The month of September 1975 brought its share of thrills and upsets around the Mid-Atlantic area. And at the time, nobody would have ever guessed that this was the last full month that United States Heavyweight Champion Johnny Valentine would ever wrestle. September was also building for a number of terrific fall programs and angles in the territory. Unfortunately, the tragic airplane crash on October 4, 1975 in Wilmington, NC derailed many of those plans forever, while others were delayed while the promotion attempted to regroup in the aftermath of that fateful night in Wilmington.
September saw the return of two huge stars to the area, after prolonged absences. Both of these wrestlers were great main event stars from the past, but their returns would see them in reduced, though still important roles. Mike “The Judge” DuBois made his return to the Mid-Atlantic area after an absence of several years, on September 8, 1975 in Charlotte against the masked Avenger. Even better known to area fans, Johnny Weaver made his return to the area after being away the whole year of 1975, on Mid-Atlantic television taped in Raleigh on September 24, 1975 in a match against Joe Soto. Both these former main event stars settled into mid card roles, but it was still great to see these competitors back, and often times wrestling against each other again!
There were few guest appearances in the area during September, but one big name who was headed to the area was that of Ray Stevens. On the September 10, 1975 taping of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show in Raleigh, a tape was shown to the area audience of the great Ray Stevens. And Stevens was put on a terrific card at the Greensboro Coliseum on September 28, 1975, where he was paired against Tim Woods in a Bounty Match.
Woods had to endure a number of Bounty Matches during the month of September, as the Bounty that Johnny Valentine had put on him was still in effect. The primary pursuer of the Bounty was “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, though Woods had to face other Bounty seekers during the month, including the rugged Gene Anderson. However, as the month wore on, there were more and more matches between Valentine himself and Woods, which were some of the fiercest that the territory had seen in a long while, as Woods was determined to exact revenge against Valentine for breaking his leg earlier. One can only speculate how torrid this feud between Woods and Valentine would have become, if not ended prematurely by Valentine’s injury in the October 1975 plane crash.
In addition to holding off the enraged Woods, Valentine had a busy month of successful U.S. Title defenses in the month of September. Valentine turned back extremely tough challenges from Wahoo McDaniel, Paul Jones and Rufus R. Jones in September, maintaining his grip on the United States Title, and looking as determined as ever to keep it as long as he kept the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title before.
Speaking of the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship, September of 1975 saw a major happening regarding this Title. Champion Wahoo McDaniel met Ric Flair at the Hampton Coliseum on September 20, 1975, putting his Title on the line against Flair’s hair. Wahoo said he would send Ric home bald headed and make him “the laughing stock of the world,” while Ric vowed Wahoo would have to kill him to take his “million dollar head of hair.” Flair got the last laugh, defeating Wahoo with the aid of a pair of brass knucks, and walked out with the prestigious Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title. (NEWSPAPER CLIPPING AND RESULT) Ric didn’t have long before his first title defense, facing Wahoo in a rematch for the title on September 22, 1975 in Conway, SC.
Paul Jones had a limited number of defenses of his Mid-Atlantic Television Title during the month of September, but they were all successful defenses. Paul battled his nemesis’s Gene and Ole Anderson in several memorable singles encounters, with his TV Title at stake during the month. These bouts were every bit as brutal as his tag team battles with Wahoo as his partner again the Anderson’s.
September did mark the effective end of the monumental feud between Gene and Ole Anderson against Wahoo McDaniel and Paul Jones for the NWA World Tag Team Titles. Particularly early in September, there were continued epic battles between these four combatants around the territory, in two hour time limit, two referee and Texas Tornado specialty matches. The Anderson’s slowly began to seize control of this program by mid month, but then a new and very surprising challenge presented itself to Gene and Ole!
On the September 17, 1975 taping of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV show, Gene and Ole Anderson wrestled the upstart duo of Tiger Conway and Steve Keirn. In one of the most stunning upsets in the history of Mid-Atlantic Wrestling on TV, and in front of one of the most raucous TV studio crowds ever, Keirn and Conway defeated the Anderson’s cleanly to the shock of nearly everyone watching. The match was a non-title bout, and the Anderson’s thus left WRAL still with the World Tag Team Titles…but the damage had been done. This amazing upset win propelled Keirn and Conway to a two month program against the Anderson’s, where the youngsters gave the veteran duo all they could handle. The ascendance of Keirn and Conway also for all intents and purposes ended the Anderson’s program with Wahoo and Paul Jones---one of the greatest tag team feuds anywhere at anytime.
The team of the Missouri Mauler and “Professor” Boris Malenko had another strong month in September. Malenko also continued to feud with Olympic strongman Ken Patera during the month in several tough matches, where Patera was trying to get even from the incident on TV earlier where Malenko bit his ear, leaving Patera “swimming in blood.”
Spoiler # 2 continued to wreak havoc in the area during September, and lo and behold by the end of the month, he was joined by a tag team partner, Spoiler # 1. The masked Spoilers # 1 and # 2 had their debut match as a team in Spartanburg, SC on September 27, 1975 against Ken Patera and Bob Bruggers. There was no question that this new masked tandem meant business, and was trouble for any and everybody.
September of 1975 was an outstanding month for the Mid-Atlantic promotion, and October was looked forward to with much anticipation and excitement. No one in their worst nightmares could have predicted what October of 1975 held in store for Jim Crockett Promotions. The coming month would be the most chaotic in the promotion’s history, with the territory’s future in so many ways cloudy, murky and completely up in the air.
Ric Flair---The “Nature Boy” beat Wahoo for the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title in his biggest win to date. There may have been controversy in the way he did it, but there was no doubt that Ric Flair had made believers of everyone after taking the belt way from the great Wahoo…saving his hair in the process.
Steve Keirn & Tiger Conway---These guys beat the Anderson’s on TV…cleanly! Even after it happened, nobody believed it. But Keirn and Conway were determined to prove that win on TV was no fluke.
Spoiler #2---The big masked man continued to dominate the competition in September. And now he gets a partner---Spoiler # 1!
Wahoo McDaniel---Not often that we see the Big Chief in this position, but he lost his Mid-Atlantic Title during the month, and he and Paul Jones ultimately came out on the short end of the epic feud with Gene and Ole Anderson.
Gene and Ole Anderson---Not often are these two in this position either! BUT, they lost on TV to the upstarts Keirn and Conway! And neither could take the TV Title away from Paul Jones. The Anderson’s definitely had better months than September of 1975.
Art Nelson---The former main event star for many years with Jim Crockett Promotions, dropped into the “opening card” category for the first time in September. In two more months, Nelson would leave the area for good.