David Chappell's

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History

September 1978

by David Chappell

The Almanac

Almanac Index


Sept. 78 Roster


Championship Picture This Month:




NWA WORLD TAG TEAM---Greg Valentine and Baron von Raschke





• Ken Patera

• Tony Atlas (September 17, 1978 at the Roanoke Civic Center, Roanoke, Virginia)





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



The month of September 1978 saw the culmination of one of the hottest feuds in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling history, the legendary battles between Blackjack Mulligan and the Masked Superstar. At the beginning of the month, the two were set to go at it in brutal Fence Matches across the territory. By the end of September, the Superstar had been unmasked in numerous venues throughout the territory, and had left the area entirely.


The first week of September saw epic battles between Mulligan and Superstar, with all of the matches ending up as Mulligan victories and Superstar’s mask being pulled off in the process.


On September 1st in the Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia, before a huge raucous crowd, Blackjack whipped the Superstar inside of a Fence, with George Scott as Special Referee. And at long last to the delight of the fans in Richmond, Mulligan pulled the mask off of the Superstar! The Superstar suffered similar Fence Match defeats and unmaskings at the Dorton Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina on September 5th and at the Norfolk Scope in Norfolk, Virginia on September 7th.


On September 3rd in the Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina,  Mulligan took the measure of the Superstar in a brutal Lumberjack Match. Blackjack was able to pull Superstar’s mask off, but Superstar managed to run from the ring to the back without his identity being exposed. This led to the Superstar being able to come back to Charlotte one last time on September 23rd, which would be his final match in the Mid-Atlantic area until he returned in 1980. In the Masked Superstar’s swan song on September 23, 1978, he and partner Sgt. Jacques Goulet lost to Mr. Wrestling and Johnny Weaver via disqualification for making two saves.


September also saw a major Title change hands! After a lengthy run as the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion, Ken Patera lost his belt to the youngster from Roanoke, Virginia, Tony Atlas. And to make matters all the more sweeter for Atlas, Tony defeated Patera for the Title in his hometown of Roanoke at the Civic Center on September 17th.


On the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show that ran in most markets on September 16, 1978, the day before Atlas’ Title victory, Patera told the fans that he was sick of Atlas, and that he was going to drop him “like a bad habit.” Unfortunately for Patera, he was not going to get rid of the challenges from Tony Atlas nearly that easily.


Prior to Atlas’ Title victory, he and Patera were battling hot and heavy in both Championship matches and arm wrestling contests around the territory. In the typical situation, the two would have an arm wrestling contest, and after that the regularly scheduled Mid-Atlantic Title match. In fact, during the first full week in September, Atlas and Patera had combined arm wrestling contests and Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Title bouts in Richmond on September 1st, Roanoke on September 2nd, Charlotte on September 3rd and Fishersville, Virginia on September 7th.


Immediately after defeating Patera for the Mid-Atlantic Title, Atlas turned around the next night and successfully defended his new belt against Patera in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. And closing out the month of September, Tony again fended off the championship challenge of Ken Patera in Spartanburg, South Carolina on September 30th.


United States Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair was busy during the month of September, defending his prestigious Title against a number of top challengers. Ricky Steamboat was Flair’s most frequent opponent during the month, taking the champ to the brink of defeat on several occasions.


A classic bout between Flair and Steamboat took place at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina on September 24th, as part of a star-studded line-up. A bloody “Nature Boy” captured a rare clean win over Steamboat, but only after an exhausting battle that went close to the allotted time limit. During September, Flair maintained his Tile against the challenges of Steamboat in Charlotte, Columbia and Asheville, North Carolina. In the Asheville match on September 17th, Ric retained his Title over Steamboat as part of the 3:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon card, then raced to Richmond and won by Disqualification over Blackjack Mulligan at the 8:00 p.m. card there!


Flair also defended his U.S. Title against Blackjack Mulligan during the month of September in a very unique match. On September 21st in the Norfolk Scope, the Nature Boy was put in the unenviable position of wrestling Mulligan with the U.S. belt on the line…with Andre the Giant keeping order as the Special Referee! After pushing Andre’s buttons for the better part of the bout, Flair finally pushed Andre to disqualify him, and retained his U.S. Title yet again.


In addition to his battles with the Masked Superstar and Ric Flair, Blackjack Mulligan also had a run in with another big-name villain during the month of September. On the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television program that aired in most markets on September 9, 1978, Blackjack was presented a large and beautiful trophy from the Mid-Atlantic fans, naming him the Outstanding Wrestler for 1977-1978. Not able to stand the fact that Mulligan was getting recognition from the fans and he wasn’t, Baron von Raschke attacked Mulligan, and broke the trophy over Blackjack’s head in front of the TV audience! This led to significant bad blood between the two men, who both used the Claw as their primary finishing hold.


Fans may also remember this September 9, 1978 TV show as being a particularly tough one for Blackjack Mulligan. In addition to having the trophy broken over his head, Blackjack also had a brutal match with Crusher Blackwell on that same show! The match between Mulligan and Blackwell was such a classic, that it was shown on the promotion’s year end highlight show for 1978. Blackjack won that bout, but appeared to be headed for a “crushing” defeat at several critical junctures during the contest.




Baron von Raschke, the big German, and his partner Greg Valentine continued to dominate the tag team scene during the month of September 1978. During the month, Raschke and Valentine primarily defended their NWA World Tag Team Titles against former champs Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat. Raschke and Valentine successfully defended their Titles against the formidable duo of Jones and Steamboat four times during the month, including a 90 minute time limit bout in Greensboro on September 3rd, and a wild Texas Tornado match in Wilmington, North Carolina on September 10th.


But by far the most controversial bout between the Champions and Jones and Steamboat was the Greensboro Title match on September 3rd. In that bout, Jones and Steamboat left the Greensboro Coliseum with the NWA World Tag Team Titles in their hands after Steamboat pinned Valentine with a small package hold at the 32 minute mark. Fans that saw that match in Greensboro no doubt turned on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show that aired on September 9th, eagerly awaiting to see Jones and Steamboat announced on TV as the new NWA World Tag Team Champions. Instead, they got a much different announcement.


Leading off the September 9th TV show, Raschke and Valentine immediately told the viewers that Jones and Steamboat didn’t win the belts from them fairly, and that they had sent the film of the match to NWA President Bob Geigel to review. Jones and Steamboat then came out to confront Raschke and Valentine, and film excerpts of the match were shown.


During the confusing last few minutes of the match, it became clear that Ricky Steamboat was not the legal man in the ring when referee Sonny Fargo allowed the three count pinfall on Greg Valentine. In their glee, Valentine and Raschke asked announcer David Crockett to read a telegram from President Geigel regarding the dispute. Crockett then read the telegram from Geigel, saying, “After reviewing the film of this match, it is my decision that the NWA Tag Team Titles should be returned to Greg Valentine and Baron von Raschke.”


A shocked Jones and Steamboat were forced to hand over the NWA World Tag Team Title belts in front of the area-wide viewing audience. Greg Valentine summed up the amazing turn of events, saying, “We just showed what kind of men they are…the illegal man pinned me, and we had the proof!”


Ricky Steamboat also got two additional Title shots at Raschke and Valentine during September, with Sensational Dick Murdock being his partner. The four battled in Fayetteville, North Carolina on September 18th, and then turned around on September 21st and had a particularly wild melee in Norfolk, Virginia, where all four participants were disqualified!


Steamboat had an individual feud with Greg Valentine that also flared up during September of 1978. Its origin was from August, where Steamboat physically took, and kept, Greg’s 1000 silver dollars after a controversial match on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television. In September, Steamboat and Valentine batted in Rocky Mount, North Carolina on September 13th, Raleigh on September 19th, Charlotte on September 23rd and in Columbia, South Carolina on September 26th. These battles were as fierce as one could imagine, with Valentine attempting to recoup his 1000 silver dollars. But for the most part, Steamboat was able to withstand the violence and ferocity from Valentine, and emerge victorious.


NWA Television Champion Paul Jones was relatively inactive during the month of September. The most interesting Title defense that Jones had during the month was against Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion Ken Patera on September 4th in Fayetteville in a Title vs. Title encounter. Jones won this bruising battle after Patera was disqualified. Jones’ last TV Title defense during September was against the Masked Superstar on September 16th in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Jones prevailed in that contest, which was one of Superstar’s last matches in the Mid-Atlantic area.


Even less frequently defended during the month of September were the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles. Champions Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat defended their Titles only once during the month, a spirited encounter against the formidable duo of Ric Flair and Gene Anderson on September 7th in Anderson, South Carolina. However, action would pick up considerably in the month of October 1978 regarding the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles!


Speaking of October, that month in the Mid-Atlantic area would usher in some impressive new talent, along with some notable departures. But September of 1978 proved to be a significant month in its own right, giving us a title change, a title change that was reversed by Bob Geigel and the culmination of one of the most brutal feuds in Mid-Atlantic history between Blackjack Mulligan and the Masked Superstar.




1.     Blackjack Mulligan---The big Texan finally, once and for all, took the measure of the Masked Superstar and ran him out of the Mid-Atlantic area. This one was truly a feud for the ages!

2.     Tony Atlas---The strongman from Roanoke, Virginia captured the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship from Ken Patera during the month of September. And winning the Title in his hometown of Roanoke, made the victory even sweeter.

3.     Ric Flair---The Nature Boy continued to hold onto the prestigious United States Heavyweight Championship during the month of September. Flair also teamed up with his cousin Gene Anderson at times during the month.




1.     Masked Superstar---A great two year run in the Mid-Atlantic area ended in September for the talented masked man. In the end, Blackjack Mulligan claimed his mask while Superstar was unable to collect the $10,000 bounty.

2.     Ken Patera---After feats of strength contests, arm wrestling contests and a lot of heated words, Patera finally fell victim in September to the upset he was desperately trying to avoid—losing the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship to Tony Atlas.

3.     Mr. Wrestling---The slow and steady descent down the cards for the man with the white mask from Michigan continued during September. This slide started almost immediately after the end of his brief U.S. Title reign in April.




© 2008 David Chappell   Mid-Atlantic Gateway  Published 11/21/08