Sunday, October 16, 2022

Poster: Night of Champions in Norfolk

by Jody Shifflett
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

This poster is from 1984 and showcases the best matchup that professional wrestling has or ever will see with Ric Flair versus Ricky Steamboat. It is also the largest Mid-Atlantic wrestling poster that I know to exist being 42 x 29 inches. 

This match ended in a draw and I’m assuming it had a 60-minute time limit. It featured a great undercard with the Road Warriors, Freebirds,  Wahoo McDaniel, etc. The other famous Night of Champions event was at the Meadowlands Arena in New Jersey a couple of weeks earlier and this was shortly after Steamboat came out of his brief retirement. 

Places like Norfolk, Hampton, Richmond, Roanoke, Charlottesville and Lynchburg were truly a hotbed for Mid-Atlantic wrestling back in the day. Virginia was historic for Mid-Atlantic wrestling back in the day just as much as the other states in the territory. 

It’s not a flashy poster at all but boasts the famous 8:15 start time!


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by Dick Bourne, Mid-Atlantic Gateway

What a unique line-up for this Night of Champions show in Norfolk, VA. As Jody mentioned above, this followed the historic Night of Champions card at the Meadowlands Arena in New Jersey, smack dab in the middle of WWF territory, and was JCP's first major response to the WWF's encroachment on their territory as McMahon began to expand nationally. 

In addition to Norfolk, JCP promoted a string of Night of Champions events in the weeks that followed including in Richmond VA and Raleigh NC (featuring Flair vs. Harley Race) and Greenville, SC (featuring Flair vs. future Horsemen partner Tully Blanchard). 

But none of those other cards featured a line-up quite as diverse as this one in Norfolk.  Early June saw JCP book several stars in from other territories such as King Kong Bundy, the Fabulous Freebirds, the Road Warriors, Stan Hansen, Kamala, Junkyard Dog, Harley Race, Dusty Rhodes, and others. Several of these would jump quickly to the WWF soon after, appearing for only a week or two on Mid-Atlantic TV. Race would give up in Kansas City and St. Louis a year or so later and also go north. Rhodes would soon come to JCP as booker and pop the territory in a big way. The Road Warriors opted to stay with JCP and were top stars for them throughout the last four years of the company. Stan Hansen would continue to work regularly in Japan, with a short run as AWA World champion to boot.

Other historical context: This was during the time when, behind the scenes, the WWF was close to taking control of Georgia Championship Wrestling - -Black Saturday was just 5 weeks away. 

Also, as Jody mentioned, Ricky Steamboat was just out of his "retirement" at this point (having gotten his gym business up and going in there meantime), and Ric Flair had just won the NWA World Heavyweight title back weeks earlier in Japan, regaining it from Kerry Von Erich.

June was a wild and unusual month in Jim Crockett Promotions!