Monday, March 18, 2024

First Reference to "Mid-Atlantic Wrestling" by JCP

NOTE: The Mid-Atlantic Gateway has ceased regular publication, but from time to time something new will pop up here that's of historical interest or just of interest to us personally. 

First Reference to "Mid-Atlantic Wrestling" by Jim Crockett Promotions
by Dick Bourne

Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Over the years, we've tried to track down the earliest references we could find to "Mid-Atlantic Wrestling" as a brand name used by Jim Crockett Promotions.

Prior to 1972, the company simply used "Championship Wrestling" or "All Star Wrestling" to brand and promote its live events through newspaper ads and event posters, as well as their TV programs.

But in 1971, John Ringley (Jim Crockett's son-in-law who helped run the company) came up with the name "Mid-Atlantic Wrestling" and over the next two years, the name would slowly phase in to become the single brand of the company. Ringley remembers the day he suggested it to Jim Crockett, Sr.

 "I was in the car with him on Morehead Street when I suggested the Mid-Atlantic name," Ringley told me. "He seemed interested in it right away." 

Trademark data shows the earliest use of the brand was 12/31/1971 and that was also the date it was first used in commerce.


The earliest the term shows up in company advertising that we have been able to uncover is a weekly Raleigh, NC show on March 28, 1972 at Dorton Arena. It is believed, although not yet absolutely confirmed, that this was around the same time as the TV shows taped in Raleigh changed names from "Championship Wrestling" (for the Raleigh market) and "All Star Wrestling" (for syndication) to "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling."

First known use of the brand "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" in advertising
(although we're always looking for earlier cases.)

The Mid-Atlantic name started slowly making it's way into newspaper ads around the territory, although it took the better part of two years for that to completely evolve.

Other early uses of the name included a monthly event program titled "Mid-Atlantic Wrestling Magazine" that published its first issue in July of 1973. This was an eight-page black and white publication produced by Les Thatcher, who worked for the company in many capacities during this time, and sold at arenas. It would be replaced by 24-page quarterly publication of the same name in early 1975.


The territory's championships would all be changed to Mid-Atlantic titles in name over the course of about five months. 

On September 6, 1973, Jim Crockett Promotions changed the name of their top singles title from "Eastern Heavyweight Championship" to "Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship." Reigning champion Jerry Brisco was given the new belt in a brief presentation in the ring in Greensboro, NC.

On October 9, 1973, the Atlantic Coast Tag Team titles were renamed "Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championships" and were first defended in Raleigh NC on that night.

On February 27, 1974, the first Mid-Atlantic TV champion was crowned when Danny Miller won a tournament that aired on 3/2/74, taped for television 2/27/74 in Raleigh. He defeated Ole Anderson in the tournament finals.