David Chappell's

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History

July 1979

The Almanac

Almanac Index

July 1979 Roster


Championship Picture This Month:



NWA WORLD TAG TEAM--- Paul Jones and Baron Von Raschke



NWA TELEVISION---Ricky Steamboat


MID-ATLANTIC TAG TEAM---Inactive - last champions were Ken Patera and John Studd


Newspaper clippings courtesy of Mark Eastridge.


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The month of July 1979 started off with a truly unique event. Rather than doing the normal Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television taping for the first week in July from the WRAL TV studios in Raleigh, North Carolina, the taping was done from the Dorton Arena in Raleigh, as part of the usual Tuesday night show there. This extravaganza featured about twice the normal number of matches for those that attended, with also the possibility for those that attended to be on TV!

On the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling show that was taped from Dorton Arena on July 3rd, the fans were treated to an entertaining NWA Television Title match with Ricky Steamboat defending against the "Cat" Ernie Ladd. Unfortunately for the viewers at home, the program went off the air before a decision was reached with about three minutes remaining before the television time limit expired. However, the home-based viewers did get to see a rare TV match involving the "Eighth Wonder of the World," Andre the Giant. Andre teamed with Dino Bravo to roundly defeat the duo of Kim Duk and Bill White. Bravo captured the pinfall on Duk, while Andre was sitting on White to make sure he didn’t interfere!


In an interview with host Bob Caudle after his match, Andre told the fans that he was now residing in the Mid-Atlantic area, living in Ellerbe, North Carolina. Bravo told the fans he was too, as he lived with Andre! Color commentator David Crockett said there had been numerous requests to have "live" TV tapings from arenas, and if the fans voiced their approval about this special show, that there would likely be more television shows taped outside of the WRAL studios.

In addition to his appearance in Raleigh on July 3rd, Andre the Giant wrestled Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion Ken Patera on July 1st in Asheville, North Carolina, and the next night in Fayetteville, North Carolina Andre had a very rare NWA World Heavyweight Title match, grappling World Champion Harley Race to a double disqualification. The Giant wrapped up his latest stint in the territory with an impressive victory over John Studd in a No Disqualification encounter in Columbia, South Carolina.

Harley Race defended his World Championship several times early in July soon after his successful defense against Andre the Giant in Fayetteville on July 2nd. Race battled Ricky Steamboat to a brutal double disqualification at the Scope Coliseum in Norfolk, Virginia on July 5th, and then Harley was disqualified against Steamboat when Ernie Ladd interfered on the Champion’s behalf in a Title bout in the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina on the evening of July 8th. In between those Title matches with Steamboat, Race went to a sixty minute draw with "Jumping" Jim Brunzell on July 6th in Columbia, South Carolina in a Title encounter, and during the afternoon of July 8th in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Harley took the measure of "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka with the World Title on the line.

Toronto, Canada put on a major show during the month, on July 15th, that featured a number of Mid-Atlantic stars. Canadian Heavyweight Champion Dino Bravo successfully defended his crown again the challenge of the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion Ken Patera. In a wild No Disqualification/No Count-out slugfest, Ricky Steamboat successfully held on to his NWA Television Title, despite a stiff challenge from "Old 99" Ernie Ladd. Jim Brunzell took on rugged "Hammer" Greg Valentine in a bruising contest. And the "Nature Boy" Ric Flair even got a shot at Bob Backlund’s WWWF Heavyweight Championship on this star-studded card!

Speaking of Ric Flair, the United States Heavyweight Champion did not focus on singles competition as much as he ordinarily did, but he still had some significant and noteworthy one-on-one battles during the month of July. Ric’s singles feud with Paul Jones ended with back-to-back-to back battles with "Number One" Paul Jones in the Greenville Memorial Auditorium in Greenville, South Carolina. On July 2nd in Greenville, Jones and Flair grappled in a wild encounter that resulted in both of them being disqualified. An immediate Greenville rematch was scheduled on July 9th, with Paul using all the sneaky tactics in his arsenal to pin Flair! Enraged, Ric pulled every string he could to get another match with Jones on the next Greenville show, and sure enough he did. Employing a perfect blend of scientific wrestling combined with sheer brutality, Flair dominated Jones, thrashing him thoroughly to prevail in the last chapter of an entertaining singles feud that had its genesis all the way back in April.

The other developing singles program for Ric Flair in July was against Buddy Rogers for the United States Heavyweight Championship, a true "Battle of the Nature Boys." Flair and Rogers battled over the U.S. belt in the Greensboro Coliseum, with Flair prevailing after both got their signature hold, the figure four leg lock, on the other. Spartanburg, South Carolina also saw an entertaining bout between the two Nature Boys on July 21st, and in this match Rogers was very close to lifting Ric’s belt on several occasions, but Flair’s superior stamina enabled him to hold off Buddy and secure a clean victory. But it was clear Buddy Rogers was still a force to be reckoned with.

NWA World Tag Team Champions Paul Jones and Baron von Raschke had more than their fair share of close calls during the month of July, but this dangerous duo somehow managed to survive with their belts intact. Without question, Jones and Raschke’s most severe challenge came from the unlikely combination of former adversaries Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat---a "dream team" if there ever was one!

Richmond, Virginia got a real treat in the month of July, as fans in the Richmond Coliseum saw three NWA World Tag Team Title battles between Paul Jones and Baron von Raschke and the tandem of Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat. The first bout occurred on July 6th, and saw a sellout crowd of 12,000 plus attend with hundreds and hundreds more turned away. Pretty much everybody in attendance couldn’t believe Flair and Steamboat were on the same team, and were pleasantly surprised that the two former adversaries actually worked well together in the ring. The team of Flair and Steamboat dominated a large portion of the bout, but Jones and Raschke escaped with their belts when they made a second save to avoid a sure pinfall loss, leading to a disqualification.

The result in Richmond on July 6th led to a return Title bout between the same two teams on July 20th, but this time with a special stipulation that the "two saves rule" was waived. This condition allowed Jones and Raschke to save extra times without getting disqualified and saving their belts in that manner. With another massive crowd in attendance at the Coliseum, Jones and Raschke "hightailed" it out of the ring when things got their hottest, thus retaining their titles this time by getting counted out of the ring. This latest chicanery by Jones and Raschke led to Jim Crockett Promotions setting up yet another return Title match between these two teams in Richmond, this time on July 27th, with the special stipulation of there being Lumberjacks around the ring to prevent Jones and Raschke from running.

A Richmond Coliseum crowd in excess of 10,000 fans witnessed the wild Lumberjack Match on July 27th. As in the previous two Richmond encounters, Flair and Steamboat got the better of the action and appeared well on their way to capturing the NWA World Tag Team Titles. However, when one of the lumberjacks, Ernie Ladd, gave Jones and Raschke some timely and underhanded assistance, the Champions got a tainted victory that appeared to effectively end the Flair and Steamboat challenge for the World Tag Team Titles.

In addition to the Richmond series of bouts between Jones and Raschke and Flair and Steamboat, the four additionally battled in July over the World Tag Team Titles twice in Charlotte, North Carolina, and also in Greensboro and Raleigh. During the month, Jones and Raschke also held on to their belts against the challenges of Ricky Steamboat and Jimmy Snuka, Ric Flair and Jim Brunzell and Ric Flair and Tony Atlas. But perhaps a new team that joined forces at the end of the month had the most potential to derail the Jones and Raschke express. The reuniting of former great friends, but more recently bitter rivals, Ric Flair and Blackjack Mulligan occurred in the Greensboro Coliseum on July 28th! Ric gave Blackjack a large sum of money and a new glove to show his sincerity, and this reunited duo knocked Jones and Raschke all over the ring in Greensboro. However, when Jones and Raschke attacked the referee, they were disqualified handing Ric and Blackjack the DQ victory, but not the World Tag Team Titles.

While on the subject of Blackjack Mulligan, the World Wide Wrestling show that was taped on July 11th had its share of fireworks from the get-go! The big man from Eagle Pass, Texas, Blackjack Mulligan, made his television return, and told host Rich Landrum that he hadn’t been run out of the area by John Studd, but that he had spent some time in west Texas, and was in the Colorado Rockies with Willie Nelson, but he was back in the Mid-Atlantic area again and he was ready for all the competition. But almost immediately, Blackjack was interrupted by none other than Paul Jones and Baron von Raschke.

Jones and Raschke told Blackjack, rather insincerely, that they were sorry he had been hurt by John Studd, and that they were glad to have him back in the territory. And in an attempt to have Mulligan join the "winning team," Jones and Raschke offered Blackjack a check for $10,000.00! Immediately Mulligan turned down the money, calling Jones a "little weasel," and categorized Raschke as Paul’s "big wormy friend." This prompted Jones and Raschke to attack Mully, with Blackjack being able to fend them both off. Jones and Raschke later called Blackjack a bad sport, and that he wasn’t welcome on the "winning team" any longer.

Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion Ken Patera had some difficult title defenses against Dino Bravo during the month of July, but Ken seemed to get stronger as the month progressed. In Columbia, South Carolina on July 6th Ken lost to Dino by disqualification, but the "World’s Strongest Wrestler" turned the tables on Bravo in a Columbia rematch, defeating Dino by pinfall in a NO DQ bout on July 19th. A similar situation occurred in Roanoke between Patera and Bravo. On July 8th in the Roanoke Civic Center, Bravo defeated Patera by disqualification, but when the two had a rematch in Roanoke on July 22nd, it was Patera who was victorious in a heated No Disqualification match. In addition to Ken’s defense against Andre the Giant mentioned earlier, Patera also successfully defended his prestigious Title against Jim Brunzell and Ricky Steamboat during the course of the month.

Patera also entered July being billed with partner "Big" John Studd as the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champions. However, the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team belts were not defended during the month. And when Patera and Studd wrestled on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show that was taped on July 18th, they were not introduced as being the Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Champions, so it certainly appeared that these once prestigious belts were being deactivated.

And speaking of that July 18th Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show, a remarkable transformation occurred as part of that program. An "unusual" pairing of Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka and "Nature Boy" Buddy Rogers was announced by color commentator David Crockett at the beginning of the program. When it was time for their match against Leo Burke and Gary Young, things quickly became more "unusual." Snuka came out wearing wrestling boots, sporting a scowl and appeared to be in almost a trance-like state when interacting with Rogers. It soon appeared evident that Snuka had turned into an out-and-out "bad guy," and was bent on obliterating his opponents. Bob Caudle and David Crockett were totally "baffled" by Snuka’s change of attitude. Snuka applied a vicious "corkscrew" hold on Gary Young, delighting on torturing Young into submission.

After the Snuka-Rogers victory, Rogers told announcer Bob Caudle that he was now the full-fledged manager of Jimmy Snuka, and that Jimmy’s days of being a "nice guy" were over. Buddy said he would be doing the talking and the thinking for Snuka from now on, and that he would make Jimmy a champion in short order. One of Snuka’s first singles matches under Buddy Rogers’ tutelage was in the Richmond Coliseum against Johnny Weaver on July 27th, which saw the "Superfly" utterly destroy the "Dean of Wrestling."

NWA Television Champion Ricky Steamboat held onto his coveted strap throughout the month, with his toughest fights being with Ernie Ladd. Steamboat and Ladd hooked up thirteen times during the month around the Mid-Atlantic area, and it was the classic matchup of Steamboat’s speed against Ladd’s size. Two towns in the territory got a double-dose of Steamboat versus Ladd, as Raleigh and Greenville, South Carolina hosted two bouts each between these adversaries.

As mentioned earlier, Ladd and Steamboat had quite a battle on July 3rd at Dorton Arena in Raleigh as the "main event" on the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show that aired around the territory that weekend. The two bitter enemies came back to Raleigh on July 17th, with Ricky gaining an impressive victory in a No Disqualification rematch. Greenville, South Carolina also saw two bouts between Steamboat and Ladd during the month. On July 2nd in the Greenville Memorial Auditorium, Ladd posted an impressive triumph over Steamboat, but the win occurred after the 15 minute TV time limit had expired. However, Ricky gained revenge on July 23rd in Greenville when he pinned Ernie cleanly in the middle of the ring. Over the course of July, Steamboat also successfully defended his TV Title against the challenges of Paul Jones and Ken Patera.

The month of July had some major comings and goings. The big pick-up on the "good guy" side of the ledger was the return of Blackjack Mulligan. However, on that same side Paul Orndorff and Tony Atlas left the area, and Dino Bravo would only have one final match in early August before he left the Mid-Atlantic area for good. And with Jimmy Snuka turning to the "dark side" during the month, one needed a scorecard to figure out who was wearing the "white hats" in the Mid-Atlantic area during the month of July!


  1. Jimmy Snuka---While his many fans were understandably upset by his actions, there could be no doubt that Buddy Rogers had lit a fire under the "Superfly" that had been sorely lacking in recent months. Snuka looked like a truly dangerous competitor at the end of July.

  2. Ricky Steamboat---In addition to being in the thick of the NWA World Tag Team Title picture, "Steamer" was having quite the feud over the NWA TV Title with the giant "Cat," Ernie Ladd. And by the end of July, Ricky was clearly getting the better of Ladd.

  3. Jim Brunzell---While his momentum slowed a bit in July, the relative newcomer from White Bear Lake, Minnesota was still dazzling fans and opponents with his lightning fast drop kick and lethal spinning toe hold.


  1. Paul Orndorff---Orndorff dropped the majority of his matches in July, before leaving the territory all together by the end of the month. Paul would never return to the Mid-Atlantic area.

  2. Dino Bravo---The Canadian strongman, despite holding the Canadian Heavyweight Title, was slipping as the month of July went on in his attempts to capture the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship from Ken Patera. Very soon, Dino would be out of Jim Crockett Promotions, never to return.

  3. Tony Atlas---The master of "P-Funk" saw his stock fall during the month of July, and by the end of the month the native of Roanoke, Virginia was out the Mid-Atlantic area altogether. Like Orndorff and Bravo, Atlas would never again wrestle in the Mid-Atlantic area.



Copyright © 2012 David Chappell • Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Posted 10/05/2012