Thursday, October 27, 2022

Bob Caudle's Most Dangerous Place

by David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

On the Wednesday night April 23, 1975 television taping of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV show, announcer Bob Caudle told the fans that he wasn’t in a comfortable place. The early bouts on the show were dominated by the “bad guys.” Talented Doug Gilbert decisively defeated youngster Kevin Sullivan in the opener, gaining the advantage by feigning to help Sullivan up when Kevin was tangled up in the ropes, but instead Gilbert sucker punched him into oblivion.

The second match on the show featured the newly formed duo of the veteran Art Nelson and Mid-Atlantic newcomer Mr. Fuji easily handling the duo of Don Kernodle and Tio Tio. Fuji put Tio Tio to sleep with his devastating submission hold, the Japanese Cobra. Those three rulebreakers would join Bob for the show’s first interview segment.

Caudle began, “Fans at ringside right now, and I can’t think of any more dangerous place for a person to be than I am right now between three really notorious wrestlers, like Art Nelson here on my left, Doug Gilbert, and then Mr. Fuji.” Nelson gruffly responded, “Well let me say this, not notorious, well-conditioned athletes.”

Art continued, “Let me say this, when you get in that ring then you’d have to be worried. As long as we’re on the floor here, we don’t bother anybody. If you get in that ring, if you’re not in condition, you can’t take it, then you’d have to be worried about it. This is a man’s business, we’re men, and we go in that ring and we don’t fool with babies.”

Nelson added, “Fuji and I were here a few weeks ago and we were talking about wrestling top teams. Where are they? Where’s the Indian [Wahoo McDaniel]? Where’s little boy blue [Paul Jones], the guy with the belts, where’s he at? Where’s the strongman [Ken Patera]? I don’t see them around, I hear them, but I sure can’t see them. But as long as they’re scared to get in the ring with us, nothing we can do about it because we said we would meet all comers, we would wrestle anybody, right Fuji?

The man from Japan answered, “Right! Very, very true Mr. Nelson. You see fans, you see how very devastating, Japanese cobra hold is! Samoan boy [Tio Tio] he paralyzed already; he’s no good, like wrestling an old lady! Right Mr. Gilbert?”

Caudle interjected, “I gotta say Doug Gilbert, you know I thought you were gonna help Kevin Sullivan out, it looked like you were gonna commit an act of sportsmanship in your match and then all of a sudden you hit him. That’s very unsportsmanlike!” Gilbert deadpanned, “I won the match didn’t I?” Bob agreed, “You won the match, right.” Doug continued, “Well, you’re gonna have to realize that when you get in a profession like professional wrestling, sportsmanship doesn’t count very much. What counts is ability. What counts is winning the match, and that’s what happened. I won the match, these gentlemen won their match. That’s what counts…winning!”

Caudle then commented, “Doug Gilbert shows a lot of wrestling ability up there. You got a lot of moves and you use them up there. Why do you have to resort to some of the other type tactics?” Gilbert candidly responded, “It’s a lot easier.” Bob had to do a double take saying, “A lot easier to win that way then, Doug?” Gilbert nodded in the affirmative.

Nelson concluded the segment telling the fans that boiling it all down…making money, and lots of it, was the overriding aspiration in professional wrestling. Art exclaimed, “Green power is what’s important! Green power…that’s the dollar bill, ten dollars, a hundred dollars!” But with that final comment the three “notorious” wrestlers departed the set, making Bob Caudle’s interview area a much less dangerous place!