David Chappell's

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History

July  - September 1976



July

August 

September

Who's Hot & Who's Not

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE 3RD QUARTER 1976

The third quarter of 1976 saw the blossoming of several great feuds, along with entrances and departures of some of the greatest stars that ever performed for Jim Crockett Promotions.

July of 1976 will probably be best remembered for the epic battles between NWA World Tag Team Champions Gene and Ole Anderson and the former champs Dino Bravo and "Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods. The Andersonís held off the former champions, but only by a whisker.

Two casts on the arms of Ole Anderson and Paul Jones dominated the month of August 1976. Both men used their casts to great advantage, and in the case of Ole it was a big reason why the Andersonís remained World Tag champs. Jones lost his TV title to Angelo Mosca in August, but even using his cast did not enable him to regain the belt. But Angelo certainly got some knots on the head from that cast!

September was the most eventful month of the year 1976 to date. Wahoo McDaniel defeated Ric Flair for the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title after a long summer of great bouts. Newcomers Greg Valentine and The Masked Superstar burst on to the scene. NWA World Tag Team Champions Gene and Ole Anderson left the area, taking the World Titles with them. With no tag team belts in the area, the promotion brought the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles out of the mothballs and hurriedly set up a TV tournament to crown a set of new champions.

The third quarter of 1976 certainly changed the landscape of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling for years to come!

JULY 1976

July started with several big name visitors passing through the area. Andre the Giant made a swing through the area during the first two weeks of July. Andre primarily wrestled Blackjack Mulligan, but also was a special referee in U.S. Title matches between Mulligan and number one contender Paul Jones. Andre also wrestled a rare match on Mid-Atlantic television during the first week of July, teaming with newcomer Red Bastien.

Former Olympic wrestler Chris Taylor also wrestled around the Mid-Atlantic circuit during the early part of July, 1976. Taylorís matches were primarily against Jerry "Crusher" Blackwell, in matches that were billed as the "Battle of the 400 Pounders." Taylor won the matches against Blackwell and after one TV appearance, departed the area as quickly as he came.

July also saw a new young tag team emerge on the scene, Randy and Lanny Poffo. This team never rose to great heights in the Mid-Atlantic area, but Randy Poffo would emerge as "Macho Man" Randy Savage many years later and achieve superstar status. Angelo Poffo, the father of these two, was also in the area at this time and would occasionally team with his sons during this time frame.

No titles changed hands during the month of July, which was something of a rarity. However, the action during July was non-stop, with several feuds reaching their apex during this month.

The battle for the NWA World Tag Team Titles between newly re-crowned champs Gene and Ole Anderson and Dino Bravo and "Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods reached its high water mark in the month of July. The battles between these four were epic during July, and the competition was very even. The determining factor in the majority of these matches was the cast worn by Ole Anderson on his arm, which he used to his advantage to pull out a number of close victories.

Another feud that was nearing its zenith in July was the feud between Mid-Atlantic Champion Ric Flair and his number one challenger, Chief Wahoo McDaniel. Wahoo and Ric put on a number of memorable battles in July, with Flair barely maintaining his grip on the Mid-Atlantic belt. Towards the end of July, these two started hooking up in fence matches around the circuit, drawing huge gates.

Blackjack Mulligan continued his iron grip on the United States Heavyweight Title during the month of July, taking on all comers. Mulliganís primary opponent as July progressed evolved from Paul Jones to Rufus R. "Freight Train" Jones, whom Mulligan dispatched with relative ease as the big Texanís reign as U.S. Champ extended to four months and counting.

AUGUST 1976

August of 1976 should have been named "The Month of The Casts." Ole Anderson continued to wreak havoc with the cast on his arm in August. "Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods, Dino Bravo and Wahoo McDaniel all felt the wrath of Oleís cast during the month of August. In somewhat of a different twist, "good guy" Paul Jones also used a cast on his hand and arm to his advantage in August battles against Angelo Mosca.

Gene and Ole Anderson continued to defend their NWA World Tag Team Titles often and successfully during the month of August. By the end of the month, Gene and Ole had essentially turned back any remaining challenges of former champions Dino Bravo and "Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods. Oleís cast continued to be the deciding factor in a number of these bouts.

By the end of August, Ole had begun to go after others with his cast. During an August Lumberjack Match between Ric Flair and Wahoo McDaniel, Ole operating as a lumberjack outside the ring smashed Wahoo with his cast. This set off a mini-feud between Ole and Wahoo that resulted in a series of Indian Strap Matches between the two where Wahoo also wore a cast on his arm. Wahoo came out on top in these matches, foreshadowing Oleís departure from the area that would occur in about a month hence.

While Wahoo tangled with Ole Anderson later in the month of August, the big Chief continued his efforts to reclaim the Mid-Atlantic Title from "Nature Boy" Ric Flair during this month. Ric continued to hold Wahoo off, but McDaniel was coming closer than ever to winning the belt back as the month drew to a close.

One title that did change hands during the month of August was the Mid-Atlantic TV Title. Paul Jones put his TV belt on the line against "Big Nasty" Angelo Mosca on Mid-Atlantic television on August 11, 1976 from the WRAL-TV Studios in Raleigh, N.C. (the match aired around the area on Saturday, August 14, 1976). With assistance from Blackjack Mulligan, Mosca toppled Jones for the TV Title, injuring Paulís jaw in the process. The night after Paul lost the TV Title, he had a match against Blackjack Mulligan where Blackjack broke his hand. Paul had a cast put on his hand, and much like Ole Anderson, Jones used the cast as a weapon in his matches. Angelo Mosca was the wrestler that felt the brunt of Jonesí cast. Despite being battered with the cast often, Mosca was able to hold Paul Jones off for the remainder of the month of August and remain TV Champion.

August of 1976 was a solid month for Jim Crockett Promotions, but it would pale in comparison with the coming month of September and the excitement and changes that month would bring.

 

SEPTEMBER 1976

With a major title change, and multiple big stars arriving in and leaving the area, September was the most eventful month of 1976 to date.

The major title switch saw Wahoo McDaniel defeat Ric Flair for the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title in Greenville, S.C. on September 11, 1976 in a fence match. This match was the culmination of a summer-long quest by Wahoo to gain revenge against Flair for losing the belt and receiving 40 stitches in their match in May in Charlotte. Flair made no excuses for losing the title, but vowed to win the belt back saying this feud was far from over.

Wahoo was also embroiled in another feud in September that was short in duration, but long in historical significance. Wahoo and Paul Jones had a confrontation on Mid-Atlantic television with "Professor" Boris Malenko and his team of Bolo and Geto Mongol. Malenko accused Wahoo of breaking his teeth in this confrontation, setting up a series of "Loser Leaves Town" and "Hair Against Hair" matches between Wahoo and Bolo Mongol. McDaniel won out in these September bouts, shaving Boloís head (all Bolo had to shave was the top knot!) and forcing Bolo to leave the area. Geto had for all intents and purposes left the area a week or so previously, so the team of the Mongols was history in the Mid-Atlantic area.

On September 29, 1976, the same show that Mid-Atlantic TV showed Bolo Mongol being run out of the area by Wahoo, Professor Malenko appeared with a new masked wrestler called the Masked Superstar. Superstar was promoted as an Olympic gold medal winner, and a Doctor of Psychology and a Doctor of Neurology! He was in fact well spoken, but what most fans didnít realize at the time was that the Superstar was actually the same man as the recently departed wild man, Bolo Mongol! His real name was Bill Eadie, and his transformation between Bolo Mongol and The Superstar within a weekís time was truly amazing. Superstar would be a main event performer for Jim Crockett Promotions for years and years to come.

Another newcomer in September and who would also be a Mid-Atlantic main event star for years was Greg Valentine. Valentine was promoted as being the "brother" of the legendary Johnny "The Champ" Valentine, when in actuality he was Johnnyís son. Greg also went by the nickname "The Bionic Elbow" when he entered the Mid-Atlantic area. In fact, prior to his first Jim Crockett Promotions television appearance in late September, Greg sent in a tape that was played on Mid-Atlantic TV of him breaking boards with his powerful elbow smash! Greg would become one of the all-time Mid-Atlantic greats.

As the Masked Superstar and Greg Valentine joined the Mid-Atlantic main event ranks as heels in September, that meant that two other heels had to leave the area to balance out the roster. Surprisingly, the two stars that left the area were none other than NWA World Tag Team Champions Gene and Ole Anderson. Ole lost a series of Indian Strap Matches to Wahoo McDaniel in late August and early September to pave his way towards leaving the area. Then in mid and late September, Ole lost a series of "Loser Leaves Town" matches to Rufus R. Jones that signaled the end of the Andersonís great run as regulars for Jim Crockett Promotions. While Gene and Ole would play significant roles in Mid-Atlantic story lines over the next year, they would not be true regular performers again for JCP as a team until 1981.

With the Andersonís leaving the area in late September, they of course took the NWA World Tag Team Titles with them. With the Mid-Atlantic area no longer being the home base of the World Tag Team Champions, the promotion scrambled to unearth the old Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles in order to have continued competition in the tag team division. The Mid-Atlantic Tag Titles were put on the shelf in early 1975 when the Andersonís brought the World Tag belts into the area, and had not been an active title since that time. Then on Saturday, September 25, 1976 the promotion announced on its TV show that the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles would again become active titles and immediately started a 12 man tournament on television that would last until November 6, 1976 to crown new champions.

The month of September certainly changed the Mid-Atlantic landscape as the promotion headed into the autumn months. More historic changes would be right around the corner in October!


Who's Hot & Who's Not

WHOíS HOT

  1. BLACKJACK MULLIGAN---The big man from Eagle Pass continued to dominate the United States Heavyweight Championship through the third quarter of 1976. Mulligan successfully defended his title against strong challenges from Paul Jones, Rufus R. Jones and assorted other contenders including Andre the Giant. Blackjack also teamed up occasionally with his buddies Ric Flair and Angelo Mosca, forming fearsome tag teams. Mulligan was also at his devastating best during the third quarter of 1976, breaking the hand of Paul Jones and putting Burrhead Jones (the cousin of Rufus R. Jones) in the hospital for an extended period of time.
  2. GREG VALENTINE---Despite entering the Mid-Atlantic area at the very end of the third quarter of 1976 (late September), Valentine made an immediate impact. His rough and rugged style made many people compare him to his father, Johnny Valentine. At this time, the promotion was touting him as the "brother" of Johnny Valentine. His signature move upon entering Jim Crockett Promotions was the "bionic elbow," a devastating maneuver. Greg was teamed up with Ric Flair as partners in the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Tournament that started soon after Valentine entered the area, starting a wrestling friendship and partnership that would last a number of years.
  3. THE MASKED SUPERSTAR---Much like Greg Valentine, The Superstar came into the Mid-Atlantic area at the tail end of the third quarter of 1976, but made his presence felt right away. Saying he was entering the area to restore the reputation of his manager, "Professor" Boris Malenko, Superstar combined size, strength and intelligence and was a wrestler to be feared. The mask added to his mystique, keeping many an opponent confused and off of their game. The clothesline and the cobra were two awesome holds that Superstar dominated foes with in his early days in the Mid-Atlantic area.

WHOíS NOT

  1. BOLO MONGOL---Bolo Mongol went from being a mid-card tag team with partner Geto in July and August, to getting a short main event program with Wahoo McDaniel in September 1976. The matches with Wahoo were "Loser Leaves Town" and "Hair vs. Hair." Bolo lost these matches and was banished from the area. Perhaps Bolo (Bill Eadie) got the last laugh, as he re-entered the area a week later by transforming himself into The Masked Superstar!
  2. PAUL JONES---Jones lost his Mid-Atlantic TV title to Angelo Mosca in mid-August 1976, suffering an injured jaw in that match. The next night Jones had his hand broken by Blackjack Mulligan. Paul wore a cast on his arm, but was unable to wrest the title back from Mosca during the remainder of the third quarter of 1976. However, Jonesí luck would change in a big way in October of 1976!
  3. JOHNNY WEAVER---Weaver emerged from the mid-card ranks briefly to main event status against United States Champion Blackjack Mulligan during the third quarter of 1976. Mulligan had too much youth, size and ferocity for Weaver to handle and clearly proved that Johnnyís days as a consistent main event performer for Jim Crockett Promotions were in the past. However, Weaver continued to be a solid mid-carder in the Mid-Atlantic area for many more years to come.

RETURN TO TOP OF PAGE

© Mid-Atlantic Gateway