Saturday, April 30, 2022

Ric Flair Exhibit Revisited (WrestleMania Axxess 2017)

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

In 2017 at WrestleMania Axxess, the annual fan event preceding the big wrestling pay-per-view, the WWE presented an exhibit dedicated to the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair. With the help of several private collectors, the exhibit showcased some of Ric's famous wrestling robes from the 1970s-1990s and also the four original belts Ric wore that represented his 16 world championships.

West Potter photo.
The centerpiece of the exhibit was a Starrcade-themed display featuring the robes worn by Flair and Harley Race at the Starrcade '83 event in Greensboro, NC in November of 1983. Behind the robes were familiar photographs from that Starrcade that we all remember seeing countless times over the years in the newsstand magazines.

West Potter photo.
To the left of the Starrcade robes were the "domed globed" NWA World title belt Ric wore from 1981-1986, and the famous "big gold" belt that represented the NWA title from 1986-1990 and the WCW World title following that.

Ben Brown photo, courtesy of Dave Millican

To the right of the Starrcade robes were the WCW World championship belt (1991-1994, above right) and the winged-eagle (above left) WWF Championship belt, the style Flair wore there in 1992-1993.

West Potter photo.
There were several historical robes on display, but one of my favorites is the "lion robe" which goes back to the mid-1970s, and was worn at the "Battle of the belts II" in Orlando in 1986 when Flair debuted the new NWA World championship "Big Gold" belt. (There are lots of amazing photos of the robe and belt together in the book "Big Gold" which has a chapter devoted to that night in Orlando.) Special to see that robe on display in the same city for WrestleMania.

Collage from @wcwretrospect on Twitter

This collage features several images from the exhibit including the statue of Flair unveiled over the weekend, as well as the infamous "President of World Championship Wrestling" shield on display when Flair was in that role on "WCW Monday Nitro" in 1999.

Very cool stuff, and nice to see these things remembered and showcased in this way.

Originally published April of 2017 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Friday, April 29, 2022

Tragos/Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame Weekend

Click For Schedule and Ticket Information

I am extremely honored to be receiving the 2022 James C. Melby Award from the Tragos-Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame and look forward to being in Waterloo, Iowa, in July for the Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame Induction Weekend.
It is humbling to be recognized with an award previously given to others for whom I have such enormous respect.  - Dick Bourne

Tragos/Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame Announces 2022 Melby Award Winner
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

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

Visit to the Tragos-Thesz Pro Wrestling Hall of Fame
by Andy McDaniel, with lots of photos

National Wrestling Hall of Fame   |   Dan Gable Museum
Tragos-Thesz Pro Wrestling HOF Weekend

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Missing Peggy Lathan on Her Birthday

Miss Peggy Lathan was one of our closest and most treasured friends, and we continue to mourn her passing. Today (April 28) is her birthday, and we present links to the many contributions Peggy made to our website and the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling family in general.
Peggy Lathan with Paul Jones, Atlanta 2012
Happy Birthday Peggy Lathan! We miss you every day.

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Articles by Peggy Lathan
on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

From time to time, I would nag Peggy to write something for the Gateway. She had so many wonderful stories to tell. She never wanted to do it, but would eventually relent, and then of course was always happy to see the positive reaction they got. I wish now I had nagged her to write more. Here they are.
Other Gateway Features Involving Peggy

Photo Albums
Peggy's Favorites (1978-1981)
From the mid-1970s to the early 1980s, Peggy took lots of photographs of the wrestlers she knew, many of them in candid moments in the back. These were some of her favorites. (Page is on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway Archives Website)

Peggy's Ric Flair Photo Album
While Don Kernodle, Johnny Weaver, and Tommy Young became three of her best friends and part of her extended family, it was Ric Flair that was always her favorite in the ring. And she later became good friends with the Nature Boy, too. Anyone remember Ric stopping during his big speech at his first Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fanfest in Charlotte in 2008 to go and hug Peggy? That was a cool moment. These were some of her favorite photos she took of Ric in his first 4-5 years with Jim Crockett Promotions. (Page is on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway Archives Website)



Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Poster: Masked Superstar and Paul Jones Headline Winston-Salem in 1978

by Brack Beasley
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

This poster takes us back to the Twin City of Winston-Salem, NC and promotes a card held on Thursday, February 23rd, 1978 at the old Memorial Coliseum.

The red hot feud between Paul Jones and The Masked Superstar had carried over from 1977 into the new year and in the night's main event they would attempt to settle things in a cage match.

The semi of this double main event was a match-up of two former US champs, Ric Flair and Bobo Brazil, while the mid card featured tag team action with the masked duo of Mr. X 1 and Mr. X 2 versus Roberto Soto and Richard Blood (the future Tito Santana). The undercard participants included Mr. Sato, the Russian Stomper, Tony Rousso, Charlie Fulton, Jim Garvin, and Joe Furr.

Other than the main event names and date in high impact red, the horizontal poster has black print over a pink background and the familiar "Wrestling" splash in the upper left corner. It's topped off with great images down both sides of Jones, Superstar, Brazil, Flair, Soto, and Blood.


Sunday, April 24, 2022

Wahoo Warns: A Decade Better be Ten Years


Fresh popcorn!

Wrestlers can be a bit sensitive about their age.

Don Holbrook related a story to me about a fellow named Jim McNerney in Greenville who was writing and submitting articles to the wrestling magazines back in the day. He had done one on Wahoo McDaniel, and wanted to show it to Wahoo before submitting it. So one Monday night at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium, he handed it to him and asked him to look it over. Wahoo took it downstairs to the locker room.

A bit later he came back up and walked over to Don and asked him, "How long is a decade?" Don told him it was 10 years.

Wahoo paused for a moment, as if thinking about this and then said, "I thought it was 25 years." Don laughed and told him he was pretty sure it was 10 years, so Wahoo handed the paper with the article back to McNerney and told him he thought it was OK.

Turns out one of the first lines in the article read something like, "For more than a decade now Wahoo McDaniel has been a top star in professional wrestling."

After McNerney walked off happy that Wahoo had blessed his article, Wahoo came close to Don and said "I don't want people thinking I'm older than I already am! You better be right; that decade sh*t better mean 10 years and not 25!"

From the Mid-Atlantic Archive Series
Cokes & Popcorn
Originally published April 2016 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

"Cokes and Popcorn" are little stories of humor and respect that I come across along the way of putting this website together, and they are little stories I want to hang onto. Not sure where the name of the section comes from; I just find these little stories refreshing.
More Cokes & Popcorn: "Never Let 'em See You Sell, Kid."

Friday, April 22, 2022

The NWA Champions Remembered in Japan

The Japanese magazines still do an excellent job of remembering the old NWA champs. These are images from a special section of a magazine in Japan that looked back at the history of the NWA World title and presented a special interview with Harley Race.

Originally published April 2016 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Poster: Six Man Main Event at University Hall

by Jody Shifflett
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

This is one of my favorite posters from my collection. This was from November 3, 1978, a great 6-man card featuring six of the greatest wrestlers to grace the sport of professional wrestling: Greg Valentine, John Studd and Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat, Jimmy Snuka, and Paul Jones.

It happened at University Hall in Charlottesville, VA, which was not a regular stop like Richmond or Roanoke but with more frequent stops than just a spot show. University Hall was built during the same era as the Hampton Coliseum and Norfolk Scope and it had a very unique roof that resembled a clam-shell and was definitely a landmark in Charlottesville until it was torn down in 2019.  

This poster has terrific rainbow coloring and was one of many great cards to take place in this historic building.

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Mid-Atlantic Gateway Notes
by David Chappell

This was Jimmy Snuka's first main event match in Jim Crockett Promotions. He and Paul Orndorf, who wrestled Gene Anderson on the semi-main, would team up soon and eventually win the NWA World Tag Team Championships!


Friday, April 15, 2022

Magazine Memories: Paul Jones vs. Terry Funk

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

This was always one of my favorite photos in the old Weston magazines, it ran in many issues over the years in stories or mentions about Paul Jones and/or Terry Funk.

What I like is the way Funk is selling. It was a familiar look for him when selling during the 70s and early 80s.

Jones is working over Funk's leg, perhaps setting him up for his trademark Indian deathlock. Funk has his arms wrapped around his head - - his right over his eyes, his left over his ear. I used to joke this was the "see no evil" method of selling. If I can't see you and and I can't hear you, then you can't hurt me.

One of the best matches on tape to see Funk sell in this way is the famous Toronto match in 1977 where he loses the NWA title to Harley Race.

It's a small thing, really, but it always stood out to me, and it did in this great photo as well.

Originally published May 2018 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway. Republished 5/30/2020, 4/14/2022.

Wednesday, April 06, 2022

Johnny Weaver Still TV Champ after Battle with the Baron (1978)

Longtime Mid-Atlantic Wrestling fan and current WWE referee (and the best currently in the business) Charles Robinson sent us this photo he took back in 1978 of Johnny Weaver after a bloody battle with Baron Von Raschke for the NWA Television Championship.

Also in the photo legendary NWA referee Tommy Young, holding the NWA TV title belt in his right hand. On the right looks like Ted Oates, and not sure on the left. Can you help us positively identify the wrestlers in this photo who came to Johnny's aide?

Johnny won the TV title on 3/5/78 from Baron Von Raschke in Charlotte. He lost it back to the Baron a month later, 4/3/78, in Greenville, SC.

Photograph by Charles Robinson / Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Originally published in March 2014 on the Johnny Weaver Blog, part of the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Friday, April 01, 2022

Poster: The Anderson Brothers Defend Their Titles in South Boston

by Brack Beasley
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

When the town of South Boston, VA comes up I automatically think of the great NASCAR short track located there, South Boston Speedway. In years past I spent many Saturday nights at that track and the locals really loved their racing. Evidently, they loved their professional wrestling too as Jim Crockett Promotions came to town on occasion.

This poster promotes a spot show held at the Halifax High School football field on Tuesday, August 17th, 1976. The NWA World Tag Team titles were up for grabs with champions Ole and Gene Anderson defending against the formidable duo of Dino Bravo and Paul Jones. 

The semi had Virginia native Tony Atlas versus The Great Malenko, while the undercard had Klondike Bill versus Doug Somers, Dr. Fugiani versus Jack Evans, and a midget match with Little Tokyo versus Cowboy Lang.

With a vertical layout the poster has all black print over a super bright blue background and images of the Andersons, Jones, Bravo, and Klondike. This event was sponsored by the Bethel Ruritan Club and fans could get advance tickets at Allen's Drugs.