Saturday, May 21, 2022

Wahoo McDaniel Apologizes to Mid-Atlantic Fans - - while in Florida (1985)

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

I just came across an interesting interview with Chief Wahoo McDaniel on an episode of "Championship Wrestling '85", formerly known as Championship Wrestling from Florida. The episode has two interesting connections to Jim Crockett Promotions and Mid-Atlantic Wrestling as it relates to Wahoo McDaniel. 

The episode originally aired Saturday, 3/16/85 in Florida. It was taped the prior Wednesday morning 3/13/85 at the famous Sportatorium in located at 106 North Albany Avenue in Tampa.


The first Mid-Atlantic connection was that Wahoo McDaniel was the reigning United States Heavyweight Champion for Jim Crockett Promotions at the time of this appearance in Florida. He was just over a week away from losing the title to Magnum T.A. in their famous cage match back in Charlotte on 3/23/85. So when Wahoo appeared on Florida TV, he was wearing the Crockett U.S. title. he was not acknowledged by the ring announcer or announcer Gordon Solie as champion, but was wearing the belt in the ring. Wahoo teamed with Jay and Mark Youngblood who were former Mid-Atlantic stars and the reigning United States Tag Team champions, a Florida-based title at the time. (Wahoo and Mark Youngblood had held the NWA World Tag Team titles a year earlier in the Mid-Atlantic area.)

The second Mid-Atlantic connection was the interview Wahoo did with host Gordon Solie at the desk.  Wahoo had been one of the most popular wrestlers in the history of Jim Crockett Promotions throughout the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. But in 1984 he had "turned heel" over his frustration with being stripped of the United States title after defeating Ricky Steamboat for the belt in Greensboro. Wahoo became bitter and found an unlikely ally in Tully Blanchard, the two dubbing their tag team combination as the "Awesome Twosome." Suddenly, Wahoo had become one of the most hated wrestlers in the territory. 

So when he appeared in Florida, still with the U.S. title, it was perhaps surprising for him to team with the babyface tag team of the Youngblood brothers. 

After the match was over, Wahoo sat down with Solie and the two discussed Wahoo's return to Florida and his ongoing chase of Ric Flair and the NWA World Heavyweight title, a chase that had been going strong back in the Mid-Atlantic area, but now would continue in Florida. It was here that Wahoo actually apologized to the fans.

"You know, I've done a lot of things in the last couple of months," Wahoo told Solie. "My style of wrestling has changed some. I'd like to apologize to a lot of people, because in some places I've done some things I wouldn't ordinarily do."

Wahoo's use of the phrase "in some places" may have been a little cryptic for most Florida fans who would have been largely unaware of Wahoo's heel run in the Mid-Atlantic unless they had read about it the wrestling magazines or perhaps seen some of his occasional appearances in Georgia on WTBS. But that was directly aimed at Mid-Atlantic fans, some of whom could see the weekly Florida TV show on their cable systems.

Wahoo would apologize a second time, this time directly to Mid-Atlantic fans a few months later in a video tape sent in from Florida. It was in advance of a special return appearance for Jim Crockett Promotions to aid Dusty Rhodes against Tully Blanchard and Abdullah the Butcher in Greensboro. 

A week after this Florida episode aired, Wahoo lost the U.S. title to Magnum T.A. in Charlotte, and immediately left the territory to take the booking job in Florida.

The entire episode is embedded below, although you can go directly to Wahoo's match and interview using the links embedded in the paragraphs above. 


 (The complete episode is on the "106NAlbany" YouTube channel.)