second quarter of 1976 was both action packed and eventful for
fans of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling.
championships changed hands often during this time period. The
World Tag Team Titles, the Mid-Atlantic title, and the
Mid-Atlantic TV title all changed hands multiple times during this
quarter. However, the United States title was kept in the
vice-like grip of the big Texan Blackjack Mulligan for the entire
quarter. Mulligan was a dominant force during this time frame.
feud between Wahoo McDaniel and Nature Boy Ric Flair heated up
like the weather as this
quarter progressed. This feud blossomed into perhaps the greatest
in Mid-Atlantic history, and is a feud that Ric Flair to this day
calls one of his toughest and best. Some of the best matches ever
between these two occurred during the 2nd quarter of 1976.
major names left the area during the April-June 1976 period, but a
big name did make his way into the area. Dino Bravo was one of the
most impressive new-comers the area had seen in years. What
great things would lay in his future! And soon!
month of April 1976 saw the crowning of a new Mid-Atlantic TV
Champion, and as was said earlier, the bursting on the scene of a
fantastic new-comer to the Mid-Atlantic area.
tournament to crown a new Mid-Atlantic TV champion had been
ongoing since February of 1976. By the time April rolled around,
the finalists for the prized belt were "Madman" Angelo Mosca
and "Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods. Mosca had defeated Johnny
Weaver in the semi-final round of the tournament in controversial
fashion via a count out. Woods advanced by defeating Tiger Conway in the other semi-final in a rare match-up of "good
title match was held in the WRAL studios in Raleigh NC on April
14, 1976, and aired three days later. Bob Caudle had a special co-host
on that program, Mid-Atlantic Champion Ric Flair. A great match ended in rather
lame fashion as Mosca defeated Woods by using a handful of tights.
Woods whined after the match, vowing to have the NWA review the
ending of the match, but ultimately the decision stood. Mosca
would hold the belt until the last day of this quarter, June 30,
1976, when he would drop the belt in the WRAL studios to Paul
TOURNAMENT BRACKETS - A Gateway Exclusive!
terrific angle developed in April that would provide some classic
matchups throughout the month. Ric Flair and his cousins Gene and
Ole Anderson triple teamed the big man from Dillon, SC Rufus R.
"Freight Train" Jones, by ganging up on Rufus in a televised
match-up. To add insult to injury, the "Anderson family" put a
chauffeurs cap on Rufus and slapped him around while he was forced
to his knees. Flair and the Andersons were heavily fined by the
NWA for these actions. Rufus certainly did not take this
humiliation lying down, and sought out the help of friends for
some classic six-man tag bouts across the Mid-Atlantic region. One
of the best sets of matches to come out of this feud saw Rufus
team with Wahoo McDaniel and Andre the Giant against Flair and the
Andersons in late April, which did big business everywhere
saw NWA World Heavyweight Champion Terry Funk come back to the
area for a series of matches. In fact,
Funk wrestled a very rare
"main event" type match against the great Indian Chief
Wahoo McDaniel on Mid-Atlantic TV. Even rarer, Wahoo beat Funk
cleanly in their televised match which aired on April 24, 1976.
Regrettably, for the majority of fans, the McDaniel victory was in
a non-title bout!
of 1976 also saw a great new-comer enter the area. Dino Bravo hit
the ground running as he first appeared on Mid-Atlantic Wrestling
TV on April 24, 1976, defeating Steve Strong. On the same show,
Bravo came out and confronted Gene and Ole Anderson. The Andersons
were brutalizing the arm of Randy Colley, Bravo took exception,
and the fireworks began! Before the show ended, Bravo had secured
a World Tag Team title match with the Andersons! The following
week on Mid-Atlantic TV, Bravo enlisted the aid of "Mr. Wrestling"
Tim Woods to be his partner against the Anderson in the title
match that would air on Mid-Atlantic Wrestling TV on May 8, 1976.
May of 1976 started with a bang as the "Challenge
Match" for the World Tag Team Titles between Gene and Ole
Anderson and Tim Woods and Dino Bravo on Mid-Atlantic Championship
Wrestling TV aired around the area on May 8, 1976. A major upset
occurred as Woods and Bravo upended the Andersonís and became
World Champions. Tim Woods now had his white mask back on and was
referred to as "Mr. Wrestling."
May saw some great matches for the World belts as the Andersonís
desperately attempted to reclaim their titles. Mr. Wrestling and
Dino Bravo proved to be worthy champions as they performed well
during their run as champions.
Ole Anderson had a particularly rough month of May. Oleís
thumb was injured by Mr. Wrestling and Bravo during a match in
May, resulting in a cast being put on Oleís arm. Ole, of course,
used the cast to his advantage in many matches thereafter. In
fact, the cast played a role in story lines through late
September, when the Andersonís left the Mid-Atlantic area.
In an incident that received a good bit of mainstream media
attention, Ole Anderson was stabbed in the chest by an irate fan
in Greenville, SC following a match with Tim "Mr.
Wrestling" Woods and Dino Bravo. Luckily the injuries Ole received were
not serious, and the big man from Minnesota didnít miss a beat.
Ole even mentioned the stabbing on a late May show of Mid-Atlantic
Championship Wrestling, saying that the incident would make he
and Gene more determined than ever to win the World belts back
from Dino Bravo and Mr. Wrestling!
May was also the most active month in the
year long feud between
Ric Flair and Wahoo McDaniel. Wahoo defeated Ric for the coveted
Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title in early May, but Ric came back to
reclaim the title on May 24, 1976 in Charlotte, N.C. in
controversial fashion. During their championship bout in
Charlotte, the action spilled out of the ring and Ric threw Wahoo onto a table. The table collapsed and Flair picked up one of
the legs of the table that had an exposed nail in it. The
"Nature Boy" drilled Wahoo with the table leg,
inflicting two huge lacerations on Wahooís forehead that took 40
stitches to close. Ric took advantage of the blow to the head with
the table leg to defeat Wahoo and once again capture the
Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight crown. Wahoo vowed revenge, and this
classic feud was far from over!
The month of May closed with a special show of Mid-Atlantic
Championship Wrestling over Memorial Day weekend. Special because
the legendary Johnny Valentine returned to the set of Mid-Atlantic
Wrestling, serving as a color commentator with Bob Caudle.
Johnny said he would return to the ring someday, and no doubt
all who heard his words that day fully believed him. While as it
turned out Johnny was unable to return to active wrestling after
the plane crash, he is remembered by his many fans as a true
champion inside the ring as well as outside the ring.
June of 1976 saw an influx of new talent to Jim Crockett
Promotions, though not any newcomers to the main event ranks. June
also saw two titles change hands, and a number of dominating
performances by the United States Heavyweight Champion, Blackjack
June saw a bolstering of the mid-card ranks in the area, as big
Jerry Blackwell, Hans Schroder and Red Bastien came to the area.
All three of these newcomers got off to a fast start upon their
arrivals. Bastien even teamed up with none other than the
"Eighth Wonder Of The World," Andre The Giant, in
Bastienís first television match on Mid-Atlantic Championship
Wrestling! Unfortunately, none of these three newcomers would ever
rise above mid-card status in Jim Crockett Promotions.
June of 1976 was probably the best month in the Mid-Atlantic
career of U.S. Champ, Blackjack Mulligan. Mulligan defended his
title often during June, primarily against the challenges of Paul
Jones and Rufus R. Jones. Mulligan dominated Paul Jones to the
point that Paul would go into a short program with Angelo Mosca
over the Mid-Atlantic TV Title, before making another major push
for Mulliganís U.S. Title later in the year of 1976.
June would see Wahoo McDaniel heal up from his forty stitches
at the hands of Ric Flair, and gear up for a summer long push to
get revenge against Ric and reclaim the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight
crown. At least for the month of June, Flair was able to withstand
The end of the month of June saw a major title change hands as
Gene and Ole Anderson reclaimed the World Tag Team Titles from
Dino Bravo and Mr. Wrestling. The title switch occurred in
Greenville, S.C. on June 28, 1976. These four had some terrific
battles throughout the month of June. The Andersonís took the
titles back with assistance from the cast on the arm that Ole
continued to wear. Ole hit Mr. Wrestling with the cast, and Gene
fell on a knocked out Mr. Wrestling to capture the fall in
Greenville that won the belts back for the Andersonís. The
winning maneuver was well disguised by the Andersonís, and the
film of the match was not clear enough to overturn the result
despite an official protest by Bravo and Mr. Wrestling. The
Andersonís win would set up the remainder of the summer of 1976
as a battleground between these two teams for the NWA World Tag
The last day of the month, June 30, 1976, saw yet another major
title change hands!
Paul Jones took the measure of "Big
Nasty" Angelo Mosca and captured the Mid-Atlantic TV Title.
The title switch occurred on Mid-Atlantic television in the WRAL
studios in Raleigh, N.C. The week before, Mosca had told the TV
audience that Paul previously had the TV belt taken away from him
by the NWA because he would not travel and defend it. That
statement was incorrect, and
Jones came out and confronted Mosca.
The back and forth between these two got quite heated, and Mosca
slapped Jones setting up the challenge match for June 30, 1976.
This championship match had one of the strangest stipulations ever
Jones vowed that if Mosca beat him by pinfall or submission,
Jones would "get out of Moscaís hair and leave him
alone!" Jones pinned Mosca, but Angelo got the last laugh of
piledriving Jones on the belt after the match had ended.
A wild way to end what was truly a wild month of June!
HOT (& WHO'S NOT!)
- JUNE 1976
óThe big Texan from Eagle Pass
dominated all comers and remained the United States Heavyweight
Champion for the entire second quarter of 1976. Mulligan handled
the challenges of Paul Jones and Rufus R. Jones convincingly,
and was beginning to look almost unbeatable. Blackjack also did
some of his best mic work ever during this time frame. There was
no question that Blackjack Mulligan was still hot and was Jim
Crockett Promotionís top star during the spring and early
summer of 1976.
DINO BRAVO---Bravo came out of nowhere to capture one half
of the World Tag Team Titles within two weeks of entering the
area! Bravo and his tag team partner, "Mr. Wrestling"
Tim Woods made a solid team that gave Gene and Ole Anderson all
they could handle during the second quarter of 1976. Bravo did not
have great skills on the mic, but his physique and work ethic
made him a fine performer and justified the quick push from the
Crockett bookers. Pairing Bravo with a veteran like Tim Woods was
the perfect way to get Dino off to a rousing start in his early
months in the Mid-Atlantic area.
RIC FLAIR---The "Nature Boy" showed everyone
that he was better than ever after the October 1975 plane crash.
This three month period was Ricís coming out party, as he
clearly showed everyone that he would be a major force in the
business for years to come. Flair held his own with the great
Indian, Wahoo McDaniel, and in fact controlled the Mid-Atlantic
Heavyweight Title for nearly the entire quarter. His title victory
over McDaniel in Charlotte on May 24, 1976 via a table leg was
talked about for years to come. Ric Flair was on a roll, with no
end in sight!
- BLACKJACK MULLIGAN
STEVE STRONG---Strong was another muscleman who just
couldnít get it together. Steve continued to drop through the
ranks of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling through the second
quarter of 1976, after an impressive, albeit short, run as a main
event performer in late 1975. Strong left the Mid-Atlantic area in
May of 1976, and during his time in the second quarter he put over
established stars in TV matches while jobbing to lesser talent in
the arenas. A sad farewell to a wrestler who had so much talent
and looked to have "star" written all over him.
THE MONGOLS---Bolo and Geto were hot in the first quarter
of 1976, but not so much so in the second quarter. The losses
began to creep in with some regularity, and the twosome got very
little TV interview exposure. This was so even with their having a
great mouthpiece as a manager, Professor Boris Malenko. Any
combination of Johnny Weaver, Tiger Conway and Ronnie Garvin were
giving Bolo and Geto all they could handle in the mid card tag
team ranks. In fact, Sgt. Jacques Goulet and Mike "The
Judge" Dubois took over the top mid card heel team
designation from The Mongols during the second quarter of 1976.
All the promise that the Mongols brought in from the IWA did not
seem to be realized in Jim Crockett Promotions during this time
- TONY ATLAS---The
muscleman from Roanoke, Virginia just could not hit his stride.
Tony had great athletic ability and a strong personality, but
nothing jelled for Atlas during this time frame as Tony stayed
mired in the lower recesses of the mid-card ranks. In fact, it
wasnít unusual at all for Tony to drop bouts to opening-card
wrestlers during the second quarter of 1976. Atlas
had a ton of potential with all the muscles, as well as a good
relationship with George and Sandy Scott. It was very surprising
that Tony did not get a push of some sort during this time
period. But it never happened.
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