

Match 1
Jimmy Valiant d. Magic Dragon

Jimmy is back officially, as his 90-day exile ended Nov. 26. Tommy Young is the referee for the hour. A quick win for Jimmy with the elbow drop.

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Roddy Piper
Piper is happy to defeat Greg Valentine in the dog collar match. Now, he wants the United States Heavyweight championship. He implies he’ll quit if he isn’t successful.


Match 2
Kevin Sullivan & Mark Lewin (w/Gary Hart) d. Rick McCord & John Bonello

Caudle runs down the current champions. No mention of the Mid-Atlantic tag team champions, as if it had been mentioned in the last six months. The heels take turns twisting Bonello’s arm until the referee stops the match.


Match 3
Non-Title: Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood [World tag champs]
d. Gary Royal & Kelly Kiniski

Steamboat & Youngblood are wearing the belts. Caudle says The Briscos have return matches scheduled in a cage. Youngblood slingshots Steamboat onto Royal for the pin. 

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Mark Youngblood
This is in lieu of local promos. Youngblood focuses on Paul Jones & The Assassins. He will take their masks and scalps. 


Match 4
Non-Title: Greg Valentine [U.S. ch.] d. Keith Larson

Caudle talks about how rough the Valentine vs. Piper dog collar match was, but Valentine is still the champ. Hammer wins with the Figure Four.

[Break] -Int. w/Bob Caudle: Paul Jones & The Assassins
Paul Jones yells about Jimmy Valiant. Some of it is bleeped. Lots of threats. He tells Valiant to bring a partner. Jones is about to cry.


Match 5
Mark Youngblood d. Bill Howard

Lots of chops by Youngblood. Pins Howard after a chop to the head. 

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Angelo Mosca
Caudle asks Mosca about his bandaged arm. He was the victim of the Golden Spike. At Starrcade, Scott McGhee suffered the Golden Spike and he is gone. His own son has been out for three months. Mosca has so much hate for Lewin. We go to a clip from Starrcade. Gary Hart brought out the spike but Lewin took it away and spiked McGhee and Mosca. He promises to spill the crimson. 

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Angelo Mosca
This in lieu of local promos. Almost a repeat of above. But, Angelo’s son has been out of action for only two months.


Match 6
Dick Slater (w/Bob Orton) d. Vinnie Valentino

Despite the graphic on the bumper saying the opponent would be Steve Muslin, we get Valentino. A much longer match than expected, as Valentino put up a fight. Slater gets the pin with a front suplex, followed by an elbow drop. 

-Int. w/Bob Caudle: Greg Valentine; Dick Slater & Bob Orton; Gary Hart
Valentine has a bandage on his head. He is still the champ, not Piper. He glosses over Starrcade. The feud vs. Piper is not over.
Slater & Orton said they should be World tag champs. Next week, we’ll see footage of an incident with Wahoo McDaniel.
Gary Hart says Jimmy Valiant won’t make a fool of him. He who walks away, counts.

“So long for now!”

* * * * * * * * *

Results for the week, 11/28/83-12/04/83
(source: Clawmaster’s Archive via Sports and Wrestling blog posted by David Baker; “Wrestling” newsletter by Joe Shedlock)

Mon., 11/28/83 Greenville, SC; Memorial Auditorium (TV)
Jimmy Valiant beat Magic Dragon
Kevin Sullivan & Mark Lewin beat Rick McCord & John Bonello
Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood beat Gary Royal & Kelly Kiniski
Greg Valentine beat Keith Larson
Mark Youngblood beat Bill Howard
Dick Slater beat Vinnie Valentino
Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood beat Bill Howard & Jerry Grey
Dick Slater beat Keith Larson
Jimmy Valiant beat Ben Alexander
The Assassins beat Gene Ligon & John Bonello
Mark Youngblood beat Magic Dragon
Bob Orton, Jr. beat Vinnie Valentino

Tue., 11/29/83 Raleigh, NC; Dorton Arena
Terry Gibbs beat Brett Hart
Keith Larson beat Bill Howard
Rick McCord beat Gary Royal
Jay Youngblood beat Great Kabuki
Ricky Steamboat beat Greg Valentine
Wahoo McDaniel & Jimmy Valiant beat The Assassins 

Tue., 11/29/83 Columbia, SC; Township Auditorium
Vinnie Valentino beat Jerry Grey
Kelly Kiniski beat Vinnie Valentino
Mark Lewin & Kevin Sullivan beat Rufus R. Jones & Brickhouse Brown
Bob Orton, Jr. beat Mark Youngblood
Roddy Piper double DQ Dick Slater

Wed., 11/30/83 Spartanburg, SC; Memorial Auditorium (TV)

Thu., 12/01/83 Sumter, SC; Exhibition Center County of Sumter (ECCOS)
Kelly Kiniski beat Rick McCord
Brickhouse Brown beat Magic Dragon
Bugsy McGraw beat Terry Gibbs
Bob Orton, Jr. beat Johnny Weaver
Greg Valentine beat Ricky Steamboat
Wahoo McDaniel beat Dick Slater

Thu., 12/01/83 Chester, SC; High School
Great Kabuki vs. Jay Youngblood
Charlie Brown & Rufus R. Jones vs. The Assassins
Mark Lewin vs. Mark Youngblood
Angelo Mosca vs. Gene Anderson
Jerry Grey vs. John Bonello
Vinnie Valentino vs. Bill Howard

Fri., 12/02/83 Lynchburg, VA; City Armory
Roddy Piper & Jimmy Valiant vs. The Assassins
Rufus R. Jones vs. Greg Valentine
Plus other matches

Fri., 12/02/83 Charleston, SC; County Hall
Dick Slater & Bob Orton, Jr. beat Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood
Greg Valentine beat Great Kabuki
Mark Youngblood & Bugsy McGraw beat Gene Anderson & Jerry Grey
Angelo Mosca beat Kelly Kiniski
Brett Hart beat Steve Muslin

Sat. 12/03/83 Newton, NC
Rick McCord beat Gary Royal
Brett Hart beat Jerry Grey
Kelly Kiniski beat Vinnie Valentino
Johnny Weaver beat Gene Anderson
Mark Youngblood beat Great Kabuki
Wahoo McDaniel & Roddy Piper beat Greg Valentine & Bob Orton, Jr.

Sat., 12/03/83 Hampton, VA; Hampton Coliseum
The Assassins beat Jimmy Valiant & Brickhouse Brown
Keith Larson beat Bill Howard
John Bonello beat Steve Muslin
Terry Gibbs beat Mark Fleming
Angelo Mosca beat Don Kernodle
Dick Slater beat Rufus R. Jones to win Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight championship
Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood beat Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco in a cage match

Sun., 12/04/83 Roanoke, VA;  Civic Center
John Bonello beat Bill Howard
Terry Gibbs beat Rick McCord
Jerry Grey beat Brickhouse Brown
Gene Anderson beat Vinnie Valentino
The Assassins beat Jimmy Valiant & Wahoo McDaniel
Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood beat Jack Brisco & Jerry Brisco in a cage match

Sun., 12/04/83 Toronto, ON; Maple Leaf Gardens
Rudy Kay beat Nick DeCarlo(10:27)
Terry Kay draw Billy Red Lyons(15:00)
The Destroyer beat Joe Marcus(8:06)
Johnny Weaver beat Kelly Kiniski(11:41)
Buddy Hart(aka Bret Hart) beat Great Kabuki(9:54) via pinfall
Leo Burke beat Keith Larson(8:31)
Angelo Mosca & Blackjack Mulligan beat Sgt. Slaughter & Don Kernodle(11:28)
Roddy Piper beat Greg Valentine(14:18) in a dog collar match

Monday, January 24, 2022

Title History of the United States Championship

It was the top championship in the Mid-Atlantic territory for Jim Crockett Promotions in the 1970s and 1980s and was held by some of the greatest names to ever step into a pro wrestling ring. 

Now this book lays out every champion and the detailed story behind every championship title change from the title's introduction in 1975 until the sale of the family business to Ted Turner in 1988. 

It was a glorious time.

Order your copy of "Jim Crockett Promotions' United States Championship" today!

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Bob and Jackie Caudle

Wishing the happiest of wedding anniversaries to the sweetest couple in the world, Bob and Jackie Caudle. 73 years! We love you guys!

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Poster: All Three Mid-Atlantic Singles Titles On the Line in Charlotte

by Brack Beasley
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

A sensational triple main event was on tap for wrestling fans at the old Charlotte Coliseum on Saturday night, October 15th, 1977 as all three Mid Atlantic singles titles were up for grabs. 

Ric Flair defended his United States title against Dusty Rhodes, Greg Valentine defended his Mid-Atlantic title against Paul Jones, while Baron Von Raschke's TV title was on the line for the first 15 minutes in a rematch with Ricky Steamboat, whom the Baron had just defeated for the belt at a television taping a few days prior.

The mid card match was an interesting 6-man tag with Dick Murdock, Mr. X #1, and Mr. X #2 versus Roberto Soto, Tiger Conway Jr., and Johnny Weaver, while the undercard featured familiar Mid-Atlantic grapplers such as the Missouri Mauler, Charlie Fulton, Abe Jacobs, and Danny Miller.

There were seven matches in all but unfortunately for most fans in Charlotte this particular night. all three heel champions managed to retain their respective championships against the babyfaces, although I imagine Rhodes, Jones, and Steamboat gave the reigning champs a run for their money.

The poster itself has a horizontal layout with black print on a two tone pink over yellow background while the date and six main-event participants really stand in high impact red.

There are also great images of Flair, Rhodes, Jones, Valentine, Steamboat, and Soto along each side and it's neat how they put "The American Dream" under Rhodes' name opposite "Champion" under Flair's.

* * * * * * * * * *

Mid-Atlantic Gateway Notes: The American Dream Dusty Rhodes
As was often the case in the mid-to-late 1970s, and on this night, Dusty Rhodes made sporadic short-term appearances in the area, usually over a weekend. Rhodes was a special draw all over the country in those days, and for all three major organizations: WWWF, AWA, and many of the NWA territories, particularly Mid-Atlantic, Georgia, and Florida.) Much like Andre the Giant or the NWA Champion coming to town for a small number of dates, Dusty would hit lots of different promotions in any given week. In this case, Rhodes was only in for Saturday (for this card in Charlotte vs. Flair) and Sunday in Asheville NC (matinee show vs. Valentine for the Mid-Atlantic title) and Savannah GA (then a Mid-Atlantic town, for a second shot at Flair's U.S. title.)

Also of note related to Rhodes, it is worth pointing out that the Friday night before this Charlotte card, Rhodes and partner Dick Slater lost the NWA World Tag Team titles back to Gene and Ole Anderson in Atlanta, bringing an end to their short one-month reign. In the prior two weeks, Rhodes had also challenged Harley Race for the NWA title in a couple of matches in Florida, and Superstar Billy Graham for the WWWF title in Madison Square Garden. Yes indeed, the American Dream was on quite a roll.


Thursday, January 20, 2022

The Cane That Wouldn't Break: Greg Valentine Shatters Ric Flair's Face (1980)

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

"I was looking at that cane and I could tell that cane was gonna be brutal to break over a darn cement block, let alone somebody’s head."
   - Greg Valentine

On a recent episode of Ric Flair's podcast Woooo Nation: Uncensored, a listener sent in a question asking about the time Gene Anderson hit Ric Flair with his cane, legitimately breaking Flair's nose. It's one of the most infamous and talked about angles in Mid-Atlantic Wrestling history during that era.

Except it wasn't Gene Anderson that hit him. And the cane didn't break. And that was part of the problem.

To be fair, it was Gene Anderson's cane, and it happened back in 1980, almost 42 years ago this summer, so it's easy to understand how the details of the thing can getting a little foggy over time.

It was actually Greg Valentine who tried to break Anderson's cane over Ric's head following a tag team match between Flair and Valentine against Jimmy Snuka and the Iron Sheik, who were managed at the time by the then cane-wielding Gene Anderson. Valentine failed miserably at the task, although it wasn't really his fault. However, Ric paid the price for it with a legitimately broken nose and 30-plus stitches in his head, face, and lips.  

Ric Flair battles Greg Valentine during their bloody feud of 1980.

Sadly, as memorable as you might think something like that would be to someone, Ric didn't seem to remember the details either, except that it hurt like hell. 

One guy who did remember every detail of it was Greg "The Hammer" Valentine who perpetrated the deed. David Chappell and I asked him about it back in March of 2004, just prior to his induction to the WWE Hall of Fame at Wrestlemania 20. We had the opportunity to interview him at a legends show in Lenoir, NC, promoted by Tony Hunter.

Rather than have me tell you the story of that angle, let's let Greg tell you himself, in this edited excerpt from our Gateway Interview in 2004 with The Hammer himself:

Chappell (to Greg Valentine): When you first came back from New York at the end of 1979, you asked Ric to be your partner again, and he wouldn’t do it, right?


Valentine: Flair turned his back on me. (laughs) When I came back fr
om New York, Ric was on the other side. He was a babyface, and he wouldn’t tag with a villain like me. (laughs)


Chappell: Then for a while right after that, you went back to tag team wrestling?


Valentine: Yeah, that’s right. Ray Stevens and I held the (World) Titles at that time.


Bourne: But soon after that, you went after Flair again. And you broke his nose in that feud in 1980. Now, one of the urban legends in wrestling was that you caught Ric with Gene Anderson’s cane and legitimately broke his nose with that cane. Is that true?


Valentine: Yeah…it’s true. You know, we were sitting back in the dressing rooms getting ready for that match. Of course, Ric was on the other side of the building. We didn’t have dressing rooms together…heels were on one side and babyfaces were on the other. George Scott came in and told me what they wanted us to do. But I was never supposed to break Flair’s nose…I was supposed to break the cane!


Chappell: But didn’t that whole thing have its roots from an incident on TV, where you came out and told Ric that you’d seen the light, and that you now wanted to tag back up with him? Wrestle as a fan favorite tag team, in other words?


Valentine: (laughing) Can you believe he trusted me?! This was against…I think it was Snuka and the Iron Sheik, right? And Gene Anderson was managing Snuka and the Sheik at that time.  So I short-armed Ric and wouldn’t tag him. The place was sold out---I thought there was going to be a riot when I refused to tag him. Ric is already bleeding, and he keeps crawling on his knees trying to tag me in…and I’m walking away from him.


Chappell: You were heartless! (everybody laughs)


Valentine: I know it! (laughs) But as I was saying before, they told me back in the dressing room, ‘We want you to hit Flair over the head with Gene Anderson’s cane and make sure you break the cane over his head.’


Chappell: That cane was pretty sturdy, wasn’t it?


Valentine: Hey, I was looking at that cane and I could tell that cane was gonna be brutal to break over a darn cement block, let alone somebody’s head. (everybody laughs) I didn’t know, but I kept saying, ‘Maybe you better gimmick up the cane a little bit, so I can make sure I can break it.’ Gene said, ‘Naw, you can break it…just hit him.’


Chappell: That was easy for Gene to say!


Valentine: (laughs) Ric knew I was supposed to break the cane. But later, I found out that the cane was made out of hickory wood. You know, the hardest wood there is! They make baseball bats out of hickory.


Bourne: Oh my word!


Chappell: Flair’s nose didn’t stand a chance, did it? (everybody laughs)


Valentine: At the time I didn’t know it was hickory, but I was thinking it might be something like that.  So I was out there, and the Sheik and Snuka found out that I wouldn’t tag Ric so they worked him over pretty good. After they took the fall on Ric, Gene Anderson threw me the cane and I caught it. Ric’s hanging over there in the corner trying to get away…or acting like he’s trying to get away. Now, Flair has blood all over his face by that point, and I’m thinking if I hit him, the cane is just going to slide down. But…I went for it! (everybody laughs) WHAM! I hit him as hard as I could…and it didn’t break! (everyone laughs)


Chappell: What was running through your mind then?


Valentine: I’m just looking at that cane. Gene is looking at me from the outside on the floor. Gene yelled at me, "Break it kid, break it!"  So now I really clocked Ric hard with the cane right on top of the cranium. And he’s REALLY trying to get away when he heard Gene say again, ‘BREAK THE CANE, KID!!’ (laughs)  I tried again with a wild stroke and Ric is moving trying to avoid it and I hit him across the top of his nose…the bridge of his nose. It went right down and busted his lips open…his lips were bleeding bad.


Chappell: Did you know you had broken his nose then?


Valentine: I had no idea I had broken his nose…I didn’t find out until a few hours later that his nose was broken. And I STILL didn’t break the cane! (everyone laughs) But the damage had been done then. I think it was Mulligan that came out and ran us all off. Ric went right to the hospital. He had stitches all over his lips.


Chappell: What was Flair’s reaction to what you had done?


Valentine: I called Ric up around two o’clock in the morning, and he was already back home. I apologized for it. And he said, ‘Man, don’t worry about it. We’re gonna make lots of money from it.’ (laughs)


As our friend George Pantas pointed out to me recently, we all sure were laughing a lot at Ric's expense. You could tell Greg enjoyed remembering that time. And of course they did make lots of money off that very real angle, drawing big houses for the matches across the territory for months to follow. The angle led eventually to Valentine defeating Ric Flair for the United States Heavyweight title later that summer. The cane angle is a notable moment in the title history of the U.S. Championship and another great chapter in the tumultuous "family" relationship between Flair and his cousins the Andersons in Mid-Atlantic Wrestling lore.

You can find video of the whole thing from Mid-Atlantic TV on YouTube if you want to search for it. We won't post the links here because the date on the YouTube footage is wrong and the video quality is atrocious. But worth at least hearing Flair's interview with Bob Caudle and David Crockett in advance of looking at the film because it is one of Ric's greatest dead-serious babyface promos of that era.

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

Some links to other features on the Gateway related to this story:

Greg Valentine: The Gateway Interview
(Archive site. The above edited excerpt is from Pg. 3 )

The Ric Flair/Gene Anderson Figure Four/Hair Challenge
The angle that led to Gene Anderson needing to carry a cane.


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Red Cross and a Greyhound Bus: Steamboat's Award Annoys Paul Jones

 A “Bloody” TV Encounter Between Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat
by David Chappell

Mid-Atlantic Gateway

When former tag team partners Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat split in the aftermath of a wild two ring battle royal on December 3, 1978 in the Charlotte Coliseum, the bad blood between these ex-friends was palpable over the next year or so. The extent of the bad feelings between the two was showcased several months after the break-up in two segments on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television.

Ricky Steamboat
At the outset of the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling TV show that was taped on March 28, 1979, Ricky Steamboat was brought out to the set to accept a plaque from the American Red Cross for his participation in a Christmas 1978 blood drive. Bill Huey from the Winston-Salem, North Carolina chapter of the American Red Cross told the viewing audience that due to Ricky’s participation in the drive, “The result of that was a better than fifty percent increase in our total blood collection and Ricky has given tremendous support to Red Cross blood services and we’d like to take the opportunity to present this award…the award is the blood drive ‘Big Drop’ award for outstanding participation in the blood drive at Christmas and also to express our appreciation to Ricky for what he has done not only for Winston-Salem but for the entire Red Cross blood services area. So, Ricky, with our very deep appreciation, sir.”

When Huey handed Ricky the ‘Big Drop’ plaque an emotional Steamboat responded, “Hey, thank you very, very much. You know, everybody realizes that I have a busy schedule but on something like this I do like to take time out and just a little bit of my effort and if my appearances there, or just to say a few words on behalf of the drive such as this, which is to bring the people out to come and to donate for this type of organization or anything that would benefit the life of another human being in some way, form or matter. I tell you what, if I had a lot more time I would be doing much more…but that one special thought and that I want to thank you very, very much.” Announcer Bob Caudle then commented, “And that’s a very nice honor for a fine young man and really an outstanding citizen, Rick Steamboat.”

No. 1 Paul Jones

Later in the show, “Number One” Paul Jones appeared on the set with Caudle and was none too pleased with Steamboat’s new accolades. “I saw Steamboat receive that plaque out here,” Jones fumed. Caudle responded, “Shows what a fine citizen he is.” Paul instantly retorted, “Well let me tell you somethin’, everything’s going Steamboat’s way. Let me tell you somethin’…that plaque…I gave blood one time and all I got was a cup of Kool-Aid and a cookie! And Steamboat gets a plaque!! Well let me tell you somethin’…Steamboat’s gonna need the Red Cross, the Salvation Army and a Greyhound bus when I finish with him!”

The rift between these two former partners had grown so wide by March of 1979 that the two couldn’t even see eye-to-eye on giving blood! Jones’ response to Steamboat’s charitable endeavors, along with being one of the best one liners I can ever remember, foreshadowed what would be occurring for the rest of 1979 between these now bitter rivals...‘big drops’ of blood being spilled in the wrestling ring between these two and their respective tag team partners, with the Red Cross nowhere in sight.

Originally published July 2017 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Monday, January 17, 2022

The Mid-Atlantic Trifecta: AEW Tours the old Crockett Territory

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

A few weeks ago I wrote about David Crockett's special appearance in Greensboro on All Elite Wrestling (AEW) television that aired on Christmas night. It would be the first of three appearances he would make on AEW TV over the next two weeks as AEW toured three of the old Mid-Atlantic territory's great wrestling cities: Greensboro, Charlotte, and Raleigh, NC.

David was introduced at ringside and received a great reception all three nights. The Greensboro and Charlotte shows took place at the fabled Greensboro Coliseum and the former Charlotte Coliseum (now Bojangles Coliseum), both home to some of the biggest events for Jim Crockett Promotions in the 1960s-1980s. Raleigh's event took place at the PNC Arena, a relatively newer venue in the capitol city. Back in the day, Crockett wrestling once took place at Dorton Arena or the Raleigh Civic Center. 

Greensboro. Charlotte. Raleigh. I like to think of it as hitting the Mid-Atlantic trifecta.

In Charlotte, Crockett presented the TNT Championship belt to Sammy Guevara, who had defeated Dustin Rhodes to fill the interim TNT championship while reigning champion Cody Rhodes was briefly out of action. 

David Crockett presents the TNT Championship to Sammy Guevara at AEW's "Battle of the Belts.".

Dustin, son of the legendary "American Dream" Dusty Rhodes who booked the old Mid-Atlantic territory for five years in the 1980s, wrestled a heck of a match with the much younger Guevara, who is one of the true rising superstars in pro-wrestling. Rhodes is now in his mid-50s and had to feel a sense of nostalgia wrestling in the old Charlotte Coliseum again, a building he worked some 30+ years earlier for WCW against the likes of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, Bobby Eaton, and Arn Anderson. Ironically, Arn Anderson was in the corner of Rhodes that night in Charlotte.

Actually, it was the fans who hit the trifecta, having David at three AEW shows, all in towns special to old Mid-Atlantic fans and the Crockett family going back several generations. Tony Khan acknowledged this in an address to the fans after the Dynamite live show went off the air in Raleigh. "Thanks to the Crockett family for making it possible to promote professional wrestling in the state of North Carolina," he said. It was an acknowledgment that the Crocketts paved the way for anyone and everyone who now promotes here, from the independents to the major leagues.  

"I want to tell you, from the bottom of my heart, it's meant a lot to me over the last few days," Tony Khan said to David Crockett in Raleigh. "Thank you for being here yet again to represent the Crockett family." 

Khan thanked the fans, too.  "And thanks to all you great people for that wonderful reception. That's meant a lot to a lot of people, to Mr. Crockett and his family."

David Crockett is recognized at ringside in Greensboro.

I have a new appreciation and respect for Tony Khan, for bringing in David and for making a concerted effort to acknowledge the old territory, its promoters, and most importantly its longtime fans. Crockett himself made that point to the fans in Greensboro. "Without you fans," David said, "we wouldn't have existed."

The AEW swing through the old Mid-Atlantic territory over the holidays yielded one more special gift: the reuniting in Raleigh of David Crockett and AEW broadcaster Tony Schiavone with the legendary Bob Caudle, who called Mid-Atlantic wrestling matches for over three decades at WRAL TV studios in Raleigh. 

David Crockett, Bob Caudle, and Tony Schiavone in Raleigh, Jan. 12, 2022
(Photograph courtesy of Tony Schiavone.)

David and Tony made the trip across town on the afternoon of the AEW Raleigh show to visit Bob, now in his 90s and who lives in Raleigh with his wife of over 70 years, Jackie. It was a very special moment that made for a very special photo. Lots of fans thought so, too, as the post went viral on Twitter. (More about that here.)

Thanks to Tony Khan and AEW for the gift of two special weeks of shows over the Christmas and New Year holidays for all of us.  

See also: David Crockett Makes Christmas Night Appearance on AEW Wrestling

Jim Crockett, Jr. Makes a Rare Appearance in Madison Square Garden (1982)

Madison Square Garden, January 1982: (L-R) Jim Crockett, Jr., Hiashi Shinma, Ken Tajima, Vince McMahon, and Frank Tunney. (Photograph by George Napolitano)

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

It was quite the gathering of dignitaries during an intermission at the WWF wrestling event at New York's Madison Square Garden on January 18, 1982. The president of the WWF, Hisashi Shinma (second from the left) was making the announcement of the first annual I.W.G.P. (International Wrestling Grand Prix) Championship Tournament to be held in 1983 in Japan. Shinma, along with being the recognized president of the WWF was also a top official with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). 

Shinma was flanked by his interpreter Ken Tajima, and joined by National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) president and Mid-Atlantic Wrestling promoter Jim Crockett, Jr., WWWF promoter Vincent J. McMahon, and Toronto promoter (and NWA Vice President) Frank Tunney. It's also worth noting that Tunney and Crockett were business partners at this time, as Tunney was booking a majority of talent for his Maple Leaf Garden shows through Crockett's Charlotte, NC, office. 

It was a rare appearance for Crockett in Madison Square Garden. The WWF at this time was still a member of the NWA.

This gathering was captured by famed wrestling photographer George Napolitano who had the foresight to document the occasion. I've never seen any other photos from this rather historic gathering of wrestling dignitaries.

On the MSG Network broadcast of this show, the announcement was not covered. You could see this happening in the background of a wide camera shot, but announcer Vince (K.) McMahon was rambling on about something else while this was taking place. 

The 1/18/82 show was the first Madison Square Garden show I ever saw on TV. It was broadcast on delayed basis on the USA Network which had just been added to our local cable system in Kingsport, TN, where I grew up. The main event on that show was a really good WWF title defense by Bob Backlund against Adrian Adonis, where Adonis actually got the win, but not the title, when the match was stopped for blood. 

Mid-Atlantic stalwart Greg "The Hammer" Valentine was also on this show, defeating Pedro Morales, during one of Valentine's two big WWF stints during his 1976-1984 Mid-Atlantic period. Other regular Mid-Atlantic alumni on this card included former Mid-Atlantic champion Tony Atlas and perennial journeyman Charlie Fulton.   

According to the excellent reference book "Wrestling in the Garden: The Battle for New York" (by Scott Teal and J. Michael Kenyon, Crowbar Press), the show drew 18,301 and was simulcast live via closed circuit TV at the adjoining Felt Forum. While that book is an incredibly detailed compendium of all things related to the history of wrestling at Madison Square Garden, Teal and Kenyon oddly left out the gathering of these wrestling dignitaries at that January 18, 1982 show.

Thanks to Kyle Rosser for sending the photo clipping.

Originally published March 2021 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Jim Crockett Jr. in Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame

Happy to see that the Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame inducted Jim Crockett Jr. into the Class of 2022.
Well deserved and long overdue.



Friday, January 14, 2022

Poster: Briscos battle Mauler/Brute in Greensboro

by Brack Beasley
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

This poster takes us back to March 16th, 1972 and promotes a card held at the War Memorial Coliseum in Greensboro, NC. 

As was the norm for this time period in Jim Crockett Promotions, tag team action headlined the bill. The Atlantic Coast Tag Team titles were up for grabs as the brother team of Jack and Jerry Brisco collided with the reigning champions Missouri Mauler and Brute Bernard.

The semi main event pitted fan favorites Johnny Weaver and Art Nelson against Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson who were being managed by Gary Hart. Boxing great Archie Moore was brought in as a special referee to keep things in order, if at all possible.

The remainder of the card consisted of singles action including Paul Jones versus Ole Anderson, Les Thatcher versus Gene Anderson, Argentina Apollo versus Johnny Heidman, Sandy Scott versus Bobby Paul, and Nelson Royal versus Krusher Karlson.

The poster itself features a striking horizontal layout with a two-tone yellow over green background and the "Wrestling" splash, "War Memorial Coliseum", and main event names in high impact red. The remainder is printed in black along with images of the featured stars lining both sides.

All in all, another exciting night of professional wrestling for the fans in Greensboro almost 50 years ago.

* * * * * * * *

Mid-Atlantic Gateway Notes
by Dick Bourne

The Brisco brothers were a key part of the main events in the Mid-Atlantic area in the early 1970s. They teamed here frequently (as in the main event this night in Greensboro), but also wrestled as top singles attractions. 

Jack Brisco was being groomed by Eddie Graham to become NWA World Heavyweight champion within the next year or so. Back in November of 1971, Brisco had defeated Missouri Mauler, one of his opponents this night in Greensboro, for the Eastern Heavyweight championship (the forerunner to the Mid-Atlantic title.)  He would feud with Rip Hawk over that title over the next several months. 

Jerry Brisco was on the cusp of the first big singles push of his career, something he would acknowledge and thank Jim Crockett, Sr. for during his WWE Hall of Fame induction speech some three decades later. He and Rip Hawk traded the Eastern Heavyweight title back and forth several times over the rest of 1972. 

Interesting to see Paul Jones and Ole Anderson in singles competition. Ole usually teamed with his brother Gene, but would get his first big singles push as well over the next year, also centered around the Eastern title (and Jerry Brisco.) Paul Jones and Ole Anderson would butt heads off and on for the next 13 years in tag team feuds, most notably in the famous Wahoo McDaniel/Paul Jones vs. Anderson Brothers wars of 1975. 

Johnny Heidemann (sometimes spelled Heidman or Heidmann), who faced high flyer Argentina Apollo on this show, would soon retire from full-time ring competition and become one of Crockett Promotions' regular referees.   


Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Crockett, Caudle, and Schiavone reunited in Raleigh

Photo courtesy of Tony Schiavone

What a reunion! David Crockett, Bob Caudle, and Tony Schiavone get together in Raleigh, NC. 

David and Tony made the special effort to visit Bob during the afternoon on January 12, hours before the big All Elite Wrestling (AEW) show that night in Raleigh. Jim Ross had hoped to join them, too, but travel arrangements prevented it. 

Bob and David hosted Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling together in the 1970s. David then moved over to host World Wide Wrestling in 1982, and Tony joined him as co-host in early 1984. Bob continued as host of NWA Pro Wrestling throughout the 1980s. Tony and David also hosted World Championship Wrestling together on Superstation WTBS in the mid-to-late 1980s. All three were part of big national television and pay-per-view specials for Jim Crockett Promotions and later Ted Turner's WCW.

What a special photograph! Thanks to both Tony and David for sharing this great reunion.

* * * * *

Late edit (1/17/22): We posted this same photo on Twitter  as well, and it went viral (at least viral for us), garnering over 139,000 twitter impressions in the days after. A big surge of that occurred after Good Ol' J.R. Jim Ross retweeted it. A lot of fans from the 70s, 80s, and 90s were happy to see Bob again, and delighted to see all three of these guys together in the same special photograph.

Excellent Article on Jim Crockett, Sr.

HISTORY WITH HAYES: VHS grad Jim Crockett was one of the most powerful sports and entertainment promoters
by Tim Hayes, January 8, 2021
Bristol Herald Courier

Jim Crockett passed away in 1973, but his name lived on long after his death.

On April 19, 1986 at the Superdome in New Orleans, The Road Warriors – Hawk and Animal – beat Ronnie Garvin and Magnum T.A. in the finals of the inaugural Jim Crockett Sr. Memorial Cup Tag Team Tournament.

The Roanoke Valley Rebels won the first-ever Southern Hockey League championship in 1974 and celebrated by hoisting the James Crockett Cup.

Cal Ripken Jr. spent the summer of 1980 toiling in the Southern League for the Charlotte O’s, a Double-A baseball team that played home games at Jim Crockett Memorial Park.

Those championship trophies and that venue were named to honor a man who at one time was among the most powerful sports and entertainment promoters in the country and also happened to be a native Bristolian.....

--> Read the entire "History with Hayes" article on the Bristol Herald Courier website. 

Raleigh Memories: David Crockett and Bob Caudle

Coliseum/AEW Poster Benefits Loaves & Fishes of Charlotte

AEW Wrestling asked David Crockett to suggest a charity in the Charlotte area for their Community Outreach program headed up by Cody Rhodes. David Crockett suggested Loaves & Fishes.

Loaves & Fishes works with a network of 41 emergency food pantries located throughout Mecklenburg County to provide a week’s worth of nutritionally balanced groceries to individuals and families experiencing a short-term crisis.

AEW partnered with Asheville-area artist Hal Haney (@HalHaneyArt) and The Bojangles Coliseum (@TheBOPlex) to commission a special one-of-a-kind piece of art (seen below) that highlights the current stars of AEW while also paying homage to the rich history of pro wrestling in the building. The venue, built back in the late 1950s, is perhaps more familiarly known to earlier generations of wrestling fans as the original Charlotte Coliseum or the Independence Arena.   

Ten (10) limited edition copies of this original 11x17 artwork were printed and signed by AEW personnel, including Sammy Guevara, Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone, Arn Anderson and Dustin Rhodes. They are currently being auctioned off to benefit Loaves and Fishes.

The project came together in advance of last weekend's AEW Battle of the Belts show at Bojangles Coliseum, spearheaded by the CRVA (Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.) This is all done in conjunction with AEW Community Outreach, which is piloted by Cody Rhodes.

Fans and collectors can bid on the signed pieces at this link through 10 a.m. ET this Saturday, Jan. 15.

Bid generously now! It's a very cool piece of wrestling memorabilia and benefits a great organization. Deadline is this Saturday January 15!

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The Thesz Belt, Awarded in 1937

Image from Japanese magazine. Courtesy Bill Murdock.

Above: St. Louis promoter Tom Packs (at right) presents new World Heavyweight Champion Lou Thesz with a new championship belt the morning after Thesz defeated Everett Marshall for the title in December 1937.

The following is an edited excerpt from the book Crown Jewel by Dick Bourne (available via the Gateway Book Store.)

The belt that Lou Thesz wore as World champion until 1957 (when the first NWA-owned World Championship belt was put into service) was a belt Thesz personally owned that came with his purchase of Tom Packs’ St. Louis promotional office in 1949.

That belt is commonly known today as the “Thesz Belt,” named for the man who held the World Championship longer than any other. The belt was presented to him in 1937 by Packs after Thesz defeated Everett Marshall for the World Heavyweight Championship in St. Louis. When Thesz was made champion of the year-old National Wrestling Alliance in 1949, that belt became the NWA’s recognized World Championship title belt, and was so until the Alliance finally purchased and presented a belt of their own in 1957.

The Thesz belt was as much jewelry as it was championship belt. A series of plates held together only by chains, with only short leather attachments at each end to secure the belt around the champion’s waist. It was adorned with jewels. The center plate featured an imperial crown up top, a ring with two wrestlers in the center, and a large oval with a star at the bottom. The belt read “Worlds Heavyweight Wrestling Champion” and had his name “Louis Thesz” made right into the plate. There were three side plates on either side of the center buckle (total of six) that depicted wrestlers in various move combinations.

A 1937 article in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat reporting on the new belt declared that the belt was “studded with 456 diamonds, 176 rubies, and 144 sapphires with six large diamonds in the centerpiece of the seven links.” According to Lou’s friend Koji Miyamoto, it was crafted by a jeweler in St. Louis, who likely made other belts during that era, as Marshall had a similarly designed belt of his own.

Prior to the formation of the NWA in 1948, there were a number of championships around the country recognized as “world championships” going back to 1905 and the days of the legendary George Hackenschmidt, who brought world title recognition with him from various European championships. Several of these U.S. titles were based out of states in the Midwest over these years, including Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio, Illinois, but also in cities like Boston and Los Angeles.

The title Thesz won from Everett Marshall in 1937 was the Midwest Wrestling Association title, originally based out of Ohio in 1931 and promoted by Al Haft, but by 1937 basically controlled by St. Louis promoter Tom Packs and partner Billy Sandow.

Thesz’s victory over Marshall took place on December 29, 1937 at the Municipal Auditorium in St. Louis, Missouri. The original plan was simply for Thesz to go to a time limit draw or some other disputed finish to allow him to continue his climb in the ranks as a top contender. Promoter Tom Packs saw stardom and box office potential in Thesz and was grooming him to eventually take the top spot. But as Thesz described in his autobiography, when the show nearly sold out in advance weeks ahead of the match, Packs and Sandow re-evaluated their plans. Marshall had not been drawing huge crowds of late as champion, so when the title match with Thesz popped the box office, the plan was changed to put the title on Thesz.

“Deciding the champion was a strictly cold-blooded business decision,” wrote Thesz. “The wrestler who could draw the most money at the gate was the one who got the belt.”

By the time he first became NWA World Champion twelve years later in 1949, he was already a three-time world champion having held different versions of the title around the country. During the next several years Thesz would defeat a number of these other champions to effectively unify wrestling’s World Championship under the National Wrestling Alliance banner.


Mid-Atlantic Gateway Book Store

Lou Thesz, Dick Hutton, Pat O'Connor, Buddy Rogers, Gene Kiniski,
Dory Funk, Jr., Harley Race.

The storied history of the NWA World Heavyweight Championship from 1959-1973,
and a look at the belt itself, the "crown jewel" of championship belts.

Friday, January 07, 2022

Poster: Newcomer Roddy Piper battles area stalwart Paul Jones at the Spindale House

by Brack Beasley
Mid-Atlantic Gateway
The Spindale House in Spindale, NC was a familiar stop for Crockett Promotions in the 1960s and 1970s. Unfortunately for local wrestling fans it all ended abruptly on the Friday night, June 5th, 1981 when Roddy Piper incited a full blown riot at the venue. Piper never had a problem drawing heat but this must have been something on a totally different level as the riot resulted in professional wrestling being banned in Spindale.

This poster promotes that infamous card in Spindale with a main event of Paul Jones versus Piper. The Mid-Atlantic Tag Team belts were on the line in the semi with champions Johnny Weaver and Dewey Robertson versus Mr. Fuji and El Torro while the undercard included Mike Reed, Ron Ritchie, Frank Monte, Charlie Fulton, and women wrestlers Suzette Ferreira and Angie Minelli.

With a vertical layout, the poster has all black print on an orange background along with images of Jones and Piper beside their match listing.

Nice details to note - it also lets us know that the event is sponsored by the Forest City Jaycees and you can buy your tickets at Bill's Auto Glass Shop and at Northwestern Bank locations in Forest City, Spindale, and Rutherfordton.

* * * * * * * * * * 

Gateway Notes: 

Lots of action in and around the entire 4-state Mid-Atlantic area that Friday night in addition to the Spindale show, including the regular Friday night card in Richmond, VA (Ric Flair vs. Ivan Koloff, Anderson Bros. vs. Leroy Brown and Jay Youngblood), Charleston, SC (Masked Superstar  and Mr. Wrestling 2 vs. Austin Idol and "Prince" Jimmy Valiant, and the affiliated Knoxville, TN (Blackjack Mulligan vs. The Iron Sheik, Mulligan Jr. vs. Mongolian Stomper.)  

Odd to see Piper headlining this show against Paul Jones. Piper was United States champion at the time, but is not billed on the poster as champion. It isn't clear if this was a title defense or not. Piper was in the latter stages of a very heated feud with Ric Flair, who he defeated for that title back in late January of that same year. Jones had been more upper-middle-card during this time, although he and Wahoo McDaniel had reformed their team and were chasing the Anderson Brothers for the NWA World Tag team titles, daja-vu from their legendary feud in 1976.


Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Best of: Jimmy Snuka - Good Guy No More

by David Chappell 
Mid-Atlantic Gateway 

When “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka entered the Mid-Atlantic territory in November of 1978, he rapidly became one of the most beloved wrestlers in the promotion. Highly athletic and humble, Snuka in short order became one half of the NWA World Tag Team Champions with Paul Orndorff, and despite losing that championship in about four months, Jimmy continued to be the adored high-flying “good guy” in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling into July of 1979. But then, the unthinkable happened.

"Superfly" Jimmy Snuka

When the television card for Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling was announced on the July 18, 1979 show, color commentator David Crockett said, “Then we have another tag team match, an unusual tag team match, we have Buddy Rogers and Jimmy Snuka teamed up, and they’re going against Leo Burke and Gary Young.” While it wasn’t highlighted at that moment, the pairing of Snuka and Rogers was more than unusual, it was shocking! The “immortal” Buddy Rogers, former World Heavyweight Champion, had entered the area recently, and while he wrestled infrequently, Rogers was notorious in his still evolving role in the area. Why the fan-favorite Snuka would be teaming with a man like Rogers was a mystery, but it wouldn’t take long for the mystery to be solved.

When the Snuka/Rogers team came into the ring, the first thing that seemed odd was that Snuka was wearing wrestling boots, where before he always grappled barefooted. But that would be the first of many anomalies in this TV bout. From the outset of the match, Rogers was using illegal tactics, and Snuka was in the corner grinning and shaking his head in the affirmative. This led announcer Bob Caudle to comment, “It’s a little baffling to me exactly why [Snuka’s] doing that and what it means.”

Very quickly, things got much more baffling. Rather that employ his graceful aerial moves that the fans were accustomed to seeing, Snuka instead used a ground and pound style that was accentuated by out-and-out rulebreaking. The TV announcers were in a word…stunned. A perplexed Crockett stammered, “I can’t…really…I’m just completely baffled.” Caudle followed, his voice rising, “It amazes you, and disturbs you, as really to what Snuka’s doing.”

After a brief comeback by Burke and Young, Snuka again took control with a vicious knee as Young came off the ropes. Jimmy then went back to a familiar maneuver, the “superfly” leap off the top rope almost all the way across the ring onto a prone Gary Young. But what followed next was head-scratching. Rather than easily pinning Young, Snuka lifted Young’s shoulders off the mat before a three count could be made. Caudle exclaimed, “He lifted him up!” Crockett added, “No, come on now…come on.” Caudle added, “He looked over at Buddy Rogers with a smile on his face and just raised Gary Young.”

Clearly Snuka wanted to punish Young, and then began to manically grind his clinched fist into Young’s temple. Astonished, Caudle said, “That looks like a corkscrew, David, right into the side of the temple. Here’s Rogers in now after Burke, as Burke goes back out. And Snuka after having Gary Young in a pin position there, after that superfly from all the way across the ring…the referee says ring the bell! And he still keeps driving in that corkscrew right in the side of the temple!” And emotional Crockett yelled, “He won’t stop! He won’t stop!” The flabbergasted fans in the studio audience couldn’t believe Snuka’s conduct, but they would soon get a detailed explanation for it.

At the end of the program, Bob Caudle excitedly cornered Buddy Rogers and said, “I gotta ask you, and I gotta ask Jimmy Snuka, what in the world happened to Jimmy Snuka?” Rogers replied, “I’ll tell ya what happened. I’ll do the talking, I’ll do the thinking from here on out, Bobby. And that is, this man is like a diamond that needs cutting. I’m the guy that can do that cutting. Let me tell ya, he’s got one of the greatest bodies in the business; he’s got charisma, and a four letter word called guts…bar none! The one thing he lacks is that ability between good and great, and I’m the guy that’s got that ability.”

Rogers continued, “I don’t have to talk about myself; my records and my past speaks for itself. But let me tell you, in this man you’re going to see without a doubt the next champion. Give me about three or four months at the latest, and you will see…” At this point Caudle interjected, “How disappointed all of his fans are…” Rogers indignantly retorted, “Wait a minute! Tell his fans that there’s one leader in this business, and you’re lookin’ at him. And this man is being led by me. I’m leading him to where nobody else, including himself, could he get to the top like I’m gonna put him there.”

In finishing, Rogers told the fans, “And you know, there’s an old saying that good guys don’t win ball games; I taught him as of the last two weeks, that good guys don’t win wrestling matches. And the moment that anybody listening in thinks for one minute that this guy will ever be a nice guy again, they’re mighty mistaken.”

Rogers turned out to be a man of his word, as Jimmy Snuka became a champion very quickly under Rogers, winning the United States Heavyweight Title on September 1, 1979 and he was never a fan favorite again while wrestling for Jim Crockett Promotions. Jimmy rarely uttered a word, as he let his viciousness do his talking. While Rogers left the area and Snuka picked up Gene Anderson as his mouthpiece at the tail end of 1979, the Superfly maintained his hold on the U.S. Belt until the spring of 1980, and even after dropping that title to Ric Flair, Jimmy went on an impressive run as NWA World Tag Team Champions with partner Ray Stevens.

When Snuka finally left the Mid-Atlantic area for good in the early spring of 1981, the Superfly was as nasty and surly as he became on that astonishing TV taping in July of 1979. Buddy Rogers, long since out of the area, would have been proud of the staying power of the monster he created. Truly, Jimmy Snuka was a nice guy no more.

Originally posted November 2016 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Saturday, January 01, 2022

Tragos/Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame Announces 2022 Melby Award Winner

Thanks to Greg Oliver at Slam Wrestling for this article. I am extremely honored to be receiving the 2022 James C. Melby Award and look forward to being in Waterloo, Iowa, at the George Tragos/Lou Thesz Hall of Fame this July. It is humbling to be recognized with an award previously given to others for whom I have such enormous respect.

You can read Greg Oliver's article here:

Dick Bourne announced as 2022 Melby Award winner
Slam Wrestling | Posted by Greg Oliver | Dec 30, 2021

The George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame announced that Dick Bourne will be receiving the 2022 Jim Melby Award for his contributions to pro wrestling journalism.

Bourne and David Chappell operate the long-running Mid-Atlantic Gateway website.

>>> Read the entire article.

Wrestling Art: Arn Anderson on the cover of Mid-Atlantic Magazine

Art by Robby Bannister

Back on November 27, Robby Bannister presented his first throwback-style art cover to the Mid-Atlantic Gateway, a tribute to the old issues of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Magazine sold at arenas back in the 1970s and 1980s. 

The first one featured Blackjack Mulligan as United States champion back in 1976, when Mulligan was the top heel in the Mid-Atlantic territory for Jim Crockett Promotions.

The second installment jumps ahead almost a full decade and features the wrestler who would become known as "the enforcer" Arn Anderson. 

A member of the legendary Anderson family in wrestling, Arn was a cousin of Gene, Lars, and Ole Anderson in Anderson mythology, although he was briefly recognized at times as a brother, and even initially a nephew when Ole Anderson first introduced him in Georgia Championship Wrestling in 1983. 

I like to think this could have been a cover in the spring of 1985 when Arn was relatively new in the territory. It wouldn't be long before Arn would have always had a title belt around his waist, whether it be the National Tag Team title, NWA World TV title, or NWA (or WCW) World Tag team title. 

Arn was a great singles competitor as TV champion, and was most famously a member of the legendary Four Horsemen. But he is best remembered for his tag team success, holding the Southeastern tag team titles with "Mr. Olympia" Jerry Stubbs, the National Tag titles with Ole Anderson, and the NWA/WCW World Tag team titles with Tully Blanchard, Bobby Eaton, Larry Zbyszko, and Paul Roma.

Arn sadly never had a cover of Mid-Atlantic magazine, but 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.