David Chappell's

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History

April - June 1977




Who's Hot 

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2nd QUARTER 1977 - An Overview

The second quarter of 1977 had much to offer for the fans of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. It was an eventful three months, and had its share of changes and surprises. The feud between Black jack Mulligan and Dino Bravo, along with the arrival of newcomer Bobo Brazil got the quarter off to a torrid start. As April turned into May, Gene and Ole Anderson appeared on the scene again, taking the NWA World's Tag Team Titles from Ric Flair and Greg Valentine. Unfortunately for Jim Crockett Promotions, the Andersons also took the World belts with them and out of the Mid-Atlantic area, opting to defend the championships elsewhere. But undoubtedly, this particular time period will always be remembered for being the launching pad for what arguably became the greatest feud in professional wrestling history, the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair versus the "Young Lion" Ricky Steamboat. Yes, these three months were memorable in every sense of the word!

APRIL 1977

The feud between Blackjack Mulligan and Dino Bravo reached its apex in April of 1977. The two battled throughout the area many times with various stipulations during the month. It certainly appeared as if Bravo was destined to capture Mulligan's prized United Stated Heavyweight Title, but Blackjack somehow held off the youngster from Naples, Italy. However, Bravo was not completely shut out in the month of April, as he teamed with Tiger Conway to defeat the Hollywood Blondes for the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles. Bravo and Conway proved worthy champions, holding the Mid-Atlantic tag belts through the rest of the quarter.

A noteworthy arrival of a big-name newcomer also came in the month of April. Bobo Brazil, an aging but still respected international star, made his way into the area with much fanfare. A huge man physically, but rather soft-spoken, Brazil wasted no time jumping into the Mid-Atlantic wars. Bobo was impressive in his early bouts, wrestling a good bit in tag teams as he started out in the new territory. However, it soon became clear that Brazil had his sights set on a single individual to do battle with, the U.S. Heavyweight Champion, Blackjack Mulligan. What battles they would have in the coming months!

As one big star arrived in April, another left the area at almost the same time. Rufus R. "Freight Train" Jones had been a main event fixture in the area for two years, but the month of April 1977 would end Rufus' best run in the Mid-Atlantic area. On his way out of town, Rufus would drop the Mid-Atlantic TV Title to Ric Flair.

The "Minnesota Wrecking Crew" Gene and Ole Anderson returned to the area and Mid-Atlantic TV in April. On a program of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling that aired around the area on April 30, 1977, the Andersons were their old punishing selves defeating the preliminary team of Danny Miller and Francisco Flores. Then, Gene and Ole came out and watched the TV match that NWA World Tag champs Ric Flair and Greg Valentine had. Flair and Valentine were none too pleased by the Andersons being in the studio with them, and voiced their displeasure. Ole made it clear that he and Gene were the only team tough enough to take the titles from Ric and Greg. Some classic "Battle of the Bullies" World Tag Title matches between these two teams were just around the corner in the month of May!

MAY 1977

May started with the Andersons battling Ric Flair and Greg Valentine over the NWA World Tag Team Titles in several of the larger venues around the area. A special and intriguing stipulation in these matches was Wahoo McDaniel being appointed as the special referee! Wahoo had certainly had his difficulties in the past with all four of these men, but it was significant that the promotion chose to have Wahoo participate in the promos of these matches with the Andersons. And Wahoo did factor into the biggest of these matches, on May 8, 1977 in the Charlotte Coliseum where Gene and Ole aced the World titles. Flair and Valentine cried foul, arguing that Wahoo intentionally tripped Flair allowing the Andersons to capture the winning pinfall. While many in attendance in Charlotte were cheering when the Andersons won the belts, they were likely not as enthusiastic when Gene and Ole took the World titles out of the Mid-Atlantic area (editor's note: to Georgia Championship Wrestling) and did not regularly defend them again in Jim Crockett Promotions.

Greg Valentine got a measure of revenge against Wahoo in May when Wahoo was awarded and presented a picture by the NWA for being voted the area's Wrestler of the Year for 1976. Valentine got hold of the picture and tore it to shreds, claiming he did it because Wahoo had cost he and Ric their prized World titles. This incident prompted Wahoo to give Valentine numerous title shots at his Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title. Greg would take full advantage, and during the month of June, Ric and Greg's revenge against Wahoo would be complete.

May also saw the feud between the Masked Superstar and the Mighty Igor get hotter and hotter. After the "cigar in the eye" incident, the Superstar later came out on crutches saying Igor had broken his leg. Jim Crockett demanded that the Superstar bring out a Doctor's certificate to prove the leg was broken, sensing that the Superstar was just using this as an excuse to duck a match with Igor. Finally, Jim Crockett forced the Superstar to sign a contract on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV to wrestle Igor before he would reinstate the Superstar to wrestle in the area. Superstar signed the contact, under protest, and he and Igor would begin the final stage of their intense feud.

A newcomer arrived in the area with little fanfare during the month of May. His name was Tully Blanchard. Tully was a "good guy" in the opening matches in this stint with Jim Crockett Promotions, and was a wrestler that really wouldn't be remembered at this time but for his later reemergence in the Mid-Atlantic area in 1984 as a heel superstar for the promotion. What a difference seven years would make in this young man's career!

The end of the month of May saw the true emergence of Ricky Steamboat as a force to be reckoned with in the Mid-Atlantic area. Steamboat was brought out during the beginning of a Mid-Atlantic TV show by Jim Crockett to tell the viewing audience that Ricky was leading the early voting by a "landslide" for NWA Wrestler of the Year 1977-Under 25 Division! (Editor's note: the "under-25 division"?!? What the heck....?) Clearly, this was an ascending star! During Steamboat's first real TV interview with Bob Caudle, Ricky was interrupted by Ric Flair and Greg Valentine, who told him he was in the "champion's corner, not for punks." Ricky left the interview area, giving way to Flair and Valentine. However, when this same scenario happened the next two weeks in succession, Steamboat had finally had enough! June would see this situation come to a head!

JUNE 1977

On an episode of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling that aired around the area on June 11, 1977, Flair once again confronted Steamboat while he was being interviewed. This time Steamboat reacted physically, hitting Ric with a thrust to the head. Flair hit the floor, and according to those at ringside, was "knocked out cold." Flair returned at the end of the program, incensed, demanding a television match with Steamboat and putting up his Mid-Atlantic TV Title. Steamboat immediately accepted, and the match that forever changed the wrestling world was set for the next week, airing around the area on June 18, 1977. The match between Flair and Steamboat, while historic looking back, was not one that many people gave Steamboat much of a chance of winning. Greg Valentine provided commentary for the match, and told all that were watching that Steamboat was hopelessly overmatched. But as the match wore on, it became clear that this was not going to be a cakewalk for Ric Flair. Ultimately, Steamboat caught Flair with a double thrust off of the top rope and caught Ric for a quick pin! The crowd in the WRAL studios was delirious, and even a post match attack on Steamboat by Flair and Valentine could not diminish what the youngster from Hawaii had accomplished. He was a champion after only a couple of months in the area, and had knocked off the biggest star in the promotion. But this would merely be the first battle in a VERY long war between these two combatants!


June did see a victory for Flair and Valentine, in their quest to get back at Wahoo McDaniel for costing them their World Tag Team Titles. Before Wahoo's Mid-Atlantic title match with Valentine on June 11, 1977 in Greensboro, Flair attacked Wahoo and left him in bad shape to take on the fresh and ready Valentine. Wahoo opted to wrestle the match, but was far less than 100% and Valentine took full advantage, capturing the prestigious Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship. This would set up a lengthy and intense feud between these two, a feud that would last into 1978.

Blackjack Mulligan continued to reign supreme as the United States Heavyweight Champion, eventually dispatching the challenge of Dino Bravo. But June of 1977 saw ominous storm clouds on the horizon for Mulligan……storm clouds named Bobo Brazil. Mulligan brought in the Missouri Mauler as his "bounty hunter," but the Mauler was unable to stop Brazil's march toward Mulligan and his U.S. Title. The matches between Blackjack and Bobo began during the end of June, and the question on everyone's mind was whether Blackjack Mulligan could turn back another determined challenger for his U.S. Title. July would give us the answer very quickly!

The second quarter of 1977 provided Mid-Atlantic fans many lasting memories. Ricky Steamboat taking the area by storm, and knocking off Ric Flair to set up a monumental feud has to head the list. But you also had Gene and Ole Anderson regaining their tag team supremacy, as well as Greg Valentine becoming a true superstar in the singles division by knocking off Wahoo McDaniel as major happenings. This was a top notch three month period, making the coming summer of 1977 one to anticipate with much excitement!


1. Ricky Steamboat---This youngster went from nowhere to Mid-Atlantic TV Champion during the course of the second quarter. If that was not enough, he stood up to and defeated none other than the "Nature Boy" to achieve that distinction! No question as to who was hottest this quarter! 

2. Bobo Brazil---Brazil came into the area and hit the ground running with quite a winning streak. By the end of the quarter, Bobo was zeroing in on the United States Title and the great Blackjack Mulligan. 

3. Greg Valentine---While he had a little help from a friend, Greg nonetheless defeated the great Chief Wahoo for the prestigious Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title during this quarter. This victory legitimized Valentine as a dominant singles performer in the Mid-Atlantic area.


1. Rufus R. Jones---Rufus left the area early in the quarter, dropping his Mid-Atlantic TV Title to Ric Flair in the process. To be fair to Rufus, though, he did have a great run! 

2. Dino Bravo---Bravo started the quarter out with a bang, but fizzled out a bit as the three months progressed. Unable to win the U.S. belt from Blackjack Mulligan despite many attempts, Bravo should nonetheless be given credit for winning one half of the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles dur- ing this period. 

3. Kim Duk---A member of the "Malenko Family," Duk slid further into the shadow of the Masked Superstar as the quarter wore on. There would be no indivi- dual feuds for Duk this quarter like the great one he had with Wahoo in early 1977.



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