Friday, June 24, 2022

Mid-Atlantic Wrestling in Niagara Falls, ONT (1980)

by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Poster image submitted by Andrew Calvert and Barry Hatchet

This is a very rare and somewhat unusual poster from June of 1980 for a show in Niagara Falls, Ontario. It features a United States title defense by Ric Flair against Great Hossein Arab, better known to fans in the traditional Mid-Atlantic territory as the Iron Sheik. The card took place at Niagara Falls Memorial Arena, which was just across the Canadian - U.S. border in Ontario.

The show was promoted by Tony Parisi as an extension of Frank Tunney's Toronto booking office. This was during the roughly 5-year period that Tunney was booking the majority of his talent for Toronto from Jim Crockett Promotions in partnership with Crockett and booker George Scott. One of the unusual things that makes this poster so rare is that it says "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" instead of Maple Leaf Wrestling. Andrew Calvert from Toronto told us that posters were generally pretty scarce to begin with up his way, but the ones they did have were almost always billed as Maple Leaf Wrestling. 

The Iron Sheik was generally billed in Toronto as Hossein the Arab or Great Hossein Arab. (His name was badly misspelled on the poster.) When he first arrived in the Mid-Atlantic area in early 1980, he was referred to on television by Bob Caudle and Rich Landrum as  "Hossein the Arab, the Iron Sheik." Later, it was simply shortened to the Iron Sheik. But in Toronto, it was usually Hossein the Arab.

At the time of this card, the Sheik was Canadian Heavyweight Champion, having defeated Dewey Robertson for the gold belt back in May in Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. Oddly he is not billed as such on this poster, although newspaper articles in advance of this show mention he is champion. It appears Flair's United States title was the only championship on the line that night at the Falls arena. The Canadian title was mainly defended in Toronto, but it would seem a missed opportunity to not have a title-vs-title match, especially given that the finish of the match was reportedly a double count-out. 

Sheik was also the reigning Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight champion at this time. He is billed with neither title on this poster.

Others featured on the poster were local favorites (and former Canadian champions) Angelo "King Kong" Mosca and Dewey Robertson, teaming up to face the top heel team for Jim Crockett Promotions, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka and Ray "The Crippler" Stevens. Snuka and Stevens won the NWA World Tag Team titles just three weeks earlier from Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood in Greensboro, NC, although they are not billed as champions on the poster. Neither is their manager Gene Anderson, and it isn't clear if Anderson appeared with them on this show in Niagara Falls. Again, it seems like a missed opportunity for promoter Parisi to not bill Snuka and Stevens as tag champs and make the match a title match.

Parisi's office was spelling-challenged on this particular poster, too: they even botched local football and wrestling legend Angelo Mosca's name!

One other thing that seemed odd (and this was mentioned in the local paper, too) was the low placement on the card of Pedro Morales. To be sure, Morales was wrestling low-to-mid card for Jim Crockett Promotions during this era, even doing jobs on TV, but he had not so long ago been WWWF Heavyweight Champion, and was still occasionally a headliner in the WWWF during this era. With the WWWF television being seen in this area, and the history of the WWWF title being defended in Toronto, you would think that even being booked out of JCP, Morales would have had a more featured spot on the card here.

As seen in this image, the poster is in really rough shape, worn and torn, and with a lot of apparent water damage. It was recently sold on eBay, which is where Barry Hatchet noticed it and the image wound up making its way to us, via our mutual friend Andrew at

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