David Chappell's

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History

January 1974

by David Chappell

The Almanac

Almanac Index

Jan. 74 Roster

Championship Picture This Month:



• Jack Brisco



• Johnny Valentine



•  Gene and Ole Anderson



January of 1974 saw the crowning of a new Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion, the continuation of a feud of epic proportions and a newcomer that made everybody in Jim Crockett Promotions take notice!

Johnny Valentine ascended to the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship during the month of January. With former champion Jerry Brisco leaving for Japan during the month, Valentine looked more formidable than ever with the title belt around his waist. Valentine’s first defense of his new Title was against Bob Bruggers at the Park Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. During the remainder of the month, Valentine had successful defenses against Nelson Royal in Columbia, South Carolina on January 22nd, and against Art Nelson at the State Fairgrounds in Richmond, Virginia on January 25th.

The Scope Exhibition Hall in Norfolk, Virginia saw back to back titanic struggles between Valentine and the ultra popular Nelson Royal at the end of the month, even though they weren’t for the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship. On January 24th, Valentine and Royal wrestled to a time-limit draw, where Royal had numerous chances to pull the upset. A week later back at Scope, Valentine and Royal went at it again in a return bout, with Valentine capturing a very unexpected pinfall, after Royal controlled nearly the entire match up to that point.

The mega-feud between the Destroyer and Johnny Weaver continued hot and heavy from the end of 1973 into January of 1974. The two battled on even terms during the month of January, with two memorable time-limit draws occurring in Fayetteville, North Carolina on January 14th and in Greensboro, North Carolina on January 17th. In Greenville, South Carolina on January 7th, the Destroyer captured a pinfall victory over Weaver, after weakening Johnny considerably with his feared claw hold.

Weaver won several of the bouts with the Destroyer during the month of January via disqualification. In Roanoke, Virginia on January 5th, Fayetteville, North Carolina on January 21st and Charleston, South Carolina on January 25th, Johnny was awarded victories when the Destroyer got himself purposely disqualified. One of the wildest contests between these two occurred at the rematch in Roanoke, which was on January 12th. This bout ended in a double disqualification, and during the match, Weaver dominated at times using his sleeper hold, and the Destroyer countered by subjecting Weaver continually to the ravages of his claw hold. Towards the end of the fracas, both wrestlers were so out of control that the referee disqualified both combatants!

The Destroyer did not confine all of his activities during the month of January to Johnny Weaver. Towards the end of the month, the Destroyer was on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television saying that there was not any worthy competition in the area for him. George Scott, who wasn’t actively wrestling at the time, told the Destroyer that he would be happy to climb into the ring with him, and show him that there was plenty of competition for the masked man.

The Destroyer and George Scott tangled soon thereafter on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV from the WGHP studios in High Point, North Carolina. During the televised match, George Scott bled heavily after being subjected to a long period of time under the Destroyer’s claw hold. This TV match led to a special grudge match between the Destroyer and George Scott on January 31st in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. During this bout, Scott was injured seriously and never returned to active competition in the Mid-Atlantic area thereafter.

The Destroyer was also active in tag team competition during the month of January. And what an impressive partner the masked man came up with, being none other than big Swede Hanson! Swede’s regular partner, Rip Hawk, was not active in the Mid-Atlantic area during January, thus allowing for the fearsome pairing with the Destroyer.

The new duo of the Destroyer and Hanson had a memorable series of matches with Art Nelson and Johnny Weaver during January. In both Richmond, Virginia and Roanoke, Virginia, these four battled back and forth during the month. In Richmond, the two tangled initially at the State Fairgrounds on January 4th. In a wild melee that virtually turned into a riot, both teams were disqualified. Promoter Joe Murnick nevertheless booked the two teams for a return match the next Friday night, January 11th. The return match was almost as wild and crazy as the first bout! In the rematch, the Destroyer used some very sneaky tactics to capture a pinfall on the unsuspecting Weaver.

The two bouts in Roanoke at the Starland Arena were equally exciting. On January 19th, Nelson and Weaver put together an impressive performance in defeating the Destroyer and Hanson. The bad guys wanted a rematch, and they got their wish the very next week. On January 26th, the two teams were matched up again in Roanoke, this time in an Elimination Match! In a bloody encounter, the Destroyer eliminated Weaver to be the last man standing, thus capturing the bout for his team.

Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champions Gene and Ole Anderson were extremely busy during the month of January. While the bulk of the Andersons’ matches were non-title affairs, the bouts were nevertheless thoroughly entertaining.

One of the most interesting tag team programs during the month of January saw Gene and Ole face off in a “Battle of the Bullies” series of matches against Jay York and Brute Bernard, managed by the sneaky and underhanded Beauregarde. The Andersons had just recently defeated York and Bernard for the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles at the end of December. These “bullies” battled in Raleigh, North Carolina on January 8th, January 11th in Charleston, South Carolina and in Danville, Virginia on January 16th. The match at the Danville City Armory was notably rough and rugged, but ended far earlier than any of the fans expected! Gene put an end to this bout by pinning York in a mere 9:49 of non-stop action.

The “good guy” tag team that the Andersons faced most often in the month of January was the duo of Bearcat Wright and Bob Bruggers. These four hooked up five times during the month, with three bouts in Spartanburg, South Carolina being the most interesting. The trio of matches started in Spartanburg on January 12th, but these four were just getting started in that opening match! In the Return Match on January 19th, the fans in Spartanburg were treated to an all out brawl, with the Andersons prevailing by using some questionable tactics when the referee’s back was turned. However, Buggers and Wright turned the tables in the Return Grudge Match on January 26th in Spartanburg, with the superior size and strength of Bearcat leading to a clean pinfall victory for the good guys.

In January of 1974, Gene and Ole probably had their toughest time against the lightening fast team of Nelson Royal and Sandy Scott. While these teams knew each other well, the Andersons had a great deal of difficulty solving the quickness of Royal and Scott. Gene and Ole were fortunate that they only encountered Royal and Scott twice during the month, and that both bouts were non-title. Royal and Scott captured clean wins against the Andersons on January 17th in Norfolk, and on January 21st in Greenville, South Carolina.

The “Minnesota Wrecking Crew” also had several bouts against the high caliber tandem of Art Nelson and Johnny Weaver. In fact, the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champions closed out the month with a successful Title defense against Nelson and Weaver on January 31, 1974 at the Winston Salem, North Carolina Memorial Coliseum.

Undoubtedly the most humorous matches that happened during the month of January 1974 involved the manager of Brute Bernard and Jay York, “Beautiful” Beauregarde. As the month wore on, Beauregarde managed less and less, and unluckily for him, January saw him wrestling in the ring more and more!

Beauregarde’s in-ring action during the month of January took place almost immediately, as he and Jay York lost to Art Nelson and Bobby Bold Eagle on January 2, 1974 at the Danville Armory. Unlike the vast majority of the matches where Beauregarde participated, the winning pinfall was captured against York. There were also several matches during the month where Beauregarde teamed with both Jay York and Brute Bernard, and the trio did not fare well. One particularly embarrassing defeat for the trio was at the Scope Exhibition Hall in Norfolk on January 24th, when Bearcat Wright, Bob Bruggers and Sandy Scott were especially rough on poor Beauregarde!

Speaking of Sandy Scott, Beauregarde suffered his most embarrassing moments in the ring against one-half of the “Flying Scotts.” In Norfolk on January 3rd, Sandy destroyed the “Beautiful One” in a Non-Sanctioned, Lights Out Match. And it got worse for Beauregarde on January 11th at the Lynchburg City Armory in a Lights Out, No Disqualification Match. After chasing Beauregarde throughout the Armory, Sandy easily disposed of the diminutive manager once he caught up with him!

Interestingly enough, Beauregarde’s lone victory in the ring during the month of January came against a fellow manager, General Homer O’Dell. O’Dell, the manager of Rip Hawk and Swede Hanson, did not actively manage in the area during January, but faced Beauregarde in the ring in the Greensboro Coliseum on January 17, 1974. Somehow, Beauregarde managed to score a victory in this match between the managers!
Towards the end of the month, a massive newcomer appeared and his mere physical appearance was such that everyone had to take notice. Hailing from California and standing six feet and eight inches tall, and weighing over 300 pounds, Chuck O’Connor looked like the real deal. Debuting at the Park Center in Charlotte, North Carolina on January 28th, O’Connor teamed with the crazy man Brute Bernard to defeat Scott Casey and Nick DeCarlo. It would be the first of many wins for the massive O’Connor.

January of 1974 brought in the New Year with lots of excitement and competitive matches. But the two things that will be best remembered likely will be that January 1974 was the first month that Johnny Valentine reigned as Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion, and January was the month that the mega feud between the Destroyer and Johnny Weaver reached its apex. But by any measuring stick, January of 1974 was quite a month!


1. Johnny Valentine---The rugged competitor from Seattle, Washington rose to the top in the month of January, becoming the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion. Valentine’s deliberate and cerebral style in the ring was looking extremely formidable.
2. Gene and Ole Anderson---The Minnesota Wrecking Crew were coming off their Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Title victory in late December, and they were out to prove that they were worthy Champions in January of 1974. And did they ever…slicing through tough competition from multiple teams.
3. Bearcat Wright---The big newcomer continued to impress during January of 1974. Bearcat was successful in his single matches, and functioned equally well as a tag team partner also.


1. Beauregarde---“Beautiful” Beauregarde was certainly an excellent manager, but he was definitely not “beautiful” in the ring! His foray into wrestling was a disaster…to put it mildly.
2. Jay York---His once powerful tag team with Brute Bernard crumbled during the month, and he fell off in his singles matches as well. January was certainly not Jay’s month.
3. Brute Bernard---The crazy Brute didn’t have a great month either. In addition to his tag team with Jay York hitting the skids, Brute’s singles matches went downhill as well. Bernard had a few main events, but he was more of a mid-card performer in January of 1974.




© 2009 David Chappell   Mid-Atlantic Gateway  Published 6/23/09