David Chappell's

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History

October 1978

by David Chappell

The Almanac

Almanac Index


Oct. 78 Roster


Championship Picture This Month:




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





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

• Ken Patera (October 15, 1978 at the Roanoke Civic Center in Roanoke, Virginia)






• Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat
• Ric Flair and John Studd (October 30, 1978 at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium in Greenville, South Carolina)



The month of October 1978 ushered in some major changes in the Mid-Atlantic area. What was most significant were big names that left the area during the month, and equally big names that entered the territory during the same month. In addition to the changeover in personnel, there were also two titles that changed hands during October and an unforgettable television angle.

Some of the significant events that happened in October were foreshadowed by activities that took place on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show that aired in most markets on Saturday, September 30th.

On that September 30th show, Ric Flair came out and told the viewing audience that he was bringing a newcomer into the area for the purpose of collecting the $10,000 bounty on Blackjack Mulligan. Flair said he discovered this wrestler, “in Hawaii, tanning this fantastic body.” The Nature Boy said this newcomer was named “John Studd,” and that he was six feet eight inches tall, weighed 330 pounds, and that he would appear in the Mid-Atlantic area in the next thirty days!

Sure enough, on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling program that aired around the area on October 14, 1978, Big John Studd debuted, and was extremely impressive while destroying Ed Fury. One look at Studd, and there was no doubt that he was going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Another incident on the September 30th Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV show, made it clear that October would feature some heated bouts between Baron von Raschke and Blackjack Mulligan. On that show, Ric Flair and Ken Patera presented Baron von Raschke with a “Sportsmanship” trophy from “a select group of fans.” Flair had announcer Bob Caudle read the engraving on the trophy, which Bob reluctantly did, and it said “Baron von Raschke---Master of the Claw---Sportsman of the Year 1977-1978.” Blackjack Mulligan was none too happy with this, remembering that Raschke had knocked him over the head with a similar trophy that had been presented to him. Mulligan said the Baron had presented this “Sportsmanship” trophy to himself, and that he was going to pay for making the fans of the Mid-Atlantic area look bad!

And, indeed, Blackjack did make the Baron pay! The two battled in Claw vs. Claw singles matches seven times during the month of October, with Mulligan having the upper hand in all of them.

There were some major name departures from the territory during the month of October. One of the big name stars that departed the area in October of 1978 was “Sensational” Dick Murdock. Murdock’s last match in the Mid-Atlantic area was in Richmond, Virginia at the Richmond Coliseum on October 27, 1978, when the “M and M Boys,” Murdock and Blackjack Mulligan teamed up against NWA World Tag Team Champions Greg Valentine and Baron von Raschke in a Title encounter. Murdock and Mulligan won the Richmond match on a disqualification, in what would be Murdock’s final Mid-Atlantic match. Murdock was scheduled to team with Mulligan again in Roanoke, Virginia for a Title match against Valentine and Raschke on October 29th, but Murdock had left the territory by then. Johnny Weaver substituted as Blackjack’s partner, and that hastily put together duo dropped the bout to the champs.

During his final weeks in the Mid-Atlantic territory, the big Texan from Waxahachie had numerous title opportunities. Murdock dropped a United States Heavyweight Championship match to Ric Flair on October 9th in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Then, on October 12th in the Norfolk Scope in Norfolk, Virginia, Murdock got a very rare shot at Cyclone Negro’s Brass Knucks Title. Murdock beat Negro by disqualification, thus winning the match, but not the Title.

In addition to his final match in Richmond, Murdock got two other World Tag Team shots during the month of October. On October 22nd at the Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina, Murdock and partner Paul Jones dropped a hotly contested decision to Valentine and Raschke. And on October 24th at the Township Auditorium in Columbia, South Carolina, the M and M Boys lost a wild brawl to Valentine where all four participants lost copious amounts of blood.

While only in the Mid-Atlantic area for about eight months, Dick Murdock made an enduring impact with the fans. His down home ways endeared him with the vast majority of the masses that followed Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. Competing for a World Title in his last bout in the territory, made Murdock’s abrupt departure from the territory that much more puzzling.

Another major name that left the area in October was Mr. Wrestling. The masked man’s last match in the Mid-Atlantic area was on October 19th in Anderson, South Carolina, where he was defeated cleanly by the wily veteran Gene Anderson. During the course of the month of October, Mr. Wrestling wrestled only mid card matches, teaming with Johnny Weaver to defeat Cyclone Negro and Swede Hanson on October 7th in Charlotte, and the next day in Savannah, Georgia, Mr. Wrestling battled against the crafty Mr. X #1.

Unlike Murdock, Mr. Wrestling had been slowly slipping down the cards after losing the United States Title to Ric Flair in April of 1978. So his departure from the Mid-Atlantic area in October was not really a big surprise. And again unlike Dick Murdock, Mr. Wrestling would make one more run in the Mid-Atlantic territory, starting about one year hence in 1979.

Cyclone Negro also exited the Mid-Atlantic area during the month of October. As was mentioned earlier, in one of the few bouts of Negro’s
that was billed as being for his “Brass Knucks Title,” Negro was disqualified, giving a hard-earned victory to Dick Murdock in the Norfolk Scope Coliseum. Just a scant three days later on October 15th, in the Roanoke Civic Center, Cyclone wrestled his last match in the Mid-Atlantic area. Perhaps fittingly, Negro was knocked out by Dick Murdock in one of Negro’s specialty matches---a Taped Fist Match!

In addition to their battles against Blackjack Mulligan and Dick Murdock, NWA World Tag Team Champions Greg Valentine and Baron von Raschke continued to have their hands full against former champs Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat. The champs and the former champs battled four times during the month of October. The matches occurred on October 1st in Wilmington, North Carolina; on October 3rd in Raleigh, North Carolina; on October 14th in Spartanburg, South Carolina; and on October 28th in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Title bout in Raleigh was particularly brutal, with Valentine and Raschke scoring a rare pinfall victory over their top adversaries.

NWA World Heavyweight Champion Harley Race was quite active in the area during October. On the October 7th Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV show, a tape was shown of Harley defeating young Terry Gibbs. Then two weeks later, Race personally appeared in the WRAL studios, and told Bob Caudle and David Crockett that he was not happy about wrestling in the Mid-Atlantic area, because he felt he was specifically brought into the Carolinas to be embarrassed. And the World Champion had some very pointed comments that he directed at Paul Jones!

Race successfully defended his prized belt against Tony Atlas in Columbia, South Carolina on October 17th with a pinfall victory. On October 21st in Greensboro, Race was awarded a victory against Ricky Steamboat when Ricky had to withdraw because of an eye injury, that many fans saw earlier that Saturday on TV at the hands of Ric Flair. And the following night in Charlotte, Race made his final defense in October, defeating Blackjack Mulligan, when Mulligan was disqualified for throwing Race over the top rope. This Greensboro World Title defense, was also interestingly billed as a $10,000 Bounty Match.

United States Heavyweight Champion Ric Flair had an active month in October, defending his coveted belt thirteen times, against the stern challenges of Dick Murdock, Ricky Steamboat and Blackjack Mulligan. The Nature Boy defeated Murdock cleanly in Charlotte on October 7th, and returned the favor to the “Sensational” one in Fayetteville, North Carolina on October 9th.

The Nature Boy and Ricky Steamboat had some of their best matches against each other during the month of October 1978. One of the most fiercely contested battles between these two took place in the Roanoke Civic Center on October 15th. In that bout, the two arch-rival battled to a 60 minute draw, where both wrestlers had numerous chances to catch the winning pinfall, but could just not pull it off.

The battles between Flair and Blackjack Mulligan during October were off the charts on the intensity scale. Most of the bouts between these two featured special stipulations, such as “Lights Out” and “Texas Death” matches. However, the most frequent stipulation between these two in October were “Lumberjack” matches. Two of the most violent Lumberjack matches had different outcomes. In Rocky Mount, North Carolina on October 4th, Blackjack prevailed by disqualification. In an even rougher Lumberjack match, Flair and some of his sympathetic Lumberjacks pulled out a victory over the big Texan on October 13th in Richmond, Virginia. As that match was billed as a “People’s Match,” most of the people attending at the Richmond Coliseum left the arena quite disappointed in the outcome.

The Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship was contested almost exclusively between bitter rivals Tony Atlas and Ken Patera during the month of October. And the month was cut exactly in half, with Atlas defending the Mid-Atlantic Championship for the first half of the month, and Patera defending the Title during the second half of the month.

The Title changed on October 15, 1978 in the Roanoke Civic Center, when Patera used sneaky tactics to take the belt away from Roanoke’s favorite son, Tony Atlas. Tony won the Title exactly four weeks before, in the same Roanoke Civic Center. A gloating Patera would mention on Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV more than once that Atlas “was the shortest lived Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion in history!”

Prior to losing the Mid-Atlantic Title, Atlas successfully defended his belt against Patera in October five times, including a particularly dominating performance at the Township Auditorium in Columbia, South Carolina on October 10th. Patera returned the favor, successfully defending his Title five times against Atlas after winning the Title back. The most heated of Patera’s defenses was a rematch against Atlas in Roanoke on October 29th. In that wild bout, a berserk Atlas actually got disqualified, giving Patera a hard-fought win.

NWA Television Champion Paul Jones had a busy month of Title defenses in October. Of course, whenever Jones wrestled in a singles match, his TV Title was at stake for the first 15 minutes of the bout. Jones’ busy month in October actually started on September 30th, when he wrestled his good friend Johnny Weaver for the NWA TV Title on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show that aired around the area on that date. After a rare display of purely scientific wrestling by both men, Jones rolled up Weaver for the pin, after Johnny appeared to have done the same thing to Paul just seconds earlier.

Jones had another TV Title defense against a big-name star on the following week’s Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling program, that aired around the area on October 7, 1978. Greg Valentine challenged “Number One” for his TV Title, and the match between those two was particularly ferocious. After a number of minutes of brawling inside the ring, the action spilled outside the ring. Unable to gain control of the fracas, referee Stu Schwartz had no choice but to disqualify both wrestlers in this wild melee!

The end of October 1978 was marked by three very memorable events. The first, and perhaps most memorable, occurred on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television program that aired around the area on Saturday, October 21st. Ric Flair came out at the beginning of the broadcast, and told the viewing audience that he was tired of people saying that Ricky Steamboat was greater than the “Great One.” Flair invited Steamboat into the ring, saying he was putting the U.S. Title on the line. An incredulous Steamboat took the bait, and was attacked by the Nature Boy as Ricky was climbing through the ropes. Flair proceeded to rub Steamboat’s face and eyes raw on the mat, and then outside on the concrete floor! A berserk Flair even rubbed Steamboat’s face across the surface of the U.S. Championship belt!

Steamboat came back out later in the show, his face sporting a terrible mat burn, saying his eye was injured to the point that he needed to go to the hospital. This injury to Steamboat would soon re-energize the rivalry between Steamboat and Flair to new levels. However, it had an immediate impact on a major event that was scheduled to occur on the October 21st TV show. On that show, Steamboat and Paul Jones were supposed to wrestle Valentine and Raschke for the World’s Tag Team Title. Because of Steamboat’s injury, the match was changed to a non-title bout, with the champs allowed to pick Steamboat’s replacement between Tony Atlas, Johnny Weaver or Jay Youngblood! Valentine and Raschke picked Johnny Weaver, so Paul Jones had a partner that he wrestled against just three weeks earlier on television for his NWA TV Title! The match between Valentine and Raschke and Jones and Weaver was about as wild and crazy as they come! As the show went off the air, the four were still battling fast and furious!

The second memorable event at the end of October saw two major newcomers arrive in the Mid-Atlantic area. Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka debuted in the territory on October 29th in the Roanoke Civic Center scoring an impressive victory against the veteran Sgt. Jacques Goulet. The native of the Fiji Islands was dazzling with his high-flying acrobatic maneuvers. And on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television shows that aired on October 28th, Paul Orndorff was announced in local promos as appearing in early November. While Orndorff did not actually wrestle in the area during the month of October, he would debut in the first days of November, and would be a dynamic performer.

The final late month development occurred on October 30th, when the team of Ric Flair and John Studd wrestled the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles away from Paul Jones and Ricky Steamboat. The Title change occurred in Greenville, South Carolina, after the two duos had squared off two times the week before. On October 24th in Raleigh and on October 26th in Norfolk, Flair and Studd had won the Title bouts by disqualification, which allowed Jones and Steamboat to hold onto their Titles. Paul and Ricky were not so fortunate in Greenville.

October of 1978 was a hugely significant month in the history of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling. Memorable angles, significant newcomers, big-name departures and multiple Title changes defined a month that was about as active in the territory as one could imagine!


1.   Ken Patera---The big muscleman from Portland, Oregon upended Tony Atlas, and regained his Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship during the month of October. And after winning back the belt, Ken had a number of successful Title defenses.

2.   Ric Flair---In addition to a large number of successful defenses of his prized U.S. Title, Ric also collaborated with Big John Studd to win the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championship at the very end of the month.

3.   John Studd---The massive newcomer was taking no prisoners during his first month in the Mid-Atlantic area. In addition to winning one-half of the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles, Studd instituted his “Studd List,” naming Paul Jones as being on the top of that infamous list!



1.   Mr. Wrestling---The white masked man from Michigan exited the territory in October, finishing up wrestling primarily mid-card matches.

2.   Cyclone Negro---After a strong stint in the area, main eventing or wresting high on the mid-cards, Negro left the area in October after dropping a taped fist match to Dick Murdock.

3.   Dick Murdock---And speaking of Murdock, he also left the Mid-Atlantic area in October. Prior to departing the territory, rather abruptly, Murdock was dropping more bouts than he was winning.



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