Friday, December 16, 2022

Funk vs. Wahoo: History Had Other Plans

By Brack Beasley
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

At first glance I figured this poster to be from 1976 but upon researching the date, found it to be Valentines Day, 1977. 

It promotes an NWA World Title match at the Sampson County Middle School gym in Clinton, NC with Terry Funk defending against Chief Wahoo McDaniel. Unfortunately for Funk, he lost the championship to Harley Race in Toronto only 8 days prior, so this scheduled defense by Funk never transpired.

The question is, did Race defend the NWA World Title in Clinton? One would have to assume so as he probably took over Funk's bookings upon winning the belt. In addition, Race defended the belt against Wahoo in Charlotte on the 13th and Columbia, SC on the 15th.

Other familiar Mid Atlantic names on the card included Tiger Conway Jr., Crusher Blackwell, Sgt. Jacques Goulet, Johnny Eagle, and young Macho Man Randy Poffo.

The poster itself has a vertical layout with all black print over a two tone background and great images of Funk and Wahoo with their names in big bold letters. 


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Mid-Atlantic Gateway Notes
by Dick Bourne

Always interesting to see future world champions working the opening matches on cards in their early careers. In this case Tatsumi Fujinami, billed here as Dr. Fujiani (and occasionally Dr. Fujinami) would later become IWGP and NWA World Champion. The second match of the night featured pre-macho Randy Poffo who would later win the WWF World Title as Randy "Macho Man" Savage.

Wahoo McDaniel was reigning Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion when he presumably wrestled the world champion in Clinton. It was also around this time that Wahoo was presented with a brand new Mid-Atlantic belt, the familiar white-faced title belt most associated with the championship, and would be worn by many future hall-of-famers between 1977 and 1985.