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