David Chappell's

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History

October  -  December  1977

David Chappell /  Mid-Atlantic Gateway



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November

December

Who's Hot 

& Who's Not

 

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The final quarter of 1977 led off with perhaps the single most eventful and intriguing month in the history of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. The month of October 1977 provided us with everything imaginable.  Two of the most memorable angles in the history of the promotion, the Masked Superstar cutting Paul Jones' hair and the Mr. Wrestling versus Baron Von Raschke "amateur" match occurred in the month of October. These feuds would last for months and provided the fans untold great matches. 

Blackjack Mulligan returned from Japan in October and immediately (and surprisingly) challenged best friend and fellow "bad guy" Ric Flair for the United States Heavyweight Title. These matches, that everyone wanted to see, were scheduled in several of the bigger venues in the area, but never came off due to Ricky Steamboat defeating Flair for the U.S. belt days before the Mulligan-Flair matches were to occur. 

One of the biggest title changes in the history of the promotion also occurred in October, where Ric Flair and Greg Valentine defeated Gene and Ole Anderson for the NWA World Tag Team Titles, injuring Gene Anderson in the process and effectively ending this great feud. 

The month of November was highlighted by the return to action of Wahoo McDaniel from his broken leg suffered at the hands of Greg Valentine. The early "revenge" contests between Wahoo and Valentine were primarily in tag team matches, but many singles matches between the two wouldn't be far behind. November also saw Blackjack Mulligan attack the Mighty Igor in a TV arm wrestling match, setting the stage for rematches between these two in the major cities around the area. 

Finally, December of 1977 saw several matches where long time enemies Wahoo McDaniel and Ole Anderson actually teamed up to battle Ric Flair and Greg Valentine as Ole tried to exact revenge for Gene's injury. December also saw the feud between Wahoo McDaniel and Greg Valentine really heat up, and the focus of the United States Title shift to champion Ricky Steamboat against top challenger Blackjack Mulligan. What a three months of action the fourth quarter provided us at the end of 1977!

 

OCTOBER 1977

The month of October started with a bang with a bout between Paul Jones and the Masked Superstar at the Greensboro Coliseum on October 8, 1977. Entering the match, the Superstar came to the ring with a heavily bandaged hand. While Jones was leery that the Superstar's hand wasn't really injured, he went ahead and consented to wrestle the match with the stipulation that if the Superstar used the taped hand during the match he would have to immediately remove the heavy tape. The match began, and it was not long before the Superstar used the taped and "injured" hand on Jones. Immediately, the referee offered Jones the match by disqualification, but Jones insisted on continuing in order that he have the chance to beat the Superstar by pin fall or submission which would force the Superstar to take off his mask and part with $5,000.00.

The referee then ordered the Superstar to remove the tape from his hand, and if he didn't the Superstar would forfeit his mask and the $5,000.00. The Superstar's manager Professor Boris Malenko went to the back and brought back scissors, and the tape was taken off of the Superstar's hand. When Jones saw that there was nothing wrong with the hand, he tore into the Superstar and managed to tear a large hunk of the mask off on top. Eventually, Malenko would save the Superstar by diverting the referee's attention, allowing the Superstar to get possession of the scissors that had been brought to the ring previously. The Superstar hit Jones in the head several times with the scissors, knocking him senseless, and then proceeded to cut off large chunks of Jones' hair with the scissors.

When Jones appeared on the October 15, 1977 Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling Saturday TV show, he had virtually no hair on his head and vowed revenge against the Superstar for this humiliation. The Superstar mockingly referred to Paul as the "chrome dome" Paul Jones and as  "burr head" Jones. The Masked Superstar and Paul Jones were immediately embroiled in a torrid feud, one that would continue off and on through the middle of 1978.

The same October 15, 1977 edition of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV show had one of the most unique matches ever offered up by the promotion on television. It pitted "Mr. Wrestling" Tim Woods against Baron Von Raschke in an amateur rules match. In the weeks leading up to this match, Raschke had been espousing his German superiority and was belittling Woods' accomplishments as an amateur wrestler in the United States.  Mr. Wrestling took up the big German on his challenge to wrestle a match on TV under strictly amateur rules. Before the match,  Mr. Wrestling showed the viewing audience a number of his medals that he had won over the years as an amateur wrestler.

The match itself was wrestled strictly under amateur rules, with three rounds and a referee, Terry Sawyer, who had been an amateur wrestling champion in the military. The wrestling was hard and clean, with neither man being able to secure a pin. However, Mr. Wrestling, in the end allowing the Baron to repeatedly escape for one point while then taking him down again for two, was able to prevail on points by a 16-12 count, and was awarded the victory. During a post match interview of Mr. Wrestling by Bob Caudle, things turned ugly. The Baron came up behind Mr. Wrestling with the ring bell, and smashed it into the head of Mr. Wrestling causing a concussion. Raschke screamed at a fallen Mr. Wrestling, telling him to lick his boots. The Baron also later took the amateur medals that Mr. Wrestling had brought to the TV studio to show the fans, and proceeded to spit and stomp on them.

Needless to say, Baron Von Raschke and Mr. Wrestling were embroiled in quite a feud for the remainder of 1977 from this incident! Many of the matches between these two were also for the Baron's Mid-Atlantic TV Title, a title that Raschke had just won from Ricky Steamboat.

October was also an important month in the continuing buildup of the feud between Wahoo McDaniel and Greg Valentine. While Wahoo did not wrestle any during the month of October, the big Chief was shown several times on interviews vowing revenge on Valentine and making sure everyone knew he was coming back with a purpose. That purpose being to injure Valentine and to recapture the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title. In the meantime, Valentine continued to gloat about hurting Wahoo and sported t-shirts proclaiming "I Broke Wahoo's Leg."

Blackjack Mulligan returned to the area in October after about a two-month stay in Japan, getting his head together after dropping the U.S. Title to Bobo Brazil. When Mulligan resurfaced on the October 22, 1977 edition of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV show, the big Texan said he had changed his style of wrestling and that he was going back after the U.S. Title now held by best friend Ric Flair! NO ONE could believe that Flair and Mulligan were actually going to wrestle each other for the U.S. belt!! But title matches between the two friends were set in many of the bigger arenas around the area. The interviews promoting these matches were amazing, with Mulligan doing his interviews with the "good guys."

However, the matches between Flair and Mulligan that everyone was talking about, never came off. The very next week on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV, Ricky Steamboat was announced as the new United States Heavyweight Champion and Steamboat had subbed for Flair in the Flair-Mulligan matches set during the previous week. At the end of the show, Flair and Mulligan were interviewed together by Bob Caudle, with both saying that they were together again and that Ricky Steamboat was going to have to deal with their combined wrath.

The fantastic month of October 1977 ended, fittingly enough, with one of the most significant title changes in the history of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. On the night of October 30, 1977, Gene and Ole Anderson brought their NWA World Tag Titles back into the area to defend against the challenge of former titleholders Ric Flair and Greg Valentine. The match was also a hair versus belts affair, as Flair and Valentine risked losing their long blond locks if they didn't prevail and win the belts. Before the match, in a tape sent in from Georgia, Ole Anderson held a picture of Flair bald headed, adding fuel to what everyone already knew was going to be an explosive match.

The match itself was a brutal one that saw Flair and Valentine prevail and win back the NWA World Tag Team Titles. In the process, Gene Anderson's neck was injured and he had to be operated on several weeks later. This match was significant for several other reasons. One, this effectively ended the year-long battle for tag team supremacy between these two outstanding teams. Secondly, and most importantly for Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling fans, the Flair/Valentine victory brought the NWA World Tag Team Titles back to the Mid-Atlantic area to stay for good after the Anderson's had left the area with the belts as regulars in the autumn of 1976.

NOVEMBER 1977

The month of November was defined by the triumphant return to action of Chief Wahoo McDaniel from the broken leg he suffered at the hands of Greg Valentine. Initially, Wahoo appeared on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV as a commentator. Then, the Chief teamed up with buddies Ricky Steamboat and Paul Jones to go up against Ric Flair and Greg Valentine. Of course, the high spots in these tag matches were the moments that Wahoo and Valentine were in the ring at the same time! By the end of the month, Wahoo and Greg were starting to wrestle each other in singles bouts, and the intensity of these matches was amazing. The long buildup proved well worth it, as these grudge matches were classic encounters.

In an effort to push Blackjack Mulligan away from the good guy side that he appeared to be shading toward after his return from Japan, the promotion set the big Texan into a confrontation with Polish strongman, the popular Mighty Igor. These two squared off in an arm wrestling contest on the November 12, 1977 airing of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV. During the course of the contest, referee Sonny Fargo almost counted Mulligan's arm down before Blackjack rose up and attacked Igor, leaving Igor laying flat on the mat. This led to a number or arm wrestling (followed by regular wrestling) matches between these two around the area. This feud between Mulligan and Igor never caught on with the fans, and cards with Mulligan and Igor headlining were some of the most sparsely attended in the area in years. The Mighty Igor dropped off the radar screen largely after this program with Mulligan, and left the area all together in early 1978.

Ricky Steamboat defended his newly captured United States Heavyweight Title regularly in November, especially against the challenge of former champ Ric Flair. Steamboat and Flair were developing a tremendous rivalry against each other, and it only seemed to intensify with Flair attempting to regain his title from the upstart Steamboat. These two had some terrific battles over the U.S. belt in November, during Steamboat's first full month as champion.

Another feud that really hit its stride in November was the pairing of Mr. Wrestling and Baron Von Raschke. While Mr. Wrestling could never defeat the Baron within fifteen minutes and thus secure Raschke's Mid-Atlantic Television Title, the bouts between these two were outstanding. Having just the right mix of wrestling and brawling, these two put on great shows across the area in November as Mr. Wrestling sought revenge from being attacked by the Baron after the amateur rules match.

Finally, November saw the return to the Mid-Atlantic area of Bobo Brazil, who had left the area soon after losing the U.S. Title to Ric Flair in the summer. Bobo never rose to those championship heights again during his time in the Mid-Atlantic area, and labored primarily in a mid-card mode until his final departure from the area in early 1978. Also coming to the area in November, albeit briefly, was "Sensational" Dick Murdock. Making a quick run through the area as a mid-card bad guy, Murdock would return to the area in early 1978 as one of the area's beloved main event goods guys for much of calendar year 1978.

DECEMBER 1977

December began with a brief pairing that no one could believe: Ole Anderson teaming with Wahoo McDaniel to take on NWA World Tag Team Champs Ric Flair and Greg Valentine. Of course, this teaming was Ole's attempt to get revenge for the injury that Flair and Valentine inflicted on Gene, who was still recuperating. These were some stiff and brutal encounters between these four, with no decisive outcomes.

The month of December saw the battles between the returning Wahoo McDaniel and Greg Valentine take off in earnest. Most of the matches were singles contests between these two in December, with many of them now for Greg's Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title. As the month wore on, Wahoo appeared to slowly be gaining the upper hand in this feud. It appeared several times during the month that Greg was going to drop the title to the big Chief, but Valentine managed to escape the year of 1977 with his Mid-Atlantic belt still intact, if barely.

Blackjack Mulligan eased away from his unpopular program with the Mighty Igor, and made a strong push in December to wrest the United States Title from young Ricky Steamboat. As the month wore on, Mulligan seemed to be closing in on the U.S. belt with his overwhelming size and power being difficult for Ricky to contend with. Steamboat was barely able to escape 1977 with his U.S. Title still in his possession. The Big Texan from Eagle Pass was clearly on the warpath!

The end of December saw a couple of "stars" pop into the area briefly. Long time announcer Les Thatcher did a couple of weeks of promo announcing at the end of December. Les was a long time announcer and wrestler with Jim Crockett Promotions, but this brief comeback would be his last appearance in the area. Lastly, Tiger Conway, Sr. came into the area briefly to team with his son Tiger Conway, Jr. at the end of December. This was an unusual pairing of father and son, but this duo was very impressive. They captured several upset wins around the circuit during the Christmas and New Year's season.

The fourth quarter of 1977 will be remembered for a number of things. First and foremost, the month of October! This month may go down as the most eventful single month in the history of Jim Crockett Promotions. Of course, the return of Wahoo McDaniel and his classic series of revenge matches with Greg Valentine that got underway in November cannot be forgotten. Nor can the series of U.S. Title changes, with the big Texan Blackjack Mulligan bearing down on Ricky Steamboat at the end of the year be diminished. All in all, the last quarter of 1977 was so good that it may have been the high water mark set for Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. How could 1978 or beyond ever top it??

WHO'S HOT

1. Wahoo McDaniel-The big Chief emerged better than ever during the fourth quarter of 1977, targeting Greg Valentine who had put him on the shelf with a broken leg. Wahoo was impressive when he first returned in November in tag matches, and towards the end of the quarter he was coming perilously close to defeating Valentine for the coveted Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title. Yes, the Chief was definitely back!!
2. Blackjack Mulligan---Another star who came back to the area during the fourth quarter of 1977, was also red hot! As soon as he came back from his tour of Japan, Mully immediately challenged best friend Ric Flair for the U.S. Title. While those matches never came off, Blackjack soon thereafter dominated a short feud with the Mighty Igor before setting his sights on new U.S. Champ Ricky Steamboat.
3. Masked Superstar---The Superstar embarrassed fan favorite Paul Jones by cutting his hair during a match in Greensboro. For most of the rest of the quarter, Superstar battled Jones in "revenge" matches, more than holding his own against the enraged Jones. Superstar was also an effective tag team competitor with various partners during the fourth quarter.

WHO'S NOT

1. Mighty Igor---Igor came off a punishing feud with the Masked Superstar entering the fourth quarter of 1977. The strongman from Poland then became embroiled in a feud with Blackjack Mulligan in November, but did not fare well against the big Texan from Eagle Pass. After the program with Mulligan, Igor's stock rapidly plummeted with the promotion and he would leave the area in early 1978.
2. Bobo Brazil---Bobo came back to the area in November after a several month absence. When Brazil returned, he was never in any major angles and participated primarily in mid-card matches. He would never come close to duplicating the success he had in July of 1977 where he became a transitional U.S. Champ between the reigns of Blackjack Mulligan and Ric Flair. Brazil would leave the area completely early in 1978.
3. Professor Boris Malenko---The "Professor" wound down a long stint as the Masked Superstar's manager and a successful mid-card wrestler during the fourth quarter of 1977. The Superstar would wrestle often times without Malenko during the fourth quarter, and Malenko would never be a Mid-Atlantic managerial or mid-card fixture after 1977 ended.


 

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David Chappell /  Mid-Atlantic Gateway