Wahoo McDaniel executes a back suplex on
Wide World Wrestling at WRAL(1976).
The referee is Angelo Martinelli.
(L) The versatile Les Thatcher (also a
wrestler, TV wrestling producer, and editor of the Mid-Atlantic Wrestling magazine) and Bob Caudle each hosted
a version of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling in 1974 and
1975. (R) Raleigh promoter Joe Murnick served as ring announcer for
many of the matches held at WRAL.
(L) David Crockett and Bob Caudle open up a
broadcast of Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling at WRAL (1974).
(R) U.S. Champion Blackjack Mulligan and Mid-Atlantic Champion Ric Flair
with Ed Capral on Wide World Wrestling at WRAL (1976).
(L) Rich Landrum interviews one half of the
Minnesota Wrecking Crew (and one half of the World Tag Team Champions)
Gene Anderson on the set of World Wide Wrestling (1981). (R)
Landrum and US Champion Ricky Steamboat on the set of World Wide
Wrestling at WRAL (1979).
(L) TV guide ad for wrestling on WRAL TV-5
(1974). (R) Admission was free to the WRAL TV tapings, but tickets
were required (ticket seen above) until the early 1980's, when a letter was issued instead
of tickets (seen below).
HISTORY OF MID-ATLANTIC TV-STUDIO
FLASHBACK: Mid-Atlantic TV Program Wins Awards -
Article by Les Thatcher from
Mid-Atlantic Magazine in 1977
The bumper graphics used for the two
different Mid-Atlantic Wrestling tapings at WRAL described above. (L)
The Mid-Atlantic "A" show, hosted by Bob Caudle and David Crockett. (R)
The Mid-Atlantic "B" show hosted by Les Thatcher.
Diana, Zack, and David Chappell, Bob and
Jackie Caudle, and Dick Bourne
at WRAL TV Studios in March 2004.
Bob Caudle is the legendary voice of
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling
that was taped at WRAL studios for the
better part of three
An ad in TV Guide magazine for Late
Dateline on WRAL,
featuring Bob Caudle doing the national
news and weather.
(TV Guide, October 28, 1967)
Ray Reeve was the original
voice of professional wrestling on WRAL-TV in the late 1950s.
Nick Pond followed Ray
Reeve as announcer for pro-wrestling on WRAL-TV in the 1960s. He would
be joined soon after by Bob Caudle. They recorded to simultaneous
broadcasts at each taping: Pond called the matches for the Raleigh
market while Caudle called the matches for the rest of the territory.
Eventually, Caudle would become the lead announcer for one single
taping. (Thanks to Carroll Hall at "All Star Championship Wrestling"
blog for these clippings.)
An ad from the Raleigh NC newspaper in
December of 1980, advertising a rare double night of TV tapings at WRAL.
Jim Crockett Promotions took an annual two-week break right before
Christmas, so they would double up on TV tapings leading up to the
break, as well as tape a special year and highlights show. The result
was three weeks worth of television taped in two days. They would
typically resume regular tapings the first Wednesday after Christmas.
Wednesdays in the Video Tape
Room at WRAL
An Inside Look at a Typical
Wrestling Taping at WRAL-TV in Raleigh
by Tom Gallagher
Photos courtesy of Tom Gallagher and Lee
IMAGES FROM WRAL.COM'S
50TH ANNIVERSARY FEATURE:
Nelson Royal and Paul Jones being
interviewed at ringside by Nick Pond
(circa 1971) at WRAL TV studio wrestling.
Pond hosted the Raleigh version of Mid-Atlantic Championship
Wrestling in the 1960s and early 1970s. He was a sports anchor at
WRAL from 1957–1971 and 1973–1978.
Hear Nick Pond's Voice - 1971
* * * * *
Below is the text of a
post on a blog discussing a fantasy
pro-wrestling tournament held on a sports radio website in Raleigh NC:
"Can Ray Reeve and Nick Pond be the
honorary announcers for this bracket?
Are any of you old enough to remember
back in the day when Championship Wrestling was live from the WRAL
studios on Western Blvd at 6:00 on Saturdays?
Every time the Fabulous Moolah (recently
departed and sorely missed) was on the bill she would finish her match
by planting a big ‘ol slobberbomb of a kiss on Ray’s bald head.
Pond’s analysis of what constituted
“scientific” wrestling moves were priceless."
We recently received a nice e-mail from
Nick Pond's son, Randy Pond. An excerpt:
was looking at your website which brought back a lot of memories. My
father, Nick Pond, announced wrestling in the late 60’s and early 70’s
for WRAL in Raleigh. I have fond memories of tagging along with my dad
on the nights when they taped the show. I remember being somewhat
afraid of the wrestlers but after getting to know them, most were just
nice regular guys."
* * * * *
See also: A Potpourri
of Wrestling related WRAL references on the Web
WRAL Studios, Winter 1958
Bob DeBardelaben, the "Biggest Name in
Weather", was also the familiar voice who told us it was time for the
local promos on Mid-Atlantic Wrestling:
"Let's take time for this
commercial message about the
Mid-Atlantic Wrestling events coming up in
Special thanks to Bob Caudle, Rich
Landrum, Johnny Weaver, Brad Anderson, Carroll Hall, Mike Cline, Pat Buckley, Greg Stewart,
Bruce Mitchell and Wayne Brower for their assistance with this feature.
WRESTLING INDEX | ALMANAC INDEX
| GATEWAY HOME PAGE
The station's first
broadcast was on December 15, 1956; an airing of the
1947 movie Miracle on 34th Street. From its
inception, the station was an NBC affiliate until 1962,
when it began a 23-year affiliation to ABC.
During the 1960s, future North Carolina Senator Jesse
Helms was a regular editorial commentator on WRAL's news
In 1979, the station became the state's first to begin
using a helicopter for newsgathering (Sky 5).
In 1985, Capital Cities Communications merged with the
ABC network, making WTVD-TV an ABC owned and operated
station. As a result, the CBS affiliation moved to
A severe ice storm in December 1989 caused the station's
2,000-foot tower to collapse, forcing WRAL off the air.
By cooperation with Fayetteville station WKFT-TV Channel
40 (which at the time was under severe financial
problems), it was back on the air in 3 hours. WKFT ran
the entire WRAL schedule during this time. The station's
new, stronger tower was launched on October 25, 1990, at
which point WKFT reverted to airing its own programming.
In 1996, WRAL-TV was granted the first experimental
high-definition television license in the United States
by the Federal Communications Commission. In 2000,
WRAL-HD aired the world's first all-HDTV newscast on
October 13. In January 2001, WRAL converted all of its
local news broadcasts to high-definition. Today, WRAL-TV
airs the entire CBS program schedule, as it has since
the late 1990s. Announced on February 1, 2006, WRAL is
now going to simulcast all programming (CBS, News, and
Syndicated) on wral.com. (If you do not live in the
Raleigh-Durham DMA, you cannot see this. It is free of
charge, but you must subscribe to view it.) (Source:
The History of WRAL on wral.com |
Capitol Broadcasting Company |
CBC Profile on WRAL-TV
A Potpourri of Wrestling related WRAL
references on the Web:
Well as I was
commenting on oldrebel's blog pertaining to Jesse Helms,
Uncle Paul came to mind and I mentioned that Jesse,
along with Uncle Paul and of course
wrestling, were staples of the
history of WRAL. I remember them all quite
well: as a child I spent a lot of time with my
grandparents in the summer . . .
He (Tommy Bland) and his
father also came to see “Mid
Atlantic Championship Wrestling” which was taped in
Studio A at the time.
From 1959-1979, Phlegar was
the producer / director behind successful programs such
as The Uncle Paul Show and
Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling for WRAL-TV 5.
Doctor Steve from
Tennessee wrote: I worked at WRAL-TV in the '70s and
we taped Wide World of Wrestling and Mid-Atlantic
Championship Wrestling there every Wednesday.
The Crocketts had contracted to have Brute Bernard come
and do a show with us, and I was full of trepidation,
having watched him as a kid decimate his enemies, never
uttering a word other than a guttural growl. I knew this
guy would just be scary and probably a lot of trouble.
So there I was at the bottom of the dressing room
stairs, waiting for Brute Bernard to come down to the
studio; I was nervous, not knowing what to expect, when
he emerged from the dressing room door. And what a
sight! He had on a silk smoking jacket, thick reading
glasses, and was reading the Wall Street Journal. He
greeted me with a "hi, son, nice to meet you" and
entered the studio. He was the nicest wrestler I ever
met (and I met a lot of them). That night, of course, he
was the same old Brute that I remembered as a kid but I
had a completely different opinion of him, having seen
his "other" side.
* * * * *
WRAL Nov.1959 TV Ad (All
Star Championship Wrestling Blog)
* * * * *
MMA on CBS
By Jeff Gravley WRAL.com - June 2, 2008
On January 31, 1959 professional wrestling made its
debut on WRAL-TV. From the early 60's through the 70's
the matches were filmed in a studio here at the station
and shown on Saturday night at 11:30.
The Nature Boy--Blackjack Mulligan--Wahoo McDaniel.
Those were the names that were synonymous with pro
wrestling and those were the guys who would come to the
station for their Wednesday night filmings.
Former news anchor Charlie Gaddy joked that he would be
reading the news about a house fire in one studio while
the wrestlers were applying headlocks and dropping a
back suplex in the other studio.
WRAL weatherman Bob Caudle hosted Mid-Atlantic
Championship Wrestling with help from WRAL sportscasters
Ray Reeve and Nick Pond.
I give you this little history lesson as a backdrop to
CBS's decision to show Mixed Martial Arts in prime time
this past Saturday...... (read
the entire article)
* * * * *
WRESTLING INDEX | ALMANAC INDEX
| GATEWAY HOME PAGE
Gateway. Article originally
published in 2005. Updated in 2010, 2012.