David Chappell's

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History

March 1978

by David Chappell


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Championship Picture This Month:


NWA WORLD---Harley Race

NWA WORLD TAG TEAM---Ric Flair & Greg Valentine


1. Blackjack Mulligan

2. Mr. Wrestling Tim Woods (3/19/78)



1. Baron Von Raschke

2. Discontinued



1. Baron Von Raschke

2. Johnny Weaver

MID-ATLANTIC TAG TEAM---Paul Jones & Ricky Steamboat


The month of March 1978 started off with an announcement that a new title was being created by the National Wrestling Alliance. On the March 1, 1978 taping of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show, Mid-Atlantic TV Champion Baron Von Raschke told the viewing audience that the competition for his TV Title was so weak, that he was entering a tournament of the nation’s TV Champions, and that he was going to bring that title belt back to the Mid-Atlantic area.


On the very next week’s Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show, the fans were informed that Baron Von Raschke did in fact win the tournament, and became the first NWA Television Champion! However, almost immediately, the Baron was defeated for his new belt by his old nemesis Johnny Weaver on March 5, 1978 in the Charlotte Coliseum. Weaver actively defended his NWA TV Title for the remainder of the month of March, successfully defending against Baron Von Raschke in a number of brutal rematches across the territory. Weaver also had successful defenses during the month of March against fellow fan favorite Ricky Steamboat on March 30, 1978 in Anderson, South Carolina, and against the towering Texan, Blackjack Mulligan, on March 31, 1978 in Lynchburg, Virginia.


The Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV show that was taped on March 15, 1978, was a particularly interesting and entertaining one. On that show, Roanoke, Virginia native Tony Atlas was interviewed by Freddie Miller from Georgia, and Tony told the Mid-Atlantic fans that he was heading back to Jim Crockett Promotions. Tony had been absent from the Mid-Atlantic area for nearly two years, and big things were clearly expected from the muscleman upon his return to the territory. However, Atlas did not begin wrestling in the area until the month of April, 1978.


Another big happening on the March 15th TV show, was a tag team match between NWA World Tag Team Champions Ric Flair and Greg Valentine, and the duo of Chief Wahoo McDaniel and “Sensational” Dick Murdock. The match was originally supposed to feature Wahoo and Ken Patera, but Patera did not appear because of travel difficulties. Flair and Valentine allowed Wahoo to pick a replacement partner, saying they could defeat any teammate Wahoo would pick. An exciting match ensued, with Murdock using his famous “brain buster” finisher, to stun and then pin Ric Flair! Even though it was a non-title bout, it nevertheless showed the world that the NWA Tag Team Champions were not invincible.


Despite the loss to Wahoo and Murdock, the month of March 1978 was a good one for Ric Flair and Greg Valentine. The NWA Tag Team Champions successfully defended their titles often during the month, primarily against Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champions Ricky Steamboat and Paul Jones. These bouts usually had important stipulations, either being 90 minute or two hour time limit contests, or were “Title versus Title” matches. During the month of March, Flair and Valentine also retained their titles several times in the territory against the dynamic team of Wahoo McDaniel, and the always rugged Ole Anderson.


In addition to defending one-half of the NWA World Tag Team Titles, Greg Valentine also successfully defended his Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship during the entirety of the month of March. However, Valentine’s defenses were not as numerous in March, and nearly all were against the big Chief Wahoo McDaniel. On particularly interesting Mid-Atlantic Title defense was on March 9, 1978 at the Scope in Norfolk, Virginia, where Wahoo won the match against Valentine, but not the Title, with Gene Anderson serving as the Special Referee.


One title that did change hands in March of 1978, was the United States Heavyweight Championship. On March 19, 1978 in the Greensboro Coliseum, Mr. Wrestling took the measure of Blackjack Mulligan with a quick three count, to end the reign of the tall Texan. Despite the fact that Mr. Wrestling had been chasing Mulligan for some time over this belt, the title change still had to be rated as a significant upset. On the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show taped on March 22, 1978, Mr. Wrestling was announced as the new United States Champion, and he told the viewing audience that his victory over Mulligan for the belt was a culmination of a lifelong dream, and that he would immediately begin defending his new title. Mulligan countered that Mr. Wrestling was “lucky,” and vowed that he had lost the U.S. belt before, and that he would regain it again.


Mr. Wrestling made true on his promise to start defending his U.S. Title immediately, as he retained his new championship over the challenge of Mulligan on March 27th in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and then again on March 28th in Columbia, South Carolina. And on March 31, 1978, Mr. Wrestling turned back the new challenge of former U.S. Champion Ric Flair, in a wild bout that took place in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.


In addition to the announcement of the new United States Champion, the March 22, 1978 Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show had plenty of other significant events. On the opening segment of that broadcast, Ricky Steamboat was named the Wrestler of the Year for 1977. The vote total was overwhelming in Steamboat’s favor, and Ricky thanked the fans for their support in allowing him to win that honor.


However, the March 22nd Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV show did not end up nearly as well for Steamboat as it began. In a six-man tag team match featuring Steamboat, Paul Jones and Ken Patera against Ric Flair, Greg Valentine and Cyclone Negro, the end result saw Patera turn against Steamboat and Jones during the match. Patera would decline to tag Jones and Steamboat during key moments in the match, and in the end dropped a series of elbows on Jones when it appeared Jones was about to win the match for his team. In an interview after the match, it was clear Patera had turned into a bad guy, and would now be aligning himself with the likes of Flair, Valentine and Negro.


The March 22, 1978 television show also featured some ominous words from the Masked Superstar. On a tour of the Orient, the Superstar sent in a video tape telling the fans that he was entering a tournament overseas against some of the world’s top wrestlers, and that he would emerge victorious in that tournament. The Superstar went on to say that one of his best friends had betrayed him, and was responsible for his manager, Boris Malenko, being suspended. Malenko appeared with the Superstar on this tape, but never uttered a word. This would be the last time Malenko appeared on a Jim Crockett Promotions program.


The Superstar said that he was going to pay his former friend back for Malenko’s suspension when he returned to the Mid-Atlantic area, and that it was so big of a deal that he wasn’t going to reveal his former friend’s name until he returned to the United States. All Mid-Atlantic fans were scratching their heads as to who the Superstar was referring to, and to the identity of the man he was after!


The following week on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television, had the fans scratching their heads on a couple of other matters. The March 29, 1978 edition of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV had Blackjack Mulligan being interviewed about his U.S. Title loss to Mr. Wrestling, and his plans for winning the belt back. Then, inexplicably, NWA Tag Team Champions Ric Flair and Greg Valentine came out on the set, and interrupted Blackjack, telling Bob Caudle that Mulligan was “letting the team down” by dropping the belt to Mr. Wrestling. Valentine told Mulligan that there was no reason why Mulligan should be losing the U.S. belt so often. Blackjack left the interview area muttering under his breath, no doubt questioning why Flair and Valentine were publicly treating him like that.


Another very strange moment on the March 29th show, was seeing Ken Patera wrestle as a bad guy for the first time. Wrestling preliminary fan favorite Joe Furr, Patera broke every rule in the book, in what was a drastic role reversal from the Ken Patera Mid-Atlantic fans were used to cheering for. When announcer Bob Caudle asked about his drastic change of attitude after the match, Patera said he was now very aggressive in the ring, and that he was out to pay back the fan favorite wrestlers who had let him down when he was in the Mid-Atlantic area in 1975 and early 1976. Patera only wrestled on television during the month of March 1978, but would start wrestling in the arenas of the territory during the month of April.


March of 1978 also saw the rare occurrence of a masked tag team being forced to unmask as part of a match stipulation. On March 19th in the Greensboro Coliseum, in a “Mask versus Title” bout, Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat put their Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles on the line against the masks of Mr. X # 1 and Mr. X # 2. Jones and Steamboat won the match and retained their titles, forcing the masked duo to unmask. The same scenario played itself out in Columbia, South Carolina on March 28th, again with Jones and Steamboat prevailing, and forcing Mr. X # 1 and Mr. X # 2 to unmask.


Despite being forced to unmask, Mr. X # 1 and Mr. X # 2 continued to wrestle as a team, and to wrestle with their masks on. March also saw the final Mid-Atlantic match of one of the top fan favorites of 1977, the Mighty Igor. Igor battle Crusher Blackwell in Anderson, South Carolina on March 16, 1978, in what appeared to be Igor’s final bout as a part of Jim Crockett Promotions.


As active a month as March of 1978 was in the Mid-Atlantic area, the following month of April would be ever busier…and crazier! April would be a month that would have some of the most cataclysmic changes to ever occur in Jim Crockett Promotions. Stay tuned!




  1. Mr. Wrestling---After years of trying, “Mr. Wrestling” Tim Woods finally won the big one…the United States Heavyweight Championship. Now the question was, what kind of a champion would Mr. Wrestling be, and how long could he hold onto the belt! The month of April 1978 would hold those answers.

  2. Johnny Weaver---Despite wrestling primarily as a mid-carder for the previous four years, Weaver came on strong in the month of March to capture the NWA TV Title just days after Baron Von Raschke brought the new title to the Mid-Atlantic area. Weaver also had an impressive list of title defenses during the month of March.

  3. Dick Murdock---In his first full month in Jim Crockett Promotions, the “Sensational One” continued to rack up victory after victory, and had the look of a championship contender.




  1. Blackjack Mulligan---Mulligan suffered a major loss during the month of March 1978, dropping the prestigious U.S. Title to Mr. Wrestling. Mulligan was unable to prove the loss was a fluke, as he was unable to beat Mr. Wrestling in several rematches at the end of the month. And to make matters worse, Mulligan was having to take grief from his fellow rule breakers for losing the U.S. Title yet again!

  2. Baron Von Raschke---Like Mulligan, Von Raschke lost a major title during the month. Despite bringing the new NWA TV Title into the area at the beginning of March, Raschke spent nearly the entire month unsuccessfully trying to win it back from the man who took it away from him---Johnny Weaver. March was a very frustrating month for the Baron.

  3. Mr. X # 1 and Mr. X # 2---The masked duo were unable to win the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles from Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat, despite multiple opportunities. And added to that misery, the masked tandem was forced to remove their masks after loses in two of those title matches.





Posted 11/16/06

© 2006 David Chappell /  Mid-Atlantic Gateway