Monday, January 30, 2023

Flair and Race: Two of the Greatest Ever

Former NWA world champions Ric Flair and Harley Race


What a great shot of two of the greatest champions to ever lace up the boots: Ric Flair and Harley Race.

The photo was taken Saturday 8/29/15 in advance of World League Wrestling's "Night of Champions" event in Troy, MO.

That's Harley's Reggie Parks replica of the domed-globe version of the NWA world title belt, better known as the "Ten Pounds of Gold."

Edited from a post originally published August of 2015 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Friday, January 27, 2023

Figure Friday: Jack and Jerry Brisco

Another great custom set up from Matty at WrestlingwClassics (@wrestlingwclass.) That Jerry Brisco figure is dead on. Love that sh*t-eating grin of Jerry's, straight out of the Brisco Brothers heel run of 1983-1984 in Mid-Atlantic Wrestling.

Also, note the Event Staff personnel in the background. Good stuff!



Thursday, January 26, 2023

Wahoo Warns: A Decade Better Be Ten Years

Wrestlers can be a bit sensitive about their age.

Don Holbrook related a story to me about a fellow named Jim McNerney in Greenville who was writing and submitting articles to the wrestling magazines back in the day. He had done one on Wahoo McDaniel, and wanted to show it to Wahoo before submitting it. So one Monday night at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium, he handed it to him and asked him to look it over. Wahoo took it downstairs to the locker room.

A bit later he came back up and walked over to Don and asked him, "How long is a decade?" Don told him it was 10 years.

Wahoo paused for a moment, as if thinking about this and then said, "I thought it was 25 years." Don laughed and told him he was pretty sure it was 10 years, so Wahoo handed the paper with the article back to McNerney and told him he thought it was OK.

Turns out one of the first lines in the article read something like, "For more than a decade now Wahoo McDaniel has been a top star in professional wrestling."

After McNerney walked off happy that Wahoo had blessed his article, Wahoo came close to Don and said "I don't want people thinking I'm older than I already am! You better be right; that decade sh*t better mean 10 years and not 25!"


Originally Published in April 2016 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

From the Mid-Atlantic Archive Series
Cokes & Popcorn
Originally published April 2016 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway

"Cokes and Popcorn" are little stories of humor and respect that I come across along the way of putting this website together, and they are little stories I want to hang onto. Not sure where the name of the section comes from; I just find these little stories refreshing.
More Cokes & Popcorn: "Never Let 'em See You Sell, Kid."

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Eddie Cheslock - Rest in Peace

By Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

David Chappell and I were very sad to learn this morning of the passing of our friend and Gateway contributor Eddie Cheslock. Eddie's family posted on Facebook this morning that Eddie died peacefully and comfortably at 3:30 AM Wednesday morning (January 25, 2023). We send our heartfelt condolences to Eddie's wife Janie and his son Michael, and to all of Eddie's friends and family.

David Chappell with Eddie Cheslock (R) in Charlotte, 2005.
Eddie is rocking his 1970s-style Anderson Brothers sideburns.

Eddie was a ringside photographer in the Mid-Atlantic area for Bill Apter in the 1980s, based out of Richmond, VA. His work was seen regularly in the wrestling magazines you bought on the newsstands in that era. His work has been featured frequently on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway and in the Gateway books. Eddie also provided many of the wrestlers in Jim Crockett Promotions with photos they could use for publicity purposes or autograph signings, and this continued well into the following decades as he maintained relationships with many of the stars he had befriended in the 1980s, 1990s, and on into the 2000s.

Eddie was perhaps more familiarly known for his regular attendance to the many wrestling conventions and independent supershows held in and around Virginia and the Carolinas, most notably the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fanfest and The Gathering in Charlotte, and Wrestlecade in Winston-Salem, NC. He and Janie and Michael traveled a lot of miles over the years and enjoyed seeing friends and "Mid-Atlantic mafia" members at many of these shows along the way.

A collage of some of Eddie's great photography as featured in the book "Four Horsemen."

I personally want to remember Eddie for his incredible generosity to me over the years with regards to his wrestling photo archives, both on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway and in my various book projects. I met Eddie at the first Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fanfest at the University Place Hilton in Charlotte, NC, in 2004. When I checked into the Hilton that Thursday night, Eddie was sitting in the lobby with George South looking at a huge three-ring binder of 8x10 photographs that Eddie had taken during the 1980s JCP glory days. These weren't his ringside photos for the magazines, these were posed photos from his personal collection. George introduced us and Eddie had nice things to say about the Mid-Atlantic Gateway and before an hour had passed he had pulled out about a dozen or more 8x10s and gave them to me hoping I could use them on the website. I still have those original 8x10 photo prints in a special notebook portfolio. Over the years he provided me with dozens of photographs digitally that we used in Gateway articles and more prominently in the books I published on the Four Horsemen, the Big Gold belt, and the Mid-Atlantic title histories. As soon as Eddie heard I was working on a new project, he would call and ask, "What do you need?" His photographs greatly enhanced my books and all our work on the website.

Whenever Eddie would call in recent years, he would always ask about my Dad, remembering that the only Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Legends Fanfest I ever missed was when my Dad was having heart surgery. Eddie was always thoughtful in that way.

Our best to Janie and Michael, and I hope they will know how much David and I will miss our friend Eddie. Rest in peace.

* * * * *
This article also featured as a guest post on Steve Oliver's

Monday, January 23, 2023

Kiniski: A Chip Off the Old Block

 One of Gene Kiniski's trademark moments during ring introductions when he was NWA World Champion was to lift up his ring jacket to show off the NWA World title belt he wore underneath. He was known for it. So much so, a great color photo of him doing that exact thing with the NWA 1959-1973 "crown belt" graced the cover of his biography. 

Years later, when his son Kelly Kiniski worked in the Mid-Atlantic territory, he briefly teamed with One Man Gang (George Grey) and the two held the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team championships under the management of Sir Oliver Humperdink as part of Hump's stable, the House of Humperdink.

As a tribute to his father, Kelly would often do the same thing, holding up his ring jacket for photos and ring introductions, as seen in the photo above from 1983.

Incidentally, Kiniski and Gang were the last team to hold these particular belts, title straps that went all the way back to 1975 beginning with the Gene and Ole, the Anderson Brothers. 

I was happy to come across this photograph, as it's a nice call back from son to father, the latter being one of the great NWA World Champions.

Originally published October of 2020 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Flair & Steamboat: A Look Back When Hell Frooze Over. Again.

The Anderson Brothers vs. Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat 
August 11, 1981 - Raleigh, NC
by Dick Bourne
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

"The Hawaiian Punch" Ricky Steamboat and
"Nature Boy" Ric Flair
It's hard to imagine now, with 35 years having passed by and so much water under the bridge, that two superstar wrestlers teaming up would be such a big deal. But in 1981, when Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat joined forces to challenge Ric's cousins Gene and Ole Anderson for their NWA world tag team championship, it was a very big deal.

Not as big, perhaps, as in 1979 when Flair had just turned babyface and fans and good-guy wrestlers alike weren't sure if they could trust the Nature Boy. Back then, when Flair asked Ricky Steamboat to be his partner and challenge Paul Jones and Baron Von Raschke for the NWA world tag titles that summer, it did indeed seem like hell had frozen over. The blood feud between Flair and Steamboat that had been going on for two straight years was unlike any other ever seen in the territory.

That was big, but now this seemed just as big to me for different reasons. This story had multiple layers to it now, calling back to family feuds and broken relationships going back some five long years.

Ric Flair's on-again, off-again relationship with his cousins Gene and Ole Anderson had been one of the greatest on-going stories in Mid-Atlantic Wrestling lore:

  • 1976: The big break-up as Flair took Greg Valentine as his partner and wrestled the titles from the Andersons in a scenario so unlikely that it actually made the fans cheer for the hated Anderson brothers. The two teams traded the titles back and forth over the next two years.
  • 1978: Ric's reunion with the family in 1978 when blood proved thicker than water and special referee Gene Anderson, thought to be impartial in the war between Flair and Steamboat, helped Ric retain the U.S title in the match where fans felt sure Steamboat would regain it. 
  • 1979: The family was at odds again when Flair turned good-guy and cousin Gene became the manager of Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka who proceeded to take Ric's U.S. title, and his favorite robe to boot.

Now in 1981, with Gene back in action after his managerial stint was over, the Anderson brothers reunited and regained the world titles. Not being able to leave well enough alone, Ole saw to it that the family feud erupted again when he and Gene joined Ivan Koloff in ganging up 3-on-1 on Flair inside a steel cage.

While Flair's current feud with Koloff had seemed more professional (albeit very violent), the family feud with the Andersons was very personal. With the cousins again waging war, Flair made the decision to once again attempt to do what he hadn't been able to do since his days in 1976-1978 with partner Greg Valentine - - take the NWA world tag team championships from the Andersons.

Flair took several different partners early on to tackle the Minnesota Wrecking Crew - - Blackjack Mulligan, Jay Youngblood, Wahoo McDaniel - - but in the end, there was only one man Flair could turn to that had a chance of making that magic happen again. It was his career long rival and now one of his best friends and allies - - the "Hawaiian Punch" Ricky Steamboat.

Like an onion with seemingly endless layers to peel away, this match-up had all of this tangled up history behind it. Flair was once again living out this family feud that had been going on for five years. Steamboat must have remembered back to the bloody wars with Flair in 1977, how Gene Anderson had helped Ric keep the U.S. title in that major battle of 1978. But the two were able to once again put that history behind them and join forces, just as they had shocked the world in doing two years earlier.

I'm convinced that they would have eventually been successful in taking the world tag team titles from the Andersons had it not been for something else happening in the meantime that changed the face of wrestling history: Ric Flair defeated Dusty Rhodes in Kansas City, KS to win the NWA World Heavyweight title. The Anderson's tag titles were safe once again as Ric Flair turned his attention to touring the world in defense of the "ten pounds of gold."

With the world title in the picture, Flair and Steamboat would renew their rivalry several more times over the next 13 years, but for a brief few weeks in the summer of 1981, there was magic in the air again as hell froze over for a second time and Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat formed one of wrestling's most powerful and exciting combinations.

Originally posted October 27, 2016 on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway.

Check out other MAIN EVENT MEMORIES on the Mid-Atlantic Gateway:

1. The Anderson Family (1976) The Andersons and their cousin Ric Flair
2. Dusty's Big Championship Weekend (1976) with Flair, Mulligan, and the Andersons
3. Mulligan vs. Flair on a Hot July Night (1978) Worlds Collide!
4. The Origins of Wahoo vs. Flair (1975) with Wahoo McDaniel and Ric Flair
5. Blackjack Mulligan vs. Rufus R. Jones (1976) "Have mercy, Mama!"
6. The Briscos Challenge Flair & Valentine (1978) Jim Crockett makes the match.
7. A Local Boy Gets His Shot (1981) Don Kernodle teams with Ric Flair in his hometown.
8. Bullrope Match: Ole vs. Flair (1981) Dusty prepares Ric for a big match in Charlotte.
9. Ric Flair Wins His First Mid-Atlantic Championship (1975) Hair vs. Title in Hampton!
10. Blackjack Mulligan Regains the U.S. Title (1978) New Year's Night in Richmond
11. The Gathering on Tour (1986) Post Starrcade event in Columbia SC
12. Township Tangle (1978) Flair & Valentine vs. Wahoo & Jones
13. Flair Wins the NWA Title (1981) Historic Win over Dusty Rhodes in Kansas City
14. Brisco, Valentine Defend Titles in Richmond (1974) Huge main events in Richmond

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Poster: Flair-Jones, Rashke-Weaver Battle in Farmville

By Jody Shifflett
Mid-Atlantic Gateway Contributor

Ric Flair takes over Farmville, VA, in 1978. This is another of my favorites. It boasts great colors and what I really like is that it says "Nature Boy". I have never seen another that has Nature Boy printed on it.

Flair and Paul Jones had many great battles and I’m sure this was another. Undercard featured a great rivalry between the Baron Von Raschke and Johnny Weaver, and with Weaver you were always going to be entertained with his wrestling style. 

There was a newcomer on this card named Jan Nelson. Other great stars including Jerry "Crusher" Blackwell, Don Kernodle. Plus, the classic 8:15 Bell Time!


Monday, January 09, 2023

1974 Concludes With a Bang!

By David Chappell
Mid-Atlantic Gateway

One of the most memorable televised matches ever on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV wasn’t actually a scheduled match at all. And occurring in the middle of 1974, it in many ways was “Exhibit A” in the evolving change of Jim Crockett Promotions from a tag team based territory to an area focused on a hard-hitting singles style.

Indian star Wahoo McDaniel was on his way to the Carolina’s in early July of 1974 when he came by the High Point, North Carolina TV studios to help announcer Charlie Harville with color commentary. Johnny “The Champ” Valentine was in the squared circle and was none too happy to see Wahoo in the territory, goaded McDaniel into the ring, and the two proceeded to have an impromptu slugfest that was talked about for years hence! In fact, a clip on the Wahoo-Valentine brawl was shown due to popular demand on a Jim Crockett Promotions highlight year-in-review show way off in 1980!

And on the subject of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling year-in-review shows, the December of 1974 version featured the Wahoo-Valentine in-ring brawl in one of its segments. Wahoo and the Super Destroyer were both in the studio when the tape of the High Point fracas was shown to the viewers.

Announcer Sam Menacker began, “This is really a highlight, boy-o-boy, Wahoo McDaniel and Johnny Valentine! What a feud these two men have. Look at these punches and chops! It’s just a testimony of the condition of both of you.”

Wahoo commented, “I want the Destroyer to be sure and take a good close look at this, because this could happen to him at any time too.” Menacker noted, “The Destroyer is sitting here watching intently, very intently.” The Super Destroyer chimed in, “Well Mr. Wahoo, it just goes to show one thing, that you pick, like you pick your opponents. You picked that tape to make yourself look good. They should show a few of the tapes where I beat you decisively in the center of the ring, with a one, two, three count that really counts.”

Watching the wild action Menacker exclaimed, “Wahoo, boy I’m telling you, I can’t remember ever seeing anything like this, all these chops! You didn’t beat him, I mean he gets up. He’s tough, but you’re still withstanding his punches too.” McDaniel agreed, “That’s right, it’s just a tough battle. In a short period of time like this, it’s hard to tell who the best man is. As you can see he’s holding his own and I’m holding my own.”

Menacker continued excitedly, “You dropped him there! The fans are cheering you on!” Wahoo then added some important context, “Sam, I want to bring up one thing. This was one of the first weeks I was here. Valentine wanted to test me early. He got a good showing early that I wasn’t gonna back down from him. I want the Destroyer to answer this, because he waited an extra week to see what I could do. They wanted to feel me out ahead of time. He’s felt me out since; he knows how I am. Now Valentine knows that you’re not gonna run over me.”

Sam, still awe-stuck at the ferocity of the spontaneous brawl stated to Wahoo, “Here [Valentine’s] wasting time, you dropped him there. He’s purposely wasting time here, he’s regaining his bearings a bit in doing this. He’s trying to get his second wind. Again, look at these punches fly! Another chop! And that stops him; that backs him up.”

The Super Destroyer then interjected, “It just goes to show the great condition of the Super Destroyer and as you can see on your screen, Johnny Valentine.” McDaniel disgustedly retorted, “Yeah, he looks in real good shape there. I tell you, I’m tired of sitting out here. I don’t want to sit at the table with this man.” Wahoo then stormed off from the announcer’s table leaving Menacker and the Super D. behind as the segment wrapped up.

Sam concluded, “I certainly don’t blame Wahoo for leaving. Say fans, in this match you’ve seen a lot of punching and a lot of toughness on the part of both these wrestlers. Oh, look at that chop by Wahoo McDaniel! Another chop to the back of the head! That shakes up Valentine as the Destroyer watches intently, and we now must go to a commercial break.”

Thursday, January 05, 2023

Let's Take Time ...

      The Mid-Atlantic Gateway is on a publishing hiatus.