David Chappell's

Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling History

December 1979

The Almanac

Almanac Index

December 1979 Roster


Championship Picture


• Harley Race 


• Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood


• Jimmy Snuka



• Ray Stevens
• Jim Brunzell (December 25, 1979 at the Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina)






Dewey Robertson


Newspaper clippings courtesy of Mark Eastridge.


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The final month of the decade of the 1970s in Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling began with some clarification on the status of the immortal Buddy Rogers in the territory. In the last television program of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling during the month of November, Ric Flair did a number on the ear of Rogers, leaving Buddy’s medical situation very much up in the air.

On the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling show that was taped on December 5th, announcer David Crockett read a letter that Buddy Rogers sent to Jim Crockett Promotions. Rogers wrote that, “due to the vicious, vile and completely unprovoked attack on me by Ric Flair, it is imperative that I undergo another major operation on my ear.” Buddy went on to say that his ability to return to wrestling was “problematical at best.”

Perhaps most interestingly, in the letter Rogers said he was negotiating the contracts of John Studd and Jimmy Snuka with a prospective buyer. If necessary, Buddy said he would give the contacts to this prospective buyer if that would facilitate getting revenge on Ric Flair! The viewing audience was left to wonder who this prospective buyer might be.

A later interview on the same December 5th TV show, saw Ric Flair tell host Bob Caudle that he had no remorse whatsoever about injuring Buddy Rogers. Ric said it was time to take action against Rogers, and he took action. Flair went on to say that he would send Buddy a dozen roses to his hospital room, because they’d be the only dozen roses Rogers would ever get! In this same interview, Jim Brunzell spoke to Caudle about his new hold, the sleeper hold, and Jim publically thanked Johnny Weaver for helping him with his proficiency of using the sleeper.

Arena bouts during the early days of December 1979 had to be adjusted because of the Buddy Rogers injury. On December 3rd at the Roanoke Civic Center in Roanoke, Virginia, Ric Flair was scheduled to face Buddy Rogers in a “Grudge Match.” The Masked Superstar subbed for Rogers in this bout, and lost by disqualification when he struck the referee. At the Scope Coliseum in Norfolk, Virginia on December 6th, Flair and Rogers were again scheduled to wrestle. On this occasion Ray Stevens substituted for Buddy, and in the bout both Flair and Stevens were disqualified.

A broiling feud that spanned throughout the month of December saw Paul Jones and Baron von Raschke attempt to win back the NWA World Tag Team Titles from Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood. The month began with Ricky and Jay successfully defending against the former champs on December 2nd at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, North Carolina, and the month concluded for these four on December 29th at the Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia when the champs survived a wild double disqualification encounter. In between those dates, the four combatants faced each other in numerous Title matches, with Steamboat and Youngblood dominating the battles.

During the month of December, Steamboat and Youngblood got the better of Jones and Raschke in Title matches that had a wide variety of stipulations. On December 4th at the Dorton Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina, the champs won by disqualification in a wild Texas Tornado bout. Then the Charlotte Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina saw two memorable battles between these teams with the World Tag Team Titles on the line. First, on December 9th, with a 2 Out Of 3 Falls stipulation in place, “Steamer” and Jay emerged victorious after a lengthy and bitter contest. Then on Christmas Day, Paul and the Baron challenged Steamboat and Youngblood for their prestigious Titles in a Fence Match! Santa did not bring the “bad guys” a Christmas gift, as Ricky and Jay prevailed in a vicious brawl where the blood flowed freely.

Toronto, Canada saw the stars of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling come north on two occasions during the month of December. On December 9th, the Toronto fans saw Ric Flair defeat Ray “The Crippler” Stevens in a spirited encounter, and then the Toronto faithful witnessed a very entertaining Title versus Title match, where the Canadian Champion Dewey Robertson beat the United States Champion Jimmy Snuka by disqualification. The Mid-Atlantic grapplers returned to Toronto on December 30th, where the major match pitting Jim Crockett Promotions wrestlers featured Ric Flair and Dewey Robertson battling Jimmy Snuka and Ray Stevens in an uncontrollable melee.

The Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling TV show that was taped on Wednesday December 12th was chopped full of entertaining highlights. As soon as the show started, announcer David Crockett told the viewing audience that next week we would find out who was buying up the contracts of John Studd and Jimmy Snuka. Alas, the fans would have to wait another week until this mystery was solved.

When Bob Caudle was running down the list of matches as the show began, we found out that Greg “The Hammer” Valentine had returned. Greg easily dispatched the veteran Abe Jacobs in his first match back on television, and when interviewed after his victory, told Bob Caudle that he wasn’t back to win fans but to make lots of money and to capture championship belts. Caudle also asked Valentine the probing question of what Greg now thought of Ric Flair. When Greg left the area earlier in 1979, both he and Flair were “bad guys,” and teaming up together frequently. With Ric now a fan favorite, and Valentine still employing his roughhouse ways, their relationship was bound to come up. At this juncture, Valentine replied to Caudle the he didn’t “know what to think about Ric Flair.” And Greg added, “the guy doesn’t even want to talk to me.”

Much of the rest of the December 12th television show focused on the blistering feud between Big John Studd and Blackjack Mulligan. Early in the show, Mulligan came out and strongly challenged Studd. Blackjack told the announcers that the issue between he and Studd needed to be settled once and for all, and one of them was going to get “hurt and get the heck out of here.”

In a later segment of the program when Blackjack was wrestling Doug Somers, Studd came out and accepted Mulligan’s challenge. John told the fans watching that the feud between he and Blackjack was “gonna be settled.” Studd went on to say, “I hate Mulligan, and I’m gonna end his career. I have to end Mulligan’s career…it’s an obsession with me.”

Not to be outdone, at the end of the program Blackjack came out to the announcer’s table with Ric Flair while Studd and Jimmy Snuka were wrestling Bob Marcus and Tony Garea. Clearly, Mulligan and Flair did their best to disrupt the concentration of Studd and Snuka…Flair even called Snuka “banana boy.” While disrupting Studd and Snuka at times, the “bad guys” still manage to win their match. But Blackjack wasn’t finished just yet!

After some jawing with Studd who was still in the ring, Blackjack said he was giving the fans this main event match for free, and jumped in the ring and tore into Studd! This prompted Bob Caudle to say they were fighting like “two giant bull elephants.” When Snuka attempted to aid Studd, the “Nature Boy” picked up a steel chair and kept Jimmy at bay. Eventually all four men were tangling without a referee in sight, and the crowd in the TV studio was going wild! Regrettably, the show went off the air before there was a clear cut winner.

The Blackjack Mulligan/John Studd feud was ever present in Mid-Atlantic rings throughout the month of December. These were some of the most physical and bloody matches to ever take place in Jim Crockett Promotions! And it was clear as these battles raged, that Mulligan was gaining the upper hand in this feud as December progressed.

On December 2nd in Greensboro, Mulligan and Studd hooked up in very violent Bullrope match. After that, these two giants locked horns in a series of “Texas Street Fight” matches, where each dressed in attire that made it easy to inflict injuries on the other! On December 6th in Norfolk, December 9th in Charlotte, December 11th in Raleigh, December 14th in Columbia, South Carolina and on December 29th in Roanoke, these two behemoths fought furiously in bouts with Texas Street Fight rules, with Blackjack emerging as the dominant force. But neither man could have been the same after these physical contests.

At the end of the month of December, as if these two combatants hadn’t suffered enough, they came up with an even more brutal match to engage in…the Chain match! On December 27th at the Norfolk Scope, Mulligan destroyed a bloody John Studd to the delight of the approximately 8,000 fans in attendance. Being no rest for the weary, the two hooked up in another Chain match the next night in Columbia, with Blackjack again winning the match after beating the daylights out of the giant Studd.

United States Heavyweight Champion Jimmy Snuka had a number of rugged Title defenses during the month of December. Blackjack Mulligan defeated Snuka by disqualification in a Title bout in Roanoke on December 2nd, when John Studd interfered. Blackjack also held his own with the “Wildman” in a Title opportunity in Winston Salem, North Carolina on December 15th. The “Nature Boy” Ric Flair also got several U.S. Title opportunities during the month. Ric and Snuka clashed in Sumter, South Carolina on December 4th, Flair defeated Jimmy by DQ in Columbia on December 14th but the “Superfly” finished out the month by defeating Flair cleanly in Norfolk on December 27th.

A couple of much anticipated Title matches occurred at the end of the month, when “Mr. Wrestling” Tim Woods was seeking revenge for his injured neck, along with the United States Heavyweight Title, against Jimmy Snuka. Somewhat surprisingly, Snuka handily defeated “Mr. Wrestling” in Title bouts in both Raleigh on December 26th and Richmond on December 30th. Unless Mr. Wrestling found a higher gear, it appeared his challenges against Snuka would be short lived and unsuccessful.

The December 19th taping of the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling television show was certainly one of the most eventful TV programs of the year 1979. At long last, the new manager of John Studd and Jimmy Snuka was revealed, and it was none other than…Gene Anderson! To say the least, the naming of Gene Anderson as a manager was quite a surprise. If for no other reason, Gene never used to utter a word, and there he was, functioning as the “mouthpiece” for John Studd and Jimmy Snuka!

Gene said the first thing on his mind was Blackjack Mulligan, and that there were open contracts from Studd on every promoter’s desk, awaiting Mulligan’s signature. Anderson said he would be at ringside at all of Studd and Snuka’s matches…a subtle jab at former manager Buddy Rogers who rarely appeared at the arenas with his charges. In their first TV match with Gene Anderson as manager, both Studd and Snuka used a number of Anderson Brothers tactics, including slamming their opponent with his arm jacked up behind his back!

Being interviewed after the match, Gene quipped at Bob Caudle, “Did anything look familiar out there?” And Caudle responded, “A whole lot looked familiar.” Bob went on to say that Gene Anderson’s influence on Studd and Snuka was unmistakable. Caudle also told Anderson he was surprised that Gene was the man that became the new manager for Jimmy Snuka and John Studd. Gene said that when he had two of the greatest athletes in wrestling in need of a manager, he would have been wrong if he didn’t assume their contracts. Studd then told the fans watching at home, that while he and Snuka appreciated all that Buddy Rogers did for them, that their team would go higher and achieve greater deeds with Gene Anderson as their manager.

The other major happening on the December 19th television taping was Greg Valentine calling out Ric Flair, to try to restore their friendship to what it was in early 1979. When Bob Caudle said to Greg that he and Ric had once been as close as brothers, Greg replied, “We were closer than brothers.”

When Flair joined Valentine and Bob Caudle in the interview area, Ric said, “Ric Flair has changed a little bit, and [Greg] doesn’t want to accept it.” Valentine pleaded with Flair to be his partner again, saying that the current Champions Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood were a couple of punks, and that he and Ric “could mow ‘em right down.” Ric responded that Steamboat and Youngblood were now his friends, along with Blackjack Mulligan and Rufus R. Jones. Valentine said he couldn’t “digest that,” as when he and Ric used to drive up and down the roads together, Flair told Greg how much he couldn’t stand Steamboat, Youngblood and Mulligan!

Valentine went on to tell the “Nature Boy” that somebody must be brainwashing him, and that Ric had “really gone soft.” Flair retorted that he would be happy to show Greg how soft he was and warned him to stay out of his way, before walking off the set. Valentine said Flair embarrassed him by walking off the set, and Greg added that Ric disgusted him and made him sick. Valentine said that all Flair wanted to do now was make friends and read his fan mail. Valentine said friendship meant absolutely nothing in professional wrestling, and that it was all about the money. Valentine ended this emotional confrontation with Ric telling him, “I don’t need your kind anymore, Flair.”

Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion Ray “The Crippler” Stevens had his way with top challenger “Jumping” Jim Brunzell for most of the month of December. While Ray was not able to cripple Brunzell, he did soundly defeat Brunzell in a number of Title bouts early in the month. Stevens whipped Brunzell in Spartanburg, South Carolina on December 1st, Roanoke on December 2nd, Sumter, South Carolina on December 4th and Richmond on December 7th. Brunzell was so frustrated over this string of defeats, that the normally unflappable one lost his cool in a return Title bout against Stevens in Spartanburg on December 8th, and Jim was actually disqualified and took a loss in this highly unusual way.

However, the worm turned for Brunzell on Christmas Day at the Charlotte Coliseum, when the “High Flyer” reversed his losing skid by defeating Ray Stevens for the Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship before 4,500 enthusiastic fans in a hard fought battle. Stevens was clearly shell-shocked by losing his Mid-Atlantic Title after such a brief reign, and it showed in Ray’s performance during the remainder of the month. The next night in Raleigh, Stevens was unable to regain the Mid-Atlantic belt, and then proceeded to drop Title matches to Brunzell on December 27th in Norfolk, on December 28th in Columbia and on December 30th in Richmond.


Special Feature!    Christmas Night Wrestling Tradition  |  Charlotte 1979

Plans were continuing to be made for a tournament for the vacant NWA Television Title, the Title that Ricky Steamboat relinquished soon after he became one half of the World Tag Team Champions. And on the subject of tournaments, on the December 19th edition of the World Wide Wrestling television program, announcer Rich Landrum told the viewing audience that plans were also in the works for a tournament for the vacant Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Titles, belts that had fallen into disuse over the prior several months.

The talent of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling got a holiday break from December 17th through December 24th, to get a much needed break from the rigors of the wrestling wars. But it wasn’t long before action picked back up in earnest! On December 26th, both the Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling and World Wide Wrestling TV shows were taped live from Raleigh’s Dorton Arena. In addition to five matches each for the two TV shows featuring such stars as Ricky Steamboat, Jay Youngblood, Blackjack Mulligan and Greg Valentine, fans in attendance at the Dorton Arena saw Jimmy Snuka and Tim Woods battle for the U.S. Title, and Jim Brunzell and Ray Stevens tangle for the Mid-Atlantic Title in matches that weren’t taped for television.

In the final days of December 1979, and the decade of the 1970s, fans in the Mid-Atlantic area got to see a dream matchup that very few thought would ever happen. Former close friends and World Tag Team Champions Ric Flair and Greg Valentine finally met each other in the ring as opponents! The two fought each other at the Carolina Coliseum in Columbia, South Carolina on December 28th and at the Richmond Coliseum on December 30th. The crowds were at a fever pitch as the two formerly close buddies became bitter adversaries right before their eyes. Flair won these first two matches against Valentine, but 1980 would surely see lots more fireworks from these two men!


1. Blackjack Mulligan---The big man from Eagle Pass, Texas clearly had the better of his nemesis, Big John Studd, during the month of December. While it certainly wasn’t easy, Mulligan was dominating this vicious and bloody feud.
2. Ricky Steamboat & Jay Youngblood---The World Tag Team Champions were rolling against former champs Paul Jones and Baron von Raschke during December. Paul and the Baron seemingly had no answers to the speed and agility of the young Champions.
3. Jim Brunzell---While being quiet early during the month, Jim whipped Ray Stevens for the Mid-Atlantic Championship on Christmas Day, and crushed the “Crippler” in several return bouts after that.


1. John Studd---The big man from Los Angeles appeared to finally run out of steam against Blackjack Mulligan in December of 1979. But this feud was truly one for the ages!
2. Paul Jones &Baron von Raschke---These two were coming up empty against Ricky Steamboat and Jay Youngblood, and the building frustration was clearly weakening the teamwork between Paul and the Baron
3. “Mr. Wrestling” Tim Woods---Tim was inactive for the bulk of the month, and then came back to tangle with Jimmy Snuka over the U.S. belt at the tail end of December. Woods had a lot of incentive, as Snuka had badly injured him just recently. However, the early returns were not good for Woods as Snuka pummeled him in their two late December encounters.


Copyright © 2013 David Chappell • Mid-Atlantic Gateway

Posted 10/13/2013